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Spring/Summer 2012

@ SKGAS The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter Spring/Summer 2012

From the chairman Spring is here and now is the time we really gear up for the growing season. Some of us have beans, garlics, onions and maybe even spuds in the ground, but there are bound to be some jobs we have forgotten. I know I have at least a dozen lots of seeds to get started if I am going to get the stuff into the ground. There are also other jobs that need to be done around our plots that may not get the attention they deserve. They really should, as they make for a more peaceful life at the allotment. They are also part of your responsibilities as a plotholder. None of us likes to get a dirty plot notice, but they are only issued when necessary to protect our members from encroaching weeds or neglect of a plot, which can’t be justified when we have such a long waiting list. However, in addition to cultivating the plot itself, we are each responsible for the paths around our plots. These should be kept clear and as flat as possible, with any vegetation cut down regularly. Site stewards will do what they can when they can, but they will not maintain your path. If your path doesn’t come up to scratch, you can expect a dirty plot notice. Quite apart from the fact that you are required to maintain your paths, if a member or a guest is injured because of the state of your path, you will be held responsible, even if the society has to pick up the tab. We simply cannot afford the risk that poorly maintained paths present us with and so we are taking action to ensure they are improved. Please help us to make our sites a safer and more welcoming place by keeping your path clear and repairing it where necessary.

Those of you at the AGM will know I was re-elected as chair for 2012. As I said on the evening, this society is not mine or the committee’s but yours and the more of our members who come forward to assist in the running of it, the better it will be. I’m not asking for lifelong commitment, just an occasional hour or two of your time to help with some of the work that needs to be done on every site. Picking up rubbish or telling a steward that something is wrong somewhere can mean we can address it more quickly, and possibly save the society some money. You may even have some special skills – perhaps building, carpentry, plumbing, or you may be an accountant or lawyer – and could help the society by giving us a little of your time. Money is tight, yet we did not put up rents this year. However, to limit any future increases, we will be looking to our members more to help us out in the future. Without more help, it will end up costing everyone more. So, if you want to lend a hand or have some ideas for raising money, why not drop me a line at psafloyd@yahoo. com. I’m always open to suggestions and happy to receive feedback. Finally, you may see some new faces at your site in the coming weeks. Chances are, these are new members, so please welcome them to the family and don’t be afraid to offer a little advice. Until next time, enjoy your allotment. Pádraig Floyd Chair, Seven Kings & Goodmayes Allotment Society




The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

From the secretary This is our first newsletter for a while as we have not had an editor for some time – we hope to have someone in place for the next issue. We would like to distribute future newsletters by email or make them available on the Society website. If you don’t already receive the newsletter in this way, but would like to, please email skgasnews@googlemail.

com and help prevent your allotment fees being spent on printing and postage. You will also benefit by being able to see the photographs in colour. Many thanks to all who have contributed items for this newsletter, especially Roger Backhouse. Members are welcome to send items to skgasnews@googlemail.com. Typed or handwritten material may be passed to any site steward or left at either trading hut.

AGM report The 84th Annual General Meeting of the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society was held on Thursday 22nd March 2012, 7.30pm at the British Legion Hall, Durban Road. Thirty-six members and four guests signed the attendance sheet although the impression was that more than forty people were in the room. The business of the Society was conducted smoothly with the draft accounts being accepted by the meeting. The Society officers and site stewards were re-elected to form the committee, with the addition of Helena Newton as a steward for Benton Road. Cups and certificates were awarded (see photos). Society chairman Padraig Floyd reported that 2011 was a good year for the Society, benefiting from increased interest in allotments, noting the following points:

Matthew Oliver receives the Alderman Clark Cup from Paul Dye.



