Friday, 30 July 2010

Harlow Carr Trip

23 people including 6 kids joined us on our trip to RHS Harlow Carr.  The weather was kind and the gardens were lovely.  The veg plots were very pretty but we still can't believe they don't cover their cabbages.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Free Baby Swing

This swing is free to any one who wants it.  It is suitable for young children 0 - 1ish.  The previous owner has grown out of it so if you want it just come and pick it up from outside the allotment shop.

Micklegate Ward Event on Scarcroft Green

Last Tuesday representatives of the Scarcroft and District Allotment Association attended this ward event.  We had a little stand to show the kind of things the Association does and to give examples of veg gardening that is possible with only a small backyard space.   We gained 5 new association members and got to show quite a few people (young and old) what aubergines, peppers and chillis looked like on the plant.

Thanks to Mike Oldfield and George Foster (pictured above left) for providing the plants.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Harlow Carr Trip

Do you want to join us on a FREE trip to Harlow Carr?  We are going next Tuesday 27th of July.   The association is an affiliate member of the RHS which means we are entitled to one free trip to an RHS garden for up to 55 people.  For the last 2 years the association has purchased affiliate membership of the RHS for £30 (it is this price because we get our insurance from them).  Our affiliate membership runs from August to August and this years membership is about to run out.  This means is we don't take our free trip to Harlow Carr soon it will be wasted.  So we thought, let's go!  We know it's not much notice and that mid week will not be convenient for many of you, but if this trip is a success I am sure we will repeat it.

You can either meet us by the ticket office at Harlow Carr at 11am or meet us in the allotments car park on Scarcroft at 10am. To count as a group we must all enter the gardens together so please don't be late.  When we are in the garden everyone is free to do their own thing.  We will plan to head home around 3pm, unless you make other arrangements with the other people in your car.  We are not going to hire a coach just do car shares, so if you are interested in attending please email us on and tell us the following:
  • how many are in your party
  • if there are any children in your party under 6 (as they will get in free anyway)
  • whether you will be taking your own car and whether you might have space for some additional passengers. 
  • if you don't have a car but are looking for a lift please also let us know so that we can try to fix you up with one. 
  • if you are already a personal member of the RHS.  You are very welcome to join us, but as you already get in free we won't count you towards our 55 total.
  • please also give us a mobile phone number for you so that we can contact you if you are late and don't end up waiting for someone who is not coming or waiting for someone who has already gone home in another car.
The deadline for putting your name down for this event is Sunday 25th July night.  We will tell Harlow Carr on Monday morning how many of us are coming.

It is about 25 miles each way to Harlow Carr, so please will each person who is getting  lift please give the driver of the car they are travelling in £2 to cover their petrol costs.

The highlight of the visit may be the kitchen garden, the sweet pea display or possibly Betty's Tea Room depending on your outlook.  Feel free to take a packed lunch though.  If you want more information about the garden visit

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Moth Report

David Baker setting up the traps.
Below is the full list of all the moths caught in the 2 moth traps placed on Scarcroft Allotments on Friday 9th July 2010, by David Baker, from the Yorkshire branch of Butterfly Conservation

The traps were opened on Saturday morning and 62 different species were identified.  All of which are classified as common or local but all of interest none the less.  If you are interested in finding out more about these moths we recommend you join the Yorkshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation which is a thriving organisation with more than 500 members.

We would all like to thank David Baker and his colleague (also called David) for sharing their knowledge and ethusiasm with us.  If you missed this event we plan to conduct another similar event later in the year.  Apologies for the fact that some of the photos are a bit out of focus (all the dodgy ones are me, all the good ones are mostly Danny Carpenter's).  To see the full set of photos click on this link.  Please note all these photos were taken on the day on Scarcroft and show the actual moths caught.
Code Taxon -Vernacular Individuals Status

0424 Yponomeuta evonymella - Bird-cherry Ermine 3 Common
0647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella -Brown House Moth 1 Common
0937 Agapeta hamana 2 Common
0972 Pandemis heparana - Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix 2 Common
0993 Clepsis spectrana - Cyclamen Tortrix 3 Common
0998 Epiphyas postvittana  - Light Brown Apple Moth 2 Common
Small Magpie
1020 Cnephasia stephensiana - Grey Tortrix 1 Common
1036 Acleris forsskaleana 1 Common
1063 Celypha striana 1 Common
1076 Celypha lacunana 6 Common
1175 Epiblema uddmanniana - Bramble Shoot Moth 1 Common
1183 Epiblema foenella 1 Common
1288 Alucita hexadactyla - Twenty-plume Moth 1 Common
1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella - Garden Grass-veneer 3 Common
1305 Agriphila tristella 7 Common

