News from National Allotments Society

Open weekend at Barnsdale (near Oakham)

Barnsdale Gardens, Oakham – 17 and 18 August Summer Vegetable Weekend
Barnsdale will be opening up the productive areas that are normally off-limits to visitors, and their expert grower will be available to advise you on your own veggie production.

HAVE YOU GOT A RAT PROBLEM ON YOUR SITE?

NAS are organising courses in October / November in your region – could you provide a venue ?

The Control of Rodent course held recently in Leeds was very well attended and successful. Please email natsoc@nsalg.org.uk  with an expression of interest for forthcoming courses or venue possibility.

Click on the link below to read the latest Summer Newsletter from National Allotments (NSALG)

https://mailchi.mp/fa3f01d740a3/summer-news-from-the-national-allotment-society-2398301?e=b13995087f

 

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August 2019 Allotment News

Summer rain and sunshine

Good weather for growing, and for potato blight. We have had ideal growing weather, with plenty of rain and some heat. This is great fro most crops and weeds, so allotment gardeners are busy people at this time of year. Please watch out for potato blight, which also attacks and ruins tomatoes. This terrible disease can destroy a crop in days.

If your potato leaves get blight, cut all of the leaves off and remove (bag up and compost leaves). Then leave the potatoes in the ground for at least 2 weeks and wait until dry weather to harvest them. If you harvest the potatoes too quickly after removing leaves, then the spores will infect the tubers. Likewise if you leave the foliage on, then the spores will wash into the soil and destroy the tubers.

With tomatoes, remove as many of the leaves as possible starting from now. Blight starts on. the leaf and spreads to the rest of the plant, destroying the fruit.

Please close the gates

We have had a few reports of gates being left open late in the evening, Stewards and members from Scott Road, Northfield Avenue and Margaret Roads have all reported this occurring from time to time. Please remember that leaving gates open compromises our security – all of us are at risk. Always lock gates when you leave.

Waiting lists growing

Our waiting lists are a lot longer than in recent years. Scott Road has its longest waiting list this century. Northfield Avenue list is also getting longer. Margaret Road stewards are working hard to reduce their waiting list by re-letting neglected plots. Evicting tenants who have neglected their plots is the main way that we can reduce our waiting lists. It is not fair on people who are waiting to see plots full of weeds and no crops or other cultivation. 

If your plot is too big for your needs and not well cultivated, please consider relinquishing some of it. You will make someone on the waiting list very happy and save money on rent next year.

Cup Judging

At this time of year, the judges for our annual award, the Bridgstock Cup are inspecting plots and making their decision. The judges will be touring our fields and will announce the result to the committee at its August meeting.

Field Steward vacancy

We still have a vacancy for a field steward at Northfield Avenue. If you know of anyone who would make a good steward on this field, please ask them to apply. If there is no steward, the field will deteriorate and everyone will suffer. Please contact us for further information.

No carpets or underlay- Please remove any on your plot

Please note that carpets and underlay are not allowed on our allotments. They contain many toxins and plastics that harm the soil. Recently we have seen a few pieces of carpet being brought to plots. This is not allowed and you must remove it as soon as possible.

Many years ago, before we knew about their toxic residues and other harmful effects, we allowed carpets to be used on allotments. They seemed a useful way of smothering weeds. Since we banned carpets from allotments our field stewards and members have been working hard to remove any. This takes time and there are still a few plots with carpet. If your plot is one of these, please remove it in the coming months. Carpet is non-recyclable waste so must be put in the black bin or taken to the Council Tip.

Please take some rubbish home

On a similar theme to the carpet story above, please take any non-recyclable or plastic rubbish home at regular intervals. Allotmenters are keen recyclers and re-users, but eventually things reach the point when they become waste. If we leave these on our plots they become untidy and a problem for future tenants. It is not fair on them or the society to have to pay for skips. Therefore, please take a bit home each time and place it in your black wheelie bin, or take it to the tip.

Interesting Article – Talking Point

Some people think that they can have an allotment without visiting their plot regularly. We all know that allotments are hard work (although really rewarding). Read this article and let us know what you think….

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jul/13/how-can-i-tend-my-allotment-without-visiting-every-day

Another article – how an allotment can be better than therapy

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/27/room-to-grow-how-allotment-life-can-be-the-best-therapy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

July 2019 allotment news

Committee on Tour

The annual tour by committee members takes place on Tuesday 9thJuly in the early evening. This year the committee will be touring Margaret Road and Windmill Avenue fields. It is a chance for the committee to see directly how these two sites are working and think about any issues or ideas that are shared. The next regular committee meeting will be in August.

Northfield Avenue electrical work

Following their deep excavations and repairs to the high voltage cables, Western Power Distribution have now completed their work and things are returning to normal. Thank you for your patience during this essential safety work.

 

Waiting lists grow

It’s not just vegetables that are growing at this time of year; our waiting lists are growing longer too. Field stewards are working hard to find plots for these new members. If you know of any plot that is available and needs a tenant, please contact us.

Feasibility study

One of our members on Scott Road is working on a design for an efficient rain collection and storage system based on am IBC thousand litre tank and some roofing. We are looking forward to seeing it built and tested. If successful, we hope to roll this out to other plots and fields.

Time to mulch

Now summer is here it is a great time to mulch between and around our crops. Mulch will help conserve soil water and eventually improve the soil condition as it breaks down. Many possible mulches are suitable, including grass cuttings, shredded tree branches or straw. See the links below for more details

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/summer-mulching/

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/using-mulch/planting-brassicas-without-digging-or-weeding/

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/the-power-of-mulch/

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/different-ways-of-mulching/

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.

IMG_0042

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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. 

 

 

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