The shop in the Trading Hut is open every Sunday from now til the end of October, from 10am – 12pm. Thank you to all the plotholders who volunteered to unload the annual stock delivery this week on Thursday - if anyone else is around, it would still be good to have some more help to make this job go as quickly as possible.
Popular items in stock include: seeds, composts, and fertilisers.
It's not too early to be sowing seeds for planting out as soon as the ground is a bit warmer. You can be doing this in your Greenhouse, or on a sunny windowsill. If the weather breaks early, you will be ready to go. When you are sowing seeds, it would be great, if you sow an extra pot or two of everything, so that we've got lots of lovely plants to sell at the Annual Plant Sale on June 15th.
Most of the paths on site now have Path Representatives to ensure that each communal path is safe, cared for, and is improved where necessary. Paths are the responsibility of everyone who uses them. To ensure that this goes smoothly, there should be at least two Path Representatives for each communal path on site.
To find out more about what is involved with being a Path Representative, please contact Brigid on the Allotment phone: 0754 6279631
There will be an Annual Award for best maintained path.
We had a very successful Work Party in February, in which we secured a lot more of our boundary, in a very short time.
The next Volunteer Work Party will be on 22nd March from 10am. We will be working to secure the boundary of Field 3. Plot holders from this area are particularly requested to turn up for this event, as it is in all your interests that this area is made safe from outside trespass.
If enough people turn up, it's hoped that we will be able to carry on working on Field 2, as well. For full details, with pictures, of the dry hedging in Field 2 - and the lunch provided - please see Angela's article at the end of this newsletter.
Please get in touch to let us know numbers in advance, if possible. If you turn up on the day, there will be enough to go round.
Les Moore, Volunteer Co-ordinator : 07957 388033 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Before we went to Self Management, Barnet Council agreed to carry out some essential tree work, and Gia, our Committee Secretary, is pursuing this with them.
The Committee are currently drawing up a list of all tree work, to prioritise and formulate a long term plan for tree management. The Committee has agreed a provisional annual budget for tree work, and is in the process of obtaining quotations from professional tree surgeons.
Are allowed at any time until the end of April. Beneficial animals such hedgehogs, grass snakes and slow worms, hibernate in piles of old wood etc, so make sure no one is inside before you light – also check that your neighbours are happy for you to have a bonfire – if not, leave it for another day.
If you are turning your compost heap, or clearing long grass you may be lucky enough to spot a slow worm (these are lizards without legs) or a grass snake (a green snake). Not everyone knows that these creatures do an enormous amount of good by eating slugs, and other pests. The only type of snake which is dangerous to people in the UK, is the adder. It has distinctive yellow and brown zigzag markings, and is not found in our area. So, if you see a snake or slow worm, admire it and leave it to go about it's business. It is illegal to kill, injure or sell any native British snake or lizard (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).
Other recent wildlife sightings of interest include Redwings and Fieldfares overwintering here before returning to Scandenavia for the Summer.
Have you seen any interesting or unusual wildlife on or around the site? We would love to hear from you, and will add any photos and stories about sightings to the website in future.
We hope that the problem with dumping (cat food tins and allotment rubbish) on disused plots on the boundary of Field 2 has finally been resolved, following the Volunteer Work Party.
We have a good system for rubbish removal on our site, and there is no excuse for dumping anywhere. The plot holder who dumped a broken glass window near the Tin Shed, at the top of Field 1, doesn't care whether anyone is injured by the glass, or about how our site looks - please remember that if our site doesn't look good, we don't look good. There will be another removal in April, in the meantime, either keep rubbish on your plot, or remove it yourself.
Jacquie's tip for March
Mid March is probably the best time to think about sowing seeds and planting out.
Communal fence making: an enjoyable morning’s work
On a gloriously sunny day in mid February 2014 some Association members gathered for a morning of communal work that helped improve our site’s boundary security using an age-old method that must go back many generations. By coppicing the nearby trees within our site and picking up fallen branches we got all the materials we needed.
Under Les’s quiet guidance we put in dry fencing along some of the gaps in the wire ‘pig’ fencing that separates field two from the Dollis Brook green space. John and Sean got stuck into increasing the height of a barrier that was put in last year so that by the end of the morning they’d gotten it to head height!
Meanwhile Angela and Marcus started a new gap-filling bit of fencing, they located and cut straight lengths to make posts that Marcus then pounded into the ground in two rows about 18 inches apart.
Brigid, John and Sean joined them, collecting logs and branches to in-fill the space between the two rows. By inter-laying a good mix of large logs, to provide stability and strength, with thinner branches they created a surprisingly solid structure.
We hope to reduce the vandalism and theft we experience by making it more difficult for people to gain access to our plots. By clearing the area it should make it more attractive for someone to clear and cultivate plots along the boundary.
As Angela commented, “if it deters a few people and stops one greenhouse, poly-tunnel or shed being vandalised we will have made a difference for everyone”.
Les showed how to weave a living young sapling in to encourage it to grown into the fence making it even more robust, he explained his vision “my hope is to start with the dry fencing, then reduce the height of the boundary trees to encourage them to bush out at ground level to create a more impenetrable barrier”.
Brigid also commented “it’s hard to believe, but this area used to be worked plots. By clearing some of the trees to make the fence we should make it more attractive for letting out, especially if we’ve made the boundary more secure.”
The two and a half hours whizzed by, so we packed up and headed back to the trading hut.
Everyone happily reviewed the morning’s work, relaxed and enjoyed some lovely food and drink (provided by the Association) while chatting about our morning’s achievements and how satisfying it was to do something together to help improve our allotments.
25th February 2014