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.

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