Newsletter June 2020

BAF calls for entries for best plot

This year, the annual ‘best plot’ competition will be held in virtual form. You are all invited to take part. Please drop me a line at communications@pointalls.org if you want to be a contender. Entries are to be submitted by the society, not individual plotholders.

The organiser, BAF, will judge the best plot based on three photos – one that shows the plot top-to-bottom, one bottom-to-top and one across the plot. They like an abundance of vegetables, fruit and flowers as well as a neat and tidy layout. Photos are to be taken on the weekend of 18 and 19 July.

Update on Covid rules – no change

No change has been made to the rules of social distancing. They remain in place as summarised on both gates. The board is monitoring the situation and will make changes when it feels it is appropriate.

The toilet remains closed. For unknown reasons there has been a period when the padlock was unlocked and the toilet was used by some people. This has been rectified.

Planning for a more normal future – when the toilet will reopen -, we are aware that we will need to keep all hard surfaces, door handles, locks, etc of the toilet extremely clean.

We are calling for a team of volunteers who are willing to ensure that the toilet is always in tip top condition. Please let me know if you are one of those. So far, I have had one plotholder volunteer. We will need a team to ensure the necessary level of cleanliness. So please put up your hand.

Water sparingly and only for half an hour

The rules of the society state that watering should be done sparingly to “allow access to other plotholders and to minimise the cost of the metered water supply”.

It has been reported that some plotholders are not watering sparingly, but overly generously, and that some use the shared tap for hours. If you are one of those, please stop doing that.Overwatering is pointless. Most of the water you spread just evaporates without doing anything for the plant.

In any case, we advise that nobody ever uses the tap for longer than half an hour at a time and always disconnects straight after finishing watering. Be aware that many plotholders experience a significant drop in water pressure if too many others are watering for too long. Please be considerate.

Radical way of reforming agriculture

A very interesting argument is being made by a French study in how to produce food in a sustainable manner. The study mapped out a radical, new farming system that phases out pesticides and synthetic nitrogen, moves away from soybean imports and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of farming by 40%. And it does not require consumers to give up eating meat. Radical indeed!

Initially published in French in 2019, it was unearthed by the UK’s Soil Association, which thought it so significant they paid for an English translation and helped commission a UK-specific follow-up. Here is the link to a report about this piece of research.

Court case ongoing

The court case that two former plotholders brought against Pointalls in February is ongoing. Due to legal costs and low funds we have stopped using legal representation. The members of the board are doing what is necessary to represent the society.

After the failure of an attempt at mediation in the spring, the process has reached the stage where paperwork is being lodged in preparation for the court case itself. The paperwork submitted by the two former plotholders runs to more than 500 pages.

At a date to be confirmed, the case will be heard in the City of London County Court.

Metal stepladder lost

One of our plotholders has reported that she cannot find her metal stepladder. It is a low one with two steps. The plotholder thinks she may have left it out on the pathway by mistake.

If anyone has found the stepladder, please drop it off at plot 41.

Biological control of pests

The top 10 pests and diseases as collated by the RHS feature slugs and snails in third position. I guess Pointalls’ gardeners might even rank this pest the number one.

To help fight some of these pests, we have put a useful RHS document on our website. This excellent document gives details of mail order suppliers of biological controls for home gardeners.

And no, ladybirds are not among the bad guys, on the contrary. I watched this one busily hunting for aphids.

Collecting excess produce for charity

If you wish to donate excess fruit or vegetables for charity, please take it to the table on plot 6 (under the plum tree) and next to the communal area. Please leave vegetables only from Friday to Sunday. Radhika and Rachael from Charity Veggiebox will be delivering to Homeless Action Barnet and other community projects on Monday mornings.

Charity Veggiebox thanks those who contributed even before the project set up the table. Some wonderful lettuces and chard have been donated to Homeless Action Barnet. They are delivering food parcels to those in temporary accommodation and hope to re-open their centre soon for cooked meals.

This year, Charity Veggiebox has joined forces with other allotment sites in the borough and is hoping to start supplying The Felix Project, although this is yet to be confirmed.

Report this caterpillar

And now something a little different, aimed at all of us who enjoy green spaces in general.

We are being asked to keep our eyes open for oak processionary moths and immediately report any sightings to the government.

