Newsletter July 2018

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter July 2018

July Newsletter

Summer Picnic and Barbecue
Sunday July 22 from 1pm on the newly-restored Communal Orchard at the bottom of Field 2. Please bring food and drink to share and something to sit on.

If you are bringing friends and family to Whetstone Stray, please make sure they do not wander onto other plots. Children are especially likely to be tempted by all the intriguing pathways – having something for them to do on your plot should keep them out of trouble.

The biggest task for gardeners during this heatwave is keeping crops watered. Please be considerate of your neighbours who are waiting to use the tap, and let others know if you are waiting. A good soaking that encourages roots to go down deep is better that frequent more sprinkling; mulching will help prevent evaporation. Please don’t leave hose pipes running unattended.

After 4pm on Wednesday 4 July is the only day this month that you can have a bonfire. Barbecues are fine, but please keep them small.

Please park in a way that doesn’t block access for other drivers. Denis would like to remind drivers that cars outside Field 2 should be parked at an angle to allow cars to get past to Field 3.

Thank you to Rita and Weldon for cleaning and maintaining the toilet at the top of Field 2, which recently included digging out the soak-away. If you want the code to use this toilet please contact Weldon at
Sadly, the composting toilet at the top of Field 1 is only available for users of the Community Plot and for communal events because no one has agreed to take responsibility for cleaning and emptying it yet. If you would like to use it, and are happy to do this, please sign up here.

Lost Keys
If you left your keys in the gate last month, they are in the Trading Hut – pick them up between 10.30 and 11.30am on a Sunday.

Community Plot
In June the Community Plot hosted a team-building volunteer event with Marks & Spencer. The day was a great success, the volunteers assembled raised beds, filled them with compost and planted fruit bushes, paid for by M&S. All the participants had a great time, and we hope to host similar events in future.
Thanks to David and Sylvie who are helping to water the Community Plot – more volunteers welcome.

June Work Party
Our June work party strimmed the grass at the side of the Trading Hut, revealing the recently planted rosa rugosa, (which would appreciate some water if you are passing) trimmed the boundary hedge with Holden Road and the big privet hedge, and cut back nettles so our neighbours can more easily enjoy the blackberries that are ripening. The mysterious Tin Hut was opened to reveal five or more barbecues in varying states of disrepair, lots of bonfire material and some huge spiders. All this activity was followed by a fabulous lunch in the sunshine. Thanks to Crispin, Weldon, Elspeth, Sean, Allison, Brigid, Les, Julie, Dorothy, Siobhan, Rick, and Brenda.

Seasonal Tips
Water, water, water!

Remove any weeds that will take water and nutrients from your crops

When tiny fruits have started to form, feed tomato plants with comfrey tea or other liquid fertiliser each week. Pinch out the side shoots and stake the plants.

Only lift as many first early potatoes as you are going to use immediately, as these varieties do not store well. Earth up the rest of the crop to stop them from turning green and give them a thorough soaking once a week, this is much better than sprinkling them every day.

Harvest black, red and white currants, gooseberries, summer fruiting raspberries, cherries and apricots.
Lift garlic, shallots and onions and allow to dry in the sun or under cover.
Sow the last beetroot, French beans, peas and Florence fennel for this year.

Seasonal recipe
Gooseberry Fool
250g gooseberries topped and tailed
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
splash of elderflower cordial
200ml double cream

Put the gooseberries, cordial and sugar in a pan with a splash of water. Heat gently, stirring, then bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit starts to burst. Squash the gooseberries with a potato masher or fork until pulpy. Cool then chill until cold in the fridge. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and beat with the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently whisk in the cream (it will thicken as you whisk so don’t overdo it). Ripple through the gooseberry pulp then spoon into pretty glasses or bowls to serve.

Newsletter: Dorothy
Website: Brian