1 December 2022 Newsletter

Dear Plotter

I am sure you have discovered, if you have paid a visit to Calico Field, that we are under water, following the heavy rain over the last two weeks. The plots near the carpark end are the most badly affected but there is standing water nearly all the way up the central aisle too. The Committee has noticed that some sheds are on the point of being flooded, so if you have items inside, especially electrical items or tools, maybe you’d like to check this out. 

We have also noticed that all the bricks at the rear of the community sheds have disappeared. Does anyone know anything about this? Whilst we all need bricks for various ongoing projects, it seems inconceivable that we could have used them all so, whilst we investigate, please could you return any bricks which are no longer being used by you to the back of the shed. Thank you.

Don’t forget that you can find summary minutes of the Committee meetings on our website, along with Sue’s photos of the floods!

We have had a slight change of plot owners: Linda will continue on Plot 1 but Lucinda has taken on Plot 15. We are very pleased that this arrangement seems to suit everyone!

Would you like to be part of a WhatsApp group for the allotments? If so, please let me know and we can form one. It has been suggested that this would NOT be a chat group but would be for the purpose of exchanging gardening advice, advertising seeds, plants or equipment for sale or for emergencies.
If you would like to be part of this, you must opt in by contacting the committee  (committee@swallowfieldpaa.org).

Thanks go to Ian, Liz and Jane for strimming and chopping the public footpath a few weekends back. Well done! As you know, we are all responsible for the maintenance of the site and you must do your bit. To encourage more members to attend working parties during which the bulk of the jobs are completed, here is a list of the proposed dates to help you plan your diaries and fulfill those new Year resolutions!

Saturday 21st January 9.30am
Saturday 4th March 9.30am
Saturday 15th April 9.30am
Thursday 4th May (evening)
 Saturday 17th June 9,30am

And finally, please remember to pay for your manure!

Although it is officially winter, you may well have plenty to harvest, including leeks, root vegetables, autumn and winter brassicas and perhaps a few hardy salad crops. Kale is at its peak now (if not drowned) and hopefully, you’ll have already harvested your potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. 
Lift parsnips and leeks when you need them but harvest carrots before the frosts. Pick Brussels sprouts from the bottom up or pull up the whole plant and stand in a bucket of water to keep them fresh. Harvest kohl rabi, turnips and swedes before they become too large and woody.

If you store crops in an outside shed, ensure it is cool, dark and dry. It must be frost free, well ventilated and safe from nibbling rodents!
Store carrots and parsnips in sand covered by a second layer. The sand must be moist to keep the carrots from shrivelling but not so wet that they rot! Keep potatoes in thick, sealed paper sacks. Solid headed winter cabbages can be hung up in net bags or spread on wooden slats covered with straw. Onions, shallots and garlic can be plaited into strings and hung up. Winter squashes and pumpkins should sit on straw or shredded paper.


  • Continue winter digging and dig in compost or manure
  • Top up compost bins with fallen leaves or other plant material
  • Cover beds with polythene
  • Weed round fruit bushes and winter prune gooseberries
  • Thin established blueberry and currant bushes, removing a third of older wood on blackcurrants
  • Prune grape vines
  • Check wires and ties and inspect stakes.
  • Check nets on brassicas for holes.

Let’s hope the rain lets up a bit so we can do a few of these jobs!
In the meantime, the Committee and I wish you all a very happy Christmas season!
Kind regards

Claire Hamilton
SPAA Secretary