February 2018 Allotment News

Seedy Saturday on February 17th in Northampton


from 10am – 4pm at Castle Hill United Reform Church, Doddridge Street, Northampton NN1 2RN. Entrance fee £1

Dates for your Diary – our 100th AGM

2018 AGM is on a Wednesday!

A real break with tradition – (the Corn Market Hall was not available on our usual Tuesday)

This is our 100th AGM! – on

Wednesday 14th March at 7:45pm at Corn Market Hall

More details on our website – link below


Bagged Alpaca Manure for Sale

Bags of alpaca manure, commonly referred to as ‘Black Gold’ for sale.

Alpaca manure is said to be one of the richest organic manures available, with high levels of nitrogen and potassium. It does not need to be composted before using and can be placed directly on or around even the most delicate plants.

Bags weigh approximately 12lb and I charge £1 per bag, collection is from Broughton.  To arrange purchase, contact Rachel either via email or on 07590 610056. email address


Other manure available – see website

For other suppliers of manure, see our website page


To dig or not to dig, that is the question

To dig or not to dig, that is the question. Whether it is nobler for the veg for soil to suffer the outrageous fortune of spades and forks, or to take up mulching against a sea of weeds and by smothering end them?”

No doubt if Hamlet had an allotment he would be pondering this dilemma. Several of our members have reported interest in the “no-dig” gardening methods as extolled by Charles Dowding. There is a lot of information on his website


The evidence is strong that “no-dig” give better crops, is better for the soil and easier than digging or rotovating. The TV programme Beechgrove Garden also did a trial last year and found the vegetables in the “no-dig” plot were bigger than the dug plot.

See page 7 of the factsheet (link below)


So perhaps it is a case of “mulchers of Kettering unite, you have nothing to lose except your spades”

But let’s leave the final words to the poet Seamus Heaney



Between my finger and my thumb   

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   

When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   

My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   

Bends low, comes up twenty years away   

Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   

Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked,

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   

Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day

Than any other man on Toner’s bog.

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up

To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, going down and down

For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head.

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.