Richmond Council decides to ban allotment bonfires from 30 April 2019

At the cabinet meeting on Thursday, 14 February 2019, Richmond Council decided that all bonfires on allotments will be banned from 30 April 2019.  The Borough of Richmond Allotments Group (BRAG) will be making a submission through official channels to have this decision reviewed and BHAS Allotments has representation in BRAG.

An allotment bonfire ban will impact plotholders who would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove non-compostable material from the allotments, including those who are elderly, do not own cars or live in flats.  We would like to ask our East Sheen Allotment plotholders to contact their councillors if they do not agree with this decision.  Councillors for each area can be found by going to the Council website.

There is also a petition set up by a plotholder on the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRuT) website enabling individuals to register their support for overturning the ban.  The more who sign up to this, the stronger the case will be to review the decision.  Follow this link to access the petition.

Save the date for 2019 Open Day – 12 May

Save the date

Mark your calendars for the 2019 BHAS Open Day for 12 May from 2-5pm.  Our Open Day is confirmed and we’ve love for you to join us for the afternoon.  Information about the day can be found on the Events page – so stay tuned as plans develop.

What is Open Day?

Open Day is a way for our community to wander around the allotments and get inspiration for your own plot or garden as well as socialise with our allotment community.  Activities for kids are in the works, so it’s a great family afternoon.

We will be selling afternoon teas so come hungry!

Volunteer

In preparation for the day, you can also help the BHAS Allotment Society by:

  • planting seeds to sell at the plant sale, and
  • volunteering to help on the day.

If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact us!

Hope to see you there.

Trading shed – new stock February 2019

This month at the Trading shed we have new in stock ‘Enviromesh’ (ultra fine insect netting).

You can also still get seed potatoes to start chitting, onion sets and shallots at the Trading Shed (please see the blog post from January for varieties).

Free Plot Markers
Is you plot clearly marked?  If not, we have plenty of wooden plot markers to give away.
Just come down to the Trading Shed any weekend between 11.00 – 12.00 to pick one up.
All you have to do is write your plot number on it with permanent marker.

Plot holder survey results

In 2018 we conducted a survey of plot holders to find out what you think of the allotments and what more the BHAS Society can do to support you. Thank you to everyone who took their time to answer the survey.

As we have outlined in previous newsletters, the Committee has already started work towards addressing some of the issues raised below and will continue to do so this year.

East Sheen Allotment holders survey

50 responses from 242 plot holders

Q1 . Which site is your plot on?

Priory – 32%

Hertford Avenue – 31%

Palewell Park – 16%

The Triangle – 10%

Palewell Pavilion – 10%

Not a plot holder – 0%

Q2 . In your own words, what are the things you like most about the allotments?

Growing my own food – 28%

Socialising with other plot holders – 23%

Being out in nature – 19%

Peacefulness – 15%

Getting away from the pressures of modern life – 9%

Supplies e.g. water, bark – 3%

Exercise – 3%

Q3 . In your own words, what do you like least about the allotments?

Nothing – 15%

Other plot holders – 15%

BHAS Committee – 14%

Weeds on own plot – 11%

Overgrown vegetation/trees on site – 9%

Unattended plots – 9%

Wildlife  – 7%

Theft of produce/vandalism – 4%

Lack of community spirit – 3%

Keys/locks to sites – 3%

Size of plot – 3%

Bonfire rules – 3%

Too many bonfires – 1%

Use of chemicals – 1%

Lack of toilets – 1%

Lack of support from the Council – 1%

Plot too far from supplies e.g. mulch, logs – 1%

Q4 . In your own words, what are the things you would most like to improve at the allotments?

Council to deal with plot holders effectively who are not using their plots/reduce number of abandoned plots – 14%

Nothing – 13%

Supplies (more mulch, water pressure, water butts, shredder, soil improvers, drainage) – 13%

Pruning of trees/vegetation/trimming grass on paths– 12%

Trading Shed (opening hours, more products, bulk deliveries) – 10%

Tidying up the site – 9%

Better security and access (locks, gates) – 9%

Community gatherings – 7%

Waste disposal – 3%

Planting fruit trees in common areas – 3%

Polytunnels for germination – 1%

Lack of communication/don’t know what’s happening – 1%

Politics – 1%

Creation of access-friendly raised beds – 1%

Group chicken area selling eggs – 1%

Dog mess – 1%

Toilets – 1%

Q5 . How strong is your sense of community at the allotments? Move the slider from 0 to 10 where 0 is no sense of community and 10 is a high sense of community

Range 4 – 10, average 7.2

Q6 . How often do you participate in activities at the allotments? (other than to tend your plot) Please choose the answer which reflects your participation the best.

