August 2020 Allotment News

Bonfires Allowed ! – but follow the law and guidance

The guidance from the National Allotments Society has been updated.  Barbecues and bonfires are now permitted. It is vital that all safety precautions are taken and we follow the law. See our website for full guidance on bonfires.

  • Dark smoke is a criminal offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. Only burn dry woody material that will not smoke
  • Never burn plastic, rubber, foam etc
  • do not leave fires unattended – the Fire Brigade may be called and you risk getting a bill for the call-out fee. Have sufficient water to extinguish any fire if it risks spreading
  • check with your neighbours and the wind direction. Avoid fires if smoke will disturb your neighbours
  • Our policy is to discourage bonfires and avoid where possible. Use composting or recycling for waste if at all possible. Click here for more on how to avoid fires
  • If your bonfire is a nuisance, the Council can send warning letters, serve legal Notices, serve Fixed Penalty Notices of £100 or prosecute offenders in the Courts

Successful field tour

The committee has not been able to hold regular meetings since the lockdown. However, we were able to conduct the annual field tour in July, The committee toured the Scott Road field and were impressed by the high standards of the plots. The committee recognises and appreciates the hard work done by members to maintain their plots. 

Cup judges appointed

One piece of formal business was conducted by the committee during the field tour. The cup judges were appointed for 2020. The judges tour all four fields and make their decision. More about the Bridgstock Cup and its history is on our website. http://www.ketteringallotments.co.uk/cup.html

And the winner(s) are:

The judges have come to their decision. They commented on how many excellent plots there are and congratulate the members who have been working hard tending their plots.

For the first time, the judges have awarded the cup to joint winners. These two plots were both equally excellent. 

Joint winners are Jacqui Nix (plot 112 Margaret Rd) and Pat Mullins (plot 132 Scott Road)

Best newcomer award goes to Nick and Karen Needle , plot 54 Scott Road

The following plots are  Highly commended:

Plot 18 Windmill Avenue – Phillip and Greta Lilley

Plot 177 Margaret Road – Michael Nietsche

Plot 32 Northfield Ave – Alan Haynes

Plot 25B Scott Road – Glenn Cherry

Plot 15 Scott road-  Darren and Corrina Stanion 

Plot 9 Scott Road-  Sue Johnson 

Water barrels for sale- Scott Road

One of our members has some water barrels and an IBC tank (thousand litres) for sale. Please contact Darren or Corrina to buy on 07841 938 252

Health and Safety review

It’s Common Sense – so what’s the problem? 

The problem is that common sense is not that common. We all have different ideas of what is sensible and safe. We all know someone who doesn’t seem to have any common sense at all. We all make mistakes; what is important is to learn from them.

As an allotment society we have a Health and Safety Policy. This is needed for our insurance and to protect our members, visitors and the public from harm. From time to time, we review and update our Health and Safety Policy. We welcome suggestions and comments on how we can improve. Please have a look at our Safety documents and contact us with any comments.

Health and Safety is no accident! – a near-miss or lucky escape is the perfect opportunity to re-think and improve what we do. Please contact us if you have a near-miss and we can all try to learn from it to prevent any further incidents. 

Remember – While growing cress, risk assess!

 

Speed limit reminder

Please remember rule number 20 – the speed limit for vehicles on allotments is 5 mph (walking pace). If you want to get to your allotment faster, leave the car behind and run there.

speed

Rats. Constant vigilance pays dividends 

Earlier in the summer, some members reported seeing rats near their plots and unfortunately some broad beans and peas were eaten. Constant vigilance to remove rat hiding places and use of traps has kept the rat population low. Rats may visit compost heaps, so please stay vigilant. See the link below for more on rats in compost heaps

https://www.allotment-garden.org/composts-fertilisers/composting-making-compost/rats-in-the-compost-heap-weils-disease-safety-concerns/#.Xv75ugkwVO8.email

Helping out shielding neighbours

Some of members are shielding at home because of the virus pandemic. They have not been able to tend their plots and weeds have been growing. Fortunately their allotment neighbours have helped out. The photos below show one example. In the first photo, the weeds have grown and are about to flower and seed; a nuisance for the member and his neighbours in future years…

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One section of the plot was covered with 100gsm weed control fabric and weighed down with pallets. The weeds will die and rot and the shielding member will find the plot easy to use when he returns.

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Another section was covered with card and straw. Again the weeds are no longer a problem and the soil will be well mulched and weed-free in a few weeks time.

