Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For October, we have been chatting to Pam Islip who is at plot 36 at the Priory allotment site.
For about 25 years.
Still harvesting tomatoes, weeding, watering, general tidying up, cutting the grass, shortly be sowing broad beans* (Aquadulce Claudia).
Tomatoes, courgettes, mixed lettuce, French beans (green, yellow and purple), aubergines.
Far too much but I’m very popular with my neighbours!
And given how many tomatoes I grew this year, I always serve with tomatoes.
Hiking, bird watching, opera, fungi, art exhibitions, British Museum/British Library/V&A exhibitions and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m always taking exotic adventure holidays as I love travelling.
*Here is my tip for growing broad beans
I don’t spray my crops as there’s really no need with careful management. When the black fly appear (as they most certainly will) there’s no need to pinch out the tops. Every couple of days (or every day if you can) use the hose and your finger tips to squish the black fly and wash them off. After a short time, they will fail to reappear and because you’ve been watering well, your beans will have benefitted and will grow high.
Our thanks to Pam for taking the time to answer our questions this month and provide a look into her allotment world. If you’d like to be interviewed for next month’s newsletter, please contact us!
Three varieties of garlic are expected to arrive at the Trading Shed this week; they will be available for £1.30 per bulb, so please stop by during open hours to pick up your garlic bulbs for planting.
The Trading Shed is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am – 12:00pm until 16th December and is one of the many benefits of being a BHAS members. Joining BHAS is easy and only costs £10 for the year.
For reference, the excerpt around bonfires in the Terms and Conditions now reads:
“Bonfires are only permitted between 16 September and 30 April during daylight hours, Monday to Saturday.
Bonfires can only be used under the following conditions:
- Only for burning plant matter that cannot be composted (no other materials to be burnt)
- Nuisance must not be caused to nearby tenants, residents, and road or rail users
- Fires must not be left unattended
- Suitable means must be at hand to control and extinguish the fire at any time
- Fires must be extinguished before leaving site
- Any fire must be extinguished immediately upon request of a council officer
Any plot holder contravening these conditions will be dealt with via the termination policy.”
Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For September, we have been chatting to Caroline (Ronnie) Bendall and is at plot 51 (also known as Area 51!) at the Hertford Avenue allotment site.
How long have you had an allotment in East Sheen?
I was first shown the plot, commonly known as Area 51, in January 2017. I was immediately in love with the uniqueness of this space between the public path and Beverley Brook. As Susan showed me round she explained that it was a big plot that needed a lot of work. Was I sure, as some other smaller plots would be available shortly? I was sure. Having worked two previous allotments as I helper I was keen to have one of my own and this was really the one!
What jobs have you been doing on the allotment this month?
We have been on holiday for two weeks and I came back delighted that beans, cucumbers, raspberries, courgettes, beets, salads and potatoes are still in full production. Now I am tidying up and making plans for autumn and next year. Meanwhile my husband Austin is busy making some more rustic seating from logs and discarded planks. This is part of the fun of an allotment and apart from the thrill of growing and harvesting ones own produce, the best part is getting to know the many friends who share a love of this special site. Open Day and two get togethers are also on this month’s calendar for us.
What crop has done well this year?
In the spring we were happy to see the beautiful blossom on the large quince tree. It is laden with fruit now and has me searching for recipes. My Japanese Wineberry has taken off and received many questions from passers by on the footpath. So many crops seemed to love the hot summer we have had.
What are you planning to grow next season?
I am hoping to try out some more unusual veggies and maybe a kiwi fruit. I am making a decorative herb and flower bed and have to work on that as well as training two little apple trees I helped graft while I volunteered at Fulham Palace garden.
What’s your favourite recipe to make with your harvest?
That is a hard one as I love cooking. I make an easy pesto with the strong rocket I grew from seeds brought back from our son’s garden in Slovenia. There are many versions of pesto but it is such an easy and delicious thing to have in the fridge. Mine is made with: rocket, parmesan, pine nuts and garlic (also from the allotment). Put all in a food processer with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In addition to gardening of course, do you have any other hobbies or skills?