1376 Eurrhypara hortulata - Small Magpie 8 Common
1378 Phlyctaenia coronata 21 Common
1388 Udea lutealis 1 Common
1392 Udea olivalis 1 Common
1405 Pleuroptya ruralis - Mother of Pearl 5 Common
Buff Arches
1439 Trachycera advenella 1 Common
1653 Habrosyne pyritoides - Buff Arches 2 Common
Small Yellow Wave
1669 Hemithea aestivaria - Common Emerald 1 Common
1708 Idaea dimidiata - Single-dotted Wave 3 Common
1713 Idaea aversata - Riband Wave 4 Common
1713 Idaea aversata ab. remutata - Riband Wave [non-banded form] 3 Common
1728 Xanthorhoe fluctuata fluctuata - Garden Carpet 1 Common
1738 Epirrhoe alternata - Common Carpet 2 Common
1754 Eulithis prunata - Phoenix 7 Common
1817 Eupithecia pulchellata - Foxglove Pug 4 Common
1834 Eupithecia vulgata - Common Pug 1 Common
1876 Hydrelia flammeolaria - Small Yellow Wave 1 Common
1921 Crocallis elinguaria - Scalloped Oak 1 Common
1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria - Willow Beauty 2 Common
1954 Bupalus piniaria - Bordered White 1 Common
1955 Cabera pusaria - Common White Wave 1 Common
1961 Campaea margaritata - Light Emerald 1 Common

Poplar Hawk Moth

1981 Laothoe populi - Poplar Hawk-moth  1 Common
2050 Eilema lurideola - Common Footman 2 Common
2089 Agrotis exclamationis - Heart and Dart 24 Common
2098 Axylia putris - Flame 4 Common
2102 Ochropleura plecta - Flame Shoulder 1 Common
2107 Noctua pronuba - Large Yellow Underwing 15 Common
2110 Noctua fimbriata - Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 2 Common
Angle Shades
2128 Xestia triangulum - Double Square-spot 2 Common
2136 Naenia typica - Gothic 2 Local
2154 Mamestra brassicae - Cabbage Moth 1 Common
2155 Melanchra persicariae - Dot Moth 4 Common
2160 Lacanobia oleracea - Bright-line Brown-eye 7 Common
2198 Mythimna impura - Smoky Wainscot 6 Common
2284x Acronicta tridens/psi - Dark / Grey Dagger 2 Common
2293 Cryphia domestica - Marbled Beauty 4 Common
2306 Phlogophora meticulosa - Angle Shades 1 Common
2318 Cosmia trapezina - Dun-bar 1 Common
2321 Apamea monoglypha - Dark Arches 14 Common
2322 Apamea lithoxylaea - Light Arches 1 Common
2336 Apamea ophiogramma - Double Lobed 1 Local
2337x Oligia strigilis agg. - Marbled Minor agg. 11 Common
2381 Hoplodrina alsines Uncertain 9 Common
2434 Diachrysia chrysitis - Burnished Brass 2 Common

2477 Hypena proboscidalis - Snout 20 Common
2489 Zanclognatha tarsipennalis - Fan-foot 6 Common

MapMate: 18:05 Sat 10 Jul 2010

A very interesting time was had by all.  Thanks to Sara for organising this event.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Plants beneficial for Moths and Butterflies

To follow the theme of our upcoming moth and bat night here is some information from the Yorkshire branch of Buttterfly Conservation website   Stephen Clark from  Butterfly Conservation will be coming to the Scarcroft Site this Friday to set up a moth trap and again on Saturday morning to help identify all the moths.  We'll post the results of what we find here.

One of the simplest ways of supporting butterflies and moths around your plot is to grow plants which act as nectar sources or as food plants for larvae.


