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

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March 2019 Allotment News

AGM on Wednesday 13 March at 7:45pm

Our 101st AGM will be held at the Corn Market Hall on the 13th.

It is your opportunity to meet the committee, vote for officers and committee members  and see the auditor’s report on our accounts. Questions are welcome and the committee will do its best to answer them. Members are also welcome to put forward ideas and suggestions and the committee will consider these at its subsequent meetings.

Details of the Agenda can be found on our website (click on the link)

The following members of the committee retire and are eligible for re-election: –

C Wallis, N Elson, T Munt, S Munt, C Hulston, P Mullins, L Farmer

News from the National Allotments Society

The latest news from the NAS can be found here

The Allotment and Leisure Gardener Magazine can be found here

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

Secretary’s Annual Report for 2018

One of the items on the AGM agenda is the annual report from the Secretary.

If you are not able to attend the AGM, then here is a copy of the draft report:-

Secretary’s Annual Report 2018, to be presented at the 2019 AGM
This report covers January to December 2018
The year started wet and cold, with snow and the “beast from the east” delaying Spring. Then came a long dry spell and heatwave with over 9 weeks of hot dry weather. Allotment gardeners were out in all weathers enjoying their plots.
As in previous years, our four fields are generally fully let, with a reasonable level of turnover, meaning that those on our waiting lists do not have to wait long. Clearing vacant plots of rubbish and waste (such as carpet) before re-letting them is important to give new members a clean slate, to enforce our rules and improve the overall appearance of our fields. We are grateful for all the hard work done by our stewards in this respect as well as all the other unseen duties they perform. The system of putting 100gsm weed control fabric on vacant plots continues to be successful. New members are not overwhelmed with weeds and are less likely to give up; if they do give up the following tenant has a much more manageable plot too.
Our rents remain low and allotments are very affordable The treasurer will report separately on our finances.
The committee functions efficiently. We appointed our first Data Manager (Ilona Bickle) who now assists the treasurer and secretary and advises the committee to ensure that we are compliant with the new GDPR law that came into effect in May 2018. May I take this opportunity to ask all members to keep us updated of any changes to phone numbers, emails etc, so that our database is accurate. 
One of the committee members, Brian Nix, died suddenly in September. Brian had been a Bridstock cup winner twice and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Security on our fields continues to improve. We purchased Heras panels to reinforce the fence at Margaret Road and these were secured thanks to the hard work of our members. These panels together with thorns and brambles do eventually provide a very good barrier at our boundaries, as has been shown in previous years. The committee is very grateful to the volunteers who erected these panels. Northfield Avenue security needs further improvement, but we have been fortunate in the offer of new gates free of charge courtesy of Network Rail in return for access when they install infrastructure for the programme to upgrade and electrify the railway line. We also obtained a few more IBC water tanks and blue barrels at Scott Road and these were sold at cost to members, further increasing our water storage capacity and reducing future water bills.
Unfortunately, despite our continued efforts to improve security, we have suffered some break-ins. Thieves with cut straight through our very expensive padlocks at Scott Road twice and removed cultivators and strimmers. Another time the thieves found a weak point in the boundary. Committee members spent time to reinforce the boundary and we paid a tree surgeon to cut some of the overgrown hedge plants down and allow them to thicken out. 
A major improvement to Scott Road has been the clearing and levelling of the main car park. Early in the year we hired a KBC tractor to heap a massive pile of tree leaves and mulch in one corner. This formed fabulous compost that was used by many of our members to improve their plots. Later in the year we were able to fill in some significant hollows and remove weeds and debris to create a superb space for mulch deposits (shreddings) from local tree surgeons.  Many thanks to all who helped in this project that has transformed the car park.
We continue to be grateful recipients of these tree shreddings and wood chips. Increasing numbers of members are using these and other materials as mulch. Members who mulched heavily in 2018 found that their plots did not need watering during the drought and heatwave, so saving effort and reducing the water bills of the society.
The society’s newsletter on WordPress has continued every month and has a wide readership. More members are now “following” so never miss out on news and updates from the committee. Nearly 200 people read some editions and currently 41 people are followers.
The winner of the Bridgstock Cup in 2018 was Pat Mullins. Pat was runner-up in 2017 and surpassed his previous best with the help of his grandson Ryan. The runner up was Norman Elson, on Margaret Road and the best newcomer was Sonia Wasowska of Northfield Avenue. Well done everyone and many thanks to the cup judges for their hard work.
Finally, a big thank you to all the committee members, field stewards and other Society members who have contributed time, money or labour to help the smooth running and improvement of our fields.
Russell Attwood, March 2019

