Thursday, 29 April 2010

Thanks for signing up

Thanks to the 4 volunteers who have signed up to the 'special projects' team.  We will keep you all posted and let you know when 'special projects' arise.

More people are still very welcome to join in. If you want to add your name to those willing to help out on an ad hoc basis please e-mail us at

Spring Social

This event was very popular when we held the first one last Autumn, so much so that not everyone could fit in the pub!  There won't be any food provided this time but hopefully that will make more space for people to get into the room. We are not expecting quite the numbers this time, as it is the beginning of the May bank holiday weekend, but if you missed out last time get there early this time to ensure you get in.

The Golden Ball is a great little CAMRA pub, which sells a good selection of real ales along with all the usual stuff.  It's the place where we hold all the committee meetings. If you walk through Victoria Bar from Nunnery Lane it is straight ahead and on the right.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Please note that when I first posted this info I wrote May but it is actually April.  Sorry for any confusion. Caroline

Golden Ball awarded best overall pub by The Press

The Press Pub Awards 2009/10

Our pub, well the pub where we hold the committee meetings and  allotment socials, the GOLDEN BALL, has been awarded the press's top award for best overall pub . It was awarded best pub by The Press's judges out of 50 pubs nominated by Press readers across York and North and East Yorkshire

The judges were overwhelmingly impressed by the friendly welcome, the fantastic beer, the old-school lay-out of the pub, the quaint and peaceful garden, and the fact that – despite its fairly central location – it manages to feel like a locals’ local. Golden by name, and now golden by nature - this is a true champion pub! 

It should make it a busy one this Friday.  See you at the social.

Compost giveaway

Judith Ward, the council allotments officer has told us that, in addition to the above, if allotment associations would like to arrange for a load of composted green waste to be delivered to any of our allotments sites the council are prepared to do this.  So if more than one or two of our members would like the committee to arrange this, we can.  Just drop us a line at our usual email address or add your comment to this post.  If you want it delivered to Hob Moor or Hospital Fields we will need to check with Chris Adam and Malcolm Hainsworth first to make sure there is somewhere suitable to put it, but it should be fine.

If you just want to go ahead and pick up your own supply please refer to the poster above.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Shop Help

We are looking for a few more people to help in the Association shop on Scarcroft Road.  As you may know Ken Baldwin moved to West Yorkshire last year and although you will often see Tom Walters in the shop, he also wants to spend more time in his caravan with Janice.  Both Mike Oldfield and Patrick Cairns will still be on staff but we need a few more folk to spread the load.  So if you think you might enjoy a couple of sessions a month in the shop please drop us a line at . The requirements are as follows:
  • You would need to be able to commit to at least 2 sessions a month
  • Opening hours are Saturday 1.30 - 3.30 (you would need to be prepared to be there from 1 til 4pm) and Sunday 10 - 1pm (you would need to be prepared to be there from 10.45 - 1.15).  If a lot of people are interested in helping out I might split the shift in two on a Sunday to make it easier.  Ideally we would like people to commit their time a least one month in advance.
  • There will always be 2 people working in the shop at any one time.
  • Jobs will include serving customers, sweeping up, bagging up supplies, labelling, carrying bags of compost, signing up new members and gassing to the customers or giving gardening advice as some people call it.  If you are unable to do the heavy work don't worry we will make sure you are on a shift with someone that is.  You don't need any gardening knowledge, again let us know if you don't and we will put with someone who does.
  • It's an entirely voluntary post.  There is no pay and no staff discounts.  We do it for the love of it I'm afraid.
  • Any members are welcome to apply. Men and women, older and younger, strong and less so, experts and novices, pro chemical and organic.
Generally it is very good fun and you get to know your fellow plot holders.  If there is a lot of interest we may also consider opening for a few hours on a Wednesday afternoon in the summer too.

Please show your interest by dropping us an e-mail on and put 'shop help' in the subject line.

We look forward to working with you.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Open Studios

Two of our plotholders on Scarcroft, Andrew Burningham and Marianne Von Tucka, are exhibiting next weekend as part of the York Open Studios event 2010. If you are planning to visit studios over that weekend please show your support and look in on them at:

16 East Mount Road
York YO24 1BD
01904 639564
Friday 16 April 6 - 9pm
Saturday 17 April 10am - 6pm
Sunday 18 April 11am - 5pm

Marianne creates contemporary ceramic vessels, wall pieces and sculptural objects with glazes applied in layers to create a rich and colourful surface.


Andrew fashions residences for discerning birds constructed from hardwoods and metal. Mirror frames in contrasting hardwoods with patinated metal inserts.

Much of the work will be for sale.