John Mackin was awarded three certificates. • The death of well-respected member Michael Brennan was recorded with sadness. • All sites are looking better compared to their state a few years ago, and two sites have been brought back into use at Vicarage Lane North and Wards Road North after hard work by several members for which the Society is grateful. • In the current economic climate, support from the council is reduced, for example we have to pay for every skip we fill at a rate of nearly £200 each skip. • Members were reminded of their personal responsibility to help keep sites tidy, maintain paths and be good neighbours. The Society will be pro-active in encouraging and reminding members of this in 2012. • 2011 has seen problems with site security, three sites having suffered break-ins and theft of machinery. Members were


Spring/Summer 2012 reminded to be vigilant and to report thefts. Some fences had been treated with non-drying paint and grant money is available for some new fencing. • The chairman thanked Sue Cunningham and her team for organising the Goodmayes festival, Mike Fitzmaurice for overseeing the completion of the new water supply at Goodmayes, John Barber for organising a coach trip. Members were thanked for attending the AGM, for contributing help in running the Society. The Society committee was thanked for their work throughout the year. Paul Dye gave the President’s address on behalf of Alan Hooker. Paul noted that Alan would have drawn attention to the successes of the Society throughout the year, and that the President firmly believed that the Society is about more than gardening, with friendship and community being as important as our common interest. The meeting accepted a new byelaw as follows: ‘This Society resolves to amend the Society General rules (byelaws with immediate effect’ The Society committee proposes to

add the following under ‘Responsibilities of members’: “In view of the rising cost of water, members must report any leaks however small as soon as possible and may take action to turn off water supplies if leaks occur. Members must not turn on water supplies without authorisation from a site steward. Members must not interfere with, or connect hosepipes to Society water supplies, and may only remove water from mainssupplied tanks by use of a hand-held container. However, members may use hosepipes where these are connected to external sources – e.g. from private homes adjoining sites or from containers set up to take run-off from sheds or tool boxes.” Proposer: E. Oliver Seconder: H. Newton Next year we plan to hold a free prize draw for all attendees and if we can speed up the main business of the meeting we may be able to arrange for a speaker to give a talk on an allotment-related topic, as this may attract more members to the meeting. If anyone knows of somebody who could give such a talk please let a committee member know.

Redbridge Green Fair Redbridge Green Fair takes place on Monday 4th June 2012, 11.30am – 7.00pm, Melbourne Field, Valentines Park, Ilford. As allotment gardening sits squarely within the ‘green mission’, our Society will be represented on a stall at this event. We will be selling vegetable plants and second-hand gardening books and magazines, so please bring contributions to either trading hut on Sunday 3rd June. Leaflets advertising the Society will be available. Volunteers of help to man the stall would be welcomed, please contact E. Oliver on 07902 486629, or add your name to the rota sheet in either hut.




The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Coach trip to Audley End, 7th July 2012

The Society will be running a coach outing to Audley End house and gardens on Saturday 7th July, leaving our site in Goodmayes Lane at 9.30am and returning about 5.00pm. Audley End is an English Heritage property near Saffron Walden in Essex with extensive parkland and established formal gardens. It also has a large renowned walled vegetable garden which is managed by Garden Organic, the leading promoter of organic horticulture in the UK. Last year 100 heirloom vegetable varieties were grown from the heritage seed library at Audley End. It is planned for us to have guided tours of the formal and walled gardens in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for individuals to spend more time in the gardens or walk (approximately 20 minutes) into Saffron Walden which has a Saturday market.

Ticket prices:

Adult £21.50 Concession £20.50 Child £18.00 English Heritage mem. £13.50

Unfortunately the sharp rise in the price of diesel plus the entrance fee to Audley End has made this year’s outing more expensive than last year. However Audley End has a lot to offer and there is every reason for us to have a nice day out. Please note that once a ticket has been paid for, should the person holding the ticket have to cancel for any reason, it will be their responsibility to find someone to replace them. To book for the outing please contact John Barber 020 8590 6792.

Allotments in the house – SKGAS members help defeat government plans Many allotment holders were concerned by reports that the Government planned to drop the requirement for local authorities to make land available for allotments where there is local demand. It would have meant that the present statutory protection for allotments would cease, opening the way for Councils to sell allotments easier. (Section 23 Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908) On hearing these reports several SKGAS members contacted MPs. The results were reported in several gardening magazines including the July 2011 issue of Kitchen Garden. On 4th May 2011 Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South asked the Prime Minister “More than 100 years ago Parliament legislated



to make sure local authorities provided allotments. Healthy local food is a very good part of good British values. Why therefore are the Prime Minister’s Government scrapping the obligation on local authorities to provide allotments?” As far as is known, this is the first time for years an MP has asked the PM a question about allotments. David Cameron denied that the Government intended to scrap Section 23, and went on to say “It is extremely important allotments are made available . . . many people want to grow their own vegetables and food and understand more about where food comes from. It is a great movement and has my full support.”


