November Newsletter

Hello, it’s Laura posting this month’s news and bringing you up to date with what is going on at Pointalls Allotments. This is the only official Pointalls communication.

First of all I would like to announce that the new fencing and gate alongside the Long Lane/Nursery Avenue entrance is now on order and will be installed soon. This will give us a wider gate with easier access for our deliveries, skips, plotholders vehicles and for emergency services in case they are needed. Most important our site security and personal safety will be enhanced now that the houses are built and their ornamental fence is a bit too low and inadequate for our site security.

We have an architect helping to prepare a plan for new flush toilets to be built near the trading shed. Hopefully, we will come up with a design proposal soon.

You will have noticed that the padlocks on the gates have been refurbished and welded on a chain so that when dropped they should not get damaged.

It is time to dig over and rest our plots for the winter. Sadly, we had our last delivery of council compost and many of us have used it to cover the beds ready for next year’s cultivation.

For those who like overwintering produce it is time to sow broad beans and garlic and onions. I also found last year that instead of covering my beds with plastic it is very useful to grow green manure on them, it keeps the weeds down, the earth nourished and less work in the spring!

You might have heard that a member of Pointalls Allotments has requested us to provide them with some of your personal contact details. The member is Elsie Price (plot 2) who has also indicated that your details will be shared with another member, Marion Lamb (plot 46).

It seems that the two members are seeking a mailing list to facilitate communications with you. They may take us (Pointalls) to court in an attempt to access your data. However, your details are held securely in our plotholders database. To release your personal contact details would be in breach of the General Data Protection Regulations (2018) and our promise made to you to safeguard your personal data.

Of course as an individual you are free to choose who you give your personal contact details. Should you wish to share your details (be aware of security and compliance) with the named individuals it is entirely up to you and you should contact them directly.

We are also receiving comments from plotholders who say they feel intimidated or are uncomfortable being approached on site by one or two members criticising the work of most of the board. It would be a gross dereliction of our duty as elected members if we fail you in not dealing with this matter.

We (the Board) may not always agree (we are not clones) and we may sometimes make decisions which are not popular with some of our members but we wish to assure you of our focus on our plotholders’ interests and the success of the site.



October News Extra 2

Our neighbours Long Lane Pasture will light a fire beacon of tribute to mark the occasion of 100 Years of Remembrance on 11th November 2018. Joining many others across the nation in Remembrance of the WW1 Armistice beacons will be lit at the same time, 7.30pm all around the UK. Pointalls plotholders are invited to this event to pay tribute.
You are asked to arrive early. As the Pasture will not be open to the public you can gain entrance via the Pasture gate which is on our site adjacent to plot 1.
Following the event some warming soup and a drink will be on offer.



October News Extra

Dark Compost Delivery

Please make a diary note that we anticipate the final delivery of dark compost will be made on 29th October.

Pallets

We are never short of wooden pallets and right now we have a large number on site. We know that many plotholders find it difficult or are unable to take pallets apart. Today, as a service to plotholders we have taken apart a number of pallets; the timber boards are freely available and can be found next to the workshop at the Nursery Avenue entrance. A cautionary note. Please be very careful when moving the timber as many of the boards still have nails which you can easily remove with strong pliers or a claw hammer. And a plea.
Please take only what you need for immediate use.

Thefts

More thefts of produce have been reported and we noticed an attempt at forced entry and damage to a door of one of the outbuildings close to the trading shed. If you see anything suspicious or have any information please let us know.

New bug spotted on site

Has anyone noticed in the last few weeks that we have been visited by an insect species relatively new to Britain? Nezara viridula or Southern Green Shield Bug, its juvenile stage is very distinctive, dark green to black with four rows of white dots running down its back. In its adult form it looks very much like our native Green Shield Bug. Apparently it’s relatively harmless and sustains itself by sucking sap and has been seen on various types of bean plants. It overwinters in dead vegetation, so the green waste skip and burning may be a useful way of containing it. More information is available on the RHS website.



October News Update

Watering & Hosepipes

It might be raining but those veggies need a good drink. The current restriction (from mid September to the year end) on the use of hosepipes has been lifted. That’s good news for the many plotholders with autumn crops and over winter plants to look after. Although it is raining today the outlook for the month is largely dry conditions.

