Dear Fellow Allotmenteers,
Well, we're within a hairsbreadth of Autumn! The children are now back in school for the Christmas term - I said they would be by the time you received September's newsletter! There's a big give-away in the name of this term - CHRISTMAS. I don't know about you but that in itself is a depressing thought, that time of the year again when everything (well almost everything) dies and goes back to sleep till spring, (shivers of depression)! Long dark nights, cold weather, wind and rain . . . . you probably get the picture - ugh!
Still we're not quite there yet, the last dregs of this season will hopefully get us past this month. It's a month of continued plenty on the plot, and if you have any fruit bushes or trees on your allotment, you should get a few more weeks of picking yet. From that point of view there's still a lot of joy left for us.
For those of you with an interest you can now view the Suggested "To Dos" for September on our web-site by clicking [here]
Some of you who are receiving this month's newsletter may be a little perplexed because you are only on the waiting list, and have not received communication of this kind in the past. This is because the AAA Management Committee has decided to include those of you who are on our waiting list. We felt that many who are on our list would benefit from feeling a little bit more included in our activities as an association. Our secretary, Phil Harries, is in the process of contacting all you allotment "wannabies", with more details about this new incentive and to check that the details we have on record for you are correct/ up to date and that you still wish to remain on the waiting list for a plot. Also, since some of you are regular walkers past our allotment site and have become regular chatters over the fence, it would be nice to kindle that relationship by involving you a bit more. After all, inclusiveness and friendship are the names of the game when it comes to the social aspect of allotment gardening!
It is our intention to make all applicants for a plot with the AAA an associate member of our association. The cost of associate membership will be a nominal £5.00 per annum (that's under 10 pence a week). Additionally, you will be invited to our general business meetings that are held every twelve weeks.
Affiliate membership will allow you:
Access to all AAA members meetings and you can take part in all discussions at such meetings, however, member voting is limited to full members who are allotment plot tenants. Voting is also restricted to one vote per plot
To receive copies of the AAA’s monthly newsletter
To be included on AAA mailing lists
Access to any discounts, or similar deals for allotment growers, that are periodically negotiated by the AAA.
There is an application form in PDF(ormat) that you can download from our website [click here]. if you like you can print the form, fill it out and send it to our secretary now. In the fullness of time every applicant on the waiting list will have to fill out one of these forms, and will have to become an associate member in order to stay on the list.
We hope that this will also separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to applications for a plot. At the time of writing there are ten applicants on our waiting list. With only 17 plots available we need to be certain that all applicants are serious about renting an allotment plot.
A nod to our existing plot-holders here. With so many eyeing up a veg plot, it isn't prudent for you not to look after your rented plot. Neither is it fair for a willing and enthusiastic gardener and an associate member of ours, (who would keep an allotment plot in a good cultivated condition) to be forced to see overgrown and unattended plots on our site. It's galling and daunting for those prospective plot-holders. Under such circumstances existing plot-holders may be asked to surrender their plots if they are not kept in a reasonably tilled and cultivated condition for more than one season.
Interested in Sharing a Plot?
I was contacted last week, from our web-site, by Kathryn James. Here is a copy of the message she sent me:
If anyone is interested in contacting Kathryn - with a view to sharing their plot with her, then her e-mail address is:
The inevitable has arrived once again this year. Potato blight (that also affects it's cousin the tomato) has decided to visit us. Not a surprise, I'd been receiving frantic blight alert messages from the Potato Council's "Fight against Blight" service through most of August. Those spores just love the warm humid weather we've had and they've blown in on the breeze. If you catch it in time - late in the season - as it is now, you can limit damage by cutting all the haulms at about 2 inches (50mm) above ground and preferably burning them. I wouldn't trust them in a compost heap that isn't particularly hot. As long as the spores have not gone down into the soil and contaminated the tubers you may get away with it. Tubers should then be lifted at the earliest opportunity (although they will keep swelling for quite a while without their haulms - which are probably dying down by now anyway). Now early blight is a different kettle of fish, but there's no point going into that right now.
An interesting fact for you. Bordeaux mixture is a mixture of copper sulphate and hydrated lime used as a fungicide in vineyards. It is used mainly to control garden, vineyard, nursery and farm infestations of fungi, primarily downy mildew which can result from infections of Plasmopara viticola. It was invented in the Bordeaux region of France, where it is known locally as Bouillie Bordelaise. This fungicide has been used for over a century and is still used, although the copper can leach out and pollute streams.
