Annual General Meeting 9 th May – Poll Result
We would like to thank all who participated in the meeting, both the vocal minority who attended in person and the silent majority who participated through the proxy voting system. Together you made up a participation level of 73% of the total membership. The new Board will no doubt be encouraged by the 3 to 1 majority you gave them of those participating and will continue the task of developing and improving our site services and facilities for the benefit of all our members.
Full details of the results of the poll conducted at the end of our AGM have been sent to all Pointalls members.
Annual General Meeting
Just a reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the company will be held at 8pm on Thursday 9 th May 2019. The venue is St. Pauls Church, 50 Long Lane, Finchley, London N3 2PU and the meeting will take place in the historic hall which is at the rear of the worship area.
Hire of mowers and strimmers
We are pleased to confirm that our equipment hire service will be resumed as soon as possible. The
insurance issue (misinformation by our insurers) has now been resolved although we are reminded
that cover is only valid if the equipment is made available to users in safe condition. To ensure safety
all mowers and strimmers are currently with the local garden machinery service centre.
Unfortunately, there is a delay as in addition to routine servicing, repairs are necessary and parts are
being replaced. One of our mowers has been scrapped. In future, for compliance purposes and as
part of the hiring process, equipment has to be properly maintained and hire records kept. We are
looking into the options of managing the rental scheme. We will let you know when this service is
Message from the Chair and Board
A number of plotholders have recently been caused wholly unnecessary concern by false and, frankly, malicious rumours about alleged plans by the Board to change the use of the communal area (plots 3-5). To be absolutely clear, there has been no discussion at the Board at any time over the past year on any change of use of the communal area.
There has been some work done to improve the area, in particular removal of the mound of bonfire residue and rubble which was in the middle of the area. This has now made the area safer for everyone and allowed space for further planting.
What is particularly sad is that some of the people spreading these rumours will in the next breath talk about the need for more community spirit on site. Telling bare-faced lies about the activities of the site’s elected volunteer representatives is a strange way of encouraging such community spirit!
Allotment gardening on BBC2’s Gardeners World
The latest series of Gardeners World is now featuring allotment gardening from scratch. This might be of interest to many of our new plotholders and perhaps more experienced plotholders looking for new ideas and techniques. TV gardening presenter Frances Tophill has taken on an abandoned plot on an allotment site in Kent and in the first episode (29th March) Frances faces the challenge of starting afresh.
Tasks for the plot in April
- As April is the month where things really start to take shape on the plot there’s lots to do; sowing, planting and maintenance. Here are just a few tasks:
- Plant out chitted potatoes, second earlies at the start of April and maincrop towards the end of the month.
- Plant asparagus crowns before end of April.
- Under cover sow seeds of runner beans, sweetcorn, courgettes and later in the month in a heated propagator squash, marrows and melons.
- Start sowing carrot seeds progressively for the next few months but check seed packets as timing varies for different varieties.
- Begin sowings of maincrop leeks in seedbeds or indoors in pots/root trainers.
- Prepare supports for runner beans and netting or brushwood for peas.
- Stay on top of weed problems, remove them before they emerge to avoid competition with your seedlings.
Watch out for late frost.
Look out for news and site information updates during April.
Waste Skips Available On Site and Other News
Green waste recycling skip
As the current skip is now full it will be replaced in the next day or two.
General rubbish skip
In response to many requests we are providing a waste skip for those unwanted items (except green recycling material) on your plot. The skip is for everyone to use and fills quickly. As always we ask that you do not bring items from home. This skip should be available from Tuesday.
Both skips will be located inside the Nursery Avenue entrance, adjacent to the trading shed.
You may be aware that neighbouring East Finchley Allotments were targeted by arsonists last week. The fire service attended as a number of plotholder sheds were set on fire and destroyed. East Finchley was targeted around the same time last year when the damage was less severe. We ask that you remain vigilant when on site in the interest of safety and security and report any suspicious activity.
Seed potatoes and onion sets
A gentle reminder that orders for the new season’s seed potatoes and onion sets can now be collected from the trading shed.
Orders for seed potatoes and onion sets are now available for collection from the Trading Shed. Collections can be made on Sundays between 10am & 12noon or if you see the Trading Shed open at any other time, just drop in to collect your order.
As introduced last year potatoes are now packed in convenient 2kg pre-packs. Onion packs contain 60/70 sets. Because many of you will be collecting several packs we do recommend you bring along a suitable bag to carry away your order.
If you did not place an order with us for potatoes or onion sets we do have a limited amount of stock available to purchase.
For advice on storing, preparing and planting potatoes and onions we recommend you visit the Thompson & Morgan website. Go to the garden tips section and you will find a series of really useful & ‘how to’ guides.
