May is the perfect month for sowing seeds and planting plants. Whether they come from a packet or from the garden centre, green food plants like lettuce, broccoli, spinach, rocket and cabbage will flourish in warm moist weather.
If you’re new to vegetable growing, a good place to start plants from seed is on a warm sunny windowsill. This way you can control the temperature and the amount of water they get. But most seeds can be sown outdoors after the end of April so long as you keep a careful eye on them.
You can grow in tubs in the garden, in raised beds and even among the flowers.
If you don’t have a garden, you can grow salads and herbs outside in a window box.
You can take on an allotment if you have time and energy but it’s a good idea to start small. Don’t try to cultivate a large area all at once. Just clear and dig a small space and sow something that is quick growing, like mixed salad leaves.
The internet is full of advice but one of the best websites is this one from the Royal Horticultural Society.
And if you already doing any or all of the above, good luck, work hard and enjoy the benefits.
There’s no pleasure like that of eating your own home-grown food.
The DRARA Environment Action Group aims to support practical ways of reducing energy use and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. For suggestions for further Green Flashes or further information about the Environment Action Group, please contact: Anna on firstname.lastname@example.org
The top of Southfield Road will be closed to traffic from 1 to 4 so that children can play safely.
Gardens will open between 2 and 6 pm. Collect your map for the gardens from outside Sinnet Court (Southfield Road). There will be tea and cake for sale in aid of dementia charities at 92 Southfield throughout the afternoon.
Various sections of The Plain roundabout will be closed for night time resurfacing as follows. Click on the links for maps and details.
Phase 1 – Tuesday 7 April to Saturday 11 April
Phase 2 – Monday 13 April, Friday 17 April
Signage for diversion routes will be maintained throughout via local roads.
Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works. Please note that access routes will depend on exactly where the works vehicles are at any time and may need to be negotiated with the gang on site as necessary.
The “No Waiting” restriction means that vehicles will need to be removed from the highway where there are in place yellow “No Waiting” cones.
Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Paul Gannon or Andrew Warren, OCC Highways & Transport on 0845 310 11 11.
Over 40 residents attended our recent meeting to discuss Traffic in our area, together with Jamila Azad, our County Councillor, Sgt Applegarth who heads our local Community Police Team, and a local journalist.
The data summary follows. The headline is that a large number of cars drive through our streets every day. Generally, 30% or more travel over 20mph too.
There was a lot of discussion about the different options to pursue. The more detailed summaries from each camera in each street can be seen here: traffic survey data.
- Do another survey to better capture traffic volumes across the area.
- Pollution is a concern.
- Speed-watches – do more especially at key times to maximise the visibility. They’re easy to organise as have the kit and don’t require big commitment for people ie even an hour will help
Find out and meet the criteria to get a Police-enforced Speedwatch.
- Link up with residents in Morrell Avenue and Magdalen/Howard Street to learn from their experiences
- Find out what need to do to get permission
- to possibly paint 20mph on road,
- to erect flower tubs on pinch points and affix signs (written by our children) to create residential feel to area
- to get more official speed signage up (the temporary ones raise awareness but don’t look good and are blurred beside the ocean of other (letting agency) signs
- Speak directly with the Golf Club and with the main taxi companies to agree actions to communicate with their drivers
- Explore speed bumps and speed signs to understand what exactly would have an impact and in which location.
- Jamila is eager to support us at County Council level (they are the main decision-makers in terms of spending money) and suggests we speak at the next Traffic meeting to share our survey results and discuss the actions we want to take place. She will also link us to Shaun Hatton, who is key to the work on strategic planning for roads in the county.
Bulletin from Oxfordshire County Council
The work that we are doing at the Plain will remove one of the main cycling barriers into and out of Oxford city centre. The Plain is a busy five-arm roundabout with high bus flows and a history of cyclist casualties. It is also off-putting for less experienced riders. The county council is embarking on a project to improve the attractiveness and safety of the roundabout for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing the width of the circulatory carriageway and tightening the entrances onto the roundabout.
How we’re getting on with the work
The first closure on The Plain Roundabout has reopened, providing access to St Clement’s Street from the roundabout. Footway works outside of Clems Night Club has been completed.
Work outside of Sainsbury’s has also been completed and the new loading bay will be opened this week.
Footway work will begin this week adjacent to Magdalen College School, with pedestrians being relocated onto the newly completed footway adjacent to the carriageway.
The second closure is underway, restricting access to The Plain from St Clement’s Street with a diversion in place via Dawson Street. This will continue to be in place until Sunday 15 February 2015.