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Fly tipping – please be vigilant

see the story below as reported in the Evening Telegraph

https://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/crime/staggering-amount-rubbish-fly-tipped-kettering-woods-2906827

Interesting newspaper article on allotments in lockdown

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/11/allotment-hobby-lockdown-lifeline-trade-deals-britain-food

June 2020 Allotment News

Waiting lists longer than ever

The very unusual circumstances of 2020 mean our waiting lists are growing faster than our vegetables. Many people have contacted us to ask for plots during the lockdown. Existing members have tended their plots more regularly and a few have been shielding or isolating, so we have had far fewer members evicted or giving up.

If you are finding your plot too much to manage and want to reduce in size or consider sharing, then please contact us. You will make someone on the waiting list happy.

Restrictions still apply – no bonfires etc

Stay safe, maintain social distance and other precautions until advised otherwise by the authorities. Please check NSALG (National Allotments) website for latest guidance. News reports indicate that Kettering is a local hotspot for corona virus, being the 13th worst in England in the last 2 weeks of May, see link from the Evening Telegraph

Drought looming

It appears that May was one of the driest on record, after the very wet winter (remember February, with news stories of floods?) Please try to conserve water where possible, for example mulching to keep our water bills as low as possible this year. For ideas of how to use mulch and never water, see our pages above

See below for a photo of an IBC rainwater collection system on a plot at Scott Road, still nearly full on May 29th. This member had filled the IBC and many barrels with winter rain.

IBC

Beware!

Just a thought, but if or when we do get some rain, the slugs will be very hungry! So be vigilant with your anti-slug patrols.

Bulk compost deliveries 

We have been contacted by Michael Young who can deliver compost to your plot in bulk. This is composted municipal green waste, screened to 30mm. A fully loaded Transit tipper truck is £160 including delivery and a half-load is £100 .But 5 loads and get one free! Contact Michael on 07810 262 625 for more information. 

Birds of prey at risk – be vigilant

We are fortunate to have regular sightings of red kites and other birds of prey overhead. Tragically there are some people who do not admire these magnificent creatures and persecute them. The Police have launched a campaign called Operation Owl  to help protect birds of prey. Please be vigilant and report any incidents using their website

News story from BBC about illegal killing of birds of prey

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52667502

Mulched garlic – never needs watering

DSC05567

Avoid Bonfires to save lives

Latest insight in light of corona virus:

avoid bonfires for the sake of those with breathing difficulties…

Please see the insight below from another part of England:

bonfire

Avoid large family groups

Keep checking the latest updates from NSALG and HM Government. We are lucky to be allowed to continue allotment gardening. You must follow the instructions, so no large groups, even from the same family. No barbecues. Do not allow your children to wander off your plot. Disinfect the gates and padlocks when entering and leaving the field. Full guidance from NSALG here

London Road Garden Shop delivering plants this week

Plants, eg cabbages, beetroot, sweetcorn etc all arriving this week for delivery.

Phone or text to arrange deliveries 07961 806 049

March 2020 Allotment News

AGM soon!

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is on Tuesday 10th March at 7:45pm at the Corn Market Hall

More details on our website – click below for links to

AGM Agenda

Secretary’s Annual Report

Items for discussion

Some members have made suggestions for ideas to discuss at the end of the AGM including:

  1. Further measures to encourage members to collect rainwater and reduce our use of mains water
  2. Participation in the KBC event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day  Saturday 9th May
  3. Clearing waste from plots

Tell us what you think. We value the opinions of our members.

Track improvement at Margaret Road and Scott Road

Many thanks to our members and field stewards who have helped lay down gravel and stones on the tracks/ridings at Margaret Road. This work helps to make the tracks more navigable, following the wet weather and damage from vehicles.

Meanwhile, please keep vehicle movements to a minimum when the ground is wet. Please obey signs and advice to avoid driving on soft ground to prevent further damage.

Scott Road has also seen some work on improving and repairing the track/ridings. Many thanks to all those members who have helped. Further work is planned.

Security improved at Scott Road

A few more metal Heras panels have been fitted along weak points in our boundary hedge. In time, the hedge thorns will grow through the metal wires and become an impenetrable barrier.

Book review – our chairman is famous!

Local author Julia Thorley’s latest book is all about our chairman Clive (see below for photo) and his first year of retirement

A sparge bag on the washing line is an hilarious account, with many adventures on his allotment at Scott Road

41fkJmOJj3L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sparge-Bag-Washing-Line/dp/1911559915/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1QHAU1Z3L1PWF&keywords=sparge+bag+on+the+washing+line&qid=1582577610&sprefix=sparge+bag%2Caps%2C143&sr=8-1

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February 2020 Allotment News

Annual Rents- rule 11B now applies

Many thanks to all of our members who  have paid their rents. These funds keep our society running smoothly. If, however, you have not yet paid, the rent is overdue and rule 11b now applies. This means that if you wish to keep your allotment you must pay two years rent. Alternatively we shall re-let your plot to the person at the top of the waiting list.