I once had a catering business and enjoy cooking. After running my own specialist stationery and gift shop for many years I studied paper making at Morley College. I would like to try plant fibres from the plot to make some stationery. I love taking photos, fruit, flowers and veggies, and sheds and benches, tend to feature quite a lot!
Our thanks to Ronnie for taking the time to answer our questions this month and provide a look into her allotment world. If you’d like to be interviewed for next month’s newsletter, please contact us!
Mike Goodwin (plot 57, Priory)
Rashid (plot 48, Hertford), Deborah Genders (plot 29, Hertford), Pam Islip (plot 36, Priory).
All other winners: William Lambert, Adelaide Kennedy, Holly Lambert, Pandora Kennedy, Miles Goodwin, Hollie and Miles Hess, Isla and Freddie Dawson.
Judging the allotments every year is a pleasure and a pain!
A pleasure because I always find some truly beautiful little plots I’ve never seen before and a pain because it is so difficult to decide who will be winners.
Allotments are not just a piece of ground to grow healthy fruit and vegetables and beautiful flowers, they have always been a space for recreation and relaxation where friends and family can meet and work together, an escape from the stresses of modern London, an oasis of calm in an increasingly busy world.
Bearing all this in mind, when I judge the allotments, I mark everyone out of 100 with roughly 40% for quantity and quality of produce, 40% for overall appearance including creativity and design, and 20% for pest and disease prevention, recycling, composting, and wild life encouragement.
John Hynd at Priory (No.76)
John Hynd (plot 76) and Emily Coates (plot 10)
Emily (Plot no. 10) has had a plot for donkey’s years; it is a very small plot under some large trees, but it has always been immaculate with edged grass paths, beautifully espaliered fruit trees, lovely flowers, and a good variety of excellent fruit and vegetables.
John (Plot No.76) has also had his plot for many years, but last year decided to completely renovate his allotment, which included removing everything but the fruit trees. This renovation included double digging the area to remove bindweed, shovelling in large quantities of manure, putting up sturdy cages to protect fruit and vegetables, and pruning and retraining fruit trees. All the hard work is evident in the vegetables fruit and flowers on his plot this summer and while work is still in progress, the Site Reps and I felt all his hard work deserved a prize.
David Waterhouse, Terry Farrar, Boo and Donal Douglas, Geoff de Metz, Finnie Harrington, Mike Goodwin, James Duncan, Janet Lavender, Susan Moore
Jenny Jefferies (plot 19)
Jenny has had her plot (No. 19) for a good few years, but despite illness and injury it has always been a “prize winner” with clean wood chip paths, lots of excellent fruit, vegetables all well protected, and rows of bright flowers including magnificent sweet peas.
Tim, Michael French, Helen Lawrence, David and Nikki Dawson, John Edgar, Warwick Radford, Caroline Bendall, Hans Weisskopf
The Triangle is probably the most difficult site to propagate. The upper, older half has terrible drainage with underground springs and water pipes. Perennial weeds such as mares tail and brambles can make the plot holders life a misery. The lower half of the site was laid out in the 1990s with bad topsoil laid over stones and gravel and some large trees by the Pitch and Putt make this area very shady. Anyone with a plot on this site deserves praise.
Freddie Dawson (plot 8)
Freddie and his wife (No. 8) have had the plot for 2 years and despite all obstacles have produced an amazing amount of good quality fruit and vegetables.
Sheena Clarke (plot 12A)
Plot No. 12A Sheena Clarkes. It has very neat raised beds in an attempt to combat the mares tail which has worked, but the struggle continues – good luck new plotholder!
Tucked away behind a thick hedge by Palewell Park sports pitch, many of you will not have visited this site. It’s like a little world of its own. There are some lovely plots here but unfortunately it’s really difficult to find the numbers so some of you may have missed a mention…
Giles Dimock (plot 7)
Giles (No.7) has grown some excellent produce with strong cages for protection and a good composting area.
Nick and Harriet Hinton (plot 2)
A prize-winning plot with neat raised beds filled at the moment with plenty of flowers and herbs.
Amani Orr-Earling (plot 4)
I wasn’t able to visit this site (No. 4) but according to their Site Rep this plot is always neat and productive and an inspiration to other plot holders!
