July 2020 Allotment News

Bonfires still banned

Many of our members have asked when the emergency rule banning bonfires will be relaxed. We are following the guidance of the National Allotments Society (NSALG) posted on their website. People are still dying of Covid19 and those suffering the disease experience difficulty breathing; smoke from bonfires will give them more difficulty breathing. Check out the guidance from NSALG for any updates.

Welcome Stephen – new steward for Scott Road

Stephen Payne is the latest addition to our stewarding team at Scott Road. He is ready to help, has great ideas and suggestions. He has already organised a straw delivery, set up our Scott Road Facebook page and helped clear a vacant plot ready for a new tenant, amongst other things. To contact Stephen, see his phone number below.

Facebook page  for Scott Road

Scott Road allotments now has its own Facebook page. Members are sharing tips and ideas, answering questions and offering surplus plants. To join, search Facebook for Scott Road Allotments, Kettering and ask to join. Content is moderated.

Track improved at Scott Road

Many thanks to Jo, Gareth and Andy who worked really hard to improve one of the tracks at Scott Road recently. The new track is brilliant, almost as smooth as the M1

Good neighbours

Is your neighbour isolating, shielding or unwell? Thanks for helping

In this difficult year many people have been told to isolate or stay at home and shield to avoid possible exposure to the virus. Their plots will not be tended and may have got overgrown. Many allotment neighbours are helping to keep these plots tidy. Many thanks if you have helped in this way. 

If your neighbour’s plot is getting weedy and overgrown please let us know and we can enquire with your neighbours on ways to help. Your first point of contact is your field steward. Here are the contact numbers

Margaret Road – Tony and Sue Munt 01536 392 742

Windmill Avenue – George White 01536 

Northfield Avenue – Harry Pope 01536 503 263. or  07518 265 286

Scott Road – Stephen Payne 07788 627 525

Scott Road – Pat Mullins  07967 516 625

Russell Attwood 07981 598 332

Lasagna Gardening finally reaches the Sun newspaper

see the link below. Some of our members have been using no-dig and similar methods for many years. It is good to see these successful methods being circulated more widely.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/11759484/woman-share-simple-tip-stop-weeds-grow-garden-newspaper/

On a similar theme, Check out our photo blog on transforming an overgrown plot without digging

Remain vigilant and prevent fly-tipping

With bonfires banned and queues at the recycling tip, instances of fly-tipping are being reported all over the country. We need to keep vigilant and maintain our site security (lock gates etc) to prevent any fly tipping on allotment land. 

Most allotment waste can be recycled – as compost. If you have any non-recyclable waste on your allotment, consider taking it home to your wheelie bin, or ask your stewards for advice and suggestions.

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

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April 2020 Allotment News

Emergency Procedures on allotments

For updated Cover 19 emergency procedures on allotments- check this link to NSALG regularly

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/

Unprecedented Times

The Covid19 pandemic is affecting us all.

Many members are self-isolating if they have pre-existing medical conditions or are unwell.

We are all required to comply with the restrictions imposed by HM Government and are following advice published by the National Allotments Society (NSALG) on its website.

Many thanks to Monica and field stewards who printed and laminated the information and tied it to our gates.

Disinfect the gates, padlocks etc

At the time of writing, allotment members are still allowed to cultivate their plots as their daily permitted exercise. Keep your distance at all times and no social mixing or sharing of tools. Check NSALG website for updates or new restrictions.

if we keep distance from others, our main vulnerability on an allotment is touching the gate and padlock. Therefore, please disinfect/sanitise these before and after handling them and wear gloves. Wash hands regularly with soap (but don’t use water buts to wash).

Information from KBC – Kettering Borough Council

These guidance notes in summary suggest allotment holders:

• Keep hand sanitiser in their shed and wash their hands regularly

• Use hand sanitiser before opening and closing any gate locked

• Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres

• Do not share tools

• Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes

• Do not wash their hands in water troughs

• Recommend that all communal facilities are closed

• If allotment holders have livestock on the site and must visit twice a day, then they should take a photograph on their phone of their livestock, based on what is happening in other countries they may eventually have to print off a government form to leave the house but if challenged it would be good to be able to show a photograph of where they are going.

• Plan ahead to ensure that you have food and medication delivered to you during this time

• Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible

• If you display any symptoms of coronavirus stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed.

Further advice from the Association can be found at the following link:

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/

Please all stay safe

Waiting Lists Growing

Many people have contacted us to apply for an allotment. The government restrictions mean that we cannot process these in our normal way. Please be patient.

News from Northampton

Meanwhile, nearby in Northampton there is a news story that might interest you

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/people/northampton-borough-council-makes-u-turn-over-allotment-user-ban-2518129?itm_source=parsely-api

Some ideas to cope with restrictions

If we cannot get to our plots as often due to lockdown restrictions there are some things we can do to minimise the catching up when we resume.

Cover the ground with black weed control fabric or cardboard and mulch.

This mulch will suppress weeds in the coming weeks. If you then have plants or seedlings to go out then cut a small hole through the mulch and pop them in. see more in our post on low maintenance gardening – link below.

 Very low maintenance gardening.

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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

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

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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

October 2019 Allotment News

Come to the Pumpkin Show on October 25th

Learn about lasagne gardening.

How to grow fabulous vegetables on your allotment with

No digging

No watering and

No weeding (well almost no weeding!)

The pumpkin show is not just about pumpkins. Speaker Russell Attwood shares his many years of  successful experience of allotment gardening. The super technique of lasagne gardening means Russell can produce amazing crops from his 3 allotments with no digging, no watering and (almost) no weeding. Find out more at

Kettering Art Gallery

Friday 25th October

1 pm. (refreshments available from 12:30pm)

Admission £5 or £3.50 with a Kettering Leisure Pass

Details on this link

https://www.kettering.gov.uk/info/20025/museum_and_gallery/12248/talks_at_the_alfred_east_art_gallery

Waiting Lists update

Field stewards have been working hard to get plots for those on the waiting lists. More enquiries from people has meant that our lists are still growing. New members at Scott Road have been allocated small plots, to give new members a chance and reduce the waiting list.

If your plot is too much for you and you want to reduce its size, please let us know so we can make someone on the list happy and allocate them a small plot.

If you want to give up your plot please contact us or your field steward.

Taste of Autumn Show at RHS Wisley

click on the link below to find out more

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/viewevent?EFID=421&ESRC=CMS

Another site about no-dig gardening!

click on the link below

https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/no-dig-gardening/

Allotments in the News

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/allotments

 

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