June 2019 Allotment News

Summer is around the corner

Spring moves into Summer and long hours of daylight.

June is a really important growing month because of the extra daylight for photosynthesis. Our crops plants love it and so do the weeds! 

News from our National Society

The latest news from the National Allotment Society is available online here:-

https://mailchi.mp/77635d4dd81e/2f5ppovpba-2347893?e=b13995087f

Their latest magazine is also available online here:-

http://online.flipbuilder.com/cwao/vlrk/

Metaldehyde slug pellets soon to be banned -see page 8 of the above magazine or click on this link.

Field Stewards appointed (vacancy remains at Northfield Avenue)

The committee appointed the following stewards at its May meeting.

Northfield Avenue still has a vacancy for a steward. Contact us if you are interested.

Northfield Avenue– Harry Pope  07518 265286 

Windmill Avenue– George White 01536 518097

Margaret Road– Tony and Sue Munt 01536 392 742 or 07804 686 105  or 07736 039 042

Margaret Road – Lee Farmer and Claire Wallis

Scott Road– Pat Mullins  07967 516625 and Chris Hulston 01536 519655 and Clive Thorley

Water barrels and IBCs for sale at Scott Road

We still have a few thousand litre IBC tanks for sale at £30 and some 210 litre blue plastic barrels for £5. Please email Russell if you are interested.

Cup Judges appointed

The committee has also appointed the judges for the Bridgstock Cup 2019. The judges will be inspecting the best plots in the summer.

Electrical Drama at Northfield Avenue

Over the late May Bank Holiday there were dramatic events at Northfield Avenue.

You may not be aware that there is a plot at Northfield Avenue with high voltage electrical cables running under it. This plot cannot be dug, it is near the secure container.

We were
contacted by Western Power distribution (aka National Grid) that there was a fault. The fault was investigated. There are several cables running up this plot, then under the railway to the hospital, one had failed. The faulty cable was 1 metre underground under the secure container. They fetched a crane to move the container, dug a massive hole and then decided the faulty cable cannot be spliced to repair. Therefore a pole will be erected at each end of the plot and an overhead cable will be suspended to replace the faulty cable.

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Projects for the year 2019-2020

The committee has agreed our priorities for the year ahead

    1. Gates for Northfield – to be replaced and repaired

    2. Remove 2 silver birch trees from Northfield Avenue that are shading plots

    3. Gravel/stones for Margaret Road ridings

    4. Continue purchase and re-sale of more IBCs – see above

    5. purchase of mower for Northfield Avenue

    6. install rainwater collection station at Scott Road in a location that is far from the nearest mains water tank. This will consist of several IBCs and roofing to collect rainwater for use by our members

    7. consider the feasibility of toilet(s) starting with Scott Road. Committee to investigate the options and report back.

Free tomato plants

One of our members on Scott Road has grown too many tomato plants. They have approximately 400 seedlings to give away. They are on the Scott Road field and live very close to Scott Road

Please contact Christian on  07835 376 627

Waiting lists still growing

Our waiting lists are getting longer. If your plot is not fully cultivated, you may be contacted by your field steward to ask you to consider down-sizing so that someone on the waiting list can be allocated a plot. 

 

 

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Update May 2019

Three bits of urgent news

1. free tomato plants

One of our Scott Road members, Lia has 100 tomato plants free. Please contact Lia on

07483 825 384 for further details.

2. Scott Road IBCs reduced to £30 each.

If you want to buy a 1000 litre IBC water tank, we have some in stock at Scott Road for only £30

3. Pea and bean sticks for sale

A bundle of 20 sticks for only £3.50 for sale from Fox’s Pallets at Glebe Farm (A14 roundabout junction with Rothwell Road/TelfordWay). Please contact Fox’s Pallets on 07976 278 444 or 01536 515000

http://www.foxspallets.com

 

May 2019 Allotment News

New Chair elected

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The committee has a new Chairman. Clive Thorley has stepped up and was elected unanimously by the committee at its April meeting. We welcome Clive to this important role.  The committee would also like to thank our previous Chairman, Harry Pope who retired from this position after many years of service to the committee and our Society. Harry will now pursue his other interests, including restoring his classic car.

