Open Day – 15th May 2022

The BHAS Open Day will be on Sunday 15th May this year from 2 – 5pm. It’s been three years since we have been able to host an open day and we would like you to join us in welcoming all the new plot holders who have taken up plots since then. 

What is the Open Day?

The Open Day is an opportunity to meet new plot holders, see what other members are growing and socialise with the allotment community. It also enables the wider East Sheen community to visit the allotments and get inspiration. It’s a great family event and we will be selling afternoon teas too, so come hungry!

Activities at the Open Day

  • Throughout the afternoon we will have tea, coffee, squash and delicious cakes available to purchase. 
  • We will also have a plant stall and for the first time a seed swap. Please bring any seeds you would like to swap (labelled with name and variety, if not in a commercial envelope). 
  • For the first time we will also have an ‘Ask an Expert’ station. We will be on hand to answer all your general gardening and growing questions!

We need help with the following:

  • Plants donations for the plant stall. Perhaps when you divide some plants at home or on your plot? Vegetable plugs are always popular too if you have any spare seedlings. If you have any seed packets to donate to help us start the seed swap, that would also be helpful. 
  • Baking cakes. If you could bake your favourite cake for us to sell as part of the afternoon teas that would be great. We would be grateful to receive whole cakes, tray bakes, brownies or cupcakes.
  • Setting up/clearing away and serving afternoon teas. If you are free on the day to help set up or serve afternoon teas for an hour or so we would love to hear from you. Please reply to this email. 

Please let us know if you can contribute anything by emailing us

We look forward to seeing you all!

BHAS Annual Show 2021

On Sunday 12th September 2021 we held our first Annual Show for two years. It was brilliant to see so many plot holders return to show their produce and enjoy delicious cakes and tea. Here is a snapshot of the day, showing the excellent array of produce being judged.

Thank you to everyone who kindly volunteering their time setting up, judging, hosting the plant stall and raffle and baking delicious cakes.

We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Congratulations to all our show winners.

Cup winners:

Best Showperson – John Hynd

Best Plot – Dino Franz and Sarah Willard

Best newcomer’s plot – Cath Brooks and Ben Gothard (pictured above).

Show category winners:

Class 1st
1Aubergines x 2John Hynd
2Peppers x 3John Hynd
3Chili peppers x 4John Padgett
4Beetroot x 4 – with 8cm of topsPam Islip
5French Beans x 6 – any colour, any type (keep stalks on)John Padgett
6Runner Bean x 6 (keep stalks on)Clara Molden
7Carrot x 4 – with 8cm carrot topsDiane Black
8Courgette x 4Chris Lawrence
9Cucumber x 1Clara  Molden & Rob Ayward
10Garlic x 3John & Carol Lyons
11Marrow x 1 – no longer than 38 cm (15 inches)    –
12Onions x 4 – outer skins only removed (leave 3 inches of stem)   –
13Shallots x 6Harriet Graham
14Potatoes x 4Diane Black
15Pumpkin / Squash x 1                                               Joint FirstOliver Family & Fiona Heath
16Sweetcorn x 2 (with outer leaves)John Padgett
17Beef tomato x 4 – with stalksJohn Hynd
18Cherry tomato x 6 – with stalksJohn Padgett
19Medium tomato x 4 – with stalks                         Joint FirstPam Islip &         (no name)
20Mixed vegetables – 1 each of 5 kinds (presentation up to you!)                                                                          Joint FirstMark Gourley & John Hynd
21Any vegetable x 1 (this is for any vegetable NOT in the above categories)Yvonne Langley
22Biggest vegetable x 1Oliver Family
23Herbs in a jam jar – please write a list of the herbs you display and place with the jarHarriet Graham
24Apples x 4Diane Black
25Top fruit (pears, plums, quinces, etc.) any kind x 4      –
26Soft fruit, any kind x 10 (where possible leave stems)John Padgett
27Any other fruitGary Hazel
28Mixed flowers in a vase, arrange as you wishHarriet Graham
29A single variety of flowers in vaseClara Molden
30Dahlias x 6 stems, same varietyJohn Hynd
31Largest diameter Sunflower Head x 1John Padgett
32Tallest Sunflower plant inc. Head x 1Charlie Armour
34aAged up to 10 years. Mini garden on a seed tray – create your own miniature garden.Myles Goodwin
34bAged 11 – 18 years. Mini garden on a seed tray – create your own miniature garden.    –
35aAged up to 10 years. Vegetable monster/pet – decorate and create using vegetables, fruit and/or herbs.Myles Goodwin
35bAged 11 – 18 years. Vegetable monster/pet – decorate and create using vegetables, fruit and/or herbs.Oliver Goodwin
36A glass jar of homemade fruit jam, any kindAlastair Kennedy
37A Victoria Sponge Cake – your family’s favourite recipeDiane Black
38A glass jar of homemade chutney, any kindPam Islip
41‘Make us laugh’ category for the funniest or weirdest shaped Vegetable or Fruit – open to all ages.Oliver Family

The Grape Collective

The Grape Collective

Fellow plot holder Gary Hazell has produced several bottles of wine from his harvest of grapes. He harvested over 83 kilos from one vine that produced 56 75cl bottles. His grapes were delivered to the team at Urban Wines last September, who produce a range of products under Chateau Tooting. The 2020 vintage is a Rose made up of grapes collected from several plot sites including Gary’s.

