FLAG NEWSLETTER AUTUMN 2021
Welcome to our new plotholders – it is really heartening to see the results of recent cultivation efforts, the site looks good (almost) everywhere.
Looking behind us, we have had a good year – we reroofed the clubhouse, had a great BBQ, the foodbank contributions are happening every Tuesday, the Wilding areas at the town end entry have been very colourful. The steel shed and the clubhouse chairs have been tidied up. We are slowly making some headway with the householders in Folly Lane about getting their big Leylandii trimmed.
Thanks to everybody who has organised or helped with these efforts – there are more to come – YOUR SITE NEEDS YOU! In particular, Brian and Wendy organised another excellent BBQ, for their fourth year, and are now passing this role on.
Offers please – we could still do an informal BBQ (on a bonfire day?) In October? The committee don’t manage events but do support!
Looking forward, we want to do some work on the edges of the site, for the common good:
Green Waste Bays at the garage end:
The rightmost bay (1) is now for bonfire materials – wood, brambles, currant bushes, raspberry canes….
The next bay (2) material is ready for use as compost or mulch – we need to clear the debris from the bay and reveal the goodies underneath.
When we have used up this material we will get the bays turned over: 3 to 2, 4 to 3 to get on with composting.
We want to clear more debris from the BBQ site to make it look nicer for next time, to improve this area to be a real asset to the site. We will put some plants by the fence.
Working Parties for September – can you spare an hour or so to help with any of these jobs?
Bob will be around on Wednesday 8th September, Friday 10th, Saturday 11th, all at 10 am for an hour or two.
This will be mainly on the garage end Waste Bays, possibly on BBQ site as well.
When we have had done these, we will see about other sessions later in September.
Brian Songhurst is planning to improve the steel shed and clubhouse storage for BBQ kit.
Bonfire. We will have a bonfire in October date TBC.
Does anyone fancy doing a mini BBQ at the same time?
Are you having a hard time keeping up with your plot’s demands (and the weeding)? If you are thinking about cutting down to a half-plot or giving up completely, there are currently about 100 names on the waiting list for our site alone! Is it time to let someone else have a go?
You should know that Phil Bruce-Green, the Council Allotments Officer, does carry out formal Inspections several times a year to make sure we are keeping our plots up to a reasonable standard. He has issued several Notices To Quit for neglected plots – if you have a problem please write to him to explain how you are planning to get back to a good state, before you get a Notice.
Keep your soil covered for the Winter.
A good dressing of the FREE compost from the second bay would provide a base and improve the soil to start with.
If you don’t have overwintering vegetables already planned (onions, garlic, brassicas, leeks, ….) you can put in a green manure which will suppress weeds and stop goodness leaching away under winter rains, then will improve the soil as it rots down or is dug in in the Spring. There are some pots of rye, field beans (like broad beans but NOT for eating) and there will be soon some mustard and white clover in the clubhouse, provided by FLAG funds (or from seeds collected by Nigel and Bob). Please take what you need from these pots – you do not need very much to cover a bed or two!
Kings Seeds has lots of others in small size packets. (Phacelia works well on several of our plots.)
Failing that, use cardboard! It is free, it is a good weed suppresser and it rots down well.
The Pollinator and Wilding patches near the town end gate have had a remarkably successful year. Photos on the FLAG website at the end of July show the flowers at their best. Thank you to all who volunteered seeds from plants on your allotments last year. If you want to harvest some seeds from the patches, please do so soon. And if you have in mind a new patch suitable for another sowing for next year, please let us know.
The Wilder St Albans officer visited the site very recently and commented favourably on the number of small ponds we have, the rough patches where the foxes and hedgehogs live, and the thought that the large green waste heaps must provide all sorts of good habitats for small creatures. She hopes to put us in touch with a specialist who can show us how to detect lizards and slow worms that may be living there, and how to create small areas that will favour more of them.