As well as its use to control fungal infection on grape vines the mixture is also widely used to control potato blight, peach leaf curl and apple scab. What amazes me is that it is approved for organic use and so is often used by organic gardeners where non-organic gardeners would prefer other controls. The Soil Association allows the use of copper preparations in the garden - so one assumes it is relatively safe and harmless. Click [here] for more info.
If you'd like more info on blight off our web-site then please click on this button:
Yes you've heard of it - it's the "nasty" in little blue slug pellets that has the potential to kill any mammal that ingests it including little toddlers who pick up and eat "those little blue sweets than Granny drops in the garden" - and it kills the occasional slug and snail of course!
Now read this:
Not nice, especially when there are less costly organic alternatives available in our very own £1.20 shop! Check out Growing Success' product by clicking [here]
Morrison's "Let's Grow" Campaign for Schools
Here's something that should be of interest to you teachers and also any parents amongst us that have children in school. Most of you have probably come across it - if you haven't you can do your research from here.
We still haven't completed the work of installing the six stand-pipes across the allotments site. You'll remember I did put out an appeal for volunteers to help us with the work (it's not easy when the only ones doing the job are two of the oldest people on site and one is recovering from a heart attack!). Sadly the response was abysmal - a lot less one presumes than the numbers that will be making use of the service when it's completed. The only exception was Gail Higgs who helped me dig and bury over 15m of alkathene pipe one afternoon - thank you Gail.
As you are all well aware, I am not stingy when it comes to lending my gardening tools to others on site. in fact I have a steady stream that borrow various things from me regularly, and they're welcome to do so - as long as no one takes advantage and they bring all the tools back promptly - in a clean and good condition to the place I keep them. I also object to being a personal lending service to others who have no intention of getting their own tools - and why should they, when they can sponge off others indefinitely? Tools cost the same for everyone, money is no easier for some to find than others. Anyone who attempts to work a plot without a minimal level of tools should not really be attempting such a task in the first place. I would remind you that our allotment site is a collection of privately rented growing plots - NOT a Kibbutz where everyone has joint ownership and access to everything they want on site.
The other thing that people should bear in mind is that to borrow you need to ask. To take without asking is not borrowing - there's another word for it. In the past I have needed to use my tools but have been unable to find some of them. On one occasion (after hours of searching) I found my stainless steel spade in someone else's compost bin. On another occasion I lost a rake and couldn't find it anywhere. After wasting hours of my time searching and being unable to get on with my own work for some time, I was approached by one of our plot-holders over two months later who nonchalantly asked whether I had lost a rake. Apparently he had "borrowed" it without asking, then took it home with him and forgot all about it until months later, and at that time he couldn't remember whose it was! I fear that life in the universe that I occupy does not work like that.
A few days ago I discovered that my spade was missing again. Despite searching the whole site neither I nor my wife were able to find it. It has obviously gone "walkabout" without permission once again. I doubt if it has been stolen because nothing else is missing.
If anyone who receives this newsletter knows where it is, or is the culprit who has not returned it, will he or she bring it back at once please? If you are too embarrassed to tell me about it I don't mind - just return it when I am not there - all I want is my property back so that I can use it for my own work.
New Seed Supplier
In closing a little snippet that has just arrived from our web-site and into my inbox this morningh. A new seed supplier called Lojos, whose company is called Seed Parade has contacted me to ask if I would put a link to his web-site from our AAA site. I've just had a look at what he has to offer and I'm quite impressed. It's one of those companies that supplies seed in no frills packaging. His quantities are good, his prices are excellent and from what I can see his vegetable selection is very practical and quite comprehensive, containing varieties that are familiar to growers.
If you would like to check out his site click on the graphic below:
I hope you found this month's newsletter interesting. If anyone would like to contribute something to our newsletter, or would like to make any announcement through it's circulation then please feel free to contact me at anytime. The more contributors the merrier.
In the next couple of months we hope to make some enquiries about the bulk purchase of seeds, beans, canes and fertilizers etc. (Blood, Fish & Bone and Pelleted chicken and sheep manure would be the standard fertilizers). Although we haven't got an association communal shed to store such things at present, it is our hope to be able to provide things like this to our members in the future. There is little point in being a member of an allotments association or a gardening society or club unless you can benefit by getting discounts for items through your membership.
Kind Regards To You All,
Aberaeron Allotment Association Chair
AAA and Gardeners Chat-Shed Webmaster