 

February 2019 Allotment News

Preparing for the AGM on March 13th

Details of our AGM on 13 March are on our website. It is at 7:45pm at Corn Market Hall

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

If you have any proposals for the AGM, please submit them to the secretary by 28th of February. You can contact us in several different ways, see the menu at the top of the page.

Know anyone selling a glass greenhouse?

One of our Margaret Road members, Jan wants to buy a second-hand greenhouse. If you know anyone selling one, please contact Jan directly on 07895 731 109

07895 731 109

A quiet time on the plot, time to buy seed potatoes and onion sets.

 

Seed potatoes have now arrived at the garden shop on London Road. Buy now before stocks run out!

A local shop with great service is good for seed potatoes
SEED POTATO CATALOGUE 2019

 

January 2019 Allotment News

Pay now for another year of gardening at very low cost

Pay this month to secure your plot. Many thanks to all those members who have already paid their 2019 rents.

Your 2019 allotment rent is due on 1st January. Pay now to enjoy another year of allotment gardening and renew your plot tenancy. Full details of how to pay from these

links.

If you have decided to give up your allotment or reduce the size, please contact us, so we can adjust your rent and stop nagging you. We shall also update our records and remove your data from our current membership lists.

AGM 2019 – advance notice

The AGM is on Wednesday 13 March at 7:45pm at the Corn Market Hall. Please make a note in your diaries. If you wish to add anything to the agenda, please contact us. More details will be published on our website nearer the time. Click here for what we have already

Vigilance and rigorous control measures keep rats away.

It is not uncommon for us to get an unwelcome rodent visitor at this time of year. Rats are all around us and will look for shelter in the colder months. An allotment shed or compost bin is often an ideal place for rats to live. It is important for use to control these pests now before they have another chance to breed and overwhelm our allotments. The keys to this pest control are
  • Vigilance – look for signs of rats in sheds and compost heaps. These signs include droppings, their smell or their nesting bedding
  • Remove any food sources – never leave anything that a rat can eat around or put such things in your compost. The list of possible rat food is very long
  • Place poison bait in suitable containers in sheds. The bait should be inaccessible to birds, children etc. Rentokil is a good brand. Some rats are resistant to this poisonous bait, but many will be controlled by it. Poison bait is also really useful to show when there are rats around. If there are no rats, the bait will not be eaten; if something is eating the bait, then you have rats or mice.
  • Set traps. Again Rentokil traps are good. Peanut butter is an ideal bait for the traps. We recommend that you have a range of different types of trap if possible. Rats are intelligent and can learn how to avoid traps, so a range of different designs helps, including “walk the plank” and bottle/barrel traps. See below for details

Grass Ridings may be closed to vehicles.

Many of our plots are accessed by grass ridings. These are unsuitable for vehicles in wet weather and this time of year. If vehicles use them, they may get stuck and create a very muddy mess with their wheel ruts. Ridings may be closed to vehicles by field stewards. Please respect any signs or cones so we can maintain the condition of the tracks.

Time to order seeds.

In the long dark nights of winter are an ideal time to order your seeds ready for the coming Spring. 
A local shop with great service is good for seed potatoes
For a wide range of seeds and good prices, nothing beats a catalogue. Our favourites are
Kings Seeds – Kings are in Essex and sell great seeds for allotments
Real seeds – for trying something different. Run by a couple in Wales from their smallholding.
Seeds of Italy – great for squash, parsley, tomatoes and much more.

Stone picking – a rewarding activity at this time of year?

