Margaret Road news

Stewards retire

After many years of service, two of our stewards for Margaret Road have retired from this role. Sue and Tony Munt have stepped back.

Thanks Tony and Sue

We would like to thank Sue and Tony for all that they have done for the committee and the allotments.

The committee will soon be appointing new stewards and is considering applications now. Meanwhile, the other stewards will be your points of contact:

Mr John Negus 01536 420 381 email johnnegus@talktalk.net

Rachel Moulton 07429 138 114 email:  rachelmoulton@btinternet.com

November 2020 Allotment News

RENTS INCREASE for 2021

The allotment rents will be increasing for 2021. Rents are payable on 1st January.

The new rate is £3 per pole, so a typical large plot will now be £30 plus £2 membership fee, TOTAL = £32 per year

A small plot will be a total of £17 per year

We encourage members to pay promptly, preferably using Internet Banking. Details of how to pay are on our website and here.

For any queries about rent, please contact the treasurer, John Burn on

07745 363 236, or email

allotment.moneyman@gmail.com

Notice have been put on all of our 4 fields- on gates or notice boards

Committee ZOOMs ahead!

With the current COVID restrictions banning physical committee meetings, we have used ZOOM software to have a video meeting. Attendance was excellent and the meeting went very well, efficiently chaired by Clive Thorley. A few committee members do not have ZOOM, so were telephoned and their contributions counted, so no-one was left out.

Discount at Hevey

Remember to ask for a Kettering Allotment Discount when you shop at Hevey. Thanks again to Hevey for their kind donation of free wood to Scott Road.

Skips away!

Many thanks to the members from Margaret Road who helped clear a mountain of rubbish and filled two skips. Removing this rubbish has helped to clear areas that can now be re-let to people on the waiting list. Special thanks to all who helped, including Peter New, Pat Draper, Dai Johnson, John Negus. 

Please help prevent the need for more skips

There are several things each and every one of us can do to save the costs and effort of hiring more skips.

  • Please keep the gates locked and prevent unauthorised “visitors” to allotments who may fly-tip
  • Please don’t bring useless items to allotments – especially hazardous material like carpet and tyres
  • Take your rubbish home, including any plastic waste etc that cannot rot down
  • Recycle other waste, eg scrap metal

Remain vigilant- Northfield Avenue water buts go missing, sheds broken into and burned at Windmill Avenue

One of our members at Northfield Avenue has reported that her water buts have been taken. If you saw anything or have any information, please contact us. Please remain vigilant and keep in touch. Ten sheds broken into on Halloween and one completely burned down. Fire Service attended but the shed had already been lost. NEVER leave petrol, GAS or other fuels in shed or on allotment land, take all of these home.

SEED POTATO CATALOGUE now available from London Road Garden Shop

you can view or download the catalogue here

New Policy on Waiting Lists

The committee has adopted a new policy on waiting lists. This is because our waiting lists have grown enormously since lockdown. We now have over 100 people waiting. The new policy aims to be fair to those people who have been waiting for many months. The text of the policy is below:

Policy on Waiting lists – October 2020

  1. Each of our 4 fields (sites) has a separate waiting list and field steward(s).
  2. To join a waiting list, applicants contact the relevant steward for that field and provide full contact details, such as name, phone, email. Field stewards’ contact details are published on our website.
  3. Applicants may be on more than one waiting list.
  4. The tenancy conditions are such that applicants must be named individuals who may represent a household/family or an organisation. The named individual remains responsible for the tenancy. Applicants must be adults..
  5. Waiting lists are chronological, with no queue jumping.
  6. Whilst demand is considered high for allotment plots new applicants will be restricted to one 5-pole plot per household. Existing plot holders with more than one plot will not be affected.
  7. Existing plot holders who wish to apply for additional land will be treated sympathetically. When demand is low and there is no waiting list, it may be possible to rent additional land. Such requests may be granted only when there are vacant plots and the existing plot holder’s current plot is fully cultivated.
  8. Due to high demand for allotments, if the applicant wishes to decline the plot they have been offered but to remain on the waiting list, their details will be moved to the bottom of the list.
  9. All applicants on the waiting list will be contacted annually in December to determine whether or not they wish to remain on the list. If no response is received within 28 days, their details will be removed from the waiting list.
  10. This policy was adopted by the committee at its meeting in October 2020.
  11. This policy may be reviewed and amended by the committee.

Waiting list policy ends

October 2020 Allotment News

Lock the Gate please!

Reports from Margaret Road have been made that the gate has been left open on occasion. This compomises our security. Please keep the gate locked at all times. Lock after entry; lock after exit.