Seed Potatoes & Onion Sets

If you have not yet placed your order for potatoes and onions the last chance is tomorrow (Sunday 7th October). For details of available products and our competitive prices please click on the following link:

Potato and Onion Flyer

How to order

  • Either visit the Trading Shed (Sunday) or if you cannot get there
  • Phone your order to 07756190582 and leave a message or
  • Send your order by email to membership@pointalls.org
  • Let us know what you require and we will take care of your order.

A Few Tips For Looking After Your Plot This Month

  • Move tender plants under cover to overwinter
  • Harvest green tomatoes and put them in a drawer with a banana to ripen.
  • Remove tomato plants and put them on the compost heap or green waste skip
  • Close greenhouse doors and windows at night to keep the warm air inside
  • Tender herbs such as chives, basil and parsley can be transferred into pots and taken indoors to survive the winter and for harvesting. Water only when needed in the morning and avoid the evening as herbs hate soggy roots at night
  • Sow seeds of certain varieties of broad beans, peas, cauliflowers and winter lettuce
  • Harvest remaining maincrop potatoes as waterlogged soil affects the yield
  • Also harvest beetroot, broccoli florets, cape gooseberries, parsnips
  • Stake Brussels sprouts plants to prevent wind rock and check for symptoms of club root (leaves turn yellow and pale)
  • Lift carrots before the first frosts get to them and store for the winter
  • Cut the stems of leeks whenever you need them as they store well in the ground over winter
  • Plant cabbages when seedlings have produced five or six leaves
  • New bare rooted currant bushes can be planted now
  • Plant over winter varieties of garlic and onions
  • Choose a sheltered spot for planting strawberries so that pollinating insects can reach them easily
  • October is a great time to sort out plots, sheds, greenhouses and prepare for the autumn and winter weather

Green Waste Recycling

The use of the green waste skip has so far exceeded expectations and visibly shows how much spent material was previously going up in smoke. We know we are doing something to protect our environment and at the same time turning the waste into commercial compost.

Dark Compost

We understand that some plotholders did not see the following important news item which we posted last month.

We have for many years enjoyed regular and free supplies of dark compost from LEL, a company operated by North London Waste Authority, which is owned by a number of councils including Barnet. Sadly, the composting facility is to close at Edmonton as NLWA are redeveloping the site to increase the amount of residual waste to be processed and turned into energy to help power homes across North London.

We have managed to secure one final delivery of dark compost which should be available in October and we will let you know when we have a confirmed date.

Will dark compost be available in the future? NLWA advise that this material will not be available for the foreseeable future from the Edmonton plant. We do know that domestic green bins and our own on site green waste skip service will continue and contents will be transported to other compost processors outside our area. NLWA advise that the cost of transporting and distributing compost back to north London is prohibitive. We will keep you informed as we receive updates from the supplier.

Stop Press. We are working with Barnet Allotment Federation and following up other potential sources of dark compost.



August News Update

Site Maintenance Work

There have been some ill-informed rumours circulating of doom and destruction due to having a digger on site, so here are the facts.

The digger will operate in a number of site locations carrying out essential work in one day which would otherwise take many hours of manual labour. The board unanimously agreed to this at the April board meeting. Projects include:

Moving and levelling soil around the margins of unoccupied plot 77 (behind the Trading Shed) which can then be grassed and planted with fruit and nut trees to improve the general amenity on site and also partially screen the new build houses.

Also the burning plot (7), which has been looking very untidy, will be having a much needed clean up. We will in addition remove the mound in the centre of the communal area. Any suitable soil and materials from this will be recycled and used elsewhere around the site to build up verges, fill depressions and level pathways. Any surplus will be made available to plotholders.

One willow tree will be removed because of its invasive root system, and heritage variety fruit trees will be planted to replace it and also to fill other spaces. On this note we would welcome suggestions of old varieties of fruit trees which are in danger of being lost which we could plant to improve the communal area. Local heritage apple cultivars include Fearn’s Pippin, Howgate Wonder and Sunset.

A specimen walnut tree will be planted in place of the mound. This will look great, give shade on hot summer days and also, hopefully, a good crop of walnuts.

There are large pieces of plastic and rusty metal on and around the communal plot which have no place there. These will be removed and a few low shrubs which have struggled for light, air and water will be transplanted.

