Allotment Society News 2009

Newsletter - Winter 2009

Autumn Competition

It may not have been the best weather for some but the moist, open autumn certainly helped to develop the winter crops. The site has been well cultivated and is looking most productive. This is reflected in the scores for the autumn competition which are higher than previous years

1st Plot 6 Peter Topliss 74pts
2nd Plot 19 Ted Killick 62pts
3rd Plot 4 Geoff Faulkner 61pts
4th Plot 16 Neil Crump 54pts
5th Plot 24 Mrs Jenny Strange 50pts
6th Plot 23 Jim Harvey 47pts

The delayed judging of the best bed of flowers has now taken place and awarded to Mrs Irene Shaw for her dahlias.

Accumulated points from our spring, summer and autumn competitions have resulted in Peter Topliss (with Alice who does the heavy work!) returning to pole position as our Allotment Gardener of the Year. Our judge was most impressed with the quality of the 18 different crops that they were taking into the winter months. Ted Killick and Geoff Faulkner tied for second place as established pretenders to the title.

By the time of publication we will have had our popular Annual Social Evening and Prize-Giving. This year it includes a donation from the Society to Graham Anderson for the Air Ambulance, one of his charities, in recognition of his success at putting Rolleston on the map with his gladiolus growing and the charitable work that he associates with it.

Newsletter - Autumn 2009

“Secrets of a World Champ”

This was the title of an article in a recent issue of “Garden News”. A reporter had visited our own Graham Anderson at his Dovecliff Road home to learn the secrets of gladiolus growing that has made Graham a five times world champion for this flower.

Apparently, at the end of the year Graham has 300 washing-up bowls filled with seed, cormlets or growing-on stock to sort and prepare for the following season. His breeding programme has resulted in several successful varieties – not that they will make him rich, as has been reported before. Graham is a generous supporter of local charities from the sale of surplus blooms etc.

Summer Competition

The now-forgotten warm weather of May and early June followed by more recent heavy rainfall has made the allotment site look particularly green for the time of year. It has, of course brought problems such as slug infestations and mildew (especially on onions) but the competition standard was very high this year.

Best Plot

1st Plot 6 Peter Topliss 76pts
2nd Plot 4 Geoff Faulkner 68pts
3rd Plot 24 Mrs Jenny Strange 62pts
4th= Plot 3 Paul Walker 61pts
4th= Plot 19 Ted Killick 61pts
6th Plot 5 Mrs Kendrick 58pts

Best Half Plot

1st Plot 15A Peter Longbottom 66pts
2nd Plot 7B Steve Eszrenyi 48pts
3rd Plot 1 Mrs Carol Webster 44pts

Best Crop Of Vegetables
(not in best plot award)
Plot 20A Mrs Carol Brown Leeks

Best Bed Of Flowers
Not judged, the weather appears to have delayed blooming

The Autumn Competition will be followed with interest, it could be a close race for “Gardener of the Year”

Newsletter - Summer 2009

Interest in an allotment on our site remains as high as ever. A recent “straw poll” suggested that we may have the highest waiting list in the Borough.

The publicity being given to diet and a healthy life style is being reflected practically in the attention being given to fruit and vegetable growing both in the press and in garden centres. We have seen a stall in Burton market just selling vegetable plants. A trip to the Malvern Spring Gardening Show revealed many more stands dedicated to allotment and vegetable gardening than in the past. There are also firms picking up this interest and seeing marketing opportunities for items such as deep-bed frames, patio containers and mini-greenhouses for the new, smaller gardens. Some are sensible but, equally some are highly priced attempts to tempt the novice. Don’t get ripped-off! You can have a lot of fun using a few planks of wood, cheap large plastic buckets, environmental fleece and polythene. You don’t have to be a DIY (or gardening) expert to start eating fresh veg.

After a cold start to the season crops are now growing rapidly and any late frosts will knock back the early potatoes that have a lot of top growth.

The Spring Competition demonstrated that cultivation was well underway with higher scores than last year –

Ted Killick 67.0pts
Peter Topliss 63.5
Geoff Faulkner 61.0
Mrs Jenny Strange 55.5
Tom Martin 49.5
Mrs Irene Shaw 46.0

Newsletter - Spring 2009

The long cold spell of January/February has shut down activities on site and it will be a while before the soil drains and warms enough for cultivation and seed sowing. There are likely to be few rash attempts at beating the season this year. The only positive factor is that we may see a reduction in the pests that have been building up during a period of milder winters.

It is, never the less, a chance to catch up on the seed catalogues and gardening magazines.

One idea that is getting some press attention is “Square Foot Gardening”. It has attractions for both home and school children’s plots and for those with modern small gardens who wish to grow a few vegetables.

SFG originated as an an American method of growing as many vegetables in as small a space as possible using a 120 x 120cm (4ft x 4ft) plot. This is made as a “raised bed” using 4ft wooden boards. The bed is marked into 1ft squares using string etc and each square is planted with a different crop using close spacing. Rather than rows, seeds are sown in holes. Where more than one seed is sown in a hole to ensure germination the weaker seedlings are snipped off with a pair of scissors. The sketch shows a typical example plot.

For more information go to – and follow the links “Advice and Resources” then “Leaflets”


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Last updated: 28 December 2009