Northfield Avenue steward vacancy

We have a vacancy for the role of field steward at our Northfield Avenue field. Training and support will be provided. If you are interested, please contact us for further details.

Think of the bees

Bees and other pollinating insects are in decline worldwide and Kettering is no exception. Allotment gardeners can play their part to encourage and help bee populations recover. Please consider planting some flowers and other plants that will help the bees, eg borage. 

Waiting lists growing

At this time of year, it is not just vegetables and flowers that put on a growth spurt. Our waiting lists are growing too. Field stewards and committee members are working hard to provide plots to those waiting. If you are finding your plot too difficult to manage and could consider reducing the area or even retiring from the allotment, please contact your steward. That way we can reduce our waiting list and waiting times for new members and prevent plots becoming overgrown.

If field stewards observe that a plot is under-used or getting overgrown they will be in touch to find out if you are OK and may well ask you to consider reducing your plot size for the above reasons. Please do not take offence, we are trying to balance out the needs of those on our waiting lists and the best use of available land by our existing members and tenants.

Thousand Litre IBC water tanks for sale

We have found a source of 1000 litre IBC tanks and can arrange delivery for the very reasonable price of £42. Scott Road already has some in stock. If you are interested in buying one or more, please contact your field steward. Each field can then find out likely demand and plan how many to order. Field stewards’ contact details are listed below:

Northfield Avenue – Harry Pope  07518 265286 

Windmill Avenue – George White 01536 518097

Margaret Road – Tony and Sue Munt 01536 392 742 or 07804 686 105  or 07736 039 042

Scott Road – Pat Mullins  07967 516625 Chris Hulston 01536  519655 

or Russell Attwood 07981 598 332

IBC

Kings Seeds discount for Margaret Road members

One of our members at Margaret Road is running a seed discount scheme with Kings Seeds. This is only available for Margaret Road members only. If interested, please call Del on 01536 485 726

Time to sow pumpkins and other squash

The month of May is the ideal time to sow many types of seeds, but indoors in warmth. A heated propagator is ideal, but a greenhouse, window-ledge or similar warm sunny place will do. Tender plants will need hardening off before being planted outdoors in early June.

April 2019 Allotment News

Successful AGM – full report on our website

Our 101stAGM was a success. The committee has invested and improved our allotments in 2018 and our finances remain sound. In particular, the new rent rule has been a success; more people paid rent punctually this year and late-payers have paid for 2 years to save the hassle of remembering in 2020. Other items raised included some very useful suggestions and comments from the members present that will now be discussed by the committee at its next meeting.

Field Steward Vacancy – Northfield Avenue

Harry, our long-serving field steward at Northfield Avenue is stepping down to concentrate on other projects. We now have a vacancy. If you are interested Harry will provide a full induction and training and the committee will be there for continued support and advice. Please apply to the secretary – use the Contact button at the top of this page.

Time to get growing – let us know if not.

Our waiting lists are growing too, so if you want to reduce the size of your plot or give up your tenancy, please let us know. You will make someone on the waiting list very happy.

Planning Permission granted for new council homes near Scott Road.

The former garages, at the location of our main gate will soon be a building site, providing much-needed council homes for Kettering people. We have been assured of continued safe access and security and will report on any developments through this newsletter. Please therefore FOLLOW US on WordPress so you never miss out on any news.

Items taken from plots at Scott Road – please remain vigilant

Bad news time. We have had reports of items disappearing (being stolen), including tools, water barrels, weed control fabric, compost bags from several different members at Scott Road. Please remain vigilant, do not leave valuable items on your plot and report any crimes to the Police and the committee. Other members have reported finding the main gate on Scott Road being left open and unlocked. This is unacceptable! Please make sure the gate is locked; leaving it unlocked may result in disciplinary action by the committee.

Scott Road request to borrow a rotorvator

One of our Scott Road members, Godfrey wants to borrow a rotorvator. If you have one that you can lend him, please call or text 07880 751 295

March 2019 Allotment News

AGM on Wednesday 13 March at 7:45pm

Our 101st AGM will be held at the Corn Market Hall on the 13th.

