Newsletter Autumn 2018

Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter Autumn 2018

Autumn Newsletter

Rent can be paid from 10am to 12 noon on Sunday mornings in October. If you know you will have difficulty paying or if you have decided to give up your plot, please tell Sean, our Rent Officer, as soon as possible at

Rent collection is a good opportunity to check contact details, give out new plot numbers and remind everyone that Whetstone Stray is a self-managing plot – so don’t be surprised if you are asked how you can help take care of it. All of this will take time, so please be patient, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat with your fellow plotholders while you are waiting.

Skincare Workshop
Last reminder for Grow your own Skincare, the Capital Growth/ Women’s Environmental Network training on Saturday 6 October. Tickets from: Capital Growth Training @capital_growth @UKsustain

Annual General Meeting
Our AGM is in the Trading Hut at 10.45 for an 11am start on Sunday 18 November. Come along and stand for committee, vote for committee members, make suggestions, hear what has been happening, discuss issues, vote on resolutions and meet your fellow plotholders. Please send your suggestions, questions, resolutions and supporting documents to by 12 November, so they can be emailed out to everyone to read before the meeting. No written material can be considered on the day due to lack of time. Please wrap up warmly as the hut gets very cold. Tea and coffee will be available throughout and there will be refreshments afterwards.

Thanks to John on Field 1 who has replaced the perspex in the noticeboard outside the trading hut so it is now actually possible to read the notices!

Community Plot
In spite of the pouring rain, twenty four people attended the Urban Harvest celebration. A mix of Community Plot attendees, plotholders and others enjoyed soup made from the 21 kilo pumpkin.

Widening the Lane
There will be a work party on Sunday 14 October to begin widening the lane to Field 3 so it’s easier for cars and the rubbish truck to get through. This will involve cutting back foliage and digging out soil on the right-hand bank. When this has been done we can assess any repairs or maintenance that may be needed to the surface. It’s a big job and needs more than the dedicated five or six volunteers who always turn up. Work parties are particularly satisfying when there is a specific task to be achieved, and lunch afterwards is a good chance for plot-holders to meet each other and chat, so please come along. 10.30am – 1pm, followed by lunch.

This week a SGS petrol strimmer was stolen from a shed on Holden Road Field. Despite a padlock, the hinge held in with 4 screws on one side was pulled clean out of the wood. If you saw anything suspicious or are offered it for sale please contact Whetstone can be very quiet over the coming months which makes it more vulnerable to theft and trespass. If you have a shed, greenhouse or storage box do not leave anything of value in it – even locked sheds can never be completely secure against bolt-cutters. But don’t assume that all damage is vandalism; in the past high winds have blown polytunnels onto the railway tracks and ripped open sheds, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and secure greenhouses, sheds and fruit cages when storms and high winds are predicted.

Eco Compost
There will be no more deliveries of free compost for several years while London Waste, the huge refuse facility that composts all the green and food waste from North London boroughs, is expanding. We will all need to find other ways of improving our soil structure by composting and green manures (see Seasonal Tips).

Bonfires are now allowed any day after 4pm. Please keep them small and under control and never lead them unattended.

Seasonal tips
Lift potatoes and beetroots before the first frost.
Cover autumn salads and Oriental leaves with cloches or fleece to protect from frost.
Plant bare-root fruit bushes, such as gooseberries and currants.
Plant grape vines and strawberries.
Broad beans and peas can be sown in the soil or started in pots now.
Plant garlic, onion and shallot sets. Cover with fleece to protect from the allium moth that caused lots of damage this year.

Link: Allium leaf miner.

Link: Build a compost heap.

Link: Plant green manures to improve your soil.

Seasonal Recipe
Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry
1 pumpkin , or squash (roughly 900g)
4 cm piece of ginger
4 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
1 bunch fresh coriander
groundnut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
Serves 6
Chop the pumpkin or squash into 3cm chunks and cut the ginger into matchsticks. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Pour a good glug of groundnut oil into a large saucepan and place on a high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli and shallots, then reduce to a medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander stalks and fry until the curry leaves go crispy. Add the turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then add the pumpkin and chickpeas. Reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. When the time’s up, take the lid off and cook for a further 15 minutes or so until the sauce is lovely and thick. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice or naan, chutneys and dips on the side.

Newsletter: Dorothy
Website: Brian