Whetstone Stray Allotments Newsletter Autumn 2019

Annual Show
Thank you to Marion, Elspeth, Allison, Sean, Crispin, Afsaneh, Weldon, Angela and Dorothy for all their hard work on the Annual Show this year, and to Julie for the fabulous barbecue afterwards using plotholders’ donated vegetables. Congratulations to all the winners – several certificates were not collected on the day and will be available in the Hut during rent collection.

Rent can be paid between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday mornings in October. If you have decided to give up your plot or know you will have difficulty paying, please tell Sean, our Rent Officer, as soon as possible at whetstoneallotments@yahoo.co.uk Last year he was still chasing late payers in February!  Whetstone Stray is a self-managing plot – so don’t be surprised when you are asked what you have done to help look after the site this year and what you will do in future. Please be patient, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, admire Crispin’s fabulous new site map and have a chat with your fellow plotholders while you are waiting. Sean and other committee members have to be present on every Sunday in October for rent collection, so complaining if you have to wait for while is a little inconsiderate.

Apple Day
Bring your apples for juicing at the Hut from 11am on Saturday 19 October, and bottles to take away your juice.

Annual General Meeting
The AGM will be on Sunday 17 November at 10.45 for a prompt 11am start. Four committee members are standing down – thank you Ann, Les, Sean FT and Siobhan for all your hard work – and so  a new Treasurer and Chair will be needed. Come along to the AGM and stand for committee, elect 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 whetstoneallotments@yahoo.co.uk by 17 October, 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.

Dumping Rubbish
Thank you to everyone who helped to remove the pile of rubbish that appeared, and then grew and grew, by the gate in August. Just a small amount of litter creates the impression that fly-tipping is acceptable and much of the rubbish – cuttings, compost bags, and even a rusty incinerator – probably came from Whetstone plotholders. You will be told by email when there is going to be a rubbish collection and where you should leave rubbish – if you dump rubbish or cuttings on paths and communal areas at any other time you are in breach of the Terms and Conditions of your lease and could lose your plot.

Whetstone Stray is very quiet in the winter months with some plot-holders not reappearing at all until Spring. We have public footpaths running through our site, but even allotment sites with high fences and locked gates suffer theft, so please don’t leave anything of value on your plot, even in a locked shed. Last year three collapsible greenhouses were dismantled and stolen from Holden Road field in January. Please 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. 

The water will be turned off towards the end of October to prevent expensive damage to pipes in freezing weather. It will be turned on again in the Spring after all danger of frosts has passed.

If you are arranging a delivery please tell the driver that it must be left at the top of the path – field paths aren’t suitable for vehicles.

No more bonfires allowed this month but in October they are allowed after 4pm. Between 1 November and 30 April you can have a bonfire at any time but please keep them small, be considerate of your neighbours and never leave them unattended. Last year the fire brigade had to be called out for a bonfire of furniture that a plot-holder had brought from home.

Share Your Harvest
It’s very sad to see apples, pumpkins and other crops rotting on Whetstone plots when some of our fellow Londoners rely on food banks to feed their families. If you have more fruit and vegetables than you know what to do with, please donate them using Olio. Read more about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/02/recycle-the-weetabix-what-i-learned-from-a-month-on-the-app-that-tackles-food-waste

Seasonal Tips
Make a note of your successes and failures so you can plan to do even better next season.
Clear away dead plant material and compost it – except diseased plants and perennial weeds which you should burn or take off the site.
Harvest summer vegetables and lift potatoes and beetroots before the first frost.
Cut pumpkins and winter squashes – cure them so they will keep over winter by leaving them in the sun to harden their skins.
Cover autumn salads and Oriental leaves with cloches or fleece to protect from frost.
Sow broad beans seeds outside or start them in pots.
Plant rhubarb and bare-root fruit bushes, such as gooseberries and currants.
Plant grapevines and strawberries.
Take down and store supports for beans, peas and tomatoes.
Lift potatoes and beetroots before the first frost.
Plant garlic, onion and shallot sets. Cover with fleece to protect from birds and the allium moth that caused lots of damage last year. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=643
Build a compost heap https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/compost
Plant green manures to improve your soil. https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/green-manures

Newsletter: Dorothy
Website: Brian