It is your opportunity to meet the committee, vote for officers and committee members  and see the auditor’s report on our accounts. Questions are welcome and the committee will do its best to answer them. Members are also welcome to put forward ideas and suggestions and the committee will consider these at its subsequent meetings.

Details of the Agenda can be found on our website (click on the link)

The following members of the committee retire and are eligible for re-election: –

C Wallis, N Elson, T Munt, S Munt, C Hulston, P Mullins, L Farmer

News from the National Allotments Society

The latest news from the NAS can be found here

The Allotment and Leisure Gardener Magazine can be found here

http://online.flipbuilder.com/cwao/dgng/

Secretary’s Annual Report for 2018

One of the items on the AGM agenda is the annual report from the Secretary.

If you are not able to attend the AGM, then here is a copy of the draft report:-

Secretary’s Annual Report 2018, to be presented at the 2019 AGM
This report covers January to December 2018
The year started wet and cold, with snow and the “beast from the east” delaying Spring. Then came a long dry spell and heatwave with over 9 weeks of hot dry weather. Allotment gardeners were out in all weathers enjoying their plots.
As in previous years, our four fields are generally fully let, with a reasonable level of turnover, meaning that those on our waiting lists do not have to wait long. Clearing vacant plots of rubbish and waste (such as carpet) before re-letting them is important to give new members a clean slate, to enforce our rules and improve the overall appearance of our fields. We are grateful for all the hard work done by our stewards in this respect as well as all the other unseen duties they perform. The system of putting 100gsm weed control fabric on vacant plots continues to be successful. New members are not overwhelmed with weeds and are less likely to give up; if they do give up the following tenant has a much more manageable plot too.
Our rents remain low and allotments are very affordable The treasurer will report separately on our finances.
The committee functions efficiently. We appointed our first Data Manager (Ilona Bickle) who now assists the treasurer and secretary and advises the committee to ensure that we are compliant with the new GDPR law that came into effect in May 2018. May I take this opportunity to ask all members to keep us updated of any changes to phone numbers, emails etc, so that our database is accurate. 
One of the committee members, Brian Nix, died suddenly in September. Brian had been a Bridstock cup winner twice and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Security on our fields continues to improve. We purchased Heras panels to reinforce the fence at Margaret Road and these were secured thanks to the hard work of our members. These panels together with thorns and brambles do eventually provide a very good barrier at our boundaries, as has been shown in previous years. The committee is very grateful to the volunteers who erected these panels. Northfield Avenue security needs further improvement, but we have been fortunate in the offer of new gates free of charge courtesy of Network Rail in return for access when they install infrastructure for the programme to upgrade and electrify the railway line. We also obtained a few more IBC water tanks and blue barrels at Scott Road and these were sold at cost to members, further increasing our water storage capacity and reducing future water bills.
Unfortunately, despite our continued efforts to improve security, we have suffered some break-ins. Thieves with cut straight through our very expensive padlocks at Scott Road twice and removed cultivators and strimmers. Another time the thieves found a weak point in the boundary. Committee members spent time to reinforce the boundary and we paid a tree surgeon to cut some of the overgrown hedge plants down and allow them to thicken out. 
A major improvement to Scott Road has been the clearing and levelling of the main car park. Early in the year we hired a KBC tractor to heap a massive pile of tree leaves and mulch in one corner. This formed fabulous compost that was used by many of our members to improve their plots. Later in the year we were able to fill in some significant hollows and remove weeds and debris to create a superb space for mulch deposits (shreddings) from local tree surgeons.  Many thanks to all who helped in this project that has transformed the car park.
We continue to be grateful recipients of these tree shreddings and wood chips. Increasing numbers of members are using these and other materials as mulch. Members who mulched heavily in 2018 found that their plots did not need watering during the drought and heatwave, so saving effort and reducing the water bills of the society.
The society’s newsletter on WordPress has continued every month and has a wide readership. More members are now “following” so never miss out on news and updates from the committee. Nearly 200 people read some editions and currently 41 people are followers.
The winner of the Bridgstock Cup in 2018 was Pat Mullins. Pat was runner-up in 2017 and surpassed his previous best with the help of his grandson Ryan. The runner up was Norman Elson, on Margaret Road and the best newcomer was Sonia Wasowska of Northfield Avenue. Well done everyone and many thanks to the cup judges for their hard work.
Finally, a big thank you to all the committee members, field stewards and other Society members who have contributed time, money or labour to help the smooth running and improvement of our fields.
Russell Attwood, March 2019

 

February 2019 Allotment News

Preparing for the AGM on March 13th

Details of our AGM on 13 March are on our website. It is at 7:45pm at Corn Market Hall

http://www.ketteringallotments.co.uk/agm.html

If you have any proposals for the AGM, please submit them to the secretary by 28th of February. You can contact us in several different ways, see the menu at the top of the page.

