Tuesday, 29 June 2010

June allotment jobs

Just in case you wanted reminding of all the things you should be doing on your plot apart from just lying in the sun....(courtesy of the RHS)

Sowing and planting

  • Continue sowing salad crops, such as beetroot, Chinese cabbage, pak choi and radish. Leafy salad crops may do better when sown in partially shady sites since hot dry weather can lead to bitter tasting leaves.
  • Sow French, runner and broad beans, peas, squash, sweetcorn, and outdoor cucumbers directly into prepared beds outside.
  • French beans are best sown in traditional rows, 45cm (18in) apart, at 15-22cm (6-9in) spacing.
  • Sweet corn works best planted in blocks, at 45cm (18in) spacing, with two seeds per hole. Any seeds sown earlier under cover can now be planted out into the same block pattern.
  • Runner beans need well-prepared ground and suitable supports (often a frame or wigwam of bamboo canes tied together with twine) for the shoots to twine around and grow upwards.
  • Courgettes, marrows and pumpkins can still be sown outdoors in early June. Encourage good fruit set by hand pollinating.
  • Although most winter brassicas need to be sown earlier in the season, turnips can be sown now for an autumn crop.
  • Plant out tomatoes if this has not already been done. Train them up canes or string, and remove sideshoots from cordon tomatoes.
  • Celeriac and self-blanching celery can be planted out this month. A well-prepared site with lots of organic matter dug in is essential.
  • Outdoor ridge cucumbers can be planted out this month. They benefit from a site that has been enriched with lots of organic matter to help retain water.
  • Plant vegetables sown indoors earlier in the season, including winter brassicas and sweet peppers. Peppers can only be planted out when all risk of frost has passed.
  • Gaps between winter brassica plants can be used for quick-maturing catch crops, perhaps radishes or gem lettuces.
  • Plant out artichokes that were previously sown under cover. They can be grown as perennials (in which case they need 90cm spacing), or as biennials (45cm spacing is sufficient).
General Care
  • Regularly feed ridge cucumbers with a liquid tomato feed, following the instructions given.
  • Peas need staking with pea sticks, netting or pruned garden twigs.
  • Continue to earth up potatoes not ready for harvest (unless planted through black plastic).
  • Do not harvest asparagus spears from crowns less than two years old.
  • Hoe between rows on hot days to make sure weeds dry up and die without re-rooting or they will compete for moisture and nutrients. Weedkiller might kill or damage your crops as well as the weeds.
  • Water tomatoes and peppers regularly to prevent blossom end rot - a symptom of calcium deficiency due to erratic water supply.
  • Avoid using insecticides on crops when they are in flower.
  • Make sure fruit isn’t drought stressed, especially in containers, against a wall or newly planted.
  • Make sure bees can access caged and cloched fruit flowers to ensure pollination.
Tree fruit - General Care
  • Change the feed for pot-grown fruit to a high potash liquid one.
  • Move citrus plants outside for the summer months and thin out fruits to leave the strongest dozen or so.
  • Continue training fan-trained trees.
  • Pull off suckers appearing around the base of fruit trees.
  • Pinch prune figs.
  • Thin pears, plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots. Apples should be thinned at the end of the month.
  • Where possible, prevent the skin splitting on ripening cherries by erecting polythene covers over the trees.
Soft fruit
  • Peg down strawberry runners and remove cloches from outdoor strawberries once cropped.
  • Move forced strawberries outdoors.
  • Train in new shoots of blackberries and hybrid berries.
  • Summer prune red and white currants and gooseberries.
  • Shorten newly planted raspberry canes once new shoots are produced.
  • Water blueberries, cranberries and lingonberries regularly with rainwater regularly.
Vine fruit
  • Summer prune kiwifruit and indoor grapes.
  • Thin out fruit of indoor grapevines if large dessert grapes are required.
  • Water and feed indoor melons daily once they are established and plant into growing-bags in a heated greenhouse.
  • Transplant outdoor melons under cloches, pinching out the growing point

Monday, 28 June 2010

The judging criteria for the Best Plot Competition

This is the scoring sheet that the judges will use when assesing the nominated plots.  Thanks to Judith Ward for supplying it.  Please note that if some of the criteria do not apply to your plot (i.e. you don't have any livestock) you will not be marked down.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Allotment Competition 2010

The deadline for nominations for the 2010 Best Plot competition is 30th June. 

