Newsletter April 2018

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter April 2018

April Newsletter

Holden Road Field Work Party

On Saturday 14 April all plotholders on Holden Road Field who have not yet planted native hedging (or who have done so but had some plants fail to thrive) are encouraged to join the work party. There will also be some repair work to the boundary in the corner of plot 31. We will also be planting Rosa rugosa by the buddleia along the fence by the Trading Hut to encourage birds and butterflies. 10.30am – 12.30pm. Lunch provided, as always.

The Big Dig
On Saturday 21 April Whetstone the Community Plot will be taking part in the Big Dig, an annual event organised by Capital Growth to get Londoners outside and growing together. There will be a variety of activities to suit all abilities, including digging, potato planting and wildflower sowing. 10am to 1pm, followed by a well-deserved lunch. Children very welcome.

Plant Sale
On Sunday 13 May we have one of Whetstone’s most popular events – a great place to stock up on good quality young plants for the new season at bargain prices. Please plant some extra seeds now so you can bring along some plants to be sold – (and remember to label them). In our recent survey you told us that bringing cakes and other food to events was the most popular way to volunteer at Whetstone – so now is your chance to prove it. All the proceeds go to supporting our Community Plot. 10.30am – 1pm.

A kingfisher and a yellow wagtail have been spotted recently, and a kestral hunting on the Community Plot. If you have noticed cloven footprints and sharply nibbled shoots on your plot you have probably had a visit from the muntjac deer which has been seen several times on Fields 1, 2 and 3.

Shop at Trading Hut
The shop is open on Sundays from 10.30am to 11.30am. Cash only. Thank you to Brigid, Dave Emmins and Peter Gordon for unloading the delivery for the Shop, this is always a challenge and help is essential. The new price list will be added to the website – we now have Environmesh in stock. Please help to keep the shop open by signing up to staff it here.

Community Plot
Thank you to plot holders Les, Jason and Akan for their work on the raised beds and access path on the Community Plot, which will make a huge difference to the Mencap group. There will be a delivery of compost for the Community Plot on April 12 to fill the raised beds – anyone helping with this task will be welcome to take some compost for themselves.

Please burn all rubbish before the end of April, after which bonfires are not be allowed so that plotholders and our neighbours, can enjoy fresh air in the Spring sunshine.

Rubbish Collection
There will be a rubbish collection on Sunday 15 April. Please put out anything that cannot be burned or composted the day before if possible, and, as was suggested in response to the survey, do have a look to see if there is anything you can use among the rubbish. Unfortunately, in the past, some plotholders have used the site collection to bring in items such as TVs and sofas; the rubbish collection is expensive, so please use it wisely.

Field 3
Some plotholders pointed out in our survey that the rubbish lorry can’t get through to their field as the road is too narrow, and there are also concerns about improving security. Cristina has contacted all her fellow Field 3 plotholders suggesting different times for a work party to address these issues, as she can never come on Saturdays. Please reply to her email if you haven’t done so already.

New Plotholder
Welcome to Brenda, who has just taken over a half plot on Field 1.

Cherry Trees
The committee are dealing with the deliberate ringbarking of sixteen cherry trees on a forest plot, which may result in the death of the trees. Plotholders should only ever carry out work on their own plots – if you have concerns about neighbouring plots that you think are overgrown or neglected please contact Rents Officer Sean at rather than taking action yourself.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our first very survey. Thanks to Allison, Sean, Dorothy and Dominik for creating it and to Carmen for her advice. The purpose of the survey was to let plotholders know the different ways that they can contribute to our self-managing site, and to get their opinions on other matters. You can see a summary of the results here.

The water will be turned on in mid-April, when all danger of frost, snow and freezing pipes will have passed, we hope.

There are two composting toilets on Whetstone Stray site – details of how they differ from normal toilets are on the website here.

Your responses to our survey show that most of you don’t want to use them, preferring to use a bucket in your shed or the loos at the Redwood Café in the Swan Lane park. To be given the code so you can use the Whetstone toilets, you will need to be shown how to use a composting toilet and agree to help keep the toilets clean. Plotholders on Fields 2 and 3 should contact Rita and Weldon who are kindly taking responsibility for that toilet and can be contacted at

The disabled toilet that serves Holden Road Field and Field 1 has been beset with problems – broken lock and hinges, alarm battery stolen and generally being left in a horrible state. Brigid checks it before and after the Community group session on Thursdays but it is not her job to keep it clean. Anyone wanting to use this must agree to become part of a group of users who can organise themselves to take responsibility for keeping it clean. If you are interested in doing this please sign up here.

Minutes of the last committee meeting (held in the King of Bohemia due to freezing weather) can be found in the members’ area of the website here.

Seasonal Tips
April is usually the time to get busy but try not to be in too much of a hurry to plant and sow seeds if the conditions are not right –few plants like cold, wet earth and trampling over your plot after all this rain is likely to damage the soil structure. Better to lay over some black plastic to warm the soil in preparation for planting and stop it getting too waterlogged. Nature always has her way of catching up!
Indoors you can plant courgettes, tomatoes, chillies and peppers, pumpkins and squash, cucumbers, herbs, brassicas, corn, beans and basil. Don’t forget to sow some extra seeds for our Plant Sale in May.

You can also plant out potatoes, that you have chitted, but keep an eye on the weather forecast, we can still get frosts and snow, but you can cover the emerging shoots with fleece.

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.

Don’t forget to sow some extra seeds for our Plant Sale in May

Website: Brian
Newsletter: Dorothy