Know anyone selling a glass greenhouse?

One of our Margaret Road members, Jan wants to buy a second-hand greenhouse. If you know anyone selling one, please contact Jan directly on 07895 731 109

07895 731 109

A quiet time on the plot, time to buy seed potatoes and onion sets.

 

Seed potatoes have now arrived at the garden shop on London Road. Buy now before stocks run out!

A local shop with great service is good for seed potatoes
SEED POTATO CATALOGUE 2019

 

January 2019 Allotment News

Pay now for another year of gardening at very low cost

Pay this month to secure your plot. Many thanks to all those members who have already paid their 2019 rents.

Your 2019 allotment rent is due on 1st January. Pay now to enjoy another year of allotment gardening and renew your plot tenancy. Full details of how to pay from these

links.

If you have decided to give up your allotment or reduce the size, please contact us, so we can adjust your rent and stop nagging you. We shall also update our records and remove your data from our current membership lists.

AGM 2019 – advance notice

The AGM is on Wednesday 13 March at 7:45pm at the Corn Market Hall. Please make a note in your diaries. If you wish to add anything to the agenda, please contact us. More details will be published on our website nearer the time. Click here for what we have already

Vigilance and rigorous control measures keep rats away.

It is not uncommon for us to get an unwelcome rodent visitor at this time of year. Rats are all around us and will look for shelter in the colder months. An allotment shed or compost bin is often an ideal place for rats to live. It is important for use to control these pests now before they have another chance to breed and overwhelm our allotments. The keys to this pest control are
  • Vigilance – look for signs of rats in sheds and compost heaps. These signs include droppings, their smell or their nesting bedding
  • Remove any food sources – never leave anything that a rat can eat around or put such things in your compost. The list of possible rat food is very long
  • Place poison bait in suitable containers in sheds. The bait should be inaccessible to birds, children etc. Rentokil is a good brand. Some rats are resistant to this poisonous bait, but many will be controlled by it. Poison bait is also really useful to show when there are rats around. If there are no rats, the bait will not be eaten; if something is eating the bait, then you have rats or mice.
  • Set traps. Again Rentokil traps are good. Peanut butter is an ideal bait for the traps. We recommend that you have a range of different types of trap if possible. Rats are intelligent and can learn how to avoid traps, so a range of different designs helps, including “walk the plank” and bottle/barrel traps. See below for details

Grass Ridings may be closed to vehicles.

Many of our plots are accessed by grass ridings. These are unsuitable for vehicles in wet weather and this time of year. If vehicles use them, they may get stuck and create a very muddy mess with their wheel ruts. Ridings may be closed to vehicles by field stewards. Please respect any signs or cones so we can maintain the condition of the tracks.

Time to order seeds.

In the long dark nights of winter are an ideal time to order your seeds ready for the coming Spring. 
A local shop with great service is good for seed potatoes
For a wide range of seeds and good prices, nothing beats a catalogue. Our favourites are
Kings Seeds – Kings are in Essex and sell great seeds for allotments
Real seeds – for trying something different. Run by a couple in Wales from their smallholding.
Seeds of Italy – great for squash, parsley, tomatoes and much more.

Stone picking – a rewarding activity at this time of year?

Well at least it gets you out of the house and is cheaper than a gym?
Whilst there is less actual gardening to do in the winter, there are always useful jobs to do on the allotment. One particularly rewarding winter activity is stone gathering. The stones can then be used to improve the tracks and ridings by filling in any pot-holes and muddy patches. A bucket full of small stones will make a real and long-lasting difference to the track and if we all collected a bucket each, the whole track would soon be all-weather.

Happy New Year!