Waiting lists moving and goodbye old friend.

Our waiting lists are now moving as we have had confirmation from several retiring members that they no longer wish to continue when their rent reminders arrived. It has been sad to say goodbye to many long-standing plot-holders, including one who is 93 years old and has enjoyed his plot on Scott Road for very many years. On the other hand, people who have been waiting for a plot for several months can now start allotment gardening and continue cultivating the fertile soil of Kettering 

AGM approaching

Our 102nd AGM will be held on Tuesday 10th March at the Corn Market Hall. Please put this date in your diaries. Full details on our website, link below

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

Time to buy seed potatoes

The potatoes are in stock at local garden centres and shops. See the catalogue of the London Road garden shop here. Don’t delay as once they’re gone, they’re gone! Time to get chitting. 

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/seed-potato-catalogue-2020/

A good time to mulch your plot to prevent hours of weeding in Spring

You can mulch at any time of year. Now is a great time to use mulch as the weeds have not started growing, so mulching now prevents them. There is less to do on the plot now as it is winter. Some suggestions are:

1. Securely placing 100gsm weed control fabric on the soil. No need to dig, just cover and secure it so the wind does not move it. (see photo below)

In the Spring you can roll the fabric up, rake the soil and plant directly, for example make a hole for potatoes or onion sets

Or you can leave the fabric there, cut small holes in the fabric and plant through them into the weed-free soil below the fabric.

2. Cover the ground with cardboard then use a thick layer (at least 4 inches, 10cm) of plant shreddings or straw to completely cover the card. Again, there is no need to dig. In Spring you can plant straight through the composted mulch, or rake it aside and plant into the soil.

Both methods above require no digging, apart from the occasional forking of one or two persistent weed roots 

See links below for photos and more detail

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/using-mulch/

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/easiest-way-to-grow-crops/

fabric in April

cleared for beds

January 2020 Allotment News

What’s your 2020 vision?

Welcome to 2020 to all our allotment members and WordPress followers. We hope you had a great 2019 and are looking forward to a new year of gardening. If you would like to share your plans or gardening resolutions for 2020, please contact us. Use the link in the menu above.

Rents Now Due

Our annual rent and membership fees are due now. Many thanks to all those members who have already paid for 2020. If you have not paid yet, please see this link of how to pay, or click on the link in the menu at the top of this page. If you do not pay by the end of January your plot may be re-let to someone on our waiting list.

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

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/allotment-rents/

Membership Records and Contact details

We have been working very hard to keep our records accurate and up to date. Some members have retired from their allotments or reduced the size of their plots so that new members from the waiting list can have a plot. If you are giving up or moving house etc, please contact us so we can amend our records. If you have already given up and are receiving this newsletter by mistake, please accept our apologies and let us know so we can amend our records

Security Concerns

There have been some reports of gates being left open. Please lock all gates as advised by your stewards for your own security. There has also been a case of theft of a polytunnel cover from a Scott Road plot. Please report all incidents to the Police – call 101 or use their online reporting form

https://www.northants.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

Longest Parsnip?

It is not often that we see how deep parsnip roots go, as they usually break off when we dig them out. The very wet weather has made the soil very soft and muddy and one of our Northfield Avenue members has harvested some parsnips with all of their roots. Well done Harry!

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Network Rail working to improve the railway line near Northfield Avenue.

Hopefully everyone is aware that our railway line to St Pancras is being electrified. This major infrastructure investment is nearing completion. Network Rail will be doing some vital safety work to improve the fence on our boundary with the railway. Please observe all safety instructions if this is near your plot. Remember that the cables are 25 000 Volts, so beware!