Spring/Summer 2012

New water supply at Goodmayes In late December 2011, work started on the new water supply at Goodmayes, and was completed by early March in time for the new growing season. This involved a considerable amount of planning, as it was necessary to liaise with Redbridge Council to dig through a section of Goodmayes Park Extension and also with Essex & Suffolk Water to install a new access point and meter from the water main in Goodmayes Lane.

improvement on the previous situation where some of the plots that had recently been brought back into use were some distance away from a water supply.

The total cost of the work came in at £26,000 which sounds a lot, but that covers everything from the trenchdigging, pipe-laying, connection hardware, tanks and backfilling, to fees for a site survey and to the water board for connection. We had an earlier quote for well over £50,000 Almost one and it is largely due kilometre of to the hard work trench 800mm One of twenty new tanks installed at the Goodmayes site. and organisational deep was skilfully skills of Society machine-dug Treasurer Mike Fitzmaurice, that the job was to pre-determined points around the site, successfully completed for a lot less money. causing minimal disruption to paths and The inspector from the water board said it plots. Twenty new metal tanks were installed, was the best allotment water installation he and the existing tanks were re-plumbed into had seen! Mike deserves a huge vote of thanks the new plastic pipework. This should give from the Goodmayes members for his efforts a faster flow than the old iron piping, which – so thank you Mike! Site steward Marshall had sprung a serious leak in the spring of Lambert also deserves our thanks for getting 2011. All plots at the Goodmayes site are the ball rolling on this project. now within easy reach of a water tank, a vast

Be water wise on your allotment At all our sites, the water supply is metered, and we pay for every drop we use. Water bills are one of the Society’s largest expenditure items, but even in times of low rainfall there is much that all members can do to keep usage as low as possible – remember that if our water bills increase, so will plot rents. It is well worth collecting rainwater run-off from sheds and toolboxes – you may be surprised how much water you can collect in butts and containers over a winter, completely free of charge! Keeping the

soil well-manured with a mulch around plants will also conserve moisture. Sensible watering using a can with a spout or rose, directing water where it is actually needed is far more thrifty than flooding large areas of soil with bucket after bucket of water – this approach also annoys other members at busy times, when they find the tanks have been rapidly emptied. Another good idea is to water in the evenings so that moisture does not evaporate away in the heat of the day. Above all a common sense approach is needed – and always bear in mind that YOU are paying for the water you use!




The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Society business

Plot judging for 2012

This year, members will need to apply if they wish to have their plot judged in our annual competition. Forms, including judging criteria, will be available from either trading hut in June, with judging in July. However, there is a limit to the number of plots that can be judged in one day, so if there are more than 40 applications, there will have to be a preliminary sift undertaken by site stewards. Watch the noticeboards for further news and deadlines.

Supervision of children

Children are welcomed on our sites – they are the plot-holders of the future – but please remember that there are many potential dangers on allotment sites, including glass frames, water tanks, wooden poles and so on. Therefore, close supervision is essential. Society Byelaw 17 states that “Children must be accompanied at all times by adults who are members and who must be held responsible for their conduct” Please ensure your children to do not stray on to other members’ plots without their permission.

Allotment festival 2012

We are planning to hold another Society festival at the Goodmayes site on Sunday 2nd September. It can only be held successfully if we have sufficient volunteers. We have 300 members in SKGAS and as a society we rely on our members to offer support. We need people to help with the door to door distribution of the advertising flyers, volunteers to help set up on the Saturday and Sunday. Tents and marquees need to be constructed, tables and chairs set out, the refreshment and produce stalls need to be set up and staffed throughout the festival. Importantly we need volunteers to clear all this equipment away at the end of the event. The festival is seen as a great community event promoting allotments to so many people. Are you willing to help with any of these jobs? Please contact Sue on 020 85976685 or talk to your ground steward.

SKGAS Facebook group Facebook users might like to join the Society’s group at http://on.fb. me/SKGASonFB, or search for ‘The SKGAS Facebook page’.