Unfortunately, the ground beneath the trees in the communal area was lined with plastic sheeting. If left this will ultimately breakdown into micro plastics and quite likely end up in the fruit. We would like to remove the plastic. The area under the fruit trees can then be levelled and seeded with grasses and wild flowers which will be good for bees, other pollinators and amphibians. Native daffodils and bluebells could also be planted making it a truly beautiful place. The grass under the trees could be managed like a hay meadow to prevent trees and brambles taking over, whilst significantly reducing the amount of maintenance.

In the past, the trees in the communal area were quite severely pruned. They will now be allowed to develop more naturally which will increase their beauty and fruit yields.

This is a wonderful opportunity to enhance and enrich the communal area for the enjoyment of all plotholders.

Other work will include tree stump and roadway clearing in areas close to plots 16/17/69/101-103 and around the Nursery Avenue entrance.

Thefts

We are sadly receiving reports of produce and other items being taken from a number of plots. Please be vigilant and report immediately any suspicious behaviour or anyone on site who may not be a plotholder. Theft is a problem common to all allotment sites and presently Barnet Allotment Federation have the issue under review.

Litter on Site

We are appealing to all plotholders to help keep the site as tidy as possible by taking home or to Summers Lane all items which we cannot recycle on site. We continue to find on the burning site glass and plastic bottles, plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, metal and items of a toxic nature. We can all help the environment and each other by taking away our litter.

Should you have any questions and have suggestions regarding heritage fruit trees please send an email to sitemanager@pointalls.org or drop a note in the mailbox.



Potato and Onion Flyer

  • ORDER NOW – SEED POTATOES AND ONION SETS FOR DELIVERY FEBRUARY 2019
  • ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AT THE TRADING SHED FROM SUNDAY 12TH AUGUST UNTIL SUNDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER
  • WE STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO ORDER NOW AS A SUPPLY SHORTFALL IS PREDICTED DUE TO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS FROM AUTUMN LAST YEAR TO SUMMER THIS YEAR
  • GREAT VALUE AND TOP QUALITY SEED POTATOES
  • AVAILABLE IN HANDY 2KG PRE PACKS
  • COMPETITIVELY PRICED AND PRICES HELD
  • CASH ONLY PLEASE WITH YOUR ORDER



July Newsletter

Pointalls diverse community

We are very proud of the fact that Pointalls has such a diverse community of members representing a wide variety of ethnic groups, as befits a multi-cultural city like London. Did you know we have plotholders coming from over 20 different countries?

Different groups certainly bring a welcome diversity to sharing and the range of products grown on site!

Testimony to our diversity was winning the Ted Green Memorial Award a couple of years ago for our help in providing a site for the Barnet Refugee Service. They have since moved to another site in Colindale, a more convenient location for their premises and we wish them well.

We want to ensure that we are providing a good service to everyone and to know if there may be particular issues facing different groups.  We would certainly like to hear of any suggestions on how we can address these particular needs and of any problems members are facing. Simply email in confidence info@pointalls.org and we will see how we can help.

 

BBQ

A message from the Pointalls Social Butterflies who wish to say “a big Thank You to all who braved the blazing heat to join last week’s barbecue”.

“A lovely turn out and great to meet you all and thank you for amazing dishes, wonderful company and new friendships. A special thanks for the newly gained knowledge that hotel shower caps make great covers for salad bowls! In response to the enthusiasm to gather together again we will arrange another barbecue on a cooler (hopefully) day in September. Thanks again to everyone”.

 

Thieving and anti social behaviour

It is always disappointing to receive reports of thefts of produce and plants as well as trespassing on plots and in sheds. Unfortunately, plotholders are now reporting a rise in such incidents. We do ask all plotholders to be vigilant and to report immediately any suspicious behaviour or persons on site who are not recognised. You can bring this to the attention of any board member or email info@pointalls.org or phone 07756 190582. Should any plotholder be found beyond doubt to have committed theft or trespass they will (in accordance with site regulations) be evicted. Your safety and security is important to us and we need your help as well as looking out for each other.

 

Federation horticultural show

Do you have the best beans, most appealing apples or juiciest jam? Do you have children who would like to enter a competition for a miniature garden in a seed tray, ugliest vegetable and more? Those are the questions posed by the Barnet Allotment Federation.