This pest attacks oak trees and is established in London. The aim is to fight it and stop it from infecting the rest of the country.

In the photo below you see a procession of caterpillars on the trunk of a tree – that is why they are called processionary. They move in orderly formations, like a legion of the Roman army.



Newsletter May 2020

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place

Despite the slight change in government guidelines, the social distancing restrictions at Pointalls remain unchanged.

  • Never bring more than one visitor to the allotment
  • Stay on your own plot
  • Do not wander around the site
  • Never get closer than 2-3 metres to anybody else
  • Do not congregate and chat with more than one other person
  • Wear gloves and use hand sanitiser when touching shared surfaces like gates, locks and taps

Topsoil being lost

With every green waste skip that is removed from the plot, we as a community are losing lots of topsoil.

If you are clearing a badly overgrown area, much better to create a heap in the corner of your plot. Then let it rest for one season under cover and the roots will rot down. You are left with topsoil that you can distribute on your beds, costing you exactly nothing.

As it is now, a large proportion of the weight of the green waste skip is not green waste at all, but soil. That is the real waste!

What to do with fuchsias?

You know about borage of course, living in a Pimms country. You might know about apple blossom and war-time fritters.

But do you know about begonia and fuchsia?

I am talking about the fact that in all these cases the flowers are edible. Check out the full list here and get cooking using pretty garnish combined with fine taste.

Be considerate when using shared water taps

When you use your hosepipe for watering, please be aware that your neighbours need to use the same tap. Therefore, please complete your watering in the shortest time possible to give others access.

Personally, if I want to use a tap that is in use, I approach the owner of that hosepipe and ask to be told when they are done. I have found that a very effective way to remind people to get on with their watering.

Grow a little extra for the Charity Veggiebox

You may have read about this in an earlier update, but for those who did not, here is a repeat of the announcement.

Like last year, two of our members, Radhika and Rachael, will again collect spare vegetables this year and deliver them to local charity kitchens.

As it is now time to plan our planting, the Charity Veggiebox project is asking you to think of planting a few extra vegetables that can be donated to the local community at harvest time.

With the impact of the coronavirus more people than ever will rely on charity donations to feed their families. In such times, Radhika and Rachael stress that this project is even more useful than normal.

Mowing on Long Lane Pasture

I noticed that the Long Lane Pasture gardeners are using their ride-on mower. It is good to know that their work continues after their access point has shifted away from the allotment to the other end of the pasture.

Just to inform you, the Pointalls board has written to the pasture more than once with the offer to help ironing out any problems that may exist. We have not heard back from the pasture trustees so far, which I take to mean that all is fine.

Trading shed update

John Waterhouse has been doing a lot of business while garden centres were closed. We would encourage you to continue buying from the trading shed as it is very competitively priced and extremely convenient – with no fee for delivery ever being charged.

There is one item that is no longer available – Growbags. Our supplier has simply run out.

However, the good news is that you can grow tomatoes equally well in the ground. I would argue Growbags are the invention of a savvy marketing department that has very little to do with any gardening prowess.



Newsletter April 2020

Take heed of new restrictions

Not quite two weeks ago – when all our lives changed -, we sent out a reminder of general precautions and new restrictions that apply on the allotment site and that are aimed at safeguarding our members.

Please remind yourselves of the details either by reading the notices that are up by the two entrance gates or on our website.

Upcoming events cancelled

These are the events that are scheduled for the next month or so: composting workshop on 19 April, ‘Have your say’ on 26 April and the plant sale on 9 May.

Given the current situation, unfortunately all three are cancelled for now. We hope to re-schedule them for later in the spring if government restrictions are eased off.

Digging up treasures

Richard Targett was digging plot 63 when he came across this piece of pottery. Richard did what we all would do and googled it.

Without going to such lengths, please guess what this pot might have contained. And it looks like it has something to do with Vienna of all places.

You can find the solution to this puzzle at the end of the newsletter.

Placing orders by email

As you will know, the trading shed is closed until further notice. Instead, we are offering an ordering system with self-collection of goods from outside the trading shed.

I am glad to report that it is doing a roaring trade. So far, we have seen turnover of around £300. The bestsellers are manure and compost, not a surprise given how attractively priced everything is and how convenient the shopping experience.

