Hello plot holders,
As summer begins to roll over into autumn, the allotments are at their most busy and productive, and it’s unusual to find yourself alone there for too long. We’re all reaping the rewards of our hard work, both on our own plots and with our community projects. Here’s a brief round-up of what’s been happening.
Seed saving talk
Local horticultural expert Paul Richens gave us a presentation on seed saving and propagation on Thursday 13th June in the upstairs room at the Harvester. Paul is a passionate urban gardener who has been growing fruit and veg in London for over 40 years. Paul’s illustrated talk was fascinating and wide-ranging. We learned about different types of seed and their life-cycles and the importance of saving your own seeds from your best plants to ensure a healthy biodiversity and to preserve heritage varieties.
A summer bird’s eye view
In March, we published aerial footage taken by a drone of the allotments as things started to wake up after winter. Now the covers are off, everything is growing and vibrantly green and it looks simply beautiful from the air in this new video taken on 29th June. Sit back and enjoy this unusual view – it’s surprisingly hard to spot your own plot from above!
Community work days
The community work days now take place on the first Saturday of every month. This is when the HAA as a group carries out the maintenance of our site, looking after and generally tidying up the community plots as well as the communal paths, working on the larger improvement projects, and providing a team to help any allotment holder in need. The most recent work days on 6th July, 20th July (an extra one!) and 3rd August focused on the construction of the greenhouse on 48a, as well as the usual maintenance jobs. Thanks to a crack team of volunteers, the frame is up and the roof trusses are on, and the glazing operation is soon to start.
Our next community day on 7th September will continue the project. Do come along if you can – it’s great fun and lovely to spend time with other plot holders, as well as help to create something for the allotment community.
We had an unexpectedly sunny afternoon and early evening for our second annual Summer BBQ on 20th July. About 60 plot holders, friends, family and waiting-listers came with their tables, chairs, salads and puddings to community plot 48a. Names were put to familiar faces, and new members introduced. We had wonderfully relaxed acoustic guitar and singing from Rosie and Matilda Waters of plot 1 creating a lovely atmosphere; and in another corner, our guest face painter, Nicki, transformed the children’s faces with beautiful colours and sparkle!
Like last year, it was quite an eco-event – we had reuseable plates, cutlery and glasses, and most people took their recycling home. In the end we had only one bag of rubbish generated by all our guests –hurray! And the left-overs went to a very good cause – Ealing Soup Kitchen appreciated our donation.
Ealing Cardio Group
Recently, the Ealing Cardio Group (ECG) took on part of communal allotment plot 1B. ECG is a group of 50-plus people who suffer from heart problems. The Group’s aim is to help prevent heart disease and those who suffer from it through exercise. Allotment work is complementary to the fitness classes that ECG runs, and studies show the benefits of being outside amongst plants and trees, being part of a community and growing nutritious food. It’s early days, but you can see the progress the Group has already made on the plot already.
- Site security: Over the past few months there have been a number of intrusions onto the site by groups of young people. We have taken advice from the local police and liaised with Pathways regarding improving site security. With such a large and open site, you can appreciate that this isn’t straightforward. With Pathways, we’re looking into raising the height of both gates and making signage more visible and emphatic. The new trellis at the Midhurst end is aimed at making it a bit more difficult to get over the fence. Meantime, please remember to always lock the gates when coming in or out, for however short a time.
- Plot inspections will be taking place on 31 August and 1 September, ahead of autumn rent taking.