Aubretia - Easy to grow, has spring flowers.
Buddleia - The number one favourite - many varieties
French Marigold - Half-hardy annual. Flowers throughout the summer.
Honesty - Flowers in spring. Can be invasive.
Ice Plant - For late summer and autumn.
Sedum - spectable is supposed to be the best.
Inula - A large daisy-like golden-yellow flower.
Lavender - Especially liked by Small and Large Whites.
Marjoram - Fantastic flower for butterflies, especially liked by the smaller species.
Michaelmas Daisy - For the end of autumn when most flowers have finished.
Mint - Very invasive, many different varieties. Small butterflies like it as much as Marjoram.
Perennial Wallflower - Easy to propagate from cuttings. Flowers throughout the year.
Ragwort - Especially liked by Browns. The plant is poisonous.
Runner Beans - (yes really) Especially attractive to Brimstones.
Red Valerian - Easy to grow, can be invasive. Flowers from spring to the end of autumn!
Scabious - Many different species. Do not collect plants/seeds from the wild.
Verbena bonariensis - Flowers all season until the first frosts.
Hebe - Attractive to butterflies
Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum 'Atropurpureum' ) Attractive to Butterflies

Larval Food Plants:
Alder Buckthorn - For Brimstones
Garlic Mustard - For Orange Tips
Holly and Ivy  - For Holly Blues. The Holly (for the first generation; both male and female plants are now known to be ok, but the larva are easily found on berries on the female plants). Ivy (for the second generation); some variegated species bear more flowers (which the larvae feed on at night) and are less invasive.
Nasturtium - For Large and Small Whites. The plants can be decimated, so make sure you grow plenty in clumps.
Nettles - If you can stand a patch in full sun. Cut part down in April to produce fresh new growth and encourage Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks to lay eggs on the plants in May/June.
Ragwort -  For Cinnabar Moth caterpillars. The plant is poisonous.
Groundsel - For Cinnabar Moth caterpillars.
Honesty - Caterpillar food plant for Orange Tip
Sweet Rocket - Caterpillar food and nectar plant for Orange Tip

With special thanks to David Plews for his contributions to this page.

Fruit Thinning

In favourable conditions fruit trees set more fruit than is ideal. Fruit thinning involves removing excess fruit to improve fruit size and quality. It is carried out on apples, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines.

Many healthy fruit trees drop fruit naturally in early summer in what is known as the 'June drop'. Where a heavy crop has set, too many fruitlets may remain on the branches, resulting in a final crop of disappointingly small fruits. Deliberate thinning of the fruitlets produces better-sized, ripe and healthy fruits, albeit in smaller numbers.
Fruit thinning may be necessary on a range of tree fruit including apples, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines for the following reasons:
  • The main purpose of thinning is to improve fruit size and quality.
  • When a tree is carrying a very heavy crop, the fruits are often small and of poor quality.
  • Thinning allows sunlight and air to penetrate the branches, so improving evenness of ripening.
  • There is a risk of branches breaking if trees overcrop.
  • Thinning lessens the demand on the tree’s resources so it is able to make good growth and develop fruit buds for the following year so avoiding the risk of biennial bearing.
  • Young trees allowed to crop too heavily will be set back.
  • Fruit thinning may reduce the spread of pests and diseases.
Experienced growers tend to thin in early summer, as this results in the greatest increase in size of those fruits remaining. But for inexperienced gardener, it is best to wait until after the June drop, other than removing malformed fruit. Finish thinning by mid-July.

Apples: Cooking apples are thinned harder than dessert apples to obtain larger fruits; aim for one fruit every 15-23cm (6-9in). Dessert apples can be thinned less severely, with one or two fruits every 10-15cm (4-6in). Leave just one fruit per cluster. Thinning can be done using secateurs, long scisssors or with a firm tug between thumb and forefinger. Remove misshapened, blemished fruit or poorly positioned fruit and the ‘king’ fruit at the centre of the cluster which is sometimes abnormally shaped. Aim to leave the strongest and best shaped.

Pears: Can be prone to over-bearing but usually need less thinning; thin clusters to two fruits (one for a small cordon), 10-15 cm (4-6in) apart.

Plums: Are particularly prone to overcropping, so thinning is vital. Heavily laden branches may need additional support with stakes and/or ties even after thinning to prevent them breaking. Use thumb and forefinger to remove fruit to leave one fruit every 5-8cm (2-3in), or a pair of fruits every 15cm (6in).

Peaches and nectarines: Thin peaches to one every 10cm (4in) when the size of a hazelnut, then again to one every 20-25cm (8-10in) when the size of a walnut. Thin nectarines to 15cm (6in) at walnut size.

Apricots: Are less prone to over-bearing; thin only if the crop is excessively heavy, to 5-8cm (2-3in) apart when hazelnut sized.

(Courtesy of the RHS)