Keep ordering!

  • Order by email to communications@pointalls.org or phone 07881 349101.
  • You can pay by bank transfer to Unity Trust Bank, sort code 60-83-01 account 20381877. Please use your name and plot number as reference.
  • Next, you collect your order from outside the trading shed. Talk to us to agree a suitable day for your collection.
  • We ask for a minimum spend of £10 per order and at most one order per allotment holder over the next few weeks.
  • Click here for the price list

Mediation attempt was unsuccessful

In the ongoing dispute with two former allotment members an attempt at mediation was unsuccessful. A professional mediator acted as the middleman but no agreement was found. Both parties are bound by the rules of confidence not to reveal any information that was discussed during the mediation attempt.For background, this relates to the decision in February by the two former allotment members to issue court proceedings against Pointalls Allotments. The case is ongoing and likely to be delayed by the effect of Covid 19.

Cameras installed without permission

The former plotholders who are suing Pointalls have recently installed three CCTV surveillance cameras on their rear boundary wall which adjoins our allotment site. The cameras are pointing in three directions including across the site itself.

The installation and use of CCTV surveillance cameras is not in compliance with data protection laws and infringes the rights and privacy of people whose images are captured.

We have asked for these cameras to be removed without delay. Should our request be ignored we will proceed to ask the ICO to take enforcement action against the two former plotholders.

When building on your plot

If you want to build any semi-permanent structure on your plot, this is what you need to keep in mind. The site regulations describe what sort of structures are possible under the heading ‘Sheds, greenhouses and other structures’. You can find the site regulations on the website.

Please make a formal application including a drawing, dimensions and positioning on the plot and send it to Paul Castignetti under sitemanager@pointalls.org. Paul may discuss your application with you if anything is unclear before handing it to the board for a decision.

A correction

I would like to issue a correction regarding last month’s winner of the photo competition. Valli Hesper from plot 87 pointed out that the winning photo was by her, and not by Richard and Valli as I stated.  Valli also adds that her father would be proud of her, himself having been an award-winning photographer. Apologies, Valli!

New process to deal with issues

The board has been working over the winter to streamline the process that kicks in when someone does not comply with site regulations. These regulations – which you can find on the website – contain our responsibilities towards Barnet Council.

In normal circumstances, we carry out monthly site inspections. If we come across something that is contrary to rules and requirements, we would as a first step contact the plotholder in writing asking them to return to compliance within 28 days. This and the following steps are outlined in a new document that you can find on our website (from Monday onwards under tab ‘Allotment information’).

We are keen that issues that arise are handled in a way that is sensitive, amicable and fair. We are happy to receive your feedback as we know that processes are never perfect and can always be improved.

It’s marmalade

Richard’s piece of pottery used to contain Scottish marmalade of clearly superior quality. It even won a prize in Vienna in 1873. Thanks for this interesting piece of gardening treasure.

And if you want to know more, here is the story of how Dundee became the birthplace of marmalade. To this day, marmalade is made in the city. Now sold under the name Mackays.



Precautions & new restrictions to safeguard members

General precautions

  • Wear gloves when opening and closing any gate locks, taps or other communal items
  • Keep sanitiser in your shed and use it regularly
  • Do not wash your hands in water troughs
  • At all times observe ‘social distancing’: 2-3 metres; avoid all direct contact, for example, no handshakes
  • Do not share tools
  • If you display any symptoms of coronavirus, you must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed and follow general NHS and government advice.

New restrictions aimed at safeguarding our members

In the current emergency, allotments provide a wonderful resource to enable us to obtain exercise and fresh air and grow healthy produce.

But this is only so if they are used safely and responsibly.

Our understanding is that access is still allowed under current government regulations but to ensure full compliance with government advice we have to introduce the following new restrictions:

Communal area closed until further notice

The communal area is closed to all until further notice. This is to ensure that people, and children in particular, are not in contact with others thereby avoiding the risk of infecting each other.

Children and other visitors

Any children brought on to the site must be supervised at all times. They are restricted to the allotment holder’s plot only and must not be allowed to roam across the site.

Other visitors should be restricted to one additional adult supervised by and assisting the allotment holder in maintaining the plot.

