Community Plot Blog

We’re no longer blogging, but we’re still busy!

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July 2019

With the weather varying between too hot, too wet (briefly), too dry and even a bit chilly – we have been getting on as best we can. We have more varied crops to take home now

This week Thursday Group took home: garlic; a lot of lettuce; rhubarb and a few strawberries.  We also couldn’t resist digging up a potato plant to see what was happening – although we knew we still had ten days to go … the results were so good we dug up the next plant, but the potatoes on that one weren’t ready … we will have to wait!

Nicola and Mbuelo cleaning tools when we were rained off!

June 2019

This month, we welcomed back Rashida Ahmed for another Capital Growth training session on the Community Plot using wildflowers and herbs – we learned a lot and made a remedy for cuts and grazes with mallow from the community plot.

July was a busy month, with lots of planting out.  Like lots of other plot holders on Whetstone Stray, we have had a mystery creature pulling out and breaking our corn!  There are lots of theories on site about this – from Muntjac deer to cats!  We think it’s teenage magpies or crows, because we know how they love to play pulling out our onions…   Whatever it is, Tuesday Group have done a fantastic job making a protective cage and no more corn has been lost!

David watering in the poly tunnel

Chard has gone to seed and is taller than us!  we are starting to cut it back and pull it up  to make room for brassicas.  We will miss it … Chard is an essential ingredient in our green smoothies.

May 2019

We held our Annual Plant Sale, which is mainly stocked with plants grown on the Community Plot, and proceeds of plant and refreshment sales are kindly donated to the Community Plot.  This year the Plant Sale raised nearly £200 to buy seeds, compost and other sundries which will keep us going!

We’ve been busy preparing for the Plant Sale, planting potatoes and sowing wild flowers.

Big Dig

April 27th 2019

This was our 4th Big Dig.  Every year is different.  This year, it was so cold and windy that we stayed indoors!  We pricked out and planted on 120 tomatoes, made 200 paper pots, mixed seed compost and filled the paper pots with it, then sowed in peas and beans, made a scarecrow, cooked pizza and made salad using Community Plot leaves + Nicola and Nanami made beautiful new signs for the Community Plot.

Many thanks to the 20 people who turned out and got busy, in so many ways, it was great fun and everyone made it happen!


April 2019

We’ve been back for three weeks … but a bit slow getting started with the Blog!

We’ve been busy making paper pots, sowing seeds, planting potatoes and getting ready for the Capital Growth Big Dig 2019 on Saturday 27th April :  BigDig2019_Poster_A4_PRINT

Here are some pics from our Mencap Sessions in April

Melanie digging trenches for potatoes for the first time!

… and finally, a lovely Leopard Slug … found in a bag of leaf mould today IMG_0351

Leopard Slugs are a gardener’s friend. They don’t damage healthy, living plants, but they do eat other slugs, including species that can damage garden plants and vegetables. By eating dead and rotting plants, as well as fungi, Leopard Slugs recycle nutrients and fertilise the soil.

October 25th 2018

The last day of the year for the Mencap Group.  It’s been a great year.

Each week we start with a warm up

Today was lovely and warm.  

We’re still harvesting tomatoes.

We’ve already started making paper pots – When we come back in March we’ll make a lot more!

We sowed broad beans.

Franco planted out another bed of garlic.  It will be ready to eat in May or June 2019

We took home potatoes, pumpkins tomatoes and herbs

15 kilos!

Watch this space for updates from Tuesday Group …

Thursday Group will be back in March 2019.

October 18th 2018

A lovely sunny day.

All the potatoes are up now.  We are still picking tomatoes and beans!

Mbuelo giving our newly planted out brassicas a feed from the wormery.

October 11th 2018

We dug up more potatoes, and picked beans and tomatoes.  We planted garlic.

October 2018

We dug up potatoes, picked the last of the cucumbers and courgettes, prepared beds for garlic, and made paper pots.

Franco with his first ever paper pot

September 2018

We’re featured in the Jellied Eel magazine!

