Newsletter June 2016

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter June 2016

June Newsletter

Thanks John for another of your great cartoons. Click the image for a larger version.

2016 Plant Sale
The Annual Plant Sale is our kindest tradition, thanks to the generosity of Plot Holders who make it happen. We are sorry we didn’t keep a list of everyone who contributed plants and cakes, so we will just have to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who did their bit to keep this great Allotment tradition alive.

Special mention to the volunteers from Mencap who sowed loads of peas on the Big Dig, and to John, who contributed several trays of his monster pumpkins – perhaps there may be a Halloween event out of these, later this year?

The Plant Sale raised £160.00 for plants, and £36.40 for refreshments. This money will be put towards the cost of the Annual Show.

Glyphosate Survey
More than half of the our mailing list responded to the Survey, and paper surveys have also been received, giving us a total of 63 responses. This represents about half of the site. Of those who took part, more than two thirds thought that Glyphosate should be banned.

This is the first time we have tried a survey approach, and it seems to be a good way to involve people, with several plot holders commenting that they appreciated being asked their opinion.

As with all important decisions, this issue will go to the AGM in November for discussion and a formal vote.

Site Inspection
The site is inspected by Committee members in June. Please get in touch if you are not achieving the agreed minimum standards to discuss what might help. The standards are: one third cultivation in the first year; two thirds in the second year, and a well maintained plot thereafter. There are many different styles and ways of doing this, but they all involve planting and growing fruit and vegetables.

In the last newsletter there was a call out for assistance for Les Coupland, so that he could be sure of help to unload a delivery for the shop. Deliveries are during the week, if you are regularly on site during the week, then please consider offering to help.

Many people have been asking about Grow More and Fish, Blood and Bone, both of which are fine for us to stock, as they don’t contain anything which can be used as an explosive (or not in high enough proportions to be unsafe). These items will be ordered, together with the 8 feet canes, when Les Coupland returns from holiday.

Tips for June
Carrots : Carrot fly will become active as the weather warms up, so take preventative measures now by screening the area around your carrots with a 2 foot high barrier and enviro-mesh (available in the Trading Hut Shop) Carrot flies do not fly above two feet, so your carrots will be protected. It is the smell of the carrot which seems to attract them, so try not to disturb the carrots until you harvest. Very thin spread of the seed helps. If you have to thin your carrots, try doing it in the evening, when the carrot fly are not so active.

Tomatoes : feed with diluted liquid tomato feed once a week starting from when the first flowers show (feed is available in the Trading Hut Shop).

Watering : During June you will almost certainly start to water your crops. Watering is one of the hardest gardening tasks to get right, and one of the easiest to do wrong! In all watering tasks, aim for a good soak when needed, rather than a quick blast regardless.

Water the base of the plant not the foliage (which will attract slugs/ could cause sun damage to foliage), use a can with a rose or a very gentle spray on seedlings and young plants.

Deep rooted crops such as carrots and parsnips should not be watered, as the roots should be encouraged to grow down to seek moisture, watering encourages the roots to grow upwards which is not what you want!

Weeding : use a hoe on warm, sunny days (there is a risk of weeds re-sowing if you hoe on wet days), or hand pull between rows.

Netting : when planting out young brassicas, net them to prevent the Cabbage White butterfly laying her eggs, and to avoid pigeon damage later in the year.

Community Plot
Plans for the Community Plot have been put back so that we can comply with the H&S, First Aid and other requirements of Volunteering Matters, who are now our main partner organisation and will help us to put everything in place. Volunteering Matters has experience of running a successful allotment project in Norfolk, so we will benefit from their experience. This also means we will have time to build the structure before we start.

We hope to not lose all the work done on the Big Dig, by planting the remaining pumpkins from the Plant Sale on the plot, to provide ground cover – if you’d like to help out by planting one or two, let us know by email or in the Trading Hut.

Bonfires are allowed on the first Wednesday of the month, after 4pm: Wednesday 1st June after 4pm.

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.