Then consider entering the Federation horticultural show. For all the information simply go to https://www.pointalls.org and click on the home page links where you will find all you need to know including the schedule and entry forms. Posters will also be displayed on site gates and notice boards.

 

Nursery Avenue update

The property development is complete, the show home is open and the houses are now for sale. We understand that an application has been made to create gated only access about half way down Nursery Avenue.

Of importance to us all is the matter of our site security. As some of you will know the developers have installed decorative fencing along part of our perimeter, which is not secure, making our site vulnerable to break in. We are in the final stages of receiving quotes for the supply and construction of new security fencing plus a new wider and more secure gate, for installation as quickly as possible.

 

Site developments

We are aiming to submit an application to the council to construct a modern hygienic toilet block in the unused area close to the trading shed. Drainage has now been installed. We would like to hear from anyone who has the skills to assist with the design and planning aspects of our application. If you can help please email: treasurer@pointalls.org.

Soon we will be considering ideas to update and develop the communal area as an amenity for the benefit of all plotholders. It is really important to make this space more appealing and accessible and boost usage across a wider range of activities. We are looking at communal facilities on other allotment sites and as this is an amenity for all to share it would be great to hear from you with any ideas for consideration. Ideas and suggestions please email: sitemanager@pointalls.org

Gardeners using water butts risk spreading legionella germ

That was a recent Sunday Times headline featuring a report based on a scientific paper and also recent advice from the Royal Horticultural Society. The scientific paper warned that “the presence of legionellae in collected rainwater and their aerosolisation through gardening activities like hosepipe use may have important public health consequences”. At Pointalls we have previously offered plotholders advice concerning good hygiene practice when using water tanks where bacteria can get into the water supply.

If you need to know more about this we suggest you refer to the many well informed authorities whose websites provide plenty of information. Meanwhile we do advise that you take care and protect yourself when using water onsite, whatever the source.



July News

Rumours circulating on site

There have been some strange rumours circulating on site alleging that your board regularly throws people out for non-cultivation. There are of course some people who don’t allow facts to interfere with a good story but for those with a more open mind here is the true position.

Since the beginning of 2015 (a three and a half year period) six plotholders have been asked to leave. One was for theft (caught red handed and on camera). Two were for persistent breach of site regulations where the nature of the offences would have put us in breach of our lease with Barnet Council. In one of these cases there was the additional issue of serious anti-social behaviour.

That leaves three terminations for non-cultivation. Of these:

  • One was a plotholder who did no work on the plot over a three year period;
  • One was a new plotholder who never commenced work on the plot and left it uncultivated over an extended period;
  • One had moved overseas and again left the plot uncultivated over an extended period.

Three terminations for non-cultivation in a three and a half year period on a site with 158 plots hardly constitute mass expulsions!

In all cases, as is our policy, the plotholders were given the opportunity to make representations and in all cases (other than the theft) the termination was after a series of letters giving the plotholder the opportunity to correct the breach.

In all cases the plotholders were given the opportunity to remove their equipment and possessions prior to termination. On a couple of occasions when they didn’t do so we have stored equipment of any value to allow them to collect it later. Sadly on a number of occasions they left a large amount of rubbish (an old washing machine and bed in one case) which we had to subsequently clear at a cost to you the members.

On the general question of plot cultivation, we do not expect plots to be candidates for the Chelsea flower show. However allotments are a scarce resource and we have a waiting list. Also uncultivated plots constitute a nuisance to neighbouring plotholders with weed seeds blowing over. We receive a lot of complaints from such plotholders who say we are not being firm enough. It is difficult to please everyone! We carry out periodic inspections of plots, led by our site manager who is keen for this process to be open and transparent and includes non-board plotholders in his walk round. Where plots are well below standard the plotholder is contacted to discuss a programme to get the plot back up to scratch.
Termination is definitely the last option.

We are always keen to hear the views of our members on cultivation as well as other matters and would be pleased to receive your comments.

Summer BBQ
A reminder that the summer BBQ takes place this coming Sunday (15 th ). Please visit the home page and follow the link for more information.

Latest Price List
Our latest trading shed price list is now available. This includes a number of new products and product updates. Please download a copy by clicking on the following link: https://www.pointalls.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Price-List-July-2018.pdf

Bee’s Needs Week
This week is Bees’s Needs Week where we are asked to consider the plight of bees and what we can do to help. Simply Google Bees' Needs Week for more information.