Mains water off – time to collect rain for next year

As usual, our mains water is turned off from October until April. Now is the ideal time to fix guttering to your shed or any other rain-collecting surface and feed rain into barrels, buckets etc.

Skips at Margaret Road

Stewards and members at Margaret Road have been working hard to clear rubbish and make vacant plots suitable for new tenants. Many thanks to all of those who helped and contributed in different ways. We are working through our waiting list and getting closer to having all plots being cultivated. Once all the rubbish has been cleared, there will be more plots to let out.

Change of stewards – Margaret Road

We are pleased to welcome Rachel Moulton as our new field steward for the top riding at Margaret Road. John Negus is now steward for the second riding. Our thanks and best wishes go to Lee Farmer and Claire Wallis who have now stepped down from being stewards on this field.

Rachel Moulton 07429 138 114

email: rachelmoulton@btinternet.com

Discount at Hevey

One of our members has negotiated a discount for us at Hevey – a fabulous supplier of timber, tools, kitchens etc etc.  When you visit their branch on Gerrard Way, near Telford Way, just identify yourself as a member of Kettering Allotments Society and ask for their discount on your purchases. 

https://www.hevey.co.uk/our-branches/kettering

Allotments in the news

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/02/a-silver-lining-to-the-big-black-cloud-allotments-during-lockdown

Why not try No-dig ?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/sep/13/james-wong-on-gardens-no-dig-mulch-with-bonus-mushrooms

latest news from Charles Dowding

Demolition at Scott Road entrance

The former garages are being demolished ready for building new council homes

Newsflash 0ctober 2020

The committee recently held a meeting on ZOOM. Those committee members without ZOOM were telephoned and were also included in the meeting.

IMPORTANT NEWS ON RENT

Rent is increasing 2021

In the past two years our expenses have increased and regrettably we need to increase the rent for 2021. This will be the first rent increase for nine years.

New rent is £3 per pole

membership remains at £2 per member

Total to pay for a large plot will be £32 per year

(£17 in total for a small 5 pole plot)

Details of how to pay

September 2020 Allotment News

The Caretaker Principle

We have all come across a kind and genuinely caring caretaker. Perhaps we have also met caretakers who didn’t really care? The following saying attributed to Chief Seattle in the nineteenth century comes to mind “we do not inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children”. This sentiment guides our approach to the planet, its soil, air and water. It is also the underlying principle behind our allotment rules and tenancy. 

We do not own our allotments. The land is owned by Kettering Borough Council (KBC) on behalf of the people of Kettering to be used for growing crops (food and flowers). We have the enormous privilege to be able to rent our plots at a very low price. We have a corresponding duty to take care of the land for future generations of gardeners; hence we are caretakers. None of us lives forever, so we should think about those who will come after us to enjoy the allotments in decades to come. 

Examples of being a good allotment caretaker include:

  • Controlling weeds and preventing weeds spreading or producing seeds that will grow in the future.
  • Removing carpet or other toxic and hazardous waste that has found its way onto allotments.
  • Composting crop residues and weeds and maintaining soil fertility, avoiding fires,

New Policy on hard standing drives and car parks

In view of the Caretaker Principle outlined above the committee has adopted a new policy and will propose it as a new rule at the 2021 AGM. The new policy is that there should be no new hard standing driveways or car parks on plots. Existing driveways are not affected. 

The committee has noted that several plots now include a car park. This has reduced the area of land available for growing crops permanently. On one field the total area lost is more than a 10 pole plot. The committee decided that this will be unfair on future generations as there will be less land available. 

Allotment waiting lists rising since lockdown

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/aug/10/interest-in-allotments-soars-in-england-during-coronavirus-pandemic

Kettering Allotments Society has also experienced longer waiting lists. At our last count there were more than 90 people waiting for plots. Stewards have been working hard to check on under-used plots and those overgrown with weeds. Some of these overgrown plots are rented by members who have been shielding or self-isolating and quarantined. When this is the case, we have been more lenient than usual. Where there is no good reason for the plot being under-used, stewards have started the process of eviction, which takes some time as it is only fair to go through due process. As soon as is reasonably possible the plots are re-let to the person at the top of the waiting list. 

