Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Silkies are dead, long live the Silkies

The Original Silkies.  (Photo by Sally Ann Hayes)
Sad to say that over the last couple of weeks a fox has taken, on two separate occasions, all the hens from Hospital Field allotments.  Undetered, but with heavy hearts, the plucky plotholders have decided to try again and have replaced them with new hens, including a few Sikies.  Let's hope these new ones have more luck.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

It's the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Weekend

Each year the RSPB ask people of the UK to pick one hour over the weekend of 30-31st of January and record the highest number of each type of birds they see at any one time in their garden (or in their allotment of course).  It doesn't includes birds flying over.  By doing this every year the RSPB get a great snapshot of the state of the UK's bird population, what's doing well and what is struggling.  If you need any help identifying the birds the RSPB site has a useful tool to help.

At the end of the hour just go online and submit your answers

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Committee Meeting Wed 20th January 2010

A meeting of the Scarcroft and District Allotment Association was held last Wednesday, in the Golden Ball Pub as usual.  A rough outline of what happens is set out below.  If you want full copies of the minutes please contact us on the usual e-mail address
  • Reviewing the minutes from 14th Oct and matters arising
  • News from Scarcroft and Hob Moor site secretaries - re waiting lists and plots coming free.  The overall waiting list for the 3 sites is about 100.
  • Arranging more volunteers to help Tom and Mike in the hut - all very keen to help out
  • An update on the blog and the results of the mini polls
  • An update on the membership list - 205 members in 2009, gradually more and more from sites outside our 3 main sites, ratio of 2:1 men to women members of the association, 125 have given us email which saves on printing costs.
  • Planning the AGM - discussing potential speakers, whether to invite Pextons and Deans to do a bit of PR and how to publicise AGM
  • Planning the content of the next Dig This - AGM details, site care days for each of the three sites, next social evening etc
  • AOB - having a speaker for a general event, producing postcards using allotment photos, Rowntree Society's request for suport for celebratory events in 2011, raffle at next social, joining Garden Organic as a group member (rejected as too few benefits and too expensive), doing another calendar for 2011, reminder of pruning event on Sun 31st 11-1pm
  • Date of next meeting 14th April 2010 at 7pm in the Golden Ball
Phew! And all that done and dusted only a few minutes after 9pm.

RHS cold weather advice

Well, its a bit late but the RHS sent us this advice about cold weather this week, because the association is an affiliate member.  We thought we would reproduce it here again for you.  It is slightly edited to make it more relevant to allotment growers.

Photo by Sally Ann Hayes

Coping with ice and heavy snow in your garden

The RHS Advisory Service has received a marked increase in calls from gardeners concerned about the affect the heavy snow and ice is having on their plants.  Jenny Bowden, RHS Advisor says, “By taking sensible precautions gardeners can protect their plants and produce from the worst of the winter weather. With a bit of care and attention during this inclement weather people can avoid having to replace valuable plants, trees and shrubs.”
  • Fruit trees and other woody plants can be pruned in weather down to -5°C
  • Where fruit cage netting was left on, tap the snow off from beneath to reduce damage to the fruit cage. Repair cages that have already collapsed. Also remove snow from other structures including cloches and cold frames
  • Winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and parsnips should be fine but beware some might rot after prolonged freezes
  • Take care that stored produce including fruit doesn’t freeze
  • Research suggests it is no longer necessary to break the ice on many ponds. However, ponds in which fish are kept or that have a large build-up of sediment or leaves do need oxygen. For these, continue to run water features to keep a section ice free and the water circulating
  • To avoid bird baths freezing, insulate the bottom with bubblewrap or similar and replace water regularly.
  • Mulching wet or frozen soil is best avoided
  • Check the temperature in your greenhouse to maintain frost free conditions for plants such as citrus
  • It’s best to avoid watering or feeding plants in pots and containers, even if it’s windy, until the weather thaws.
  • Knock off snow from evergreens and conifer branches as there is a danger bent branches won’t rebound
  • If boughs split, prune off the affected area ensuring the cut is tidy and snag-free
  • It’s too late to put bubble wrap around containers to help insulate plant roots, but you could move them next to a house wall or porch.
  • For indoor plants avoid overwatering and sudden drops in temperature
  • And finally – beware as voles, mice and rabbits can become very hungry and use snow to scale fences and reach higher up stems to do damage
Well, now we know in case it snows again.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Check out Hemplands Website

In support of our fellow allotmenteers across York we would like to draw your attention to Hemplands Lane Allotments Website.  It's really interesting and has got loads of great content.  It's obviously a thriving site with a really active bunch of gardeners.  The site has loads of pictures of their recent events, recipes and gardening hints and tips.  When you get a spare moment take a look. 