September 22nd :Capital Growth Urban Harvest 2018

It was too wet to dig potatoes, too wet to light the pizza oven … Not the day we planned …

But we still had a great day!

24 volunteers and supporters took part, we picked corn,  tomatoes in the polytunnel, herbs and chard.  We made apple juice and for lunch we had pumpkin soup, couscous with allotment veg and herbs, chard frittata and apple cakes.

Volunteer Margaret treated us to her beautiful singing – traditional seasonal songs.

+ We think we’re in with a good chance for heaviest pumpkin today!  21.3 kilos!!!

September 13th 2018

We continue to take it easy, taking in the harvest in the sun


Thank you to Desy, who took this gorgeous photo of a leaf beetle on our cosmos

September 6th 2018

August 23rd 2018

We dug up potatoes, thinned carrots and beetroots, picked chard, basil, courgettes, tomatoes and beans.

We also did some Art Work, and made ‘smell cocktails’ – mixing lovely smelling leaves and herbs together – our favourite was Nicola’s mix of basil, rosemary and tomato leaves.

August 21st 2018

August 16th 2018

Welcome back to Thursday Group – after an extended break due to the scorching hot weather in July …. it was pouring with rain for most of today!

We spent the first couple of hours making apple juice, and the rest of the time picking courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, chard, beans, beetroots, and basil.

July 18th 2018

A scorching hot day … we fed our plants with comfrey feed, watered, sowed radishes and carrots, picked beans, courgettes, beetroots and chard, … and enjoyed sitting under our new shade umbrella – thank you to volunteer Sara for donating it!

July 12th 2018

Water, water, water … and we dug up our first new potatoes, picked our first beans … and unloaded a delivery for the Allotment Shop.

July 5th 2018

After we fed our plants with comfrey feed (it stinks!), and then watered, we stayed in the shade as much as we could.  We potted on leeks, sowed more carrots and planted out another pumpkin.

June 27th 2018

A very hot day.  We watered and sowed seeds, and made green smoothies with chard.

June 21st

Making Every Moment Special with wonderful Marks & Spencers Volunteers and funding for our new “M&S Smoothie beds’ filled with smoothie ingredients including blueberries, strawberries and cucumbers.

June 18th and 20th 2018

Thank you to Margaret for photos,

& for looking after our wildlife pond and pollinator area.

June 7th 2018

Phew! We got everything done!  We filled the second raised bed with compost, and prepared the ground for courgettes and pumpkins – then planted them out.  We started these plants as seeds.

Now we’ll take a break for a week …

31st May 2018

The end of May, and we’re (nearly) on time with all the Spring jobs … Today Mbuelo, Michael and Daniel prepared an area for a raised bed, Nicola, Daniel and David planted out peas and strawberries and we all did more potting on.

The Meadow in the orchard, which we sowed last year, is beautiful again this year

24th May 2018

May business carries on, with seed sowing, potting on, weeding and planting out

Sowing carrots, beetroots and parsnips in the high raised bed

Potting on brassicas

17th May 2018

An even busier day than last week!

We made £120 at the Plant Sale, but still have lots of small seedlings to look after and are still sowing seeds for later.

Today we finished filling the tall raised bed:

Thank you to volunteers Desy and Sara

10th May 2018

A busy day

Despite the slow start with the cold Spring this year, the plants are ready for the Plant Sale on Sunday 13th May 10am-12:00 … we gave them a water with worm feed from our wormery today.

We also moved compost into the newly rebuilt and strengthened large raised bed:

Nicola and Desy weeded, dug and prepared a bed for broad beans, and planted them out.

Our neighbour Joanna gave us chard plants.  We stripped off the leaves to eat, and then planted them out.

Looking forward to the Plant Sale!

3rd May 2018

A lovely warm Spring day.

We prepared the ground and sowed our shade loving Growwild wild flowers under the apple and plum trees.

Michael and Mbuelo put up a bean frame and everyone planted out some of the beans we grew from seed.

David and Nicola planted out the sweetpeas we sowed last year.

Sara prepared a bed for radishes and lettuces, which David, Danny and Nicola sowed.