All this is subject to the general government regulation that gatherings of more than two people (excluding people you live with) are prohibited.

We appreciate the problems parents face in the current situation but this requirement must be strictly observed. If not, we will be forced to consider more stringent restrictions in order to safeguard the health of the general membership.

Toilet closed until further notice

Please be aware that the composting toilet has been padlocked.

The board decided this was necessary because we cannot guarantee the regular, daily cleaning that would be required in the current situation.

We will re-open the toilet as soon as times return to normal.

Order from the trading shed

As you will know, the trading shed is closed until further notice.

To help with your spring gardening, we offer the opportunity to order your products by emailing communications@pointall.org or phoning 07881 349101.

  • You can pay by bank transfer to Unity Trust Bank, sort code 60-83-01 account 20381877. Please use your name and plot number as reference.
  • Next, you collect your order from outside the trading shed. Talk to us to agree a suitable day for your collection.
  • We ask for a minimum spend of £10 per order and at most one order per allotment holder over the next few weeks.

Below please find the price list. Our prices are very close to what we pay the wholesalers. We make very little profit on our products because we want to price them as attractively as possible.

John Waterhouse is keen to urge to all owners of fruit trees put up moth and maggot traps this year. If we all do this and catch loads of maggots and moths before they can do damage to the fruit, then we will all be better off at harvest time.

These traps are available as are refills for existing traps.



Take precautions

The government advises that everyone must avoid non-essential contact with others.

Pointalls Allotments continues to be open and available for use.

However, we want to stress the urgent need for sensible precautions:

  • Keep a suitable distance from others, a minimum of two metres is advised
  • Safest option is to avoid talking to members who live in other households
  • Wear gloves especially when handling the locks and gates

In light of the disruption to normal life, the board has decided to postpone all site inspections until further notice.



Newsletter March 2020

Wet weather causes delays

The wet weather has caused a delay in mowing the common areas. However, we managed to get the job done in the past two days.

The roadway by Squires Lane was damaged when rain had made the surface particularly unstable. However, the builders who caused the damage have since fixed the roadway.

Coronavirus precautions

There is no escaping warnings about Covid 19 even as a gardener.

We recommend that you wear gloves when you unlock the gates to the allotment. This is entirely in your own interest as these padlocks are the one place on site that are touched by many hands.

Once the water is back on, please remember that the taps should be used with care, ideally wearing gloves.

Site inspections due to re-start in April

Our gardening working group will start their monthly walk-round in April. As you may remember from last year, the focus is on the level of cultivation, keeping pathways mowed and clear, and plots reasonably tidy.

Towards the autumn of last year we noticed a big improvement and we hope we can all continue the good work in 2020. Very importantly, these inspections give us an early notice if an allotment holder is having problems cultivating and allows us to offer help and support.

Tiny beginnings

They don’t look like much right now but these tiny seedlings will grow into tomato plants of the Moneymaker variety.

I hope they will do so in time for the plant sale on 9 May.

My message to you all – get sowing!

Mediation to resolve issues behind court case

In February, two former alloment members issued court proceedings against Pointalls Allotments Ltd in the City of London County Court.

We were placed in a situation where we had no option but to defend your company, Pointalls Allotments Ltd. The case is ongoing and we have instructed a firm of solicitors to act on our behalf.

However, in an attempt to resolve the issues we are entering into mediation with the former members. This will involve a professional mediator and is planned for later this month.

We have a winner

Although Derek is still recovering at home, I managed to convince him to act as judge for the best image in our photo competition. He had the choice of nearly 50 photos, all anonymously submitted to him, and he decided that this one expresses best the purpose of allotmenteering, namely that of  ‘growing your own’.

The winners are Richard and Valli with this picture of their wonderful plot in all its vegetable abundance:

Runner-up is Jo Keller with her selection of goodies:

And I ended in third place with a photo of grapes before harvesting:

We have used these three photos and a lot more to refresh the website. Have a look in a couple of days and let me know what you think of the result.

The prize for first place is on the way to the winners. Not that Richard and Valli need it – they know everything to do with vegetables already -, but it is Carol Klein’s ‘Grow Your Own Veg’.

Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who contributed one of their lovely photos.