Well at least it gets you out of the house and is cheaper than a gym?
Whilst there is less actual gardening to do in the winter, there are always useful jobs to do on the allotment. One particularly rewarding winter activity is stone gathering. The stones can then be used to improve the tracks and ridings by filling in any pot-holes and muddy patches. A bucket full of small stones will make a real and long-lasting difference to the track and if we all collected a bucket each, the whole track would soon be all-weather.

Happy New Year!

December 2018 Allotment News

A stitch in time…

The dark cold days of December are a quiet time on the allotment. There is one silver lining to this – the weeds have stopped growing! (well almost…)  Here in Kettering we have fertile soil and our weeds grow amazingly well in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. A few hours spent now on weed prevention  will save you hundreds of hours next growing season.

We can prevent weeds next year by mulching now. Mulching can be done in most weathers, so is a really good winter job.The two most effective ways of mulching are 

  1. Black weed control fabric – uses 100gm thickness as anything thinner will be shredded by wind etc and weeds will still grow through. Make sure the plastic is thoroughly secured with heavy weights. Good examples of suitable heavy weights are sacks of pulled-out weeds, pallets or bricks.
  2. Using cardboard and shreddings (wood chip) or straw, tree leaves. Make the layer of shreddings,  straw or tree leaves thick (about 6 inches thick is ideal.

More detailed guidance is on our page in the link menu abovedifferent ways of mulching and using mulch to control weeds

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

Rents for 2019

The rents and membership fees are due on 1st January. Rents have not increased for 2019, so you will pay the same as last year. If you do not pay your tenancy may not be renewed and your plot may be re-let to someone on the waiting list.

New Rule  (11B in our list of rules) now in force- if have not paid by 1st February you will be required to pay for 2 years, so your outlay will double. This means you will have to pay for 2019 and 2020 so we don’t have to chase up your late payment next year! 

Contact the treasurer if you cannot remember your plot number or how much to pay. 

Changes to your plot size or contact details? -tell us

Contact us if you have had any change of circumstances, address, contact details, giving up your plot, reducing the size of your plot or hoping to take on an extra bit. If you are intending to give up your plot we can make arrangements for a smooth transfer to someone on our waiting list. We can also stop pestering you for rent!

Seasonal Jobs

This time of year is great for tidying up and pruning many plants. For example, blackberries can be pruned. Use any thorny pruning to reinforce the boundary fences and hedges near your plot. This will help our security and is much better than burning. 

Try to avoid bonfires – see our November newsletter and  website for further guidance on this issue.

Remove plastic waste – take home for recycling or landfill.

The recent news about plastic waste in the oceans, including the documentaries by David Attenborough has highlighted a problem that every allotment gardener is well aware of – that plastic does not rot down and become compost. The additional concern that has only recently been publicised is that plastic physically breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that we cannot see, called microplastic. This microplastic still does not rot, but stays there in the oceans and the soil and can then enter our bodies through the food chain. 

With the above in mind, please remove any plastic waste on your plot. Broken items, such as buckets, watering cans, plant pots that are no longer useful should be removed and recycled or binned at home. 

Please also remove toxic or dangerous waste – eg old carpet, car tyres, broken glass. These are not allowed on allotment land, so should be removed. Seek advice from your field steward if you have any concerns, or contact us

SCOTT ROAD -metal shed available for free (you will need to bolt it together)

We have a dismantled metal shed at the Scott Road site. It is free to any member who does not already have a shed. It is heavy steel and will need bolting together and a coat of rust protection paint. Contact the field stewards, (Pat, Chris or Russell) if you are interested.

Scott Road Housing Development Plans

Please be advised that Kettering Borough Council has now formally applied for planning permission to build 22 homes on the derelict land that was formerly garages on Scott Road. This is where our main gate to the Scott Road allotment field is. As neighbours to this development we are being consulted. 
 
