Allotment Society News 2007

Newsletter - Winter 2007

“End Of The Year”

A “Victor Meldrew” view of this more unusual season by one of our adopted “Cloth Caps” who still thinks that Rolleston is in the south o England. Don’t let it put you off - our waiting list for plots has never been longer!

Like most people on our allotment site we try to be as “organic” as possible. 

So what did we achieve this year? A dozen roots of early potatoes; then blight struck and we lost the rest, lots of lovely over-wintered broad beans, blackfly and rust affected the spring sown crop, outdoor tomatoes – then also struck by blight, two outdoor cucumber plants given by a friend, eaten by slugs the night after they were planted out, some half decent carrots which had to be grown under fleece, beetroot which were small and tasted fine – they must have done because mice were eating them as fast as we were. The six sweet corn we ate were delicious but squirrels ate the rest before we could harvest them. Climbing peas, French beans and runner beans all did well, except for the mildew on the peas and blackfly on the beans and there is a limit to how many days in a row you can eat runner beans. The most success we had was in growing French marigolds as companion plants to keep down the white fly on the brassicas. They produced really sturdy plants, covered with flowers - and had absolutely no effect on the whitefly! This didn’t matter too much because the cauliflowers were blind or bolted and the slugs and cabbage white butterflies did for the rest. So, are we downhearted? You bet we are. Will we try again next year? Of course we will. Who wants to be beaten by small animals, birds, insects, moulds and fungi? 

However, there will be changes. To make it into our allotment the vegetable will have to be noticeably better than those available in the shops, so early potatoes and broad beans are a must. ‘Gardener’s Delight’ tomatoes are also in. ‘Show Perfection’ peas will be tried again but the other climbing varieties will be discarded in favour of ‘Hurst Greenshaft’. We will try again with climbing French and runners beans, but not so many this year. “Perpetual” spinach will continue – the rabbits, pheasant, partridge and pigeons seem to leave it alone. We love leeks so will try again with ‘Musselburgh’ which usually does well even though it suffers from rust like all the others. The winter sprouting broccoli is looking good so that will be in again, though the clouds of whitefly must reduce the crop and the vigour of the plants. We have given up on other brassicas and onions for several reasons, mostly digestive, but we must have shallots. As for the organic approach, we have tried it and found it wanting. Of course we will feed the soil not just fertilise the plants. We will probably not use peat at all. However, we haven’t found an organic way of avoiding carrot fly, potato blight or overcoming slugs so we will continue to use fleece, spray potatoes and use slug pellets. Speaking of pellets, is an air rifle an organic way of dealing with rabbits? Or, is it more wire netting please?

Michael V. Wardell

Marrow Competition

We were delighted to see a line of very keen children bring 52 marrows to our Heritage Weekend Competition. With the champion weighing in at 19lb and some very original decorated marrows this was an excellent result in this difficult season. Congratulations to all who entered.

Newsletter - Autumn 2007

The last report, written at the end of April noted - “The mild spring weather had allowed many members to get a good start to the season but best results came from those who had crops started before the long dry spell started or had commenced early watering.” How things changed! A week is a long time in politics and three months is a very long time in gardening. Some crops have been washed out and others matured early. Maincrop potatoes in particular have finished and been lifted on a lot of plots – many with blight and slug problems .With the excessive wet, potato blight has also spread to tomato plants very early destroying some plantings.

Marrow and pumpkin plants have survived on open, draining sites but in more enclosed areas have succumbed to wilt. This is likely to have had an unfortunate and discouraging effect on village children trying to grow marrows for our Heritage Weekend competition.

Summer Competition

In spite of the problems most members have been able to maintain cultivation and the site has been looking very green. These efforts are shown in that the top six plots in the Summer Competition were separated by only three and a half points.

Best Plot
1st Mrs Kendrick 
2nd Geoff Faulkner 
3rd Mrs Strange 
4th Ted Killick
5th Roy Ottewell
6th Peter Topliss

Best Half-plot
1st Peter Longbottom
2nd Steve Eszrenyi
3rd Michael Wardell

Best Plot of Vegetables
Neil Crump – potatoes

Best bed of Flowers
Mrs Stone – sweet peas

Its good to see that two old lags (Steve Eszrenyi and Neil Crump) who have returned to the site after a break of several years can quickly infiltrate the established hierarchy!.

Newsletter - Summer 2007

Children’s Monster Marrow Competition.

With the assistance of FOJORPS and Pre-school parents around 500 packets of marrow seed were distributed to school children in March. We hope that there will be enough enthusiasm for a good display of decorated, carved or monster marrows at Heritage Weekend.

Malvern Spring Flower Show

Members and friends filled a coach on the Society’s annual outing, this year to Malvern. This is always an excellent early show in the national calendar of gardening events and the loaded coach boot of plants and horticultural equipment was ample evidence of the quality and range of goods on offer. A late downpour resulted in a general exodus from the showground and we appreciated the fact that we could let the coach driver take the strain in the long slow queue back to the motorway. 

Spring Competition

The mild spring weather had allowed many members to get a good start to the season but best results came from those who had crops started before the long dry spell started or had commenced early watering.

The leader board at the start of the year is:-

1st Geoff Faulkner 4th Tom Martin
2nd Ted Killick 5th James Harvey
3rd Peter Topliss 6th Mrs Kendrick


All plots are occupied and we have a “healthy” waiting list. If you are thinking of a plot in the next 2-3 years, now is the time to get your name down.

Newsletter - Spring 2007

Children’s Monster Marrow Competition

Rolleston Allotment Society is contributing to RODSEC’s Heritage Weekend by sponsoring a marrow competition for all children with parents or grand-parents in the village and non-village children attending Pre-school or John of Rolleston Primary School up to and including Year 6. Pre-school Committee and FOJORPS have volunteered to circulate all school children with a packet of 3 marrow seeds, instructions and entry details.

Grand-parents or Parents of any other children requiring seeds should contact - Tom Martin (Tel 813320) or Michael Wardell (Tel 812565).

Prizes for the biggest marrow and also the best carved marrow (any size) are being donated generously by our Vice-Chairman, Mrs Janet Stone. All entries should be brought to St Mary’s churchyard on the evening of Thursday 13th September.

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Last updated: 22 December 2007