Now we know that some of you may not like the idea of putting yourself forward by displaying a number on your plot and others of you may want to nominate a neighbour but you haven't had the chance to ask them if they mind or not.  Well  don't worry about it too much.  A council insider has told us that once the list of nominations has been compiled the council will give all the nominated plotholders a bell to check that they are ok to be included and to give them the opportunity to pull out.  So you can nominate with impunity.  You can nominate any two plots you like,  and it is perfectly ok for you to nominate yourself.  I know for certain that some plotholders have already done this.  Frankly the whole competition is just for fun so if you want to be involved nominating yourself is absolutely fine.

So just to remind you. You can nominate 2 plots.  All you need to do is write an email to allotments@york.gov.uk. On this email list the allotment site and 2 plot numbers you want to nominate.  You can also say why you nominated them if you like, and you can add your name and site too.  You don't have to put your name and your site, so this means that nominating is not restricted to plotholders.

On Judith Ward's poster, pictured above, she has written that she has more information on the judging criteria.  This hasn't been shared with the association, but as soon as we find it out we will post it here.

Good luck to you all.

Friday, 25 June 2010

We are all invited to the first Bishy Road street party.

Bishopthorpe Road will be open for business late into the evening on Thursday July 1st for the first ever Bishyroad Street Party – and all are invited!
The event will see the street opened to pedestrians for the evening from 6:30pm until 9:30pm, with stalls, special offers, al fresco eating and drinking, and entertainments laid on. The event is being organised in conjunction with the Towards Carfree Cities Conference taking place in York the same week.
Andy Shrimpton, manager of the Cycle Heaven bike shop and founder of the website bishyroad.net, is one of the traders behind the plan. He says, “Bishopthorpe Road is a great example of neighbourhood shopping street, which is fast becoming a rare thing. There is a great sense of community in the area, and the local traders are at the heart of that. This event is about giving that community a space, free of traffic for one evening. But we hope this street party will be the first of many!”
Most of the shops will be open late, and many will have special offers on. As well as stalls from community groups, there will be a barbeque from M & K butchers and the Pig and Pastry, hand made ice cream from The Good Food Shop, a raffle, a flower arranging workshop, and circus skills workshops and balloon modelling from Professor Fiddlesticks. Pextons Hardware will be doing DIY demos and tutorials.
Music will be provided by world music choir Chechelele, Saxofun, Caramba, the Golden Rail Brass Band and Blackbeard’s Tea Party.
Get Cycling will be along with fun bikes for kids. There will be a treasure hunt in the street, discounted hair and beauty treatments, and 10% off selected items at Cycle Heaven. Cycle Heaven will also be doing bike maintenance demonstrations.
Richard Lane, one of the organisers of the Towards Carfree Cities gathering said, “We’re really glad to have been involved with this event. Many neighbourhood and village centres have been killed off by traffic, which makes a street unpleasant, noisy and dangerous. By removing the cars we can reclaim space for the community, if only for a short while.”  The goal of the Towards Carfree Cities conference series is to bring together people from around the world who are promoting practical alternatives to car dependence - walking, cycling and public transport, and ultimately the transformation of cities, towns and villages into human-scaled environments rich in public space and community life. The full programme is available on the conference website at http://www.worldcarfree.net/conference/ .  International delegates from the Conference will be attending the street party. Attendance is free and everyone is invited; but be warned: the event takes place weather permitting!
During the event,traffic, will be diverted via Nunnery Lane, Blossom Street and Scarcroft Road. Access to Vine St and Darnborough Street for residents will be unaffected.
See you there!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Help at the Mystery Plays

York Settlement Players desperately need a push!

Can you help?

If you can, please contact Graham Sanderson at graham@sandskirr.plus.com or 01904 652650

We’ve been let down by the groups who thought they would be able to provide pushers for our waggon in the York Mystery Plays on 11th and 18th July. Our play has a terrific cast, the set and costumes will be great, but we need teams of eight people to push our waggon through the streets of York.

What’s involved?
We need one team to get the waggon into position near York Minster early in the morning on each of the two Sundays and push it back to the Railway Museum at the end of the afternoon. Both these pushes will be in convoy - twelve waggons stopping traffic and turning heads!
We need another team to move the waggon into position for the four performances on each day. We start at the Dean’s Park behind York Minster at about 1.30 p.m., move on to College Green at the east end of the Minster, on again to St Sampson’s Square and finally to the Eye of York (Sunday 11th) or Museum Gardens (Sunday 18th).