Hazard of the Month – Aspergillus spores

These fungal spores are easily breathed in and may cause serious lung disease. The spores are produced in some compost and mould. They are common at our allotments in any piles of shreddings, for example the shredded tree branches we sometimes use for mulch. If you notice clouds of dust-like material coming from these shredded trees, you are at risk from breathing in Aspergillus spores. The safety measure to follow when using such compost is to WEAR A MASK; this will prevent or reduce the spores from entering your lungs to infect you. See British Lung Foundation or NHS website for more details.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/aug/06/allotments-covid-share-pictures-stories

Mayor Presents Prizes

The Bridgstock Cup was presented to this year’s winners by Keli Watts, Mayor of Kettering on Sunday 23rd August. Keli also presented prizes to members whose plots were highly commended and the best newcomer. Keli was given a tour of Scott Road field and enjoyed the occasion, despite a heavy shower of rain.

mayor
socially distanced Mayor Keli Watts presents cup to Pat Mullins

Storm damage at Windmill Avenue

On August 25th Storm Francis brought strong winds and heavy rains to large areas of the country, including Kettering. A tree was blown down at Windmill Avenue and damaged the fence. The committee will now look at ways to repair or replace the broken fence and make the area safer. Meanwhile, please take extra care around this area.

Transforming an overgrown plot – latest

see the latest progress on this overgrown weedy plot by following this link and scrolling down. No digging, no watering and a healthy crop of pumpkins developing using mulch…

Solarisation Experiment

Michael, a member at Scott Road has tried solarisation for the first time. This uses clear plastic close to the soil to kills weeds and soil diseases. Solar power does the work. The plastic works like a very powerful greenhouse (remember that dogs die when locked in cars; the weeds die when cooked under sealed plastic). It is important that the plastic is tight to the ground so the heat builds up. See the photo below. Works best in summer.

solarisation

August 2020 Allotment News

Bonfires Allowed ! – but follow the law and guidance

The guidance from the National Allotments Society has been updated.  Barbecues and bonfires are now permitted. It is vital that all safety precautions are taken and we follow the law. See our website for full guidance on bonfires.

  • Dark smoke is a criminal offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. Only burn dry woody material that will not smoke
  • Never burn plastic, rubber, foam etc
  • do not leave fires unattended – the Fire Brigade may be called and you risk getting a bill for the call-out fee. Have sufficient water to extinguish any fire if it risks spreading
  • check with your neighbours and the wind direction. Avoid fires if smoke will disturb your neighbours
  • Our policy is to discourage bonfires and avoid where possible. Use composting or recycling for waste if at all possible. Click here for more on how to avoid fires
  • If your bonfire is a nuisance, the Council can send warning letters, serve legal Notices, serve Fixed Penalty Notices of £100 or prosecute offenders in the Courts

Successful field tour

The committee has not been able to hold regular meetings since the lockdown. However, we were able to conduct the annual field tour in July, The committee toured the Scott Road field and were impressed by the high standards of the plots. The committee recognises and appreciates the hard work done by members to maintain their plots. 

Cup judges appointed

One piece of formal business was conducted by the committee during the field tour. The cup judges were appointed for 2020. The judges tour all four fields and make their decision. More about the Bridgstock Cup and its history is on our website. http://www.ketteringallotments.co.uk/cup.html

And the winner(s) are:

The judges have come to their decision. They commented on how many excellent plots there are and congratulate the members who have been working hard tending their plots.

For the first time, the judges have awarded the cup to joint winners. These two plots were both equally excellent. 

Joint winners are Jacqui Nix (plot 112 Margaret Rd) and Pat Mullins (plot 132 Scott Road)

Best newcomer award goes to Nick and Karen Needle , plot 54 Scott Road

The following plots are  Highly commended:

Plot 18 Windmill Avenue – Phillip and Greta Lilley

Plot 177 Margaret Road – Michael Nietsche

Plot 32 Northfield Ave – Alan Haynes

Plot 25B Scott Road – Glenn Cherry

Plot 15 Scott road-  Darren and Corrina Stanion 

Plot 9 Scott Road-  Sue Johnson 

Water barrels for sale- Scott Road

One of our members has some water barrels and an IBC tank (thousand litres) for sale. Please contact Darren or Corrina to buy on 07841 938 252

Health and Safety review

It’s Common Sense – so what’s the problem? 

The problem is that common sense is not that common. We all have different ideas of what is sensible and safe. We all know someone who doesn’t seem to have any common sense at all. We all make mistakes; what is important is to learn from them.

As an allotment society we have a Health and Safety Policy. This is needed for our insurance and to protect our members, visitors and the public from harm. From time to time, we review and update our Health and Safety Policy. We welcome suggestions and comments on how we can improve. Please have a look at our Safety documents and contact us with any comments.

Health and Safety is no accident! – a near-miss or lucky escape is the perfect opportunity to re-think and improve what we do. Please contact us if you have a near-miss and we can all try to learn from it to prevent any further incidents. 