Newsletter February 2020

Get sowing for plant sale

It is time to start planning for the plant sale on Saturday 9 May. We would like to offer as wide a range of plants as possible, from all sorts of vegetables to lots of annual flowers.

For this reason we are calling on all of you to sow some extra seeds and donate the future seedlings to the plant sale.

We raised £185 at our very first plant sale last year and would love to double the takings for the club this year.

Send more entries for photo competiton

I am asking for more entries to the photo competion. So far I have received seven photos, which, together with a few of my own, are not enough to submit to a judge.

So, please search your surely extensive collection of garden-related pictures and send them in quickly!

Toilet survey results

Every single plotholder received our survey asking for their opinions on toilets at the allotment. We received 41 completed surveys. For this sort of exercise, at nearly 30% of the total this is a good turnout.

After counting the results, I can tell you that a clear majority of our members do not think we need to spend money on toilet facilities. To me, this result is at least partly due to Mel’s great achievement renovating the composting toilet last summer and keeping it in good nick every since. To the first question, whether we needed a new toilet, 26 respondents said ‘no’ and only 15 said ‘yes’.

The survey indicated furthermore that a majority of members wishes to spend no more than £1 to £1000 per year on toilets. Based on this answer alone, temporary chemical toilets – as we had last summer – are not supported in the future.

Given the survey results, the board decided not to progress any plans of building new toilets and will not hire the chemical toilets we had last year. Instead, the board once again thanks Mel for his great contribution.

I  want to leave you with two comments made in the surveys:

“I am grateful to whoever cleaned up the composting toilet. It is fine now.”

“Current loo is fine – thanks to Mel’s refurbishment.”

Skills and volunteering

After suggestions made by some of our members, the board is keen to collate information that could come in useful in the future.

We want to find out what specific skills our members have. Therefore, we are asking to let us know if you are a plumber, an engineer, a writer, good at woodwork or painting, or anything else.

Please drop me a line at communications@pointalls.org and I will collate a skills list of members willing to volunteer if required.

Furthermore, the board is also keen to know who would be willing to volunteer as a gardener on the allotment site. This might be to help out one of our members who is no longer as fit as they were in the past or to assist with work on the communal jobs that need doing around the site.

Once again, please drop me a line at communications@pointalls.org

Fee for green bins in Barnet

Starting in April, Barnet Council will be charging £70 a year for garden waste collections. This was decided despite 82% of respondents to its consultation opposing the charge.

A petition against this plan is collecting signatures. You can find it on: https://www.change.org/p/barnet-council-scrap-barnet-s-proposed-garden-waste-collection-charge

At the time of writing, more than 5000 people had already signed the petition.

This new charge could well have an impact on Pointalls in that it may tempt some allotment holders to bring green waste on to the site and dispose of it in the green waste skip.

Tempting it may be, but it would definitely be against the rules. Site regulation 8 stipulates that we must not bring any rubbish whatsoever on to the site.

Next ‘Have your say’ meeting in April

At the second ‘Have your say’ meeting on 19 January questions ranged from toilets, to skills lists to the cost of green waste skips, among other topics. Some of the questions raised in this very informal gathering are covered elsewhere in this newsletter. One of those is the idea to create a volunteers’ list plus a list of members’ skills.

Another topic was plot 102. Half of it is now ready to be let, the other half will be levelled, grassed over and used to turn a vehicle around. Some of the members at the meeting were unhappy that Pointalls was paying for the clean-up of dilapidated plots before letting. However, sometimes it is essential to make it even lettable because it is in such a state.

Training members to use the large mower was brought up. The board subsequently discussed this idea again but came to the same conclusion as before that the risk of damage to the mowers, and the attendant cost of fixing the damage, was just too large for this to be considered. There was also an offer from one member to make A-boards as a way of asking for volunteers for specific projects. The idea will be on the agenda at the next board meeting.

Some members urged us to reduce the cost of the green waste skips. With exactly this in mind, we are encouraging plotholders to compost themselves and we sell compost bins (for only £17.50) and compost enhancers. On Sunday 19 April at 11.00, we will be offering the next composting workshop.

The next ‘Have your Say’ meeting is scheduled for Sunday 26 April at 11.30 at the trading shed.

