Allotment Society News 2001


Newsletter - Winter 2001

Plot holders and other gardeners in general will have enjoyed the pleasant extended Autumn weather. With October being the warmest on record: the growing season for some crops was abnormally lengthened. Courgette plants for example were still producing in abundance at the end of October.

This year proved to be a "bumper" year for fruit production. My apple tree had to have its branches propped up to prevent them breaking under the load of fruit. With a surplus of apples and a good many left-over summer beetroot on allotment rows, a friend suggested making beetroot chutney and delicious it turned out to be too! The recipe is as follows:- 

Beetroot Chutney
2lb (908g) grated raw beetroot
1lb (454g) chopped onions
1 1/2 lb (681g) chopped or grated apple
1lb (454g) sultanas
1 3/4pt (1litre) malt vinegar
2lb (908g) sugar
2 level tbsps ground ginger
Put all ingredients in large pan. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer until pulpy (takes approx.1hr). Pot up into clean sterilised jars (makes approx 9 jars).

Many plot holders have been busy tidying up their plots and "bedding" them down for the winter. One good idea is to cover an area of prepared ground with black polythene. This keeps the soil dry (remember last winter!!) and allows it to warm up quicker, enabling spring crops to be sown earlier.

The pre-judging of site plots for entry into the East Staffs. Allotment Federation winter competition has taken place. The selected plots are No 22 T. Bottrill, No 23 W. Richardson, No.19 E. Killick.

Our bulk seed order catalogues are circulating around the membership. Completed order forms are required to be submitted by no later than our A.G.M. which this year will be held in the Rolleston Club on Sunday 6th January at 12 noon.

Sales of gladioli, from my plot and garden have raised 187 for the Special Care Baby Unit in Birmingham. A big thank you to all who stopped to buy blooms from outside my Dovecliff Road home.

G. Anderson, Secretary, (812807)


Newsletter - Autumn 2001

Taking time out to stroll around the allotment site on a pleasant early August evening, it is evident that plot holders have been busy harvesting a wide range of crops. Onions have been pulled up and left on the soill surface to complete their ripening in the sun. When they are fully dry and tied in strings they can be stored in a dry and airy frost proof place. They will then give a long lasting supply through until late spring. The medium sized firm onions grown from sets store much longer than larger ones grown from seed.

It has been an excellent year for broad beans, with little evidence of blackfly on them. Perhaps the prolonged frost we saw in the winter helped to see them off! The beans along with the early potatoes have mostly been cleared away now, leaving space for winter crops like spring cabbage and winter lettuce to follow on.

Continuing on my stroll it is clear that the site is becoming more colourful each year. Splashes of colour made by blue scabious, sunflowers, marigolds, cornflowers, sweet peas, statice, pinks, lupins, dahlias, gladioli and more adorn the plots!

There are some fine stands of brassicas, and root crops like carrots and beetroot have done well. Many plot holders utilise their freezers to provide a supply of winter root crops. If you grow your own vegetables freezer space can be at a premium. Root crops can therefore be stored for the winter in a "clamp" where they are protected by a thick layer of straw and then a layer of soil to keep out the worst of the winter weather. Last year I successfully utilised a bed in my unheated greenhouse to store winter roots. They were tucked up under a layer of old dry potting compost.

The Society held its summer competition in July. The results were as follows: 
1st - Mr T. Bottrill
2nd - Mr W. Richardson
3rd - Mr E. Killick

The plans for our Society 25th Anniversary Dinner and Prize Evening which will take place at "The Craythorne" on Thursday 22nd November are now well underway. We hope to see many members and friends of the Society on the evening to celebrate reaching this landmark.

(Graham Anderson, Secretary Tel. 812807)


Newsletter - Summer 2001

Despite the cold and wet spring, members still found some good crops of rhubarb, leeks, sprouts and other spring greens to harvest. Overwintering onions and lettuce appear to have survived the harsh winter frosts and look promising. Preparation of the soil with a good tilth ready to sow seeds is proving difficult with some sowings probably having to be made later than usual.

Our feathered friends on the site have had no option but to "crack on" with things, despite poor weather. Blue tits have been busy toing and froing from nest boxes placed on various plots on the site. The characteristic cries and acrobatic flight of the plovers can be heard and seen in the surrounding fields. A family of mallards with 12 chicks seems to have found a home in the flooded corner of the field opposite the site gate. Perhaps they do not think that the spring weather has been so bad!

One of the knock on effects of foot and mouth has been that farmyard manure has not been available this spring. Plot holders have had to compensate, many by adding spent hops for moisture retention and soil conditioning. We have also seen a large increase in the use of pelleted chicken manure, which is an excellent organic fertilizer.

The East Staffs Allotment Federation held their Spring Competition on 21st April. Mr T. Bottrill, Mrs Kendrick and Mr E. Killick were entered and came 5th, 8th and 9th respectively. The Summer Competition will be judged on Saturday 14th July.

This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Society. Plans are in place to expand the scope of our annual prize evening. This year it will be held at "The Craythorne" on Thursday 22nd November. On the evening we plan to have a display of photographs from the site and surroundings. If anyone has some photographs that they are prepared to loan for the evening please contact me.

Many people may be surprised at the range of horticultural uses that site plots are put to - As well as the traditional type plots growing vegetables in rotation, we have raised bed systems, fruit crops, cut flowers, flowers for drying, herbs, giant pumpkins, ornamental gourds, the list is endless.

We have a very short waiting list at present; so if you are interested in horticulture and think you may be interested in a plot please contact me on 812807 for an application form.

(Graham Anderson, Secretary)


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Last updated: 13 December 2001