Newsletter April 2017

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter April 2017

April Newsletter

Community Plot Group planting fruit trees

The BIG DIG Saturday April 22nd 10.30 to 2pm

All Volunteers (plot holders and visitors), are welcome to the BIG DIG on the Community Plot on 22nd April. The Big Dig is the National Day for volunteering in community garden projects.

This is our second Big Dig, and a lot has happened on our Community Plot in the last year. Neil Davey has volunteered to return as our Big Dig Chef, which is a great reason to volunteer a few hours. Volunteers will: plant the new wildlife area and pond, dig, plant potatoes, sow wildflowers and vegetables.

Barnet Giving/London Community Funding
The Community Plot was chosen to be awarded the first round of Barnet Giving funding for planting, disabled access pathways and raised beds – and a pizza oven! (this will be used for the first time at the Big Dig, and will also be available for other events).

Community Plot Polytunnel
We hope to have the poly tunnel finally finished soon after you read this. Constructing the poly tunnel on the Community Plot has been our biggest volunteer challenge ever. Thanks to everyone who has taken part: Dave, Elspeth, Marie, Marco, Rik, Sean Elliot, Ziggy, and most of all, Crispin, who has volunteered repeatedly for this huge task.

School Visit
Our site hosted an outdoor classroom at the end of March when 30 seven year olds learned about bees, made paper pots, learned about compost, prepared a seedbed and sowed lettuce, reddish and peas. The children were delightful, and actively engaged in the learning.

Allotment Stars
Thank you to Terry, who has plumbed in a tap in the Trading Hut.

Thank you to Paul for the immaculate job of clearing up the car parking area after the compost delivery.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Hospice for compost from Ecopark. We will be giving an improved donation to our wonderful local Hospice this year.

Thank you to Dorothy for arranging the compost deliveries, support to new plot holders, editorial advice, and for the laminated notices she has made for our site.

We don’t choose when the water is turned on and off, but the people who carry out this task have told us they hope to turn it back on next week, or by the following week at the latest. Meanwhile, unusually for the time of year, we just have to hope it rains!

In many ways it is not accurate to call the Trading Hut a ‘shop’ – it is more like a club. Some of the Association’s funds from our rents are invested into gardening supplies, and the wholesale savings are then passed on to plot holders. We are able to do this because we are all volunteers, and because our funds are healthy enough, so that we do not need to make profits from the Trading Hut.

The Trading Hut is open from 10:30-11:30am on Sundays. There is a delivery next week, and the price list will be updated on the website.

Thank you to everyone for responding quickly to the request from the police for contact information. Very few people opted out, the wishes of those who did, have been respected.

Please get in touch if you want to be responsible for monitoring a trail camera in your part of the site. The Association has budget available for some cameras and batteries, but they are only worthwhile if they are monitored and maintained.

Rubbish Collection
It’s not nice to see rubbish dumped around the site, half hidden behind trees, or in hedges where plot holders like Charlie, who maintains his field’s boundary hedge, has to pick it out.

There will be a rubbish collection after Easter, but unfortunately we can’t give the exact details until nearer the time. Look out for an email, and meanwhile, keep your rubbish on your plots.

April is the last month when we can have bonfires at any time, but please be aware that our neighbours on the road behind the train tracks don’t appreciate smoky fires, and may complain if we are not considerate.

April Working Party
Aidan will lead a Working Party on Sunday 9th April to repair the boundary on Field 2 with dry hedging. Plot holders are reminded only to enter and leave the site through the gates.

Tips for April
With two Bank Holidays coming up, now really is the time to get busy. You can be sowing: in pots – courgettes, pumpkins and squash, cucumbers, herbs, brassicas, corn, beans and basil.

You can directly sow on the plot: beetroot, parsnips, carrots, turnips, broad beans, chard, spinach, coriander, leeks, lettuce, mizuna, parsley, peas, radish and salad onions – and there is still time to sow onion sets, shallots and garlic.

Later in April, you can sow beans, corn, squashes and brassicas directly on the plot.

And it’s also time for planting potatoes!

So, there should be a lot of activity taking place when the Committee does the site inspections at the end of the month.

Plant Sale in May
The Annual Plant Sale will be held in the Trading Hut on May 14th. When sowing seeds, please add a few for the Plant Sale. This is one of our nicest site traditions, where plot holders share and donate to each other.

Committee update
The most recent Committee minutes are in the Members area on 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 Members Contributions area of the Website. Children’s contributions would be especially welcome.