1 May 2022 Newsletter

Dear Plotters

Our Open Morning is being held on Saturday 14th May from 11am till 1pm and we are looking forward to celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the same time! Come along with friends and family to support the event and help SPAA raise some funds.
We should like this to be a great success but we need your help to make it so. 
There are various ways to help out:

  • Make a cake, buns or biscuits and bring them along on Friday 13th or bring them on the morning. The cakes will either be sold whole or cut up to sell at the cafe.
  • Bring your spare plants and seedlings from Saturday 7th May. Leave them in the polytunnel in the designated areas.
  • Please donate prizes for the Raffle. These could be on a gardening theme eg gardening gloves, new tools, seeds etc or a Homemade prize – jam, pickle, biscuits or sweets, anything made by a plotter to be put into a hamper. Or if you have a contact, please donate a voucher or any ‘experience’ prize eg afternoon tea etc
  • Donate items for the Tombola: bottles (alcoholic/non-alcoholic), tins (in date, please), or chocolate items. 

All tombola and raffle prizes can be left in the sheds in the designated boxes from this week. They will be collected daily.

  • Can you lend a teddy bear for the children’s trail? Please place your teddy on your plot by 13th/14th May. If he’s too precious to get wet, place him under an umbrella or cover. There will be other games for children, too.
  • Do you have a spare gazebo we could borrow?
  • Can you help on a stall for a whole or part of the time? Please let me know in advance.
  • In preparation for the day, please could you make sure that your plot is tidy and safe. In particular, check your fencing as I have noticed that some areas could cause injury to small children and pets.

Thank you in advance for your support. We have ordered nice weather!! Why not bring a picnic lunch and join the bears?!

1) We have once again seen an infestation of Alder Leaf Beetles. These are small blue iridescent pests which can seriously damage your fruit trees or bushes and can lead to the death of the plants.  Everyone needs to check their infected trees and spray immediately, and regularly, to prevent their spread..
Advice from the RHS is:

  • Remove beetles by hand and kill wherever possible
  • Use Organic insecticides such as Bug Clear Gun for Fruit and Veg or Neudorff Bug Free Gun and Larvae Killer- will need several applications
  • Use Synthetic insecticides – Westland Resolva Bug killer or Provanto Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Bug Killer.

Please be assiduous in your control of these insects.

2) The Bonfire area was levelled off at the last Working Party. We are intending to turn this area into another plot so please would you now not take any further soil from it. May I remind you that NO BONFIRES are allowed on individual plots. This would be in breach of your Licence Agreement. Thank you.
Many thanks go to the plotters who turned out on 11th April: Liz I, Duncan, Jane H, Helen, Peter and Christine, John, Tim, Nick and Amy. They worked really hard and made a big difference to the bonfire area and by laying chippings round the polytunnel. 

3) The Water Board has now repaired the water main. We hope that there will be no further trouble but to mitgate against further problems, the committee has agreed to site a large rain water container (kindly donated by Plot 8) to ensure against future droughts.

4) If you are not planning to use your allocated space in the Polytunnel this year, please could you let me know? People with half plots would like to spread out a bit! Thank you.

WHAT TO DO IN MAY: May can be a tricky month because late frosts, cold temperatures and sometimes a lot of rain can prevent seeds from germinating. Tender plants to go outside need hardening off before planting and many need covering up or protecting with cloches.
It’s a great month for sowing though, so here are some suggestions:
Beetroot, cucumbers, French and runner beans, sweetcorn.
SEEDS TO SOW OUTDOORS: Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and cabbages (except for next Spring’s early varieties), calabrese, carrots, chicory, kale, Kohl rabi, lettuces, peas, radishes, rocket, spinach, spring onions, sprouting broccoli, swedes, Swiss chard and turnips.
SEEDS TO SOW INDOORS: cabbages and cauliflowers, chillies and peppers, courgettes and summer squashes, French beans, gherkins, kale, marrow, pumpkins and winter squashes, Runner beans and sprouting broccoli. Plant these outside towards the end of the month when the seedlings are big enough to handle and the risk of frosts has passed.
FRUIT TO PLANT OUTDOORS: Cape gooseberries, cranberries and strawberries.


  • Harden off and plant out seedlings. Water regularly.
  • Thin out seedlings sown last month eg carrots, parsnips and lettuces (eat the salad thinnings).
  • Earth up potatoes to prevent the tubers breaking through the surface.
  • Put up supports for climbing beans and peas.
  • Feed and mulch globe artichokes.
  • Net strawberries and remove runners. (Remove flowers from new plants so they don’t flower in their first year).
  • Remove unwanted raspberry canes.
  • Plant out sweetcorn in blocks so they self- fertilise and protect young cobs from mice with recycled plastic bottles.
  • Plant out leek seedlings. Use a dibber, create a hole and drop the seedling into the hole. Fill the hole to the top with water and let the soil settle round the young plant.

HARVEST: the first baby turnips, radishes and spinach leaves. Cut leaves from chard and eat in a salad or cook like spinach. Cut the first of your asparagus, using a sharp knife to cut the stems just below the soil when they are about 7 cms tall and no fattter than your thumb.
Pick rhubarb when the stalks reach 30cms in height. Eat the last of your spring cabbages.

Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday and see you at the Open Morning!

Best wishes

Claire Hamilton (Secretary)