Weekly – 2%

Monthly – 28%

Once or twice a year (e.g. Open Day or Annual Show) – 64%

Never – 6%

Q7 . If you do not participate in activities at the allotments, why not?

Busy with family life/work – 28%

Only want to tend my plot – 25%

Away at weekends – 24%

Don’t like socialising with others – 16%

Not aware of what is going on – 4%

Health problems – 4%

Q8 . What types of activity would you participate in if they were available at the allotments?

Specialist talks/expert demonstrations – 35%

Happy with what is already on offer – 18%

Anything social (evenings) – 14%

Communal site/plot clear ups  – 12%

Food related e.g. BBQ – 7%

Trips to interesting places e.g. gardens – 5%

Vegetable/seed exchange – 5%

Plot holder inspections –  2%

Child-friendly activities  – 2%

Q9 . Would you like to volunteer for the Society?

Already do – 33%

No thanks  – 61%

Yes – 6%

Q10 . Are you a member of the Allotments Society?

Yes – 98%

No – 2%

Trading shed – new stock January 2019

The Trading Shed (Hertford Ave) will reopen again from Saturday, 12th January 2019.

Opening times: Sat and Sun between 11.00am and 12.00

It now has a good range of high quality gardening gloves available.

There will be onion sets (Red Baron, Stuttgard varieties) and shallots (Golden Gourmet, Red Sun varieties) available.

There will also be seed potatoes of the following varieties: Accord, Lady Christl, Red Duke of York, Charlotte, Wiljm, King Edward, Desiree, Maris Piper and Picasso.

Prices:
Potatoes are £1.20 per Kg
Onions are £1.50 per 500g
Shallots are £1.70 per 500g

Horseradish

We recently had an enquiry about horseradish from a plot holder and how to remove it from your allotment site permanently. We thought it would be useful to share our tips here in case anyone else is having the same problem with this vigorous and hardy perennial.

Process for removal:

1. Dig all the way around the horseradish plant you want to eliminate. Place the elongated, narrow blade of the transplanting spade (or any sharp garden shovel) at least six inches away from the crown of the plant to avoid cutting through any outlying roots.
2. Lift the entire plant from the ground with a garden fork and move it away from the hole.
3. Examine the inside of the hole for any pieces of white root, no matter how small, and remove them.
4. Check the area around the hole for green horseradish sprouts. Dig up and discard any you find.
5. Clean the tools to avoid spreading any small horseradish root particles to other parts of the garden.
6. Harvest as much of the root as you wish to use and dispose of the rest of the plant. The top can be cut off to go in the compost pile, but dispose of the roots in the trash or give them away so they can’t resprout in the compost.
7. Fill the hole back in with soil. Do not till this area of the garden or replant it immediately.
8. Replant the area with whatever you wish when no more horseradish sprouts appear.

Things You Will Need: 
– Needle-nose or transplanting spade
– Garden fork

Tips:
– Remove horseradish plants in the late fall or early spring if you want to get in one last harvest; otherwise dig at any time.

Curious about horseradish?

Alternatively, if you fancy giving this crop a try we recommend growing it in pots or raised beds to keep it under control as it can quickly become invasive. The RHS gardening website has some great growing tips for Horseradish and Riverford has a lovely recipe for a sweeter Apple and Horseradish sauce.

Image source: RHS

New wood and chippings bays

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed the refurbishment work on the wood and chippings bays at the Hertford Avenue entrance has begun. After clearing the site of the original pallet boards which had started to rot and break down, wooden sleepers have been erected to form a new boundary. We still need to firm up the ground immediately next to the path, to stop the delivery lorries getting stuck in the mud.

Bay 1 (nearest the main gate) has been enlarged and will be re-designated for the logs. Bay 2 in the middle will remain the wood chip store and the 3rd bay will be for compost from Richmond Park when it’s available.
Thanks to John Hynd, Rashid, Desmond and John Padgett for all their hard work so far.

If you would like to lend a hand moving the logs from their existing bay,  please feel free to pick up one or two logs as you walk past and take them down to the newly created bay.