Newsletter November 2017

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter November 2017

November Newsletter

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is on Sunday 19 November at 10.45am for an 11am start. You will be sent the agenda and more details nearer the time. Please come and contribute your ideas for Whetstone Stray.

Apple Day
Many thanks to Les Coupland and Sean for organising a great day. It’s a good thing we now have two apple presses, as there was a great turn out, with a variety of apples to press and at least 30 litres of apple juice were produced. More photos on the website.

Water will be turned off on Tuesday 7 November to prevent the pipes from freezing over winter. We have no control over when this happens, or when it will be turned on again in Spring, so top up water butts and other containers while you can.

Thank you to everyone who paid their rent on time – your kind co-operation helps us to manage our finances. If rents have not been paid we will assume that these plots are no longer wanted and will start showing them to people on the waiting list from this weekend.

Farihan and her husband , Abbas, took on a plot on the Holden Road field last year, with no experience of gardening. They now have a flourishing plot where they have generously hosted several meals for other plotholders. (You may have tasted Farihan’s delicious chard pastries at the Annual Show.) Read her story of what the allotment has taught her – What an Amazing Experience – in the members’ contributions section of the website.

Leaf mould
Fallen leaves are everywhere this month – often nicely bagged up by our local council – and completely free. Leaf mould makes excellent soil improver – watch Monty Don’s video here:

Filing Cabinet
If you have any unwanted 2-drawer A4 filing cabinets you could donate, we really need some in the Trading Hut urgently.

You can see photos of Maria’s fabulous Romanesco cauliflower and Martin H’s wily fox in Members’ Contributions on the website. Please keep sending in your photos.

Minutes of the last Committee meeting are in the members area of the website. Among other things, it was decided to transfer our bank account and to buy a second apple press.

These are now allowed at any time. Bonfires are the biggest cause of complaints from our neighbours, so if your plot is near to Ridgeway Road, please consider the wind direction, if children are playing in gardens, or there is washing hanging on a line before lighting a fire. Please also check for hedgehogs and other wildlife. Keep bonfires small and under control; never use petrol to light them or leave them unattended.

The next newsletter will be in January. Monthly newsletter will resume in March. If you have any contributions or news you would like included please contact

Top Tasks for November
Plant bare-root fruit trees, bushes and canes before the ground becomes to o cold and wet.
Pick autumn raspberries.
Sow broad beans
Remove nets from fruit cages but leave them over brassicas such as Brussels sprouts and cabbages.
Plant garlic and rhubarb.
Prune apple and pear trees and soft fruit bushes while they are dormant.
Dig over beds, remove perennial weeds and add well-rotted compost and manure.
Cover beds with cardboad or plastic to protect the soil from heavy rain.
From Allotment Month by Month by Alan Buckingham pub. Dorling Kindersley

November recipe
Chard and Chickpeas

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 bag chard, stems separated & finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
6 sage leaves, chopped (optional)
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g tin chickpeas
Pinch flaked chilli
200ml veg or chicken stock
juice of ½ lemon,
Olive oil, to serve
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper

Sweat the onion, carrot, chard stalks, sage, bay leaf and chopped garlic in olive oil for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Season well.
Add the chard leaves, chickpeas, chilli and stock. Cook gently for about 10 minutes.
Season to taste, add a squeeze of lemon juice and a little more chilli if desired.
Trickle over some olive oil, and scatter with the parsley.
From Riverford Organic Farms