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/safety-in-the-community/railway-safety-campaigns/always-on/

Latest news from the National Allotments Society

see their latest newsletter below. See Page 30 for a most interesting article on coping with deluges and droughts

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

December 2019 Allotment News

Rent due soon

Our annual rents are due on 1st January 2020. The rents are the same as last year, no increase. Full details of how to pay are on the page in the menu above 

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/allotment-rents/

If you are giving up and  no longer keeping your allotment, please let us know so we can stop nagging you for rent. We can re-let your plot to someone on the waiting list

Big Compost Experiment

Citizen science project from UCL and BBC radio 4’s Inside Science

The above BBC Radio 4 programme has teamed up with one of the UK’s top universities to conduct a citizen science experiment on composting. Details are in the links below

https://www.bigcompostexperiment.org.uk

https://www.plasticwastehub.org.uk/news/announcing-the-launch-of-the-big-compost-experiment

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009yxv

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/headlines/2019/nov/big-compost-experiment-launched

Seed catalogues

Now is the perfect time to order your seeds. The widest selections are available online. Here are some suggestions:

The Garden Shop in London Road Kettering

Kings Seeds https://www.kingsseeds.com

Real Seeds  https://www.realseeds.co.uk

Seeds of Italy https://seedsofitaly.com

Marshalls https://www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk

 

Article Published

The latest edition of the Allotment and Leisure `Gardener magazine from theNational Allotment Society features an article on

Coping with Droughts and Deluges by Russell Attwood (see page 30 of the magazine)

November 2019 allotment news

Floods on Margaret Road

Following the sustained heavy rain over the week ending 26 October the river Ise overflowed and flooded the Margaret Road allotments. This regularly occurs in wet winter periods. See the photo below showing the allotments. many thanks to Sydney for the photo

image0

Clocks change and a new gardening season

We are now in GMT and have the long, dark nights of winter ahead. Gardens have moved from the early autumn of bountiful harvests to late autumn cool. Harvesting is still going on, with Brussels, parsnips and kale entering into their season. Other crops have been stored for use throughout the winter (carrots, potatoes, squash, onions). It is still a busy time on the allotment (if not flooded), and with fewer hours of daylight we have to work hard to get our jobs done before sunset.

Jobs for November (if not flooded!)

  • Plant garlic of not already done in October
  • Set rat traps in sheds. Peanut-butter is a good bait. Rats will look for warmth and food in our compost bins and sheds as the nights get colder. This is the time to be really vigilant and trap them before they breed and do more damage. Don’t put anything in compost bins that might encourage rats, eg remains of pumpkins after halloween.
  • Mulch your plot. Find whatever mulch is available and cover the soil. Ideally put cardboard on first, then mulch. This will decompose nicely over the winter, protect the soil from heavy rain which leaches valuable minerals and turn your topsoil into beautiful compost that you can rake over without digging in the spring next year. See this clip on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3alQs6WK6Ng&feature=youtu.be

  • Collect fallen tree leaves for mulch, compost of leaf mould.
  • Remove diseased potatoes and take them to your green waste bin at home. This will prevent blight and other pests next year. Damaged potatoes still grow back next year and harbour pests and diseases.
  • Harvest leeks, kale, parsnips and sprouts. Also Jerusalem artichokes if you have them.
  • Remove the top netting from fruit cages as heavy snow in winter will make it sag.
  • Plant soft fruit and miniature fruit trees
  • Check stored potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onions, pumpkins for signs of rot
  • Check out seed catalogues for next year’s plans

Rent 2020

No rent increase for 2020!

The rents for 2020 will be the same as this year. Another year of prudent financial management has meant our plots remain excellent value.

Details of how and when to pay rent are on this link below

https://russellattwood.wordpress.com/allotment-rents/

Marrow Competition Results

Margaret Road members held their annual fun competition recently (on a rainy Sunday)

Here are the results – well done to everyone and thanks for taking part

Pumpkin Competition

Winner = Mary 124 lbs 12 oz (that’s the pumpkin, not Mary)

2nd = Dai 86 lbs 11 oz

3rd = Rebecca 69 lbs 1oz

4th = Stuart and John – 47 lbs 8 oz

5th = Glenda – 16lbs 8oz

Longest Runner Bean Competition

1st Rebecca 46 cm

2nd Dai – 30 cm

3rd Glenda – 25cm

Heaviest Marrow Competition

1st Dai – 11lbs

Here are some recipe ideas for your pumpkins, marrows and squashes

Click on this link for recipes

5th November = Bonfire Night

You are allowed a bonfire on the 5th- but risk-assess and follow the rules

We discourage bonfires, but understand that tradition allows one on the 5th of November. Consider your neighbours and the air pollution. See our guidelines, by clicking on the link below:

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

Did you know that November 5th is when the air in England is most polluted? Studies have shown that the air pollution is huge because of fireworks and bonfires, so think about athsma patients before you burn.

https://www.kettering.gov.uk/info/20044/pollution/12180/bonfires_and_smoke_nuisance

No-dig gardening film

please watch it – (3 minutes long, so no time for popcorn)

http://www.global9services.com/Russell%20Attwood%20Allotment.mp4

link to potato catalogue

 

Alternative link for the above