Remember – While growing cress, risk assess!

 

Speed limit reminder

Please remember rule number 20 – the speed limit for vehicles on allotments is 5 mph (walking pace). If you want to get to your allotment faster, leave the car behind and run there.

speed

Rats. Constant vigilance pays dividends 

Earlier in the summer, some members reported seeing rats near their plots and unfortunately some broad beans and peas were eaten. Constant vigilance to remove rat hiding places and use of traps has kept the rat population low. Rats may visit compost heaps, so please stay vigilant. See the link below for more on rats in compost heaps

https://www.allotment-garden.org/composts-fertilisers/composting-making-compost/rats-in-the-compost-heap-weils-disease-safety-concerns/#.Xv75ugkwVO8.email

Helping out shielding neighbours

Some of members are shielding at home because of the virus pandemic. They have not been able to tend their plots and weeds have been growing. Fortunately their allotment neighbours have helped out. The photos below show one example. In the first photo, the weeds have grown and are about to flower and seed; a nuisance for the member and his neighbours in future years…

IMG_0142

One section of the plot was covered with 100gsm weed control fabric and weighed down with pallets. The weeds will die and rot and the shielding member will find the plot easy to use when he returns.

IMG_0141

Another section was covered with card and straw. Again the weeds are no longer a problem and the soil will be well mulched and weed-free in a few weeks time.

IMG_0144

IMG_0146IMG_0147

Fly tipping – please be vigilant

see the story below as reported in the Evening Telegraph

https://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/crime/staggering-amount-rubbish-fly-tipped-kettering-woods-2906827

Interesting newspaper article on allotments in lockdown

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/11/allotment-hobby-lockdown-lifeline-trade-deals-britain-food

July 2020 Allotment News

Bonfires still banned

Many of our members have asked when the emergency rule banning bonfires will be relaxed. We are following the guidance of the National Allotments Society (NSALG) posted on their website. People are still dying of Covid19 and those suffering the disease experience difficulty breathing; smoke from bonfires will give them more difficulty breathing. Check out the guidance from NSALG for any updates.

Welcome Stephen – new steward for Scott Road

Stephen Payne is the latest addition to our stewarding team at Scott Road. He is ready to help, has great ideas and suggestions. He has already organised a straw delivery, set up our Scott Road Facebook page and helped clear a vacant plot ready for a new tenant, amongst other things. To contact Stephen, see his phone number below.

Facebook page  for Scott Road

Scott Road allotments now has its own Facebook page. Members are sharing tips and ideas, answering questions and offering surplus plants. To join, search Facebook for Scott Road Allotments, Kettering and ask to join. Content is moderated.

Track improved at Scott Road

Many thanks to Jo, Gareth and Andy who worked really hard to improve one of the tracks at Scott Road recently. The new track is brilliant, almost as smooth as the M1

Good neighbours

Is your neighbour isolating, shielding or unwell? Thanks for helping

In this difficult year many people have been told to isolate or stay at home and shield to avoid possible exposure to the virus. Their plots will not be tended and may have got overgrown. Many allotment neighbours are helping to keep these plots tidy. Many thanks if you have helped in this way. 

If your neighbour’s plot is getting weedy and overgrown please let us know and we can enquire with your neighbours on ways to help. Your first point of contact is your field steward. Here are the contact numbers

Margaret Road – Tony and Sue Munt 01536 392 742

Windmill Avenue – George White 01536 

Northfield Avenue – Harry Pope 01536 503 263. or  07518 265 286

Scott Road – Stephen Payne 07788 627 525

Scott Road – Pat Mullins  07967 516 625

Russell Attwood 07981 598 332

Lasagna Gardening finally reaches the Sun newspaper

see the link below. Some of our members have been using no-dig and similar methods for many years. It is good to see these successful methods being circulated more widely.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/11759484/woman-share-simple-tip-stop-weeds-grow-garden-newspaper/

On a similar theme, Check out our photo blog on transforming an overgrown plot without digging

Remain vigilant and prevent fly-tipping

With bonfires banned and queues at the recycling tip, instances of fly-tipping are being reported all over the country. We need to keep vigilant and maintain our site security (lock gates etc) to prevent any fly tipping on allotment land. 

Most allotment waste can be recycled – as compost. If you have any non-recyclable waste on your allotment, consider taking it home to your wheelie bin, or ask your stewards for advice and suggestions.