Gary has created a new not-for-profit organisation called The Grape Collective. This is a small voluntary business that will look to collect grapes from different plot holders and sites with the aim to take these to the Urban Wines team to produce more wine from the next set of harvests due in September. You can then buy back the fruits of your labour as bottled wine.

Gary is also interested to know if any plot holders would like to learn how to tend their vines, when and how to prune and general care and harvest. He is considering offering a short viticulture course for those interested. 

Dealing with weeds

Follow plot holder Janet Bostock has shared her tips on dealing with weeds at the plot.

“The old adage, “a plant in the wrong place” is true. Whether native or a plant from another country, pretty and attractive to pollinators, if they spread too easily and are difficult to control then they become a problem.

You can save time by knowing them and removing them BEFORE they have settled in!

Why might that pretty plant become a problem?

Because it is difficult to control and difficult to remove once established.

Because the plant readily spreads across your plot, to neighbouring plots, gardens or over the fence into the wild.

Some examples:

Plants with deep roots (dandelions, blackberry, horse radish, green alkanet, ash, oak). Many arrive as seedlings which are easy to remove while small.

Plants with runners above or below ground (ground ivy, bindweed, nettles)

Plants seeding and spreading easily (dandelions, euphorbias, pendulous sedge)

Plants with bulbs, increasing both by seed and new bulbs (garlics, oxalis, Spanish bluebells)

Removing “weeds” when small, before they establish, is much easier than waiting till they become a problem.

Monty Don’s advice.

I haven’t mentioned horsetails. Just a nightmare of an invasive weed!

There are others that appear, foxgloves or forget me not for example, which are easy to pull up if in the way so can be enjoyed or moved to a convenient place.

Some can be eaten and enjoyed – Three cornered leek, all of the plant can be eaten, treated as a small leek.  Young nettle leaves make a delicious nettle soup.

Enjoy your gardening.

Janet Bostock”

July/August BHAS Allotment Photo Competition ‘Current Crops’ winner!

July/August BHAS Allotment Photo Competition ‘Current Crops’ winner!

Thank you to all the plot holders who entered our second photography competition. Congratulations to Rhonda Senior (3A Palewell Pavillion) who was chosen at the winner. We had nine entries to the competition and the anonymous judge chose this entry because they were impressed by the amount of crops for just one day’s pick!

Rhonda Senior – Palewell Pavillion
“This represents the items we (my husband, our 11 year old daughter, and I) harvested on the 6th July.  As the produce accumulated on the table, it happened to be in a pleasing arrangement of colours and textures.”
John Padgett – Plot 41A Hertford
This is the developing head of a giant Mongolian Sunflower. Once ripe it will provide hundreds of seeds for birds and other wildlife.”
Simon Silvester – Plot 6 Palewell Park
“Plenty of courgettes and tomatoes now so these will be turned into soup for the freezer. Something to cheer us on a cold winter’s day. Courgettes – Defender, Soleil, Romanesco. Tomatoes – Beefmaster, Coure Di Bue.”
Ronnie Bendall – Plot 51 Hertford
“Bean Feast from Four Lands. England (Handsome Johnny), France (Aurie de Bacau), Slovenia (Fižol Nizek) and Italy (S. Anna).”
Rashid – Plot 48 Hertford
A selection of my vegetables, it has been a difficult year this year but determination and hard work is paying off and making the produce even more enjoyable!”
Carina McLeod – Plot 17 Triangle
“Thought my veg looked very surreal or maybe slightly impressionistic submerged in water.”
Rachel Walker – Hertford
“A day harvesting in August from a 1m x 2m bed.”
Fiona McEllen – Plot 41 Priory
“Large onion.”
Pam Islip – Plot 36 Priory

Enter the 2020 Sunflower Competition

Unfortunately, this year the Annual Show in September will not go ahead due to Covid-19 restrictions but we are excited to share more details about a virtual Sunflower Competition. We’ve seen some amazing sunflowers growing on plots across the allotment sites and we can’t wait to see your entries!

Competition rules

Categories & guidance on how to measure

1. Biggest sunflower head

Measure the diameter of the seed head. The flower petals should not be included.

2. Tallest sunflower plant

Measured from the base of the stem (not including the roots) to the top of the head. The head can be extended to measure the full height of the plant.

How to Enter

Entries are open from now until the 30th September 2020.  Please enter your details using this online form.  Competition open to East Sheen allotment plot holders only.

Please submit one entry for each individual sunflower you wish to enter in the competition. For instance, if you have two sunflowers you wish to enter (one for height and another biggest sunflower head), please submit the form twice. It is possible to enter the same sunflower in both categories.

