Allotment news July 2016

Successful tour of two fields = aka “Field Inspection”

The committee of Kettering Allotments Society meets several times a year on the second Tuesday of the month. Instead of a formal meeting in June, the committee tours two of our allotment fields. This has always been called the “Field Inspection” but recently this wording has caused anxiety in some members. Members had visions of clipboards and reprimands but nothing could be further from the truth. What happens is that the committee members gather and walk around the fields. They can see the fields for themselves and this improves their understanding of the issues facing each field. They can observe the progress of projects that have been paid for by Society funds and can learn from the amazing allotments some of our members cultivate.

In order to ally the anxiety felt by some members, we are considering re-naming the “field inspection”. Suggestions please for a less threatening phrase to describe this cordial tour of our fields that helps keep our committee members updated.

Highlights of the 2016 Field Inspection

  • Committee members were impressed by the progress made by several new members at Northfield Avenue and Scott Road. In particular, the extra plot created at Northfield in the last year is really good.  An area at Northfield that had previously been really untidy has been cleared of rubbish (the committee had funded the skip for this).
  • The hedge trimming at Scott Road was also admired. The committee had paid a contractor to cut own overgrown hedge down to 2 metres. The hedge is thickening up nicely at the base. Heras panels have also been tied in to close gaps and the field is now far more secure than a few years ago.
  • A large tree had been felled and removed from Northfield, allowing more light into several plots and making them more viable for growing vegetables. Rule reminder – the only trees allowed in our rules are miniature fruit trees, maximum height 8 feet
  • The new car park created by committee member Pat Mullins at the top end  of Scott Road is very impressive. Known as “the riddler” Pat has single-handedly sieved most of the stone on this hard standing.
  • Some plots are overgrown and neglected on both fields, despite being fully let. There has been a lot of turnover, with many plots changing tenants.

The Challenge

Following the “field inspection” the committee accepts that the challenge for 2016 is to work with our members to encourage everyone to cultivate their plots effectively and not allow weeds to take over. Some plots have been abandoned leaving a lot of rubbish behind. We have a way of evicting tenants who fail to cultivate or neglect their plots using our rules, but this takes time as we have to use due process and give reasonable time allowances for tenants. It is much better if we can have a constructive dialogue with tenants who are not coping. Sometimes the tenant reduces the size of plot and we can re-let the rest to a new member. If you have any suggestions  or comments on this, please contact us.

Some bad news

Unfortunately there has been some crime at Scott Road. Tools and a heavy duty B&Q tub have been stolen from a shed (plot 90 and 104b). These were fairly new spade and fork and a brand new pair of long handled shears, still in their wrapping. If any other Scott Road members have had sheds broken into or items stolen on the night of 20 June please call the police and quote the crime number  16000162787. The police will then be able to link the crimes together and look for patterns as they investigate.

National Allotments Newsletter

Kettering Allotments is a member of the National Allotments Society (formerly known as NSALG). This means that all of our members are part of this organisation and we get protection and benefits. Their latest newsletter can be found at this website.

Annual Cup Judging

The judges for the annual award for best allotment have been appointed. They will be making the rounds at some stage during July. For more details on the cup, visit our webpage on it.