Friday, 15 January 2010

Pextons Discount

Johnny and Frankie at Pexton's have kindly offered a 10% discount to Scarcroft and District Allotment Association Members on production of a current membership card.

Please note that the discount is restricted to garden equipment and seeds.  If in doubt feel free to ask if the garden related item you want to buy is is included in the discount.

13 Bishopthorpe Road

YO23 1NA

01904 623 217

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dean's Discount Details

As a member of the Scarcroft and District Allotment Association you are entitled to a discount of 10% of purchases at Dean's Garden Centre.  To get the discount you need to show you up to date membership card.

The discount includes the following:
  • houseplants
  • shrubs
  • trees
  • perennials
  • bedding
  • roses
  • climbers
  • conifers
  • fruit
  • herbs
  • vegetable plants
  • aquatics
  • vegetable seeds
  • flower seeds
  • bulbs
  • stoneware
  • fish and aquatic plants
  • fertilisers
  • chemicals
  • tools
  • hoses/sprayers
  • hanging baskets
  • garden sundries
  • planters/covers
  • floral art
  • pond & water features
  • cut flowers
  • basket plants (seedlings)
  • Christmas trees - fresh
  • propagating trays
  • outdoor pots - terracotta/glazed
  • composts & peat
Discount is NOT given on the following:
  • barbeques & accessories
  • Christmas goods
  • Gift tokens
  • Greenhouses/Sheds/Summerhouses
  • Beekeeping
  • Outdoor Gifts
  • Furniture (including wooden)
  • Charcoal & Fuels
  • Turf
  • Delivery Charges
  • Books (incl. newspapers & gardening magazines)
  • Gifts & Cards
  • Food & Drinks (inc. sweets, jams, drinks, ice creams, biscuits, hampers, eggs and fruit & vegetables)

York Garden Centre

Stockton Lane
York, YO32 9UE
Tel: 01904 400141
Fax: 01904 400157

Monday - Saturday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Sunday 10.30am - 4:30pm

Saturday, 9 January 2010

RHS Affiliate Member Benefits

Did you know the Scarcroft and District Allotment Association is an affiliate member of the Royal Horticultural Society?

The benefits to our members are as follows:
  • Access to RHS advisors for free advice, either by telephoning 0845 260 8000 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm) or by e-mailing (To access this service association members will need to quote our affiliate member number which is available in the shop or by e-mailing the association - )
  • A Garden Reduced Price Entry Card which gives 30% discount for up to 2 people at a time to visit Harlow Carr (or any of the 3 other RHS gardens) (Ask in the shop or email us to arrange to borrow the card)
  • Monthly copy of The Garden magazine available in the shop for members to borrow
  • Free annual visit to an RHS garden for up to 55 members
  • Quarterly newsletters and e-communications
  • More details are available on RHS website

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Soft Fruit Pruning Demonstration - Sunday Jan 31st

Laura Potts, one of our Scarcroft site plot holders, has kindly offered to give a demonstration on pruning soft fruit bushes for maximum fruit production and health.  Laura will demonstrate how to prune gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and summer and autumn fruiting raspberries.  If there is sufficient interest she will also show blackberry and loganberry pruning and how to take cuttings.  The demonstration will be suitable for all levels of gardeners but those new to soft fruit growing are particularly welcome.

If you would like to attend please meet at the Association shop on the Scarcroft Road site at 11am on Sunday 31st January.  It is likely to run from 11am to 1pm, after which there will be tea and coffee in the shop.  The demonstration will take place on a plot a short walk from the shop.   The demonstration is open to all current Scarcroft and District Allotment Association members.  You do not need to reserve a place to attend, just turn up on the day.  There will be a charge of £1 per person attending, all money raised will be donated to Garden Organic's International Development programme.  The International Development programme promotes and facilitates organic and ecological agriculture in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their goal is to contribute to the wider understanding and practice of sustainable agriculture as a means to improving food security and environmental resilience. If you would like more information about Garden Organic please follow the links under the 'our favourite sites' section of the blog, down the right hand side of the page.