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!

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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.

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?