19th April

Hottest day of the year – since 1947!  We had a tree planting ceremony with members of the Barnet Allotment Federation, who awarded us a beautiful William pear as part of the Ted Green Award for an outstanding Community Initiative:

thanks to Volunteers Desy, Sara, and Margaret

16th April.  Thank you to London Energy for delivering 5 tonnes of compost.  We moved as much as we could – the first picture shows the heap at the beginning of the day, and the last picture at the end of the day.

10th April : not much time to do gardening today, we had  our new table to put together …

Thank you and welcome to new volunteers, Ed, Lewis and Joanna, and old hands Les and Sara + to Barnet Giving for funding!

6th April : Mencap Group

What a lovely, sunny day, and we got so much done!

Nicola and David made paper pots and sowed purple beans with Pauline.

Mbuelo, Michael and Tom filled up the first of the large raised beds with top soil, and Desy and Sara prepared the potato bed.

 Welcome to Spring Time!

29th March : Mencap Group

It was a wet, cold day, but we got more paper pots made, filled with our home-made compost mix, and sowed with chillies, courgettes, peas, cabbages, kale and Brussels sprouts.

David with the medal he got for volunteering at the London Landmarks Half Marathon.

Thank you to volunteers Desy and Sara.

Thank you to Volunteer Angela for refreshing our herb barrow with violas!

22nd March : Mencap Group

Happy Birthday to Nicola!  It is also Tom’s Birthday on Sunday.

Nicola brought cake to share.

We made lots of paper pots – when we had enough to fill 11 ‘and a half’ trays, we mixed up compost, leaf mould and sand to make seed compost.  At the end of the day, we sowed tomatoes, chillies and peas and Nicola sowed her favourite sweet peas.

15th March: Mencap Group

We unloaded a huge amount of woodchip and spread it inside the polytunnel, and on the paths between the raised beds.  It was easy to walk on the new walkway, and we got the whole job done.  We will need to have hot baths to soak our muscles!

Thanks and welcome to new volunteer Poonam

Raised Bed and Accessible Paths Building Project

empty raised bed at the beginning of the day

Adding in logs, branches, leaves and sheeps wool – these will raise the level of the beds, and keep them fertile for years to come.

Filling the raised beds : March 6th 2018.  Many thanks to Akan, Mike, Jason and Les

February 2018: The 2 new, huge raised beds have been constructed.  Thanks to Akan and Jason, and all who have been involved from prep to completion.  The next step will be to fill them, which we will do with logs, wool, compost and topsoil.

We will be meeting next in March to make accessible paths, and continue to meet on Tuesdays for garden maintenance.

Merry Christmas 2017!

What’s happening on the Community Plot?  Tuesday Group have been busy, many thanks to Margaret, Rebecca, Jason and Les.  The materials for raised beds will be delivered in the first week of January, and the area where they will go is ready.

Any volunteers to help will be very welcome – contact Les: 07957 388 033

The onions & garlic are up, the sweet peas are thriving. Scroll down to see when the Group planted them!

2017 Winner : The Ted Green Trophy for an Outstanding Community Initiative

Danny (Community Plot member) holding up the trophy.  Barnet Allotment Federation have also kindly awarded the Community Plot £50.00, for a fruit tree to be planted when the Group returns in March 2018.

9th November 2017

We met for the last time this year on Thursday.  It’s been a great year.

We finished pressing the last of our apples – 10 litres of juice, and picked the last of our tomatoes from the poly tunnel.


We showed Active Volunteering staff around, and told them about the Community Plot.  On 8th November, Nicola and Tom gave a presentation about the Community Plot to the Barnet Mencap AGM (the slide show is here: Our Community Plot)

We are looking forward to next year.  We planted garlic and onions ready for Spring.  We will be back in February.


While Thursday Group are away, we will sometimes have posts from the Tuesday Group, and from the Community Plot Steering Group, who are planning for 2018.