Kettering Allotments Society is very supportive of this development as it uses brownfield land to provide much-needed social housing. We welcome this. We have only two questions that need further clarification:
  1. A guarantee that full vehicular access to the allotments is maintained throughout the construction phase and upon completion. We have received verbal assurances of this, but expect to be assured in writing by all parties and will be delighted to support the application if this clarification is provided. Vehicular access includes tractors delivering manure and skip lorries, so not just cars.
  2. We also need an assurance that a secure gate will be constructed between the new houses and the remainder of the track leading to the allotments. There is a public footpath along this track which we are happy to support; however if there is no gate preventing unauthorised vehicles proceeding then the allotments security and other land to the North of the development will be vulnerable. Many years ago when there was no gate at Scott Road and the former garages were still present there was a great deal of fly-tipping and “joy-riding” by unauthorised vehicles. It is vital for the security of properties and land owners in the vicinity of John Clare Court, Milton Court and Brambleside as well as the allotments that a secure gate is provided to prevent unauthorised vehicles accessing this track.
 
Therefore, please check out the application online, using the link below. Please then comment giving your support to the development and raising the above 2 points which require further clarification. If we all do this, then there is a greater chance of success. 
The application is on the website now and the application can be found here: https://www.kettering.gov.uk/planningApplication/128345 . The application reference is KET/2018/0799. Comment on the planning application can be made online by emailing planning@kettering.gov.uk or in writing addressed to ‘Head of Development Services, Kettering Borough Council, Municipal Offices, Bowling Green Road, Kettering, NN15 7QX’. Please ensure you refer to the site address and use the reference number of the planning application if you choose to comment. Any support for the application is also welcomed.
 

Application = KET/2018/0799

Do you want to be on TV?

BBHC Social Media B 1308

 

November 2018 Allotment News

Good News about 2019 rents

The good news is that, once again, there will be no increase in the rents for 2019. Our rents have been held for many years at the same rate, thanks to prudent control of our expenses. The rent reminders will be sent out in December and payment is due on 1st January 2019. The rent is £2 per pole plus £2 membership subscription, so a 10 pole plot costs £22 per year in total and a small 5 pole plot costs £12 per year. More details of how to pay are available by clicking on the link at the menu on the top of this page and also on our website at

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

 

Remember, remember… (bonfire hazards)

Less good news is that we have had more complaints about bonfires at Northfield Avenue. Members of the public were driving along this important highway found their vision and breathing impaired by smoke that was also drifting across the railway line. The law allows bonfires, but not the smoke pollution. Our society rules and policies discourage bonfires, particularly if they are smoky. This pollutes the planet and annoys our neighbours. If there are more complaints, we may be prosecuted and fined. The committee will be discussing this issue at its next meeting. Any comments or suggestions are welcome, please use the contact button on the menu at the top of this page

More guidance is available on our website at:

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

Bonfire guidance from Kettering Borough Council 

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

If you really want a bonfire, then November 5th is a day when you can probably get away with it. The rest of the year, please use composting, your grey bin or the civic amenity recycling tip for any allotment waste.

For sale – Thousand-litre IBC water tanks

One of our members, Grant, has 6 IBCs for sale. They are clean and have been rinsed out with water. The price is £40 each. Delivery may arranged. Contact Grant if you are interested on 07984 075 226 or tggonzo@live.co.uk

Cordial exchanges with our new neighbours

More good news, we have congratulated Kettering Football Club on their purchase of land next to Scott Road allotments for their new stadium. We are already on good terms with our new neighbours and hope to continue a friendly dialogue as they develop the site.

Want to cook on the BBC?

We have been approached by the company that produces the BBC show “Britain’s Best Home Cook with Mary Berry and Claudia Winkleman. They are currently looking for new fabulous home cooks who might want to apply to be on the BBC1 show. Apply via their website, link below

https://britainsbesthomecook.co.uk

 

Records Broken at Margaret Road

Margaret Road allotments had their annual competition. The winners were:-

Heaviest marrow = 28lbs grown by Rebecca

Longest runner bean = 47.5 cm grown by Rebecca – a new record!

Heaviest Pumpkin = 132.4 lbs grown by Dylan – a new record!

Well done everyone. Time to start planning for next year?