Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter August 2018
The Whetstone Stray Annual Show is on Sunday 2 September.
As usual, help is needed on the day setting up and taking down gazebos, serving tea and coffee, bringing cakes and other food, selling raffle tickets and clearing up afterwards. Volunteer here.
Application forms for show entries will be sent out by later in August.
Plants for Healing
On 11 August there will be a training on using plants for healing, with herbalist Rasheeqa Ahmed. Book at capitalgrowth.org £25.50 with 15% discount (code Aug15) and an additional 50% off if you have volunteered on the Community Plot this year – get this code from firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are drowning in courgettes and beans, and have run out of friends and family who want them, you can share your crops through the Olio app.
Started in Crouch End just three years ago, Olio is a really simple way of reducing food waste by sharing unwanted food locally. Just a handful of beans or a marrow can make a real difference to someone who relies on food banks to feed their family. And of course, you can request food (and other items) too. Read more about it here.
At this time of year there is plenty of food for birds on our site so please don’t use bird-feeders which may encourage rats. We have lots of wildlife at Whetstone Stray, so if something has been gnawing at your beetroots and potatoes it might have been field mice, moles, voles or squirrels.
Please don’t use sprinklers or leave hosepipes running unattended.
It was good to see so many plotholders basking in the sunshine under the apple trees in the Communal Orchard on Field 2, while enjoying the delicious spread of Turkish delicacies provided by Julie.
Please remember to lock the gate – it is the simplest security measure that we can all take and it has been left open a couple of times recently.
Wednesday 1 August, after 4pm is the only time you can have a bonfire this month. Please keep them small and never leave them unattended.
This will not be open again until Sunday 26 August as there is so little demand in August and several committee members are on holiday.
There has been someone sleeping in a shed at the bottom of Field 1 – if you are aware of anyone sleeping on the site please tell the committee and the police, who have asked to be kept informed. Homeless Action in Barnet provides local support for the homeless.
Butterflies are very sensitive to changes in the environment which is why counting butterflies is like taking the pulse of nature. Take part in the world’s biggest survey of butterflies by simply spending 15 minutes counting butterflies on your plot on a sunny day before 12 August. Download the app and identification charts here.
Sir David Attenborough says, ‘That simple pleasures of looking at butterflies in the garden is calming to the soul and spirit and good for us all.’ More information here.
When you are harvesting your crops please save some seeds from your crops to bring to next year’s Seedy Sunday in February. Not all seeds will come true to type but it’s interesting to try (and completely free). More information here.
Seasonal growing advice for August
Harvest regularly. Beans and courgettes can quickly turn too big or stringy if you leave them for even a day too long. Try not to leave even the tiniest potatoes in the soil when you are harvesting – they are delicious and quick to cook. If you overlook them they can re-emerge next year as ‘volunteers’ and may carry disease.
Keep on weeding and watering. Spread well–rotted mulches after rain to keep moisture in the soil.
Pinch out the tops of climbing beans to encourage growth lower down.
Pinch out and feed tomatoes.
Give extra support to peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers as the fruits get heavier.
Plant out new strawberry plants.
Keep earthing up potatoes, to stop them from turning green in the light.
Dry out garlic, shallots and onions.
Prune currants, gooseberries and summer-fruiting raspberries.
Prop up heavily-laden fruit trees so branches don’t break.
Sow Italian vegetables, such as radicchio and cima di rapa, and orientals, such as mustards, pak choi and mizuna. It is also possible to still sow beetroots and carrots – some say they are sweeter when sown in August.
Farihan, on Holden Road Field, created this recipe because of the large number of courgettes on her plot, and the enormous size they have been growing to overnight.
Serves: 4 people
1 big courgette any colour and type (I used white) or ½ kilo of small courgettes
1 medium onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 medium tomatoes or a handful of small ones, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of salt
A herb of your choice – dried oregano / thyme/ or marjoram
3 tablespoons of olive oil
150 grams of Fusilli Bucati pasta – hollow ringlets (but you can use any pasta)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cube the onion. Peel and chop the garlic. Cut the courgette into small cubes, (peel it if the skin is very hard). Warm the oil in a pan, add the chopped onion, fry until golden brown, and then add the garlic and courgette. Stir for 5 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes (you can use tomato paste as well), add the salt, pepper and herbs, cover the pan and let it simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
Boil water in another small pan, add the pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes then drain and add a bit of olive oil. Serve the pasta on a plate, topped with the courgette sauce, and sprinkled with the cheese, and chopped green or red chilli, if you like.
For added flavour and decoration add different types and colours of berries (raspberry, tayberry) around the plate. I tried that the second time I made it and it really gives a special delicious flavour. Enjoy!