Please self-measure your sunflowers in millimetres (mm).

Once a submission is received, all measurements will be verified by a volunteer judge to confirm measurements.


(entry closed on 1 October 2020)

Photos of entries

Please do send us any photos you have of your sunflowers as we would like to share these in the next newsletter and on the website (not a requirement to enter the competition).

Photos can be sent to

Thank you and good luck!

June BHAS Allotment Photo Competition ‘Wildlife’ winner!

June BHAS Allotment Photo Competition ‘Wildlife’ winner!

Thank you to all the plot holders who entered our first photography competition. Congratulations to David Clark (Palewell Fields) who was chosen at the winner of our first photography competition. We had ten entries to the competition and the anonymous judge chose this entry ‘because we can’t garden and grow without them’.

David Clark – Palewell Fields
The photograph was taken on our allotment at Palewell Fields. A bumblebee on Comfrey. 
Judge’s comments: ‘because we can’t garden and grow without them.’
John Padgett – Plot 41A Hertford
Male stag beetle.
Judges comment ‘Rare and endangered and we are obviously “doing it right“ on the plots if they are around.’
Rashid, Plot 48 Hertford Avenue.
This photo shows how wasps are helping save box hedges, once they discover the presence of caterpillars on a hedge they keep coming back time after time to feed on them.
Judges comments: ‘wasps are excellent scavengers and pest controllers.’
Diane McLellan Plot 52 Priory

One of the slow-worms helping with organic pest control on my plot! Slow-worms are actually legless lizards and are a protected species in the UK.

Ronnie Bendall – Plot  51 Hertford

My photo is of a busy ladybird on the leaf of our very vigorous Loch Ness Blackberry.

The picture was taken in early June 2020.
Ben Gritten – 2B Priory
The damselfly was a little camera-shy at first and I spent a good 20 minutes chasing it around my allotment until it decided that I wasn’t a threat and ended up being a very good model, showing off its wings to me!
Judges comments: ‘perfectly framed!’
Fiona Heath – Priory 41.
Ladybird on comfrey.
Pam Islip – 36 Priory
Field Bird’s Nest Fungi (Cyathus olla) found on compost on one of the plots. The nests are about 1 cm across and are quite common. The ‘eggs’ contain the spores and are spread when raindrops hit them, knocking them out of the nest.
Judges comments: ‘Lovely fungus’
Rachel Walker
Female Stag Beetle at plot 37 Hertford.
Janet Bostock – 39 Hertford.
Nettles can be considered a weed or they can be a bonus crop. Young leaves make a good soup, can be added to risotto or be the leaf used in Pesto. Some wildlife also enjoys a good nettle patch. The black caterpillars are the larvae of the Peacock butterfly.  At this stage of the nettle season they are welcome guests and may eat as many leaves as they like!

NEW: July/August photography competition ‘Current Crops’

The theme for the Allotment Photo Competition this month is ‘Current Crops’. We’ve seen many of your pick your first crops and salads over the last few weeks so do send us your best shot! At the end of the month a winner will be chosen and awarded a £5 voucher to spend at The Trading Shed. A special prize will be awarded at the end of the year for best overall photo.

Photo competition rules
– one photo per person can be submitted each month. We welcome entries from both adults and children.
– submit your photo in landscape orientation in .jpeg or .png format and email to or use the hashtag #sheengyo on Instagram.
– include your name, site and plot number.
– include a short 2-3 sentence description of the photo.
– photos for the July/August competition must be submitted by 15th August 2020.
– each month the winner will be chosen by an invited judge.
– by submitting your photo you are also consenting to the BHAS Society using it on their social media accounts and website (full credit will be given).

How to beat tomato blight: last year was one of the worst years on all our sites

Thanks to plot holder Fiona Heath for putting together this useful guide on tomato blight.

Last year was one of the worst for tomato blight on all our sites. It’s a disease caused by an airborne fungus-like organism that spreads rapidly in the foliage and fruit of tomatoes in wet weather. Its spores can stay in the soil for up to 4 years.

Symptoms of blight:-

  • Leaves shrivel and turn brown.
  • Brown lesions appear on the stem.
  • Brown patches appear on green and red fruit, more mature fruit will decay rapidly.
  • The whole of an infected plant must be removed from site; roots, stem and fallen tomatoes. Do not compost or dig into the soil.

There is no cure, but prevention is the best control measure:-

  • Rotate your crops.  Don’t plant in the same spot as last year’s tomatoes or potatoes.
  • Give your plants some space. Plants should be at least 24 inches apart to allow adequate air circulation among leaves to keep them dry.
  • Water the soil around your plants.  Avoid overhead watering.
  • Mulch around the base.  Fungus can spread up from the soil.  Remove lower leaves.
  • Try using disease resistant varieties.

Hopefully, if we’re vigilant, we can prevent the spread of blight and have a bountiful crop of tomatoes.