News & events

Remembering Joyce Dixon

This month we are sad to tell you that Joyce Dixon died in the early hours of Boxing Day – she was almost 97. Mary Enache remembers Joyce well and wrote this about her for us to share with you all:

“Joyce Dixon was a local lady who had plots on our sites for over 50 years and was an Honorary Committee Member of BHAS. She wrote that during WW2 her family worked a plot on the Bank of England Sports Ground and then on Palewell Common in the “Dig For Victory” campaign. She remembered having to fetch water in a bucket from the Beverley Brook to water the vegetables. Later she had an allotment on Hertford Avenue near to me but on the Beverley Brook side where she cultivated her plot well into her 80s. I remember her as being a lovely lady like her allotment which was always full of beautiful flowers and magnificent vegetables.”

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%

At plot… 2 with Sheena-J Clark

Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For January, we have been chatting to Sheena Clark who has a plot 2 at the Pavilion allotment site.

How long have you had an allotment in East Sheen?

I have had an allotment since August 2016, we were originally on Triangle site which was a lovely little plot but moved at the beginning of Autumn to Pavilion to a bigger plot.

What jobs have you been doing on the allotment this month?

This month we have tidied up, raked up the leaves and kept the bird feeders topped up.

What crop has done well this year?

This year we had a great crop of tomatoes but they were very slow to ripen. Beetroot, raspberries and cucumbers also did really well. The flowers were good too especially the Dahlias.

What are you planning to grow next season?

We grow fruit, veg and flowers,  we don’t grow any fruit or veg that won’t be eaten, peppers, cucumbers. raspberries, rhubarb, beetroot, apples, pears, plums, potatoes, carrots just the usual really.

What’s your favourite recipe to make with your harvest?

I make chutney’s, and jams with our harvest. standard recipes that my family have used for years.

In addition to gardening of course, do you have any other hobbies or skills?

I love my allotment, its our outside space as we live in a flat, I can quite often be found just sitting on the bench on a nice day, on the not so nice days I can be found in a different sort of tree as my other hobby is genealogy (family history) which I really enjoy.

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

At Plot… 62 with Paul Crompton

Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For December, we have been chatting to Paul Crompton who is at plot 62 at the Priory allotment site.

How long have you had an allotment in East Sheen?

About 7 years.

What jobs have you been doing on the allotment this month?

This month planting onions, garlic, one or two new shrubs, cutting back big blackberry bush, facing cutting back lots of raspberry canes which did not produce fruit last 12 months because drought and unusual weather.

What crop has done well this year?

Blackberries did well but raspberries a big zero.

What are you planning to grow next season?

Just planning to improve growing conditions at present and not sure about 2019 except hoping for better weather.

In addition to gardening of course, do you have any other hobbies or skills?

I am a famous tai chi teacher – look me up on internet, author and translator in field of martial arts.  Currently teach half a dozen elderly groups around southwest London.