Hedgehogs and allotments Hedgehogs are among our greatest helpers, eating a diet of slugs and snails. Hedgehog numbers are declining due to the loss of habitat through gardens being excessively paved and the use of slug pellets. At Goodmayes we have been fortunate in having hedgehogs released on to the site but sadly another was recently found dead. It was not injured but may well have died through the use of slug pellets. Standard slug pellets are toxic to wildlife, and if you look on the packet it states ‘poisonous if eaten’ Do you really want to put such toxic chemicals around the vegetables you are going to eat? Our trading huts stock wildlife friendly pellets,



they are a little more expensive but only need to be used sparingly. They are harmless to the birds and hedgehogs who will happily control the slug and snail population. We also stock beer traps which are also effective against slugs and snails. Please, please think again before using the standard pellets and help our garden friends to survive and help us. It would be possible to have hedgehogs released on the other sites but obviously they may not survive if allotment holders continue to use the standard slug pellets. For more information on hedgehogs see www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/


Spring/Summer 2012

Coach trip to Kings Seeds and Wilkin and Sons On Saturday 2nd July 2011, members of SKGAS boarded a coach and set off into the Essex countryside. John Lang reports: Our first stop was the Kings Seeds factory in Kelvedon where initially we were shown the fields containing the wide range of sweet peas which are stress tested at the site. Seeds from the many varieties seen in the fields were on sale at the site shop and members were soon busy buying up their particular favourites and also taking advantage of the reasonably priced vegetable seeds that were available. A tour of the laboratory and the warehouse followed. We were made aware of the strict conditions under which seeds are tested and inspected and also discovered that apart from beans and peas all other seeds come from outside the UK and that the vast majority of seed potatoes are produced in Scotland. We were also informed that because of the testing facilities, Kings is the main provider of seeds to all the other suppliers in the UK. This led to many questions about the variance in price between different suppliers and how magazines such as Which? can give opinions on seeds from different suppliers if they are all in fact from the same source.

SKGAS members wander among the sweet peas.

The coach then set off to Tiptree, the home of Wilkin and Sons, the famous conserve manufacturer. We were able to visit the museum to discover the history of the company, sample some of the produce in the tea rooms and to stock up on the various jams available at the shop. The friendly staff at Kings ensured everybody had an enjoyable visit and thanks must go to John Barber who organised the day, ensuring the 54 seat coach was full and that the visits ran smoothly.

The Kings Seeds warehouse contained some very old-fashioned equipment that is still in SKGAS members wander among the sweet peas. use today.




The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Seasonal flavours from the plot Rhubarb & Ginger Cake How about trying Rhubarb in a cake? Ingredients 125g Butter 125g Golden syrup 100g Black treacle 125g Unrefined light brown sugar 50ml milk (skimmed, semi or whole) 2 Eggs 50g Crystallised ginger, finely chopped 300g Rhubarb, chopped 300g Self-raising flour, mixed with 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda and 1 tbsp of Ground Ginger Heat the oven to 160 degreesC/Fan 140C/Gas mark 3. Melt the butter gently in a saucepan with the golden syrup, black treacle and the sugar. Using a large mixing bowl, put in all the other ingredients, add the butter mixture, mix well and then pour into a lined 25 x 12 cm loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Kitchen Garden magazine Available from WH Smith, this is one of the better magazines for allotment gardeners. £3.90 per issue, but cheaper if you subscribe, and often includes free seeds.



Thank you corner Many thanks to Eddie Drayton, a member at Benton Road who has mended the burst pipes at the Vicarage Lane North toilets, so the water supply to the site has now been restored. We hope to make ‘Thank you corner’ a regular newsletter item – the Society is run by volunteers and help from all members is welcomed as it helps things to run smoothly and keeps down the cost of our plots.


Spring/Summer 2012

Book review

Kay Sexton: Minding my peas and cucumbers: quirky tales of allotment life. Summersdale Books. 2011 £9.99 ISBN 978-184953-135-1 Books by people starting allotments are now prominent in garden publishing. They usually start with difficulties of getting a plot, then describe encounters with unfriendly old hands and allotment eccentrics and then give blowby-blow accounts of first year problems and successes. Read one and you’ve read the lot. Well that’s the cynical view. This book follows the basic pattern though it adds what seems an improbable account of the Home School mother and her wayward “husband”. However, if some seems improbable then strange things do happen on allotments, even here in sober Seven Kings. So stories may not be far fetched after all. For once an author describes some of the problems of managing allotments and uneasy relationships with the landlord, the Council, and tenants who don’t want to cultivate plots properly. That certainly sounds authentic. And the book includes a lot of practical experience on growing good crops and, even better, how to use surplus vegetables. Anyone buying this book will find something useful in it. Roger Backhouse

SKGAS partners

Your society has worked with several other organisations in the last few years. We’ve also tried to help some of their work for mutual benefit.

