1 August 2022 Newsletter

Dear Plotter

We held our AGM last week which was attended by 15 people, so thank you to those who turned up. It was an informative evening at which some important decisions were taken.

Firstly, it was announced that the Parish Council has raised our rent. This has an impact on our own rental subscriptions and the Treasurer, Harminder, was able to show us that the members’ fees no longer cover the operating costs. Over the past year, we have been supplementing  our bills out of the income generated from our open morning and plant sales. These funds are supposed to be for improving the site and its facilities but we are now having to dip into these to sub our running costs. 

It was agreed by 14 votes that, in October, the annual rent for each whole plot will go up to £65 and up to £40 for a half plot. Your rent renewal in October will reflect this change.

Secondly, we have now successfully transferred our account from HSBC to NatWest. This was done to avoid bank charges imposed every month and for every transaction. The new details are as follows:

Account name: Swallowfield Parish Allotment Association
Sort Code:  51-81-22
Account number: 93398808

Please make any payment from 1st August to this account as the old one is no longer valid. Thank you.

You will be able to see a copy of the accounts and the Chairman’s report on the website very soon.

The prize for the Best Kept Plot goes to Alison (Plot 21) and the Best Newcomer was awarded to Jane (Plot 9A). Congratulations to them and to all our newcomers whose plots are of a very high standard.

We welcome Jane (Plot 9A) onto the committee and thank Peter (Plot 15) who is stepping down. The rest of the committee is unchanged. We still need a few more committee members so please let me know if you’d like to play your part in running the site and making decisions. 

The meeting was rounded off by convivial drinks and Sue’s Chocolate  Courgette cake. Several people asked her for the recipe so HERE is the link to it.

Other News:
Please could I remind you to keep dogs on a lead and to clear up after your pet? There have been some unpleasant encounters for some members who have complained to me. Thank you.

Does anyone want a gardening job? I have been approached by a neighbour on Part Lane who is looking for assistance with their large garden. It would mostly be grass cutting and hedge/shrub maintenance. Please contact me if you, or anyone you know, could help out.

Did you know that it’s National Allotments Week from 8th to 14th August?  This year’s theme is all about gardening in sync with nature.

August is a harvesting month! With the continuation of the dry weather, we are likely also to be watering! As you clear space on your plot, you can begin planting out over-wintering crops such as Brussels sprouts, spring cabbages and winter cauliflowers.
There is not much more you can sow or plant out for harvesting this year but you can look ahead to next!

VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW:  Spring cabbages, carrots, Kohl rabi, onions, winter radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.

SALAD SEEDS TO SOW: chicory, lettuces, rocket, spring onions.

PLANT OUT: winter and spring cauliflowers, kale, sprouting broccoli and strawberry plants

HARVEST the last of your broadbeans; when they’ve finished, cut them down but leave the nitrogen-rich roots in the ground. Harvest your onions when the leaves have yellowed and bent over. Lift and dry them thoroughly before bringing in. Sweetcorn is ready to harvest when the tassels go brown or black. In the meantime, whilst ripening, place a plastic bottle over the cobs to protect them from mice! Pick the last of your peas and mangetout and harvest runner beans every other day. Keep an eye on your marrows, squash and courgettes to prevent them from growing into giants!  Harvest  blueberries and blackberries  regularly.

– Water regularly
– Spread any rotted -down compost.
– Spread mulches immediately after rain.
– Dry out garlic, onions and shallots.
– Pinch out the tops of climbing beans.
– Pinch out and feed tomato plants.
– Tie up cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.
– Earth up potatoes and brassicas. 
– Feed pumpkins and winter squashes.
– Lightly summer prune gooseberries and currants.
– Prune summer fruiting raspberries down to the ground but tie in any new green canes.

And enjoy eating what you have grown!

Best wishes
Claire Hamilton (SPAA Secretary)