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.