June 2020 Allotment News

Waiting lists longer than ever

The very unusual circumstances of 2020 mean our waiting lists are growing faster than our vegetables. Many people have contacted us to ask for plots during the lockdown. Existing members have tended their plots more regularly and a few have been shielding or isolating, so we have had far fewer members evicted or giving up.

If you are finding your plot too much to manage and want to reduce in size or consider sharing, then please contact us. You will make someone on the waiting list happy.

Restrictions still apply – no bonfires etc

Stay safe, maintain social distance and other precautions until advised otherwise by the authorities. Please check NSALG (National Allotments) website for latest guidance. News reports indicate that Kettering is a local hotspot for corona virus, being the 13th worst in England in the last 2 weeks of May, see link from the Evening Telegraph

Drought looming

It appears that May was one of the driest on record, after the very wet winter (remember February, with news stories of floods?) Please try to conserve water where possible, for example mulching to keep our water bills as low as possible this year. For ideas of how to use mulch and never water, see our pages above

See below for a photo of an IBC rainwater collection system on a plot at Scott Road, still nearly full on May 29th. This member had filled the IBC and many barrels with winter rain.

IBC

Beware!

Just a thought, but if or when we do get some rain, the slugs will be very hungry! So be vigilant with your anti-slug patrols.

Bulk compost deliveries 

We have been contacted by Michael Young who can deliver compost to your plot in bulk. This is composted municipal green waste, screened to 30mm. A fully loaded Transit tipper truck is £160 including delivery and a half-load is £100 .But 5 loads and get one free! Contact Michael on 07810 262 625 for more information. 

Birds of prey at risk – be vigilant

We are fortunate to have regular sightings of red kites and other birds of prey overhead. Tragically there are some people who do not admire these magnificent creatures and persecute them. The Police have launched a campaign called Operation Owl  to help protect birds of prey. Please be vigilant and report any incidents using their website

News story from BBC about illegal killing of birds of prey

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52667502

Mulched garlic – never needs watering

DSC05567

May 2020 Allotment News

Covid 19 restrictions

see the full list from the National Allotments Society

 

NO BONFIRES!

ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES

CONSIDER OTHERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS, eg virus patients

  • Corona virus (Covid 19) causes serious breathing problems
  • The effects of bonfires are serious for people with other breathing difficulties including asthma who will suffer badly
  • Fires that get out of control cause extra and unnecessary strain in the emergency services who are all working hard to keep YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS SAFE

COMPOSTING IS NOT ONLY BETTER FOR SOIL BUT ALSO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

STAY SAFE AND CONSIDER OTHERS

  • Keep hand sanitiser in your shed and wash your hands regularly
  • Use hand sanitiser before opening and closing any gate or lock
  • Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres
  • Do not share tools
  • Minimise the contact with each other
  • Do not wash your hands in water troughs
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
  • If you display any symptoms of coronavirus stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed.

Fly Tipping

Please be vigilant on and around allotments in case of fly tipping. The Council’s amenity tips/recycling depots are closed because of the current restrictions and there has been more fly tipping nationally during the lockdown. If you see any fly tipping please take a photo and report it to us.

What to do with your waste…

  1. Compost all garden waste (see common gardening myths article below). You can compost all garden waste one way or another. Worried about weeds etc, try bag composting – see low maintenance gardening
  2. Take waste home to your wheelie bin – recycle any metal and bottles etc in your recycling (blue) bin and put non-recyclable waste in your black bin.
  3. See your field steward for advice on bulky items. Eg At Scott Road we have a scrap metal area and a carpet collection area ready for when a skip can be ordered. Margaret Road recently had a skip.

Common Gardening Mistakes

see the link below on common mistakes made by gardeners….

https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/read-this/these-are-common-gardening-mistakes-beginners-make-according-charles-dowding-and-how-avoid-them-2549319

Then and Now – compare 1941 Dig for Victory with 2020 allotment methods

1941 then…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=358&v=35NpLveVZDg&feature=emb_logo

2020 now…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LH6-w57Slw 

Avoid Bonfires to save lives

Latest insight in light of corona virus:

avoid bonfires for the sake of those with breathing difficulties…

Please see the insight below from another part of England:

bonfire

Avoid large family groups

Keep checking the latest updates from NSALG and HM Government. We are lucky to be allowed to continue allotment gardening. You must follow the instructions, so no large groups, even from the same family. No barbecues. Do not allow your children to wander off your plot. Disinfect the gates and padlocks when entering and leaving the field. Full guidance from NSALG here

London Road Garden Shop delivering plants this week

Plants, eg cabbages, beetroot, sweetcorn etc all arriving this week for delivery.

Phone or text to arrange deliveries 07961 806 049