Onion Sets – Good News
If you ordered onion sets from the trading shed for spring planting we are pleased to let you know that our supply has now been secured. There were concerns of shortages due to last year’s poor yield resulting from adverse weather conditions. Our supply has been confirmed and we will let you know as soon as possible when delivery can be expected.
New Supplier for the New Year – January News
We now have a new supplier who is able to offer frequent deliveries of horse manure. The manure is delivered and supplied completely free of charge.
Our new wider gates in Nursery Avenue give improved vehicle access and manoeuvrability to facilitate deliveries. Plus the size of vehicle used now enables us to drop consignments at other locations on our site giving greater access and convenience to all plotholders.
As with all stable manure it is amongst the most highly prized of soil improvers, the usual mix of horse dung and fine grade straw and shavings. Tip. It should be well rotted, up to 12 months, before you add it to your soil which will then greatly improve soil structure and drainage. Once rotted it can be dug or forked into the soil or spread over the surface as a mulch and left to the earthworms to carry it underground and mix it with the soil.
New Year News
Best wishes to all allotment holders for a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year.
I hope you have enjoyed your time spent on your plot during the past year and in particular the fruit and vegetables produced on the plot. We plan to continue our programme of improvements to the site facilities and services in the coming year including, for example, new toilet/washroom facilities and improved security. There will also be regular deliveries from a new supplier of free of charge high grade horse manure. We are also planning to accept debit/credit card payments which we know many of you will find convenient. Options for the reintroduction of equipment hire are also being evaluated. From time to time we call for volunteers to help with site work so please let us know if you can help and let us have any ideas for other improvements. Finally, grateful thanks to the many plotholders for their messages of support for the work of the volunteer board who generously gift their time for Pointalls Allotments.
Paul Hendrick – Chair
Nursery Avenue Gates and Fencing
Our contractor will be returning to complete a number of modifications which will add further to site security and new site and no parking signs will be installed. We will also carry out ground works to increase the hard standing surface and improve the appearance of the area inside the fence.
Demand for Plots
We have a lengthy waiting list which confirms that Pointalls is an attractive destination for prospective plotholders seeking a great location, good value and excellent facilities. A lot of effort is made to promote Pointalls, conducting site visits and matching candidates’ expectations with suitable plots. This year we were pleased to welcome twelve new plotholders to our site.
If our new plotholders, particularly those not yet experienced in allotment gardening, are looking for growing ideas we have available a collection of 2019 seed and plant catalogues from major suppliers such as Thompson & Morgan, Fothergills, Marshalls and Dobies. Finchley Nurseries discount cards are available to all plotholders, offering 10% off plants and seeds. Thanks to all who support our trading shed through purchases of competitively priced growing materials.
Water Supply – A Successful Outcome
Since 2015, following business changes at Affinity Water we experienced a whole series of problems involving metering and incorrect charges. Basically, the two new divisions of Affinity did not communicate between themselves which also frustrated our many tedious phone calls and efforts to resolve their overcharges. (We have all probably experienced difficulties in dealing with utility companies). Fortunately, we read both our water meters regularly. We are indebted to Ruth our Treasurer for persisting with this matter for three years and finally getting Affinity to write off water charges, saving us £2,500.
On the Plot Tips for January and February
Runner bean trenches can be started in January and don’t forget to care for winter crops. It’s not a bad idea to remove and compost yellowing leaves from brassicas. January is a good time to plant shallot sets and garlic cloves if soil conditions permit. Winter yields of parsnips, Brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, kale and Jerusalem artichokes can be harvested. Towards the end of January consider making early under cover sowings of broad beans, chillies and peas. It’s also a good time to plan ahead, considering crop rotation and thinking about different varieties of vegetables to grow.
February is the starting point for chitting potatoes. FAQ why chit potatoes? Early potato tubers can be chitted in February. By carrying out this process it means the shoots will have already sprouted before you plant them. Egg boxes or module trays are best. Seed potatoes should be placed so that the end of the tuber with the little eyes is facing upward. Keep them in an area where they will receive plenty of sunlight and make sure the area is not affected by frost. You can still plant bare root fruit trees in February along with fruit canes, bushes and vines as long as the earth is not waterlogged or frozen. Prune back to the ground autumn fruiting raspberry canes which will help encourage an abundance of crops in the autumn. Remember to leave trees such as plum, cherry and apricot unpruned; instead do so in the summer months as cutting branches now makes them vulnerable to silver leaf disease.
Look out for more tips when the important sowing and planting season really gets under way in March and April.
Go forward with hope and promise.