Congratulations to Les Moore, who has been awarded a Local Hero (by Growing Together) for his creativity and generosity in giving his time and knowledge to make the Community Plot.  £40 worth of seeds and vouchers will help to grow the Plot.  See our Twitter page @comm_plot

2nd November 2017

We did some jobs ready for Winter: we netted our pond, weeded our leeks, and Nicola added some more drawings to her poster which will go to the Barnet Mencap AGM next week, when she and Tom will talk about the Plot.

We sowed 180 broad bean seeds, which we saved from our crop this year.

That’s a lot of broad beans to eat, but they will improve the soil and stop weeds from growing.

Nicola identifying earthworms 

We used our Earthworm Watch kit to check two parts of the plot for how many worms we could find.  First we dug a hole: we found big deep-living earthworms, then we poured water and mustard in, and a soil-feeding earthworm came out.  We also checked the colour of our soil, we mixed a 50p sized piece and rolled it into a ball, and then made a sausage to see what kind of soil we have: we have loam soil.

26th October 2017

We had a visitors from Capital Growth : Elizabeth and Laura (front right), who gave us posters and  flower seeds.

We dug up the last of our potatoes and carrots:

No more potatoes left!

We sowed sweet pea seeds in toilet rolls!

Thanks to our volunteers: Desy, Sara, Rebecca and our special guests Elizabeth and Laura from Capital Growth

19th October 2017

A wet day, so we made apple juice!


Sara was determined to get the last drop!

We made 6 litres of apple juice

When the rain stopped, we planted out winter salads – chicory, lettuce and pak choi

Tom ‘the Foreman’ overseeing the job!

At the end of the day, we took home plenty of veg: carrots, beetroots, chard, oriental greens and toms:

13th October 2017

We were busy on the Plot today, digging up potatoes:

… and picking courgettes, broccoli, tomatoes and pak choi …

Many thanks to our lovely volunteers : Sarah, Desy and Rebecca

7th October 2017 – Open Day

We showed lots of people around the Community Plot, and some people stayed for lunch. We had home-made apple juice, soup, barbecued corn and salads made by Vanya, Brigid and Judith.  Then we had cakes made by Vanya and Pauline.  It was good day!

5th October 2017

We are back on the Plot.

Today we picked vegetables for lunch at our Open Day.  We dug potatoes and picked corn:

On the day, we will pick more veg for salad:

Look how big our hot oriental salad leaves are now!  (Remember when we sowed them? – scroll down our Blog to find out!)

See you at our Open Day on Saturday 7th October!

30th September 2017

London Harvest Festival

We were invited to take part in the London Harvest Festival at Capel Manor. This is a big day for community gardens and farms.  Nicola made a poster for our display.

Jason (Tuesday Group) made an unusual container planter in a wheelbarrow with herbs and decorative cabbages, which got Highly Commended in the competition:

Everyone made apple juice to give to people to try:

14th September

We picked apples from plot holder Marion’s plot, and used some of the them to make apple juice by crushing the chopped up apples.  We picked as much of our crop as we could because we are having a break next week, and we don’t want any of our produce to go to waste!

10th September 2017

We won Best New Plot and Novice Cup in the Whetstone Stray Annual Show!!! We got 7 First Prizes; 12 Second Prizes and 4 3rd Prizes.  We won £13.80, which we spent on raffle tickets and tea and cake.  We had some lovely home made cake which was only £1.00 with a cup of tea or coffee.

We also were awarded a £20.00 voucher from Finchley Nurseries and the money from the Auction – £37.00.  We will use this money to buy seeds for next year.

7th September 2017

An overcast day but we enjoyed it.

here are our Oriental Mustards, getting bigger all the time!

We dug up a selection of different coloured potatoes, and gave some to PC David Morrow, our Community Policeman, when he passed by:

We planted out calendulas and nasturtiums – Sara and Angela tried the leaves and seeds – they’re spicy!

We’re looking forward to the Annual Show on Sunday.  Tom hopes his Marrow wins a prize:

Thanks to volunteers Rebecca, Sara and Angela

31st August 2017

Our Oriental Mustards are already up … but we forgot to take a photo … watch this space to see them!

We planted out 52 pak choi which we raised from seed.

Mbuelo doing his favourite thing -watering!

