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The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

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The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter Summer 2013

From the chairman So, it’s finally here. No, not the newsletter, but the summer. Of course, it’s early days yet, but let’s hope for high temperatures every day and a couple of hours of rain every night.

have a bucket of water handy to put it out.

Whatever we get, let’s hope it is a lot better than last year. But then, it couldn’t be much worse, could it?

Burning other materials, such as plastics is not only unnecessary and anti-social for our neighbours, it is also quite illegal. So, please when you do burn again in the autumn, check what you are burning, the direction of the wind and most of all, be safe.

You may have seen the piece in the Ilford Recorder about the damage done to the nature reserve by people developing a shed at the bottom of their garden. Though the damage is the worst we have seen, the impact of development on our green spaces is a constant concern.

We are approaching that time of year when we need some help to set up and run the festival. If you’ve never been, it is a wonderful day out where you can meet other members and share your love of gardening with the general public. There’s lots to do (and buy) and is a fun day out for all the family.

I’d ask all our members to be vigilant about any building work being done at the boundaries of our sites and if there are sheds going up, please report it to your steward so they can keep an eye on what is going on.

So, if you can spare an hour or two to help collect chairs, put up gazebos, help out on a stall, please contact me at psafloyd@yahoo. com or 07894 419800.

Too often, we see the damage when it is too late to get anything done. So, if you don’t report it because you don’t want to get involved, don’t worry – the society will deal with the potential problem, but we do need you to tell us about it first. The committee has again implemented a ban on all fires at all SKGAS sites. So, even if you have the fire brigade on hand, you are not allowed to burn anything before October 1st. On the subject of fires, you are only allowed to burn organic material. All the rubbish you bring on to a site should be taken away again. We don’t have rubbish collection, so please remove it and place it in your own bin at home. Fires should be tended, burn cleanly (so, no damp or inorganic materials) and you should

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Even if you can’t do that, why not make some extra jam or chutney, bake an extra cake for sale. Alternatively, give us some of your surplus produce which we can sell or auction off at the end of the day. Finally, we are approaching not only the height of summer, but the pinnacle of achievement for some of our members. The plot competition will be judged in the week commencing July 8th and those wishing to enter will find forms and judging criteria in the trading huts at Goodmayes and Vicarage Lane and the main shed at Benton Road. You’ve got to be in it to win it, so get your form completed as soon as you can – and best of luck. Pádraig Floyd Chair, SKGAS


The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

AGM Report The 85th Annual General Meeting of the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society was held on Wednesday 10th April 2013, at the Parkside Community Centre, Goodmayes Lane. Approximately 45 members and guests attended, about the same number as the last few years. Society Chairman Padraig Floyd welcomed everyone to the meeting and cups and certficates were presented (see photos). The officers of the Society each presented a report for the year, which we will not reproduce here (minutes are available on request from the society secretary e.s.oliver@hotmail.co.uk) but the Chairman’s report summarised the past year as follows: • this year we lost two long-standing members, Pearl Mower and Tom Hilliard. A moments pause was held in remembrance of them. • 2012 was a difficult year due to the weather. Interest in allotments continues but not to the extent of a few years ago. We are near capacity of occupation, with the Wards Road North and Vicarage Lane North sites continuing to develop. • Support – Redbridge Council is under resourced and we must rely more on ourselves. Skips prices have increased dramatically, so we must reduce waste by composting and removing our own rubbish. Too few members are helping out, so please

Matthew Bailey receives the Chatting Cup (best new starter) from Society Secretary Ed Oliver.

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encourage others to help the site stewards. • Plots – We were lenient with dirty plots last year, but that will not be the case in the 12013 season. Tell a site steward if you have a dirty plot nuisance, or anything else that needs addressing. • Security – this remains an issue – be vigilant to try to prevent thefts and breakins, and gates should not be left unlocked. Thefts should always be reported to the police. • Festival – this was again a great event and new events such as the cookery demonstrations were well-received. As ever, we need more helpers. • Water – the new tanks will come into their own if we get a good summer this year. Please conserve water and report leaks. • Trip – thanks to John Barber for organising outings to Audley End and Brogdale. Please let the committee know if you have ideas for further outings. • Thanks – were recorded to all members who attended the AGM, all those who have helped with the running of the society, and to the committee who ensure the society continues to function.

Karnail Banwait receives the Alderman Clark Cup, won jointly with Takas Procopiou (best allotment in 2012) from Society Secretary Ed Oliver.