Can I volunteer to take part on just one of the two Sundays?
Yes. You can volunteer for just one team on one day or for all the teams or anything in between…

Do I get any training or practice?
Yes, there’s a Dress Rehearsal on the afternoon of Saturday 10th July at the Railway Museum. Our Waggon Master will be on hand at all times to give instructions and ensure your safety. He’ll be accompanied on the days of the event by a professional Steward, and each performance area will have a number of stewards, volunteers and professional.

Do I have to be super fit?
No. You need to be in reasonable shape, but the most important thing is to be able to use your strength as part of a team, working in unison with everybody else. If you want to be in both teams on the same day, though, you need to have the stamina to keep going when you’re tired!

Do I have to wear a costume?
If we can provide suitable medieval-style tunics for everybody, we will; if not, there will be a simple dress code - for example, a black or white t-shirt, that kind of thing.

What do I get out of it?
Fun. Being part of a team in a prestigious public event is a really good feeling!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Blight Watch

Your potatoes may only just have regrown after frosting, but now it's time to start looking out for potato blight!  If you keep an eye out for blight and dispose of any affected plants promptly you can stop the disease spreading without the need for chemical sprays. For more information see www.blightwatch.co.uk and www.potato.org.uk/blight.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Free Taster Workshop on Urban Horticulture


Centre for Lifelong Learning
Saturday 3rd July, 10am-12noon
Facilitated by Catherine Heinemeyer (LifelongLearning) and Chloe Smee (Edible York) at York Art Gallery

Local food - community gardening – allotment revival - food miles - therapeutic gardening...the urban horticulture movement is growing wherever we look. But what are its roots in history, scientific thought and social policy? In what directions is it spreading now, and how you can become involved? This workshop will introduce adult participants to a series of six interdisciplinary modules (planned to start in October 2010 at Lifelong Learning) exploring the potential of urban horticulture, and how it is evolving in York. Chloe Smee of the Edible York Initiative will then lead participants on a reconnaissance exercise to identify potential food growing opportunities in York's city centre.

Please bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the Museum Gardens after the workshop, and meet potential fellow students.

Please book places in advance.  To reserve a place please send the information to
Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of York,
Heslington, York, YO10 5DD
T: 01904 328473
E: lifelonglearning@york.ac.uk
W: www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning

Daytime Tel:
Date of Birth:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Pond Plants

A couple of Scarcroft plotholders have just dug a new pond on their plot.  They were wondering whether any other plot holders might be dividing their pond plants and have some spare to give them.  If so, contact the association on scarcroftallotments@live.co.uk and we will put you in touch with them.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Moth and Bat Night

This event is open to all association members (and their children).  There will be a £1 per person participation charge. You can join the association on the night if you are not already members, There is a £2.50 annual membership fee.

First David Baker will set up the Moth Traps before dusk.  Then at dusk we will take small groups of people on walks across Scarcroft site with bat detectors (people with children can go on the first session).  A commentary will be provided by Joanne Hodgson who will help identify the bats and tell us about their behaviour.  The allotment shop will then be open from 9am the next morning.  All the moths David has collected overnight will be identified and available to see in containers in the shop.  They will later be released safely back onto the allotments. Please let us know if you are going to come so that we can manage the event appropriately.

The promises to be a fascinating event.  Places are limited so please book in advance either through our e-mail which is scarcroftallotments@live.co.uk or by ringing Sara on 624 906.

Free Composted Green Waste

It's the Association that keeps on giving.  First it was free potatoes and onion sets, now it's free composted green waste. 

This morning we took delivery of a massive skip truck load of compost at the Scarcroft site.  It is free to all association members.  It will make great soil conditioner, it's really fine and not woody at all.  It would also be perfect for earthing up your potatoes.  Thanks to Mike Oldfield from the Association committee, Judith and Sue from the council and the folks from YorWaste for organising this.

I'm afraid we couldn't deliver to Hospital Fields or to Hob Moor this time because the truck they bought it in was too big.  However, members who are home gardeners or from any other allotment site can come and help themselves.  If you are not free this weekend (and even though the pile is massive I don't think it will last long) you could still go to Harewood Whin on one of the giveaway dates listed below.