Subscriptions nearly all paid

We want to thank all allotment holders who have paid their 2020 subscriptions – which is in fact nearly everybody! The change in process away from cash and towards bank transfers and cheques has fortunately not caused any issues. There were one or two members who paid in cash this year, but by next year we trust these last few will have moved to more convenient ways of paying as well.



Seed Potatoes, Onion Sets and Composting

Seed Potatoes & Onion Sets

Good news for plotholders who have ordered seed potatoes and onion sets. Our delivery has been confirmed and your order will be ready to collect at the trading shed from Sunday 2nd February.

For those of you who ordered Sarpo Mira variety of potatoes not so good news. The weather has not been kind to this variety resulting in a substantial crop failure and supply shortages. However, better news as we will be substituting with an alternative maincrop variety which has similar qualities to Sarpo Mira.

The replacement variety is Picasso which is a modern disease resistant potato that produces round to oval tubers with creamy white, smooth waxy skins and pinkish eyes. You can expect similar high yields, ready for harvesting from September and storing well. It’s good for baking and mashing too.

Composting Products

Now’s the time to increase or begin composting on your plot. The trading shed now has stock of fantastic value large 330 litre size compost bins at just £17.00 each.

We also have safe to use compost activator, to mix with your green waste and speed up the composting process. Only £2.00 for a 2.5kg bag.

Remember you can now pay by card for trading shed purchases.



Roaming Dog Issue Resolved

We are pleased to let you know that we have now resolved the problem of the large dog which has been seen roaming around the site during the past few weeks. The dog, a Japanese Akita, which is powerful and has strong hunting instincts was crossing the site in search of prey and finding its way via a fox trail on to the neighbouring Pasture. Clearly in search of foxes. Fortunately, the animal did not attack any plotholders although its large build could be intimidating.

Our site manager successfully tracked the very evasive dog and also found the owner, a nearby resident. We have received assurances that the escape route on the owners property will be sealed (we have taken action on site). Akita’s have an overriding tendency to hunt and are known for their ingenuity in creating and finding escape routes. Should the dog be seen on site again please let us know. Below is a picture of the dog taken on site.



Newsletter November 2019

First ‘Have Your Say’ session

At the first ‘Have Your Say’ session in October around a dozen members attended. These meetings are very informal. There is no record of who attended or who asked what question. Simple notes are made of the content of the questions and answers which are summarised here:

Q. Will the CCTV cameras be directed/focussed on plots?
A. No, only on roadways. To be reviewed if and when an incident has occurred in order to see who entered the site on the day in question.

Q. Not replying to communications
A. Apologies, hopefully this will not occur in the future. The general principle is that emails received will be acknowledged and then dealt with at the next board meeting.

Q. Request for a volunteers’ list to assist plotholders requiring help
A. Any plotholder wishing to volunteer please submit their name, plot number and a contact phone number to communications@pointalls.org. The list will then be displayed on the notice board(s) and in the trading shed.

Q. What is happening to the toilets?
A. There will be a membership survey in the near future.

Q. What about the penalty cost for plotholders who do not maintain their pathways?
A. This is allowed within the regulations (see regulation 6) and would only be carried out in agreement with plotholders. No plotholders have incurred charges, as all plotholders who received letters assisted in keeping their pathways clear.

Q. New regulations have been introduced without the membership’s approvalA. The board has the authority to introduce regulations, albeit not retrospectively. All that has been done is that a number of regulations have been better and more precisely defined to align us with other allotment sites.

Q. What is happening to plot 102?
A. It is proposed to create a small turning area for plotholders’ vehicles and offer the remaining area as a reduced plot.

Q. Roadway on Squires Lane side has skip lorry churning up soft ground. What is happening about reinstatement?
A. We have a written undertaking from the plotholder that any damage will be made good. We are monitoring the situation.

Q. Consideration to Long Lane Pasture members regarding access from allotment site to pasture.
A. A Pasture supporter who is also a plotholder has requested such consideration. Our response is that we would be happy to consider any proposal which the trustees of the Pasture might make, providing it met a real need, did not put site security at risk and was at nil cost to allotment members’ funds. However, we would also have to obtain an amendment to our lease with the London Borough of Barnet.Q. Why has the tool hire service been suspended?
A. Due to poor condition on return, which necessitated costly repairs and made the service unviable, plus our duty of care in relation to health & safety.