The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

AGM Report Some important Society business was conducted at the AGM, as it was decided, following suggestions from more than one member, that we should change our plot rental payment date from January each year to October. This will allow empty plots to be let during the autumn or very early in the new year, giving new members much longer to dig, and prepare in readiness for spring planting. With the current system, plots are not often available until March. As re-let plots are often grassy and overgrown it can be a struggle for new starters to clear enough space to grow anything, which often leads to beginners feeling unable to cope and then they give up. Many other allotment societies already use this payment date. To this effect, the following motion was passed:

‘This Society resolves to amend the Society General rules (byelaws) with immediate effect’ The Society committee proposes to amend the following under Byelaw 2 (b): “Rents and subscriptions become due on October 1st each year” to replace “Rents and subscriptions become due on January 1st each year”. Byelaw 2 (c) “Members must pay subscriptions and rents by 1st December each year or their lease will be terminated” to replace “Members must pay subscriptions and rents by 1st March each year or their lease will be terminated”. Proposer: R Backhouse Seconder: E Oliver As a result, for the year 2014 the allotment rental period shall be of 9 months only from January to the end of September with rents charged at 3/4ths normal rent and subscription charged at £3.75. Thereafter the allotment rental year shall run from 1st October to 30th September.

John Barber and Sue Cunningham receive Service Awards from Society Secretary Ed Oliver.

Important - new plot rental payment date In January 2014 members will be charged only three-quarters of the normal rental payment and membership fee, to cover the period until the end of September 2014. From 1st October 2014 the Society will permanently switch to an annual rental period that runs from 1st October to 30th September. 3


The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Coach outing to RHS Wisley The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society will be running a coach outing to RHS Wisley in Surrey on Saturday 10th August, leaving the Goodmayes Lane site at 9.00am and returning at about 6.00pm. The gardens are very diverse and cover all aspects of gardening so it should be an interesting and informative day out. From the RHS website: The flagship garden of the RHS, Wisley captures the imagination with richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the state-ofthe-art Glasshouse. Gifted to the Society in 1903, Wisley has evolved over time into a world-class garden. In the trials fields, the finest flowers and vegetables are identified from the countless new introductions. Elsewhere in the garden, cultivation techniques are tried and tested, and a series of model gardens answers the needs of a variety of conditions and circumstances. Prices for the day are £25 per person (including garden entry) or £15 (RHS or

Wisley glasshouse.

affiliated society member). If anyone is interested in an organised garden tour please let me know, however this will incur an extra cost. There is a picnic area for those who wish to bring their own lunch, or, for the wealthy among us, there are several cafes and tearooms on-site. A 48 seat coach has been provisionally booked but we will need to have 45 confirmed places taken by 3rd July for the event to go ahead. Please remember that once a ticket has been paid for, should the ticket-holder wish to cancel for any reason, it will be their responsibility to find someone to replace them. Members interested in this day out should contact John Barber on 020 8590 6792 before 3rd July.

“One man went to hoe” Weeding demonstration by Roger Backhouse on Sunday morning 30th June, 10.00-11.00am at the Vicarage Lane South site Aimed at new members, but everybody welcome, the demo will cover the following: • Types of weed - annual and perennial, shallow root, rhizomes and taproot • Tools to use • Rough weeding and digging • Stale seedbed • Microweeding • On your knees - handforking • Hoeing • Blowlamp • When there's no need to weed - potatoes

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The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Alderman Clark cup - plot judging 2013 If you wish to enter the competition this year, please collect, complete and return an entry form from either trading hut or Benton Road communal shed, available from Sunday 2nd June. Copies for self-printing may also be requested by email from e.s.oliver@hotmail.co.uk Note: Plots will only be judged if they display the plot number and surrounding paths must be properly maintained. Please return completed forms to either trading hut or to the Society’s registered office, 2 Airthrie Road, Goodmayes, Ilford, Essex, IG3 9QU by Sunday 30th June. Judging will take place in the week commencing Monday 8th July. Plots are judged according to the following criteria, with marks awarded for each category as indicated: Good cultivation (20 marks) Quality of produce (20 marks) Succession and variety of crops (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring) (15 marks) Weed control (10 marks) Cleanliness of crops (10 marks) Efficient use of plot (15 marks) Other items of recognition (10 marks)

Explanatory remarks Good cultivation Soil well cultivated. Plants adequately spaced. Rows correct distance apart. Staking of plants or alternative means of support. Generally good husbandry. Quality of produce Condition of plants and whether they will produce a good crop. Succession and variety of crops This may include not only vegetables but soft fruit, top fruit grown on dwarfing stock and flowers. Balanced approach to what is grown. Adequate weed control Balanced judgement Cleanliness of crops Free from pests and diseases, viruses or plant disorders. Note if plot is being organically maintained. Efficient use of plot Intercropping, succession and no large vacant areas. Other items of recognition Presence of compost heaps, staking, netting of crops, clean neat edge to plot, labeling of produce is also important.

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The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Society business Bonfires

Since the last newsletter we have received complaints from neighbouring residents about smoky bonfires on allotments. This causes work for the commitee which could easily be avoided by (a) ensuring material is fully dry; (b) only have bonfires in the evenings when you are less likely to inconvenience our neighbours; or preferably (c) not having bonfires. Please note that bonfires are banned on all our sites between 1st June and 30th September.

