January 2018 Allotment News

Happy New Year to our members

Almost imperceptibly the daylight is increasing and we can plan another growing season. If you have not yet ordered your seeds, it is not too late to consider mail order or online shopping.

We recommend Kings Seeds and Real Seeds, although there are many interesting varieties in Marshalls and Seeds of Italy or the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

For potatoes, onion sets seeds and other gardening why not try the Garden Shop in London Road, Kettering?

http://www.thegardeningwebsite.co.uk/the-garden-shop-i2676.html

Rent is now due

Our annual rent is due on 1st January. You should have received a reminder by email or post. The rents and membership subscriptions are the same as last year. You can pay online, by cheque or by cash at the HSBC branch in Kettering. Full details are on our website www.ketteringallotments.co.uk

Vacant Plots – waiting lists cleared on 3 of our fields

Good news for anyone in Kettering who wants an allotment; we have now managed to clear the waiting list on 3 of our fields. The only field with a waiting list is Scott Road. We hope to be able to allocate plots to those waiting quite soon. A few plots usually become vacant at the end of January from those who have not paid their rent.

News from the National Allotment Association (NSALG)

Please click on this link for the latest newsletter from the National Allotment Society.

http://mailchi.mp/nsalg/nas-winter-news?e=b13995087f

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Perhaps it wanted to go to Lidl? We received reports just after Boxing Day that a chicken was loose in the area of land around the Slade river along Northfield Avenue. Field stewards have been trying to contact allotment poultry-owners in case they have lost a bird, but it is possible the chicken escaped from a nearby property, eg Railway Avenue, as we are aware that some households in that vicinity do keep them.

Virus warning about Ulloco

Advice from DEFRA (the Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) about a virus that could affect potatoes and other crops in Ulluco

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/have-you-grown-ulluco-this-year/

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ULLUCO-VIRUS-INFO-NOV-17.pdf

Poultry keepers are watching out for news of bird ‘flu

Bird flu may arrive with migratory species and can devastate poultry, so please keep your hens away from any wild birds to be safe, see below for details

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2017-to-2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8G7Y5k__9o

Please consider joining the Friends of the Green Patch

Please note this message from Sue McKay of the Green Patch:-

The Green Patch is in the process of forming a Friends of The Green Patch group so that we can apply for funding.  We are hoping next year to build a new hen area and install a new bee hive, plus replace the skins on our current poly tunnels.  I would like to ask you and your members if anyone is interested in being part of this group.  It would not require much of a commitment as we will only meet up occasionally.  Please give it consideration as it would mean such a great deal to us.  Thank you.

Sue Mckay

Environmental Project Officer

Tel:   07739327022 

Pumpkins against Poverty – near and far

a story of finding good uses for surplus veg

In 2017 one of our members grew far too many pumpkins and squash. The seeds were sown in May but in June it became clear that a serious miscalculation had occurred and he was left with 54 seedling plants and no space left on the allotment. Fortunately his allotment neighbours were very generous and three different neighbours agreed to having some extra pumpkins and squash on their plots.

The summer was good and a marvellous harvest was produced, so now the problem was what to do with so many pumpkins and squash?

The orange pumpkins were taken to this member’s place of work and used for a charity fund-raising project. An amazing £166.25 was raised for Pumpkins Against Poverty – a scheme run by Practical Action

https://practicalaction.org/pumpkins-against-poverty

See this great video link https://practicalaction.org/support/pumpkins

By December there were still a lot of surplus winter squash, many were too large for a family meal. Johnny’s Happy Place was approached– this is an amazing and welcoming weekend cafe space. “Pay what you can afford” hot food is served every Saturday and Sunday lunch. http://www.johnnyshappyplace.com

From a contact at Johnny’s Happy Place the squash were donated to the people organising Christmas lunches for those in need at St Edward’s Church. The squash were served on Christmas Day and any surplus used for the soup kitchens around Kettering.

https://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/volunteers-putting-on-christmas-day-lunch-for-homeless-in-kettering-1-8264519

So these Kettering pumpkins and squash managed to help people in need both near and far.

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December 2017 allotment news

A quiet time for some?

The growing season has really slowed down by this time of year, but some members are still really busy on their plots, preparing for next season and harvesting winter crops. Brussels, kale and parsnips are at their best after a few frosts and there is plenty of free mulch available at some of our fields. For example, Scott Road members have been fortunate to receive delivery of tree leaves and wood shreddings. Many thanks to KBC and local tree surgeons for this. Scott Road members are busy barrowing these leaves to their plots for composting and mulching. Great fun on a cold winter’s day!

Rent reminders

Our rents are due on January 1st  2018, so this is a very busy time for our treasurer. The 2018 rents are unchanged from this year, so that is £2 per pole and £2 membership subscription. This means that a typical 10 pole plot only costs £22 a year and a 5 pole plot costs £12. A real bargain.

Be sure to complete an annual membership form and send it to the treasurer so we have up-to-date contact details.

There are several ways to pay

  1. by online banking to our HSBC account
  2. by paying cash over the counter at HSBC branch in Kettering – but give your name and plot number as a reference so we know you have paid
  3. by cheque payable to Kettering Allotments, posted to the treasurer.

Full details of how to pay are on our website

Be vigilant for signs of rats

With winter frosts we sometimes get unwelcome visitors in our compost bins and sheds. The rats are looking for somewhere warm and cosy and perhaps a bit of free food. This is the best time to set up rat traps in your shed and keep the vermin population down. Be sure that any rat traps or bait is out of reach of birds or children; inside a shed is often a good place.

Margaret Road annual pumpkin and marrow competition

The Margaret Road field held their annual competition at the end of October. We only got the results just after the November newsletter was published, so here they are, a bit late

Congratulations on the winners and record breakers this year. Two questions for the Margaret Road competitors:

  1. What is your secret?
  2. What do you do with a 62 lb marrow?

MARROW PUMPKIN & RUNNER BEAN COMPETITION

Results 2017

Marrow

1st Rebecca 62.15 lbs* (new record)

2nd Mary 23.0 lbs

3rd Dai 22.5 lbs

Runner Bean

1st John/Stuart 39cm

2nd=Darryl/Mary 35cm

Pumpkin

1st Rebecca 124 lbs* (new record)

2nd Dai 99.3 lbs

3rd Charlie/Kieron 85.2 lbs

4th Mary 82.1 lbs

Junior Pumpkin

1st Morgan 11.8 lbs

Unusual Veggie. No overall winner but lots of funny entries.

Thank you to all who made an effort and joined in.

Waiting list growing

Our waiting list is getting longer. If you no longer require your plot or want to reduce the area you rent, please let us know so someone who is waiting can start an allotment soon.

Data Protection

New data protection laws are coming into force soon, so this is a good time for our Society to review its policies and practice. The committee will consider this issue at its December meeting. Meanwhile, please be assured that the only data we have on our members is contact details (name, address, phone and email). This data is kept secure and not shared with others, apart from our obligation to provide membership lists to the National Allotment Society (NSALG) as part of our membership.

Please contact us if you have any comments, suggestions or queries on this or any other matter.

Your suggestions

One suggestion received from a member after the November newsletter was to increase the rents so the Society has more funds to invest in facilities for members. This suggestion has been passed to the committee and will be considered. It is too late for the 2018 rents as these have already been fixed by the society. In recent years our policy has been to keep rents low and use our funds wisely to get maximum benefit for the membership. If you agree with the idea of paying more rent and investing in infrastructure or machinery let us know.