1 November 2022 Newsletter

Dear Plotters

As a new allotment cycle starts, please be aware that the code for the main gate will be altered on 1st November. Please check your emails for the new code.

Do not reveal the code to anyone other than your family members and, when you open/close the gate, please twizzle the numbers so a passerby cannot read the code. This is for your personal security and that of your equipment and crops.

Thank you for renewing your subscription so promptly. We are still full, with a short waiting list, which is how we like it!

The Autumn/Winter tasks will be completed shortly, some of them at Saturday’s working party; the water tanks will be emptied in November and the polytunnel should be cleared of finished crops and your area swept and weeded. Thank you.

If you have used the manure provided, please make a payment to SPAA of £1 for each wheelbarrow.

The  Minutes of the AGM and Treasurer’s summary are to be found on our website (swallowfieldallotment.org). We have also decided to put summary minutes of the committee meetings on there too, so you can see what has been discussed and how we reached a decision. Let us know if you find this useful!

Our new raised beds are nearly complete and will be offered to parishioners who only want a small area to cultivate. Many thanks to the last working party (Liz, Duncan, John, Brian, Alison, Nick and Amy) for their hard work in helping to create them. Thanks also to Peter for helping John on a separate occasion. Your efforts are much appreciated! 

NOVEMBER is a month for pruning fruit bushes and for preparing the soli for its winter dormancy. There is still plenty to be done whilst the soil is warm and softened by the rain.
The early, over- wintering variety of broad beans can be sown now, either in the ground or started off in pots in the polytunnel. Garlic and rhubarb sets can be planted too, if your ground is not too waterlogged. If you are thinking of planting new fruit bushes, November is the right time to do it, whilst the bushes are dormant. Why not keep an eye out in the local garden centres for reduced price shrubs? 

  • Clear away old plants and compost.
  • Take down your bean canes and supports if your beans have finished drying out on the plants.
  • Weed and dig in manure or well rotted compost
  • Cover your vegetable beds with cardboard (weighted down so it doesn’t blow away) or with polythene or membranes. Please do not use old carpet as the chemicals can leach out into the soil.
  • Make leafmould by filling old compost bags with leaves and spiking them with holes so excess water can drain out.
  • Mulch celeriac and and globe artichokes with straw or bracken to prevent frost damage
  • Protect cauliflowers by bending over a few leaves and tying them in place, protecting the heads.
  • Cover late crops with cloches
  • Start winter pruning your blackcurrant bushes by removing between a quarter and a third of the oldest stems right down to the ground. Cut out dead, diseased or damaged stems and crossing branches.
  • Remove yellow leaves from brassicas to avoid grey mould.
  • Keep an eye on the mice, as they are partial to newly planted broadbean seeds, garlic and onions!

Enjoy your month and hope to see you on Saturday for the working party!
Best regards

Claire Hamilton
SPAA Secretary