June News – Latest

Green/Organic Waste Recycling – New Initiative

Launching this week is our new initiative. A new skip service will be available exclusively for green and organic waste. These are the recyclable materials which are not required or are not suitable for composting on plots or were previously burnt on the fire site. The green waste skip service will be scheduled on site at frequent intervals.

This is a list of green materials which can be put in the skip and below that is a list of prohibited materials some of which should be taken to the fire site for disposal. Following on from the lists is our rationale for this new recycling initiative.

GREEN/ORGANIC WASTE RECYCLING

PERMITTED MATERIALS FOR THE GREEN WASTE SKIP ARE:

  • DRY VEGETATION
  • GREEN VEGETATION
  • GRASSES
  • GRASS CUTTINGS
  • FLOWERS
  • LEAVES
  • WEEDS
  • PLANTS
  • SHRUBS/BUSHES
  • FRUIT
  • HEDGE TRIMMINGS
  • TREE PRUNINGS NO LARGER THAN:
  • 60cm LENGTH 20cm DIAMETER

PROHIBITED MATERIALS NOT FOR THE GREEN WASTE SKIP ARE:

  • NO SOIL – APART FROM RESIDUE ON PLANT ROOTS
  • NO LARGE BRANCHES OR LOGS (SEE ABOVE FOR DIMENSIONS)
  • NO TIMBER OR TREATED WOOD
  • NO PLASTIC OR PLASTIC BAGS
  • NO GENERAL WASTE OR RUBBISH

FIRE SITE

  • LARGE BRANCHES AND LOGS
  • TIMBER OR TREATED WOOD

Rationale

We considered various options to better dispose of our surplus green waste. That is the amount of green matter not required or unsuitable for composting by plotholders. This resulted from:

  • Our decision to stop fires (following complaints) on individual plots
  • Although we encourage composting the amount of surplus material taken to the dedicated fire site means we are burning large quantities much too often
  • Awareness of environmental considerations and the penalties if causing a statutory nuisance from persistent burning
  • Our borough being a smoke free area
  • And local government proposals to ban bonfires

As we receive deliveries of dark compost from London Waste (recycled from agricultural and garden waste) we pursued the possibility of sending our surplus for recycling. This is a preferable option to burning by turning our green waste into dark compost rather than emitting smoke, fumes and smells prejudicial to the health and well-being of the environment, our neighbours and plot-holders.

We took a proposal to the council, London Borough of Barnet, who responded enthusiastically to our ideas and with their help we can now launch our green waste recycling project.

Operationally we will have scheduled skip deliveries and collections although only with actual experience will we accurately determine usage and frequency. Based on the amount of material deposited on the burning site we estimate a need for several skips annually with frequency based on demand and seasonality.

We have also promoted this initiative with Barnet Allotment Federation and a number of allotment sites are now considering joining the project.

What will happen to our surplus green waste?

The skip loads of organic materials are sent to the London Waste conversion site for processing. The materials are shredded and piled into silos to decompose. The large heaps generate high temperatures to quickly break down the material which is then reintroduced as dark compost for agricultural and horticultural purposes which is primarily suitable as a soil conditioner.



June News

Plot Competition – Entries Wanted

Entries are now being accepted for Barnet Allotment Federation’s annual competition to find the best allotment plot in the area.

Please don’t be put off! Pointalls plot-holders have won this competition in the past. We have not entered for a few years but now with many new plot-holders the time is right to open up the opportunity again to everyone.

Judges are not looking for a show garden. This is not the Chelsea Flower Show. This competition is simply about good allotment gardening. It is a friendly competition with cash prizes, trophies and a social evening for the winners.

Let us know that you are interested in having your plot considered for entry in the competition. You can do this by sending an email as soon as possible to sitemanager@pointalls.org to say you are interested. We will follow this up with you, offer guidance and discuss what needs to be done.

Plot entries have to be registered with the Federation by 29th June. The next important date is 14th July when chosen plots will be visited by Federation judges who then draw up shortlist. The final decision is that of an independent judge who will visit the shortlisted plots on 21st July.

If you think that your plot demonstrates what allotment gardening is about please take up the challenge and email sitemanager@pointalls.org.

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