News & events

October Allotment Rent Invoices

We have today received the following notice from Richmond Council regarding the invoice you have been sent for your allotment rent. 

“Due to the implementation of a new process for generating annual invoices, a technical error resulted in the rents charged to concessionary plot holders and standard plot holders being reversed. To resolve, credit notes will be raised to cancel all invoices issued on 1st October 2020 and revised invoices with the correct charges will be issued during the w/c 12th October. Plot holders who are ‘Out of Borough’ are not affected.”

2020 Sunflower Competition Winners 🌻

The results are in!

Throughout the summer months, the sunflower population on BHAS plots has been impressive with some absolutely stunning displays. It’s the perfect time, given this week’s wet weather, to revisit some of the impressive yellow giants seen on the East Sheen allotments.

Amazing displays

First Competition

The 2020 Sunflower Competition was originally intended to be a new addition to the BHAS Annual Show traditionally held in September, adding two categories for height and biggest seed head; to mark the new categories, in March, Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds were donated to the Trading Shed by Dino Franz from Hertford 26 and offered for free until they were all claimed.

Members of BHAS could pick up a packet of donated seeds from the Trading Shed.

Due to COVID-19, the Annual Show in September did not go forward, but a virtual growing competition was organised for a bit of lockdown fun.

Entries were submitted through an online form from mid-August through the end of September. Without any further ado, the results are below.

The 2020 Sunflower Competition winners

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. 

🌻 Winner: Susan Borrett, Triangle 8A – 3960mm tall

🥈Runner up: John Padgett, Hertford 41a – 3720mm tall

Biggest Sunflower Head

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

🌻 Winner: Juan Ramlill, Pavillion 6b – 400mm in diameter

🥈Runner up: John Padgett, Hertford 41a – 370mm in diameter

Thanks to everyone for the beautiful display of sunflowers on our plots and your entries; congratulations to the winners. I think we can agree it was a close competition and fun distraction during lockdown and attracted countless beneficial pollinators and bugs to our plots.

The BHAS Committee looks forward to seeing next years’ sunflowers!

-Sarah W, Hertford 26

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!

Winner
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
“Tomatoes.”

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.

ENTER HERE

(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 bhas.social.news@gmail.com.

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’.

Winner
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 bhas.social.news@gmail.com 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.

A message from the Committee

Dear fellow plot holders.
These are unsettling times and Coronavirus is changing the way we live, work and socialise.
We are incredibly lucky in that we have our allotments where we can enjoy a safe and healthy environment, stay active and have a degree of social interaction.
We do have some vulnerable plot holders who are desperate to keep coming up to their plots, so please be respectful of keeping a safe distance from each other.
It is advisable to wear gloves when opening the padlocks/gates or using any communal wheelbarrows and also to hand sanitise if possible.   The water will be turned on W/C 23rd March so hand washing will be possible from next week.
The Shed at Hertford Avenue will remain open for the time being. We have a contactless card machine so please try this to save handling money.
The growing season is just about to start, so please enjoy our allotments safely and with consideration for each other.
The BHAS Committee.

At plot 38 Hertford with … Helen Lawrence

Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For October, we have been chatting to Helen Lawrence who is at plot 38 at the Hertford allotment site. Helen recently joined the committee as joint Secretary. 

1. How long have you had an allotment in East Sheen?
This winter it will be four years – time flies!
2. What jobs have you been doing on the allotment this month?
Massive autumn cutting back and tidying up, then carting bags of non-compostable stuff to the tip. This is the time of year when a thick pair of gloves is necessary against spikes and thorns – the roses over the archway were absolutely magnificent but pruning them and cutting back the blackberries are two of the prickliest and trouser destroying jobs. I’m also in the process of moving my compost heap and filling in the old leaky pond in readiness for a new one.
3. What crop has done well this year?
Although I realise many plots have suffered badly from blight, I have been very lucky with my tomatoes this year, They were planted a couple of beds back from the main path and by chance protected on three sides by my shed and some tall plants, including corn on the cob. Last year I lost my whole crop to blight, so this year bought some blight resistant plants – not quite as tasty as my favourite Gardeners Delight but they cropped well.
4. What are you planning to grow next season?
Heavens, difficult question – I try to rotate crops in a 3-year cycle but this year have probably grown too many potatoes and tomatoes, so will possibly plant a greater variety of brassicas and spinach, including New Zealand spinach which cropped extremely well for me last year. I had a successful and delicious crop of purple climbing beans, called Blauhilde, so will certainly grow them again next year, along with French beans, and will once again attempt mangetout, though have not had much success so far. Also, the blackcurrants, autumn raspberries and rhubarb continue to flourish! However, having had a disastrous crop of leeks this year, which ended up misshapen due to being attacked by tiny grubs, I shall probably avoid them next year.
5. What’s your favourite recipe to make with your harvest?
Like most of us, I’ve had a bumper crop of courgettes, both green and yellow – when they overnight double in size, they are delicious stuffed, either purely vegetarian or, for meat eaters, with added strips of bacon. Have also frozen blocks of tomatoes cooked into a purée with onions and herbs for pasta sauces over the winter.
6. In addition to gardening of course, do you have any other hobbies or skills?
I enjoy long distance walking and on dark winter evenings am happy sewing tapestries, which eventually become cushions.