If you want more information about the whole event visit

Good Luck to you both, we hope it is really successful weekend for you.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Small plants available in shop

From next weekend (17/18th April) we hope to have some small plants to sell in the shop.  They will be calabrese.  We hope to have greyhound cabbage and brussel sprout available soon too.  Numbers are usually limitted and demand is high so please come early if you don't want to be disappointed. They are really good if you want to get ahead or don't have the facilities or much success starting these things off yourself.

All the plants have been grown by Mike.  I had some calabrese off him last year and they were great!


Companion Planting Advice

As you are beginning to plan what will go where on your plot you may want to consider some of the benefits of companion planting.  Below is some advice from Scarcroft plotholder Linda James....

An eco-friendly way to eat more of your crops this year than the aphids!
  • The carrot root fly hates the strong smells of sage, leeks and garlic so try sowing spring onions seeds with your carrots. I've planted rows of chives and spring onions beside my rows of carrots.
  • Whitefly – my personal nemesis… windy conditions can keep whitefly at bay temporarily, as will a strong’ish hose down. If this won’t shift them this home-made spray will. Mix together 1-2 teaspoons washing up liquid (or mild detergent/grated soap), 1 litre water, half a cup of cheap salad oil. Mix together vigorously, and spray all over the affected plants (including the underside of the leaves).
  • Alternatively plant hollyhocks nearby (but not on) your brassicas beds – whitefly find them irresistible.
  • Hoverflies, the natural predators of aphids, are attracted by flowering annuals such as dill and coriander - two more options to protect your lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Poached egg plants are not only beautiful to look at and attract bees, but will deter black fly so plant them near your broad beans/runner beans. Marigolds, of course do the job just as well. Put pots of them in your greenhouse to keep green and black fly at bay.
  • Sacrificial planting – plant nasturtiums the edge of your brassicas, the slugs will eat them and leave your brassicas alone.
  • Aliums - garden lore claims that aliums planted close to fruit trees encourage ripening.

Beetroot Fritters

Member's Recipes:  Beetroot fritters
There’s so much more you can do with beetroot rather than pickle it or make soup. These beetroot fritters are delicious hot or eaten cold the following day.

  • ½ cup of grated beetroot
  • ½ a cup of grated carrot
  • 10 capers, drained (or several chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, or use 1 tspn salt)
  • 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour, (or any flour like chickpea flour, brown rice flour)
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for frying
Heat oil in frying pan.  Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl and spoon it into the pan to make four fritters.  Fry until golden on one side (2-3 minutes on a medium heat).   Flip over and fry until golden on the other side.  Turn off the heat and allow to rest in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Serves: 1-2 people

Courgette Cake

Member's Recipe: Courgette Cake

60 g raisins (optional)
250g courgettes (2-3)
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2x21 cm sandwich tins

200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
juice of lime

If using raisins, place in a bowl of boiled water to plump up.
Put the eggs, oil and sugar into a bowl and beat until creamy. Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and beat until well combined. Grate in the courgettes (wipe them first but don’t peel). Add the raisins. Pour the mixture into the lined, greased tins and bake for 30 mins at 180 C/gas mark 4 (I have quite a hot oven so mine normally takes about 20 mins at 170 C– you just want the cakes to be browned and for a skewer to come out clean). Couldn’t be easier.
To make the cream cheese icing, beat the cream and the icing sugar until smooth. Add the lime juice.
The recipe suggests a lime curd filling, with the icing/cream cheese for the top. I didn’t do that (laziness on my part) but here’s the recipe should you want it.

Lime Curd
75g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
Juice of approx 4 limes
Zest of 1 lime

Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan, add all the other ingredients and whisk to a custard over a gentle heat. Let cool before filling the cake. The recipe suggests that if the lime curd needs firming up, just place the cake in the fridge for a while.

Linda James

Friday, 2 April 2010

Alexander Technique for Gardeners


Learn how to garden without straining muscles and joints. Enjoyable classes using Alexander Technique Principles to ensure you are balanced and poised, as you weed, dig and barrow. What you learn can be applied to all your other daily activities.

Dates: Mondays 12th,19th, & 26th April (7-9pm) or Saturdays 17th & 24th April (10-1pm). 17th and 24th May 6.30-9.30pm.
Venue: Heslington Village Hall.
Cost: £35. (Early bookings: £30 if you book by 7th April).
Teacher: Mary Greene MSTAT
Book early to avoid disappointment.
Tel: 01904 414793; email:

What people say: 'I no longer suffer debilitating neck and shoulder pain'.
'My joints feel so much easier when I move'.
'The classes helped me to understand how my body should move'.

To find out about Alexander Technique go to: