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.

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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

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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.

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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.