Newsletter May 2016

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter May 2016

May Newsletter

The Big Dig

PLANT Sale – New date
Now on May 15th 10:00am to 12:00pm

Due to the very cold weather this Spring, most of our seedlings are slow – apologies (and respect) if you have plants you wanted to drop off this Saturday, please hold on to them for now.

To give more time for more plants to be ready for the Sale, it has been rescheduled, and will now be held on May 15th.

Drop plants off on May 14th, please bring cakes and refreshments for sale from 9:30am on Sunday May 15th.

Important Notice about Fire Safety
The local fire service gave a talk at the BAF meeting in April, which raised urgent risk issues regarding fire safety on allotments. As a result, all flammable products are being removed from the Trading Hut. This includes many fertilisers and other products, which can be explosive and/or give off toxic fumes when lit. The fire service also advised that it is very dangerous to store gas canisters in sheds.

All plot holders are advised to ensure that there are no old fertilisers/ pesticides, weed killers or gas canisters in their sheds. Please get in touch, if you have anything like this, for advice on how to dispose of it. You should also use products carefully, use protective gear, and if you are storing any in your shed, put up a notice outside stating what you have (this is required by the fire service in the event of a fire incident).

The fire service advised that, as well as risk to property and life, there is a risk of being prosecuted and fined if fires involve either gas canisters or explosive substances. To reduce risks, the Committee will carry out H&S inspections of sheds from time to time, but the responsibility rests with individual plot holders.

Information about Glyphosate (e.g Round-Up; Tumbleweed)
Should we ban it on Whetstone Stray Allotments?
Thank you to Jan, who sent the following information about the risks to human health of Glyphosate based herbicides such as Round-Up and Tumbleweed.

Please read this Glyphosate article at The Ecologist.

Please take the time to read the article, to help you decide whether we should ban Glyphosates from our site. Your opinion is important, and you will be sent a short opinion poll. Copies of the poll will be available in the Trading Hut, for those plot holders who don’t have email. Please let us know what you think about this issue.

The Shop will only be open on Sundays during May (no Saturday opening this month).
Following the fire service advice, many products will be removed and will not be stocked again.

As an alternative to these products, Les C has got in a supply of ‘digestate’. It is a liquid made from anaerobically produced compost, which is very high in nutrients, and extremely low in price.

Compost and manure are also low price, and it is very convenient to buy heavy bags on site. Les C would like to make a new order of manure (£3.00 for a 60lb bag), but he needs some help to unload. Les Coupland: 07975 654962

We look forward to seeing you in the Trading Hut for a cuppa! Tea and coffee is available for 50p. There is also a new library area. Drop in for tea and a chat.

Tips for May
It has been very cold, germination and growth are slow, but do not worry, plants will catch up.

Sow leafy crops, such as lettuce, spinach and parsley, while it is still cool.

Until the risks of frost are over do not plant out tender plants, such as beans, tomatoes, courgettes and the like. If you want to plant these vegetables out before the risk of frost is over then they need protection under glass or fleece, which is available from the Trading Hut Shop.

It’s now too late to start, from seed, plants which require a long growing season, i.e. tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, so if you haven’t got these already growing, see if you can find them at the Plant Sale.

The Big Dig
30 people, of mixed abilities, including some who had never used a fork or spade, worked together to dig over the Community Plot and sow seeds for the Plant Sale. Staff, service users and carers from Mencap, Volunteering Matters and Barnet Timebank took part.

Thank you to all the plot holders who helped to make this is great day: Neil for the fantastic Barbecue; Mark Clark for building compost heaps; Sean F-T; Elspeth; Aidan; Tasha; Les C; Amir (son of Zahra and Ayatt); Sandra; Marie and Diane.

Lex, Manager of Barnet Timebank : ‘I just wanted to write to say how fantastic I found the big dig event on Saturday, and in particular to say a big thank you to Brigid and Les for all their handwork, and foresight in getting the project to fruition. I am really excited about the project and so are the members who turned up, as one of my members said when I asked him if he had a good time he said he felt like it was paradise!’

Community Plot
There will be a Working Party on the Community Plot on 21st May with community groups. On Monday afternoons from 23rd May, throughout the summer, there will be sessions on the Community Plot for volunteers and Mencap service users. If you want to get involved with the Community Plot in any way, please get in touch with Brigid or Les.

Rubbish collection in April
Many of you will have seen the tv and sofa put out for the collection. This is not the sort of allotment rubbish we should pay to dispose of.

Committee update
The most recent Committee minutes will be uploaded to the Members area of the website soon. If you are having difficulty logging in to the Members area, please let us know.

Bonfires are not allowed on site at any time during May. The full bonfire rules are in the FAQ section of the website.

Get in touch
Please get in touch with any ideas for the Newsletter. The deadline for the Newsletter is 4 days before the end of the month.

We would also love to hear from anyone who would like to add artwork, information or any other ideas to the new Members Contributions area of the Website. Children’s contributions would be especially welcome.