Training 4 Transition

T4T offers horticultural training and work for people with learning, physical and mental health disabilities. They have an allotment on Wards Road South and use the Wards Road hut as a base. Allotment society members help T4T as volunteers but more are welcome. T4T have recently moved to new premises in Seven Kings Park but are keeping their allotment. Contact: Sharon Gordon, 25 Felstead Avenue,

Clayhall, Ilford, Essex IG5 0QJ Tel: 020 8550 1941 Email: ssgordon@sky.com. Tel: 020 8598 2944 Website www.t4t.btck.co.uk Email T4T@orangehome.co.uk.

Ilford Horticultural Society

Long established society with a good programme of talks and coach outings. Talks are usually held at Fulwell Cross Library. For membership enquiries please contact Mrs J. Hill, 10 Lambourne Road, Chigwell Road, IG7 6ET. Tel 020-8500-3775 Ilford Horticultural Society show SKGAS members can enter the IHS Autumn show held this year at Fulwell Cross Library on Saturday 15th September 2pm to 4.30pm. In 2010 several members, some entering a show for the first time, won prizes! Show schedules are available in trading huts or contact the Hon Show Secretary, Mr S Litt, 86 Greenleafe Drive, Ilford, IG6 1LH Tel 020 8550 4790

Commonwealth Gardeners Group Informal group of local enthusiasts meeting in member’s homes. They visited Vicarage Lane South allotments back in May and enjoyed their tour of the plots. Contact Caroline Mullan, 37 Coventry Road, Ilford, IG1 4QR Email carojmullan@gmail.com Tel 020 8554 3799

Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association

Residents group working to improve the local area. They’ve helped your society in the fight to save allotments and publicised our events. Currently they’re trying to set up a Friends of Seven Kings Park User Group. Contact Mark Kennedy Membership Secretary and Press Officer Seven Kings & Newbury Park Residents Association Home tel: 020-8598-8435 Email markkennedy18@hotmail.com




The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society Ltd Committee members March 2012 Position Name Site

Contact telephone / e mail. Please do not call after 9.30pm

Chair Pรกdraig Floyd Benton Road/ Wards Road South Trading secretary Paul Dye Goodmayes

07894 419800 psafloyd@yahoo.com

Secretary Edward Oliver Goodmayes

07902 486629 (m) e.s.oliver@hotmail.co.uk

Treasurer Mike Fitzmaurice Goodmayes

0208 8590 2409 mike.fitzmaurice99@gmail.com

Membership Marian Hogg secretaries Peter Southern

020 8594 4041 skgasmembership@live.co.uk 07948 698533

Goodmayes Benton Road VL & WR

020 8590 0824 pauldye36@hotmail.com

Committee member Susan Cunningham Goodmayes

020 8597 6685 susan.grace.1@btinternet.com

Ground steward Lucelia Popolim

Benton Road/ Wards Road South

Lucelia.popolim@interfacia.co.uk 07825 670529

Ground steward Pรกdraig Floyd

Benton Road/ Wards Road South

07894 419800 psafloyd@yahoo.com

Ground steward Chris Goreham

Benton Road/ Wards Road South

07710 433635 chris@cgm.co.uk

Ground steward Helena Newton Benton Road

020 8599 6324 h.newton8@aol.com

Ground steward Sandhya Chanana Wards Road North

020 8599 0591 sandhyachanana@hotmail.co.uk

Ground steward Peter Trimby

Vicarage Lane South

Ground steward Rowland Lyons Vicarage Lane North Ground steward Marshall Lambert Goodmayes

mobile: 07982 684364 rowlandlyons@gmail.com

Ground steward John Hale Goodmayes

johnhhale@hotmail.com 020 8599 5165

Ground steward Sheila Nisbet Goodmayes

020 8597 4389 07811 085826 sheilafrances@teso.net

10

07733 536605 ottopilcher@aol.com


@SKGAS Spring/Summer 2012