Mr. and Mrs. Pratt (No. 7)
Not many nominations this year.
Nadia Mackenzie at Priory Plot No. 40A
A tremendous amount of work has gone into this plot to produce new beds filled with good vegetables in just over a year.
Antonia Wyld at Hertford Ave No. 32A
Very new plotholders, new raised beds were constructed and a very hard-working lady shovelled in tons of topsoil through the heat of the summer. More work in progress so a possible prize winner next year…
Thanks to all those who attended the Annual Show on 2 September 2018.
Over a hundred people attended the show and many entered their best vegetables, fruits, flowers, baked goods, jams, and creative endeavours for judging.
The BBQ boasted burgers, sausages, quiche, and a selection of amazing homemade salads. After eating and socialising, it was time to announce the winners and prizes.
Thanks to all those who entered and congrats to all the winners!
The raffle was a big attraction, and with prizes such as books about gardening, an original print from a local artist, and a bottle of homemade wine, it was no surprise. The bake sale also showed off the amazing baking skills of the BHAS members, like these delicious Allotment Show 2018 cupcakes.
There was also a very popular plant sale where many attendees picked up a variety of plants grown by BHAS members and donated for sale.
Our thanks go out to the orchestrator of the event, Halina Kessler, along with the many volunteers who helped to set up and clean up on the day. Our sincere gratitude go to the judges, Mary Thorp and David Bradshaw, for volunteering their time to judge the vegetable and baking show entries.
We’d also like to thank the Ginger Pig in Barnes, a local butcher, for their delicious sausages and burgers, which were a big hit for our BBQ, and local garden centre, Adrian Hall, for donating a plant for the day’s raffle.
Thanks to all who attended and we look forward to next year’s show!
Mary Thorp, one of the judges, has notes from the day.
What a beautiful day for a late summer show on the allotments with warm sunshine and, miracles of miracles, not a breath of wind to blow away the entries!
The weather this year with the long cold winter and spring and dry, very hot summer probably explains why there were less entries. So:
Despite the difficult conditions, a fabulous collection of tomatoes were on display, some superb pumpkins (including John Pagett’s which was one of the biggest I have ever seen) and Mark’s fine, prize-winning cabbage with hardly a sign of a slug bite.
The single variety flower vases were lovely but no Dahlias and I know there are some beauties growing on many allotments; surprisingly, few entries of apples and other fruits when there are bumper crops of many “top fruits” on the plots.
The children’s entries were a joy to judge. Amazing “out-of-this-world” veggy monsters – especially Isla and Freddy Dawson’s turtle – and the miniature gardens were tiny works of art (some budding garden designers here?). The pictures were lovely, particularly Lottie and Milly’s joint creation.
It was really good to see some new names entering!
There is no deadline for orders, so you can wait until spring 2019 if you prefer.
Kings Seeds supply a very wide range of high quality vegetable and flower seeds and other things for your allotment, so pick up a catalogue and order form and save yourself some money.
Each month we are going to be getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For August, we have been chatting to John Padgett, who currently volunteers as the BHAS Chairman, and is at plot 41a at the Hertford Avenue allotment site.
I’ve had an allotment for 5 years now. I feel the growing of fruit and vegetables is one of the most primitive of human activities and it’s all too easy nowadays to bypass any connection with how our food is grown. In our busy, compressed lives, the allotment is a peaceful oasis.
Watering, picking raspberries, feeding my pumpkin and more watering!
My crop of Garlic (Sprint) did well this year. It must have enjoyed the relatively mild winter and wet spring. The raspberry canes (Joan J) have also done well and I collect about half a large punnet every other day at the moment.
In addition to the Asparagus, Raspberries and Dahlias which are perennials, I’ll be growing Purple Sprouting Brocolli, Salad leaves, Climbing French Beans and doing some experimenting with some unusual squashes
At the moment it’s got to be Fresh Raspberry Meringues. I buy the meringues for simplicity then just top with whipped cream and heaps of fresh raspberries – it’s the perfect way to finish a meal on these hot summer days.
Our thanks to John for taking the time to answer our questions this month and provide a look into his allotment world. If you’d like to be interviewed for next month’s newsletter, please contact us!