We took lots of photos, to enter into the Annual Show on Sunday September 10th.  Tom donated a bottle of wine, he brought back from his holiday in France, for the Raffle.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre (Sara)

 Nicola’s selfies for the Grow Wild Selfie Competition#grewitmyselfie

Tom with the Kohl Rabi he pulled up!

We tried Kohl Rabi at lunch time.  It tastes a bit like the stalk of cauliflower!  Desy said it is her new favourite vegetable!

After Lunch, it rained, so we got creative and did some drawings of vegetables to enter in the Annual Show competition!

Thank you to our lovely  Volunteers: Sara; Rebecca and Desy

24th August 2017

We prepared our raised bed, and sowed Oriental Mustards

in different colours:

seeds from

Debbie and Clair from Barnet Active Volunteering visited:

Active Volunteering supports several of our volunteers:

It was a lovely afternoon on the plot

We fed our plants , and watered

And at the end of the day, we picked and took home a lot of food!

Thank you to volunteer Angela


17th August 2017

We’re back with really good news!  We won the Ted Green Award for Outstanding Community Initiative on an Allotment !!

Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in creating the Community Plot!

This week we picked several kilos of beans, courgettes, potatoes, tomatoes, and chard.  Thank you to the two Joanna’s – one gave us apples and the other gave us plums!. We also prepared a bed to plant out our pak choi, and fed our marrows with food made in our wormery!

Thank you to volunteers Rebecca and Sara.

Week 6 of the Summer Group on Thursdays

We had judges come to look at the Plot.  They stayed for about half an hour, and talked to us about what we grow, and the things we have done like digging the pond, and making paths.

We potted on pak choi, and we planted out cabbages.  We picked courgettes, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and beans.  Our neighbour Joanna gave us a big branch full of plums.

We’ve had a good time, and we’re proud of what we’ve done in the last 6 weeks.  We are having a break next week, we’ll be back on 17th August.  Tom is looking forward to see how big his marrow will be when we get back!  He hopes to win the prize for biggest marrow in the Annual Show on September 10th!

Many thanks to our volunteers: Rebecca, Desy and Sara.

Week 5 of the Summer Group on Thursdays

We moved the Shop delivery, which weighed one ton.  Pauline said it was one tun of fun!  (Brigid said thank you from the Committee and everyone who uses the shop).

We planted leeks using broom handles, Mbuelo did a very good job!

It rained off and on, but we had perfect timing and did not get wet!

After lunch we fed the worms in our new wormery with banana skins and apple cores!

We took home: courgettes; runner beans; peas; French beans and plums – thank you to Ian for inviting us to pick the plums on his plot!

Thanks, too, to our volunteers: Rebecca and Desy.

The wildflower meadow

Week 4 of the Summer Group on Thursdays

We dug up our first potatoes!  We enjoyed digging our potatoes – it is easier to take them out than to put them in!

We also picked our first tomatoes from the poly tunnel:

There were some very big courgettes.  When you pick courgettes, you have to twist and turn them – not pull them!

Tom’s giant marrow, he is growing for the Annual Show in September.


Week 3 of the Summer Group on Thursdays

We have our first courgettes:

Some of our carrots were too small, and some were just right!

It’s fun to plant different vegetables. This week we planted out kohlrabi – a new vegetable that none of us has tried before, but it’s good to try new things. We also planted out our Brussels sprouts for Christmas. We grew the Brussels from seed, and one of the allotment neighbours gave us the kohlrabi.

Butterfly in the poly tunnel

Weeks 1 and 2 of the Summer Group on Thursdays

We picked broad beans, onions and peas, which we sowed in the Winter, and we enjoyed the hot weather!

Archive: Community Improvement Project with the Royal Mencap Society & Postcode Lottery

Event December 2016

From October to December 2016,  the Royal Mencap Society and volunteers supported a group of 12 people with Learning Disabilities to make a Community Plot on Whetstone Stray Allotments.  The Group made a pond, paths, raised beds and planted beans, onions, garlic and peas to over-winter.

At the end we enjoyed a party … with cake!

And fresh apple juice!