The new green light for cyclists at Longwall Street has been activated, providing cyclists with a five second head start over all other traffic heading east at the junction. This is a first for Oxfordshire, making improvements for cyclists as they proceed east over Magdalen Bridge.
The third closure will involve closing Cowley Road at the junction of The Plain Roundabout, in both directions. This will begin on Monday 16 February 2015 and will be in place until Sunday 8 March 2015. During this period, there will be diversions in place. These are listed below.
- Vehicles into the city will be diverted to Iffley Road and then Temple Street.
- Vehicles out of the city will be diverted to Circus Street then Iffley Road.
- Cyclists into and out of the city are diverted via Dawson Street and St Clement’s Street.
Local bus companies will advise of closures to bus stops.
Work will also start on Cowley Place during school half-term from Saturday 14 February 2015 through to Sunday 22 February 2015. Traffic will be able to enter Cowley Place under control of “Stop/Go” boards in day-time. Give-way priority will be set between 4.30pm-7.30am.
During the work, access to all properties will be maintained, and we will contact individuals directly about how we work outside of their property.
For further details and information about this scheme, please visit The Plain Project Page
For live travel information and our journey planner, visit Oxfordshire Travel Choices
Eighteen DRARA residents turned out through the afternoon and evening on Thursday to snap potential speeders and to raise awareness of traffic issues in the DRARA area. Most drivers slowed dramatically as they reached our camera and signs, and eagerly vied for the right to give way to one another – we’ve never seen such slow, polite traffic!
Sgt Neil Applegarth from Cowley Neighbourhood Team said: “Thames Valley Police already conducts regular speed checks in the East Oxford area, but members of the Divinity Road Area Residents Association (DRARA) have always been keen to do more to ensure the 20 mph speed limit is enforced. The Force doesn’t have the resources to be in East Oxford conducting speed checks every day, but it’s great that the residents want to tackle the issue themselves.
“With the support of Thames Valley Police, they have organised Oxford’s first Community Speed Watch initiative. The Force has supplied the equipment for DRARA to use and any drivers caught by the residents will be sent a letter by police.
“This is about educating the drivers who continue to break the speed limit and capturing intelligence and it’s very positive that the residents are taking such a proactive approach to dealing with this problem. I look forward to working with them and supporting the Community Speed Watch as it goes on.”
A warm thank you to Sgt Applegarth for organising the equipment, to Mary Chesshyre, the DRARA Committte member for Traffic and Clare Ridley, DRARA Secretary, for organising the event, and to the students who came out to offer hot drinks! Two Brookes Student Wardens and our City and County Councillors came to experience first hand the traffic we encounter every day. A press photographer joined us, so look out for articles in the Oxford Mail and Times.
We’ll give a full update at the Public Meeting on 24th Feb and also in the next Newsletter.
DRARA is one of the sponsors of the Cowley Road carnival. Here’s the latest news from the organisers’ website.
We over the moon that Cowley Road Works won the Bybox Best Community Project for the Cowley Road Carnival. Not only is Carnival is a fantastic event celebrated by the whole community – and 45,000 people came last year – it is also the culmination of a series of other events and a whole lot of hard work from the team and all our volunteers.
To get this award is fantastic recognition of our work. We wouldn’t be able to organise Carnival without our wonderful dedicated team of volunteers, fundraisers, sponsors and supporters, and I want to thank every one of them. We couldn’t do it without you.
I would also like to say ‘well done and thank you’ to Ian Steadman who won an individual volunteer award for his work with Cowley Road Works.
We are already busy working on events and organising Carnival 2015 for 5 July. On 6 February we have a Ceilidh at East Oxford School, on the 24th April we are running a teachers’ training session to help them prepare school groups for the Carnival procession, and on the 29th April the Ultimate Picture Palace is hosting a Carnival fundraising event featuring a performance by up and coming young band Balloon Ascents and a showing of the film Spinal Tap. Details are all on the website www.cowleyroadcarnival.co.uk
One of our Trustees, Zaheer Quereshi, was also at the ceremony, he said: “We are doing what we can to promote diversity and art in the community, we urge people to come forward, give their moral & financial support (specially the traders & businesses). Well done Team Carnival.”
Groovy Su, congratulated us too, she said: “I just wanted to congratulate you and all the team for getting the ‘Best Community Project’ award. That’s quite some title! Fantastic for you all to get such positive public recognition for all that you do to give Oxford the best party it has all year! Hooray!!!”