Q. Plotholders given notice to quit
A. Consequence of a plotholder’s misconduct, behaving in an anti-social way towards other plotholders. Such behaviour will not be tolerated – see tenancy/ regulations for enforcement.

Q. Is the board contemplating a polytunnel given it was mentioned in previous minutes?
A. The item was discussed but there are no plans to introduce/purchase a polytunnel. We are merely exploring fund raising opportunities that a polytunnel might give in regards to plant sales.

The next ‘Have Your Say’ meeting is scheduled for Sunday 19 January 2020 at 11.30 in the trading shed.

Turnaround space on plot 102

Plot 102 will shortly be taken on by a new tenant. The plot has been made slightly smaller in order to provide a turnaround space for cars that drive into the roadway along the fence. This should make driving in and out easier and safer.

Looking after your personal data

We are required by law to take good care of our members’ personal information. We maintain a members’ open register, which by law may be made available to the public. Nearly all plotholders chose to list Pointalls’ registered office address on this register, not their personal address. A separate database of members’ full details, known as the closed register, is securely kept and is protected by the General Data Protection Regulations.

An anonymous organisation calling itself ‘Friends of Pointalls’ has tried recently, and unsuccessfully, to obtain a plotholder’s personal information from Barnet Allotment Federation. If this had been successful, it would have been a breach of data protection rules.

Do you recognise this car?

Two unknown males in their mid-20s were recently found to be acting suspiciously on the allotment. They had a site key and had driven on to the allotment in the car below. If you recognise the car and know whom it belongs to, please drop us a line to communications@pointalls.org. These individuals are not plotholders and should not be on the allotment. Please keep an eye out for the car and alert one of the board members if you should see it on the site.

Survey on toilets

When you receive your invoice for next year, you will also receive a survey that asks you about one specific issue – your opinion about the provision of toilets. It is an important issue for the whole site because it is potentially a big investment that we need to get right. For this reason, I urge you to complete the survey and return it by 31 January 2020. Everyone’s opinion counts!

Termination of tenancy

You will have heard that we have had to terminate the tenancy of a long-standing tenant for anti-social behaviour. The tenant behaved in an intentionally intimidating manner towards another plotholder and the incident was witnessed by a third allotment holder. Anti-social behaviour of this nature is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. If you would like more detail, please contact any of the board members and they can elaborate.

One large carrot

John and Pat Waterhouse clearly know their stuff when it comes to vegetable growing. This is one of this year’s harvest and reportedly John was not even that astonished about the size. Thanks to Rachael Harvey for a lovely picture.

Monty Don in Havana

I watched this programme about urban food growing in Havana with interest. Monty Don visits newly established allotments, called huertas that are dotted around the city. Monty describes it as a green revolution and one of the most sophisticated schemes of organic growing in the world.

The film was made in 2008 as part of the series Around the World in 80 Gardens, but it is now more important than ever that we should re-make food growing into an organic and local industry.

Generous contributions received

This was the weekly contribution of produce received in late October. Radhika and Rachael thank all Pointalls members for their involvement in the scheme this year. The produce was delivered to a kitchen for vulnerable people and to Homeless Action Barnet, and received with thanks! The plan is to start these valuable and generous collections again next year once harvesting begins.

Plant sale next May

Here is a heads up for your diary in 2020 – on Saturday 9 May we are planning to hold a plant sale to raise funds for the allotment. We will need your contributions!

In January, I will follow up with more detail – including what type of seedlings we are looking for in order to make this sale as successful as possible.

Inaccurate information being circulated

A small group of members are alleging that we have recently introduced significant changes to site regulations. This is incorrect. Site rules concerning anti-social behaviour and immediate termination of tenancies have been part of our tenancy agreements and regulations for many years. Rules regarding pathway or plot restoration charges were introduced in 2017.

As regards oversized and neglected compost heaps, we are offering advice as this is not a regulation as such. Furthermore, we certainly do not recommend burning green waste, something that has been alleged. We have clear guidance in our regulations (23, 24, 35) which materials must be composted, disposed of using the popular green waste skip, or by controlled burning on the fire site. If you require copies of our permitted materials information sheets please contact communications@pointalls.org.

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