Viewing the newsletter online

This newsletter, along with the previous four editions, is available to view on-screen in colour at www.issuu.com/skgas We would like as many members as possible to view future newsletters online to save printing and postage costs which have again increased recently. If we do not have your email, or if you have recently changed your email address, please send your details to e.s.oliver@hotmail.co.uk

Site security

Ilford Allotment Society has recently reported squatters living in sheds at one of their sites. To minimise the chances of this happening at any of our sites please ensure that you lock the gates behind you when entering and leaving your allotment site.

Thefts at Goodmayes site Between the evening of 1st June and the morning of 2nd June, several members at Goodmayes suffered losses from their sheds. Handtools seemed to be the main target, along with some metal presumably for scrap. Members are reminded to mark tools with their postcode and if possible conceal them as best you can in your shed or toolbox. It appears the intruders used objects to help climb over the fence from the park extension.

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Japanese knotweed

As expected, there has been some re-growth of this weed at Benton Road and Wards Road South. Weather permitting it will have been given a second dose of professionalgrade weedkiller by the time this newsletter is published.

John Scully

We are sad to report the death of Vicarage Lane South plot holder John Scully, who died recently following a short illness. The allotment society sent a condolence card to his widow.

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.

Plot judging for 2013 competition

As last year, members will need to apply if they wish to have their plot judged in our annual competition. Entry forms, including judging criteria, will be available from either trading hut in June, with judging in the week beginning 8th 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. Entry forms for self-printing are available by email from e.s.oliver@ hotmail.co.uk


The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter

Note for your Diaries! 2013 Macmillan Coffee/Tea Afternoon Including Kids Cake Competition

Sunday 29th September 2013 – 2.00pm to 4.00pm Hi! After last year’s wonderful charitable success, we are running a 2013 Macmillan Coffee/ Tea/Cake etc., afternoon. This year, to get the younger allotmenteers involved, children up to the age of 14 are invited to bring a home made cake or cakes to a charity competition, to be judged by our own Mary Berry to receive a prize and also for their cake to be auctioned off at the end of the event to raise funds for the charity.

Please come, bring cake to sell, friends & family along to enjoy and buy/eat cake and refreshments!! See you there! Marian Hogg x

Allotment Garden Festival Sunday September 1st 1.00-5.00pm

It’s that time of year again when we are planning our Allotment festival!

We ask you to consider how you can help make this 7th festival a success.

This event not only promotes our society, it keeps allotments in the public eye, especially important when two sites close to London are under threat of sale. It also allows us to raise funds for the society, something from which we all benefit.

We need help with :-

The festival cannot take place without the offer of help from our members. As our chairman has pointed out, we are all members of a society and with this comes some responsibility to help.

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• August: distribution of the flyer adverts, door to door, • Saturday 31st: help with setting up the site. • Sunday 1st: Festival day – further preparations and staffing all the society stalls ie taking money on the gate, working on the produce and cake stalls, plus ice cream and strawberry sales. continued...


The Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society newsletter Many of these tasks are organised in shifts. With approx 300 members in our society we should be more than able to cover all these jobs. Please, please let us know what help you are able and willing to give by contacting your site stewards or myself direct on 020 8597 6685. Our biggest attractions are the produce and cake stalls. Please let me know if you can make a cake for the refreshment stall (please no fresh cream due to lack of refrigeration) and donate vegetables, jams or chutneys to sell on the produce stall. Garden and houseplants or

shrubs, gardening books,gardentools and flower pots are also needed. Please look for the posters on the site gates for more details. We will probably be organising a vegetable and minature garden competition! Again this will depend on volunteers offering to help. Please let us know, as soon as possible, what help you can give. Sue Cunningham

Seasonal eating from the plot Simple rhubarb jam I have always wanted to make jam, but thought it a difficult process, not at all with this recipe!! 450g Rhubarb 450g Caster sugar Rind of one lemon – finely grated • Wash the rhubarb, removing any stringy bits! • Dry and weigh, it is important to have equal quantities of sugar to fruit making jam. • Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and place into a heavy based saucepan or preserving pan if you have one, cover with the caster sugar. • Place the pan over a gentle heat, stir continuously to prevent burning. When the sugar has melted completely, stir in the

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lemon rind and increase the heat. • Boil the jam mixture for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. • Sterilise your jam jars by putting them in boiling water for 10 minutes or more; dry them and spoon the warm rhubarb jam into each jar. • Seal the jam with shop bought lids or cut out grease proof paper lids, put on jar lids and seal. • Let the jars cool in a draft-free space. Once the jar of jam has been opened, they must be stored in the fridge. Enjoy! Marian Hogg


Skgas news summer 2013