So get up early, slap on some sunscreen and fill your barrow.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tuesday 1st June Committee Meeting

Below is a rough summary of what happened at the committee meeting this Tuesday.  If  you would like the full minutes when they are available please contact us on this e-mail address scarcroftallotments@live.co.uk

Venue:  Golden Ball Pub
Time:  7pm - 9pm

Present:  Mike Oldfield, Sara Robins, Laura Potts, Claire Pickard, Heather Dawes (secretary), Graham Sanderson (Chair), Linda James, Caroline Bush

1. Apologies from Chris Adams and Chris Whittaker
2. Minutes of meeting on Wednesday 14th April 2010 and matters arising
  • update on the CCTV
  • tool marking still in progress
3. Matters from Scarcroft, Hob Moor, and Hospital Fields
  • Scarcroft 72 on waiting list, dangerous wall update.  Graham reiterated in detail what the role of the site secretaries (ie him and Claire) were on Scarcroft - ie principally waiting list management and reviewing unworked plot (which is very time consuming) and not airing/championing individual plotholders concerns to the council
  • Hob Moor - some plots coming up.  Malcolm saw his site secretary role as having a broader remit than Claire and Graham do.
  • Hospital Field - one plot under review
4. Treasurer’s report
  • feedback on accounts - all in the black, doing well
  • potato sales dissappointing
  • seed and netting etc sales excellent
5. Shop matters
  • Trying to arrange for YorWaste to deliver free composted waste to the Scarcroft site
  • New Shop Rota in place, including individuals who are not on the committee
  • Remaining potato and onion sets to be given away
  • suggested that a water butt should be attached to the shop (no one actually agreed to take this project on)
6. Blog and membership update
  • 213 members, more than in previous years and 11 are from HM, still quite a few Scarcroft people haven't joined this year
7. Events planning:
  • Bat/Moth event Friday 9th and the 10th July 2010 - experts arranged by Sara, David Baker Butterfly Conservation and Joanne Hodgson from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
  • Bishopthorpe Road Street Party in July - we will attend but not do stall
  • Summer event - Sunday 12th September in the triangle on Scarcroft, bring food to share, plot on a plate competition + activities for children
  • Allotments Competition 2010 - nominations need to be in by 30th June, only role for committee to encourage tennants to vote by e-mail and put up notices of the site map so people know plot numbers
8. Project planning:

  • 5 non committee volunteers so far
  • Shop - including water supply, porch, access ramp - in planning stage
  • Clearing area around Shop - didn't get time to discuss this
  • Calendar, postcards, recipes… - decided to do calendar and postcards this year and recipe book next year - Caroline to arrange
  • tree maintanence - all happy for Iris Wells to do work on trees, need to tell council first
9. Date of next meeting Wed 25th August

10. Any other business,
  • Discussion of whether the path along the school wall on Scarcroft should be cleared to allow cars to drive up it.  Council says that as the Association planted the trees along the wall (to deter vandalism and people entering the plots by coming over the school wall) it could be argued that it is the Associations job to maintain the hedge.  The council could cut back this route but it would take funds away from other tasks on the site.  Lots of divided opinions on committee about whether cars should be allowed any further than the designated car park.   Also reminded that plot holders should be responsible for both sides of their hedge if their plot is next to a path. Considered polling the Association membership on this issue but not all have email and not all plot holders are members.
  • New tap to added to the plots nearest the car park on Scarcroft (16 plotholders currently share one tap)



The allotment shop still has some well chitted seed potatoes, onion sets and shallots available, so as it is getting later in the season we are giving these away, free to members. Many of you will have got your potatoes in a while back, but just is case you have a spare corner or were badly effected by the late frosts, or simply haven't got round to it yet, feel free to come and take as many as you like. It is not too late to put in seed potatoes. Potatoes take between 8 and 10 weeks to mature, so if you plant them now they will simply give you potatoes later in the year. This is particularly good with earlies as you can get that new potato taste and size much later in the year. With onions and shallots they will also be fine, they just won't grow to the same size as ones that have had longer in the ground. All the potatoes and onions have been kept in good conditions.
So come on and help yourselves.

The shop hours are:
Saturday 1.30 - 3.30pm
Sunday 10am - 1pm

Mike Oldfield

Easy does it on the strimmers

Judith Ward, the council allotments officer, has passed on to the Association complaints from residents of Wentworth Road and Telford Terrace about the excessive use of strimmers.  I think you can probably include cultivators in there too as they can sound similar.  Basically we are annoying our neighbours so please try to be considerate in your use. 

A previous Council Allotment Newsletter said:
'If you use a strimmer, please consider how the noise affects neighbouring residents and allotment tenants. A sunny Sunday may seem a convenient time for you to strim the weeds at the back of your plot, but the family in the neighbouring house may have been hoping to spend an afternoon with friends in their garden. Could you save your strimming for a grey day?'
Judith would also suggest that if you are spending a lot of time strimming the plot may well be too large for you, and she'd be glad to discuss a reduction.
So try not to use them for longer than half an hour at a time and time to keep to reasonable times of day.