1 Aug 2021 Newsletter

Dear Plotters

July was a very busy month for SPAA, quite apart from any sowing, weeding and harvesting!

Firstly, our AGM was held at the beginning of the month. Many thanks to all who attended virtually. The Chairman, Nick Kolpin, gave his report, which you can also read on our website (www.swallowfieldallotment.org). Plotters, past and present, were thanked for their contributions and assistance in maintaining the site on the tenth anniversary of the Allotments. The committee members who were standing down (Helen -Plot 10 and Robert -Plot 11, our Treasurer), were thanked and in their place, 2 new members were appointed: John (Plot 16) and Peter (Plot 15),  Harminder (Plot 8) was appointed as the new Treasurer. Congratulations are due to all of them on their election.

SPAA’s finances are in good shape, in spite of the lack of fundraising this last year. The plant and manure sales raised some funds, which has enabled us to buy 3 gazebos for next year’s Open Morning. Thanks to everyone who contributed and bought plants and seedlings.

The Best Kept Plot was awarded to Fiona (Plots 29 and 30) with the Committee’s congratulations and Harminder and Mark won Best Newcomers. Jane and Derek  (Plot 24B) were awarded Prettiest Plot. Well done to all!

The minutes of the AGM will be available to read on the website by the end of this month.

Secondly, our Celebration BBQ took place on Saturday 24th July with 28 plotters and guests. This was a lovely occasion enjoyed by all who attended. Sue and Bill (Plot 19) masterminded the delicious food; Bev (Plot 14) made a fantastic allotment cake decorated with vegetables, fruit and garden tools made of marzipan and we all enjoyed a glass of bubbly to celebrate the tenth anniversary of SPAA. We dedicated an apple tree to Terry Edmond, a founder member, who sadly passed away last year, and Neil (Plot 3) paid a fitting tribute in his honour.

Many of you have asked for Sue’s recipe for marrow chutney, so good with barbecued food! You can find it at www.thereallygoodlife.com/463/spicy-marrow-chutney-recipe/
A further recipe for this time of year is marrow stuffed with chorizo which can be found on the BBC Good Food website under Spanish stuffed marrow recipe.

Many thanks to the Committee, old and new, who helped make this occasion so successful. We hope SPAA will continue to thrive for the next ten years and beyond!

August is the month for harvesting. There is not much that you can sow or plant now, which will come to maturity before the winter.
SEEDS TO SOW FOR NEXT YEAR: spring cabbages, Japanese onions and spinach, as well as continuing to sow lettuce and salad leaves, rocket, spring onions and radishes for this year’s harvest. Now is the last chance to sow root vegetables such as carrots and turnips, winter radishes and Swiss chard.
VEGETABLES TO PLANT OUT: Cauliflowers,(winter and spring), kale, sprouting broccoli and strawberries.

JOBS FOR AUGUST: Water and harvest courgettes, runner and French beans regularly.  Pinch out the tops of climbing beans when they reach the tops of your canes to prevent them from becoming top heavy. Pinch out the tops of tomatoes and keep removing the side shoots appearing in the ‘v’ between leaf stems and the main stems. Feed them with tomato fertiliser when you water. Tie up tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, using extra canes if necessary. Earth up potatoes and celery to keep out the light and brassicas to keep them stable. You’ll be able to harvest some of your second earlies this month. Feed pumpkins and winter squashes once a week and lift the fruit onto bricks or planks of wood to stop them rotting. Propagate strawberries by pegging runners down into pots and then transplant them into their growing positions in a few weeks’ time. Continue to cut off runners if you don’t want extra plants. Summer prune gooseberries and currants once you have picked all the fruit. Cut down to the ground all summer fruiting raspberries once they have finished fruiting.  Tie in new shooting stems of blackberries and other berries. The old canes will be removed in the autumn. Prune side shoots on grape vines, removing some foliage so the fruit can ripen in the sun. Protect sweetcorn cobs from mice and birds with clear plastic bottles. Lift onions and garlic carefully and dry off in the sunshine Finally, take a look at the photos on our website of the summer BBQ. Thanks to Sue for capturing the occasion!
Best wishes
Claire Hamilton