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Southern Allotments

Newsletter

W EED IT AND R EAP


April 2010

For newsletter queries/ contributions contact Judith on judithandbarry@tiscali.co.uk.


For site queries contact Martin on martin.oldham1@ntlworld.com or Phil on phil.boyd@ntlworld.com

Inside This Issue

Celebs on Site! Celebs on Site! 1

Free compost 1

Call to Allotmenteers 2

Notice Board 2

Seasonal recipes 3

Hedge planting 3

Sowing 4

Allotment kitchen 4

Bee lines 5

Help for new plot holders 5


John Leech (MP for Withington) visited the site
on Sunday 11 April to … Here he is inspecting Jobs for April 6
the raised bed for wheelchair users,
Dates for your diary 6
accompanied by Chair Phil Boyd, Secretary
Martin Oldham, Committee Member, Bill
Barton, and the delightful (and
delighted!)Millie!

Free Compost!
A year ago some of us spent a weekend line) are cordially invited to help themselves
turning over the green waste deposited in one to a few barrowloads over the coming
of the communal compost bins near the weeks. We can’t vouch for its quality, but it
container. It’s been covered with a black can’t be any worse than what you’ve started
plastic sheet for the last 12 months and has with. But hurry while stocks last!
rotted down nicely.
PS Other plot holders are invited to take
New plot holders struggling in their sandpits what they can.
(i.e. those with plots along the old railway
Page 2 Weed it and Reap

Calling All Allotmenteers (…but not Frank!)

Back in the former Soviet Union, they used hours, single-handedly making the site
to celebrate the achievements of so-called significantly safer from the local hooligans.
“Stakhanovites.” Named after Aleksei
Stakhanov who mined no less than 102 tons Unfortunately, as we all know a chain is only
of coal in less than 6 hours, these were as strong as its weakest link, and until the
workers, who far exceeded their quotas and whole of the job is finished, we are all
thus enabled the State to realise its five vulnerable to the occasional acts of vandalism
year plans. and theft.

Well, here at Southern Allotments we are We may not all be able to match Frank’s
hoping that painting the top of the fence achievements. However, if you do have an
with anti-vandal grease is not going to take hour or so to spend any Sunday, please call in
us five years. If it doesn’t, this will be down at the Tea Shop and pick up a tin of paint and
to our very own version of Comrade a brush. Who knows, you could be in for a
Stakhanov, Frank Flanagan. While a number Stakhanovite of the Month Award – well a free
of other plot holders gave up an hour or so a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
few Sundays ago, Frank put in a shift of 6

Notice Board
Main gate
There are two bolts on the gate to prevent include plastic or timber. Also, please don’t
damage to the gates and the sliding bar, add potato haulm, brassica roots (remove
please remember to drop the bolts when roots and burn or put into skip) or any
closing the gates. diseased plants (e.g. with blight).

Skip The bins have concrete walls, and once they


The skip is only to be used for rubbish from are filled to the front of the walls no more
on the site and must not be used for material should be tipped on the tarmac.
domestic rubbish brought onto the site. Please keep any more material on your plot
However, wood and brambles should be until one of the bins is empty and waiting to
burnt on your plot. Do not overfill the skip, be filled.
as the Council will only dump the excess on
the road. Contracts
While everyone has now either paid their rent
Any metal or hazardous waste (e.g. tyres, or (in two cases) had their tenancies
asbestos) must be left beside the skip. terminated, by no means everyone has signed
a contract. If you haven’t can you please
Communal compost bins either drop in at the Tea Shop on a Sunday
The compost bins are to be used for afternoon where you can sign up (one copy
compostable materials that cannot be for you and one for us) or find Martin, the
composted on your plot and should not Secretary, who will be able to find the
paperwork for you to complete.
Weed it and Reap Page 3

Recipes of the Month

Linguine with purple sprouting Rhubarb Compote


broccoli, sesame & chilli … sounds much more posh than stewed
rhubarb, doesn’t it? And it’s delicious with
200g of linguine rice pudding, yoghurt, baked custard, cream
Olive oil or just on its own.
150g of purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed and
halved lengthways With early spring rhubarb, I make a sugar
2 red bird's eye chillies, thinly sliced syrup first and then poach pieces of rhubarb
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced in it for a few minutes only. You can just put
1 tbsp of sesame seeds it in a pan with a little water and sugar or
honey – but watch it as it will overcook
A large handful of parsley, chopped quickly.
1 lemon, juiced
Add slices of ginger to the syrup, or a vanilla
Method pod or orange peel.
Cook the linguine following the packet
instructions. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a Recently I mixed the cooked rhubarb with
frying pan and add the purple sprouting pears bottled last autumn with vanilla – then
broccoli, cook for 4 minutes then add the chilli added a few drops of rosewater – very nice.
and garlic. Fry everything together, stirring so Or soak and cook dried apricots until they
that nothing sticks and burns, until the broccoli are getting soft, then mix with cooked
is cooked through. Stir in the sesame seeds and rhubarb and sugar or honey to taste –
brown them briefly. Add the parsley and lemon another winning combination.
juice and toss through the linguine with plenty
of seasoning.

A thorny issue – planting a hedge!


It’s been agreed for some time that a hedge The planting will be a big job and we will
A largethe
around handful
outsideof parsley, chopped
of the site would be a good need lots of people to commit themselves to
1 lemon, juiced
thing – to make it harder for people to climb in, helping with it. Watch this space for further
provide wildlife habitat and food and just to news as autumn approaches. Get in touch
Method
look nice. with Veronica at vmarris@marris.co.uk if
Cook the linguine following the packet you want to help with planning this.
instructions.
The committee Meanwhile
has decided heat
toaspend
little money
oil in a on
frying pan
hedging for and add the
planting thispurple sprouting
autumn. It will be The bees will love it!!
broccoli, cook for 4 minutes then
mixed native hedging, mostly hawthorn add theandchilli
and garlic.plus
blackthorn Fry everything
a few othertogether, stirring
species such so
as crab
that nothing sticks and
apple, dog rose and hazel. burns, until the broccoli
is cooked through. Stir in the sesame seeds and
brown them briefly. Add the parsley and lemon
juice and toss through the linguine with plenty
of seasoning.
Page 4} Weed it and Reap

More of Martin’s useful gardening tips: Sowing


This is the time of year when all of us are going want 10 plants only sow 15 seeds, not half the
mad sowing seeds - hoping for a good crop later packet!
on. This time last year I had many seeds sown
and growing in various stages by now, but as we With other seeds like lettuce you only want 3
all know this year has been cold up to now, and or 4 at a time so sow a few seeds every 2/3
even seeds sown several weeks ago are just weeks, the same with other salad crops.
emerging from the soil. Root crops carrots, beetroot, parsnips, etc.
should be sown where they are to be grown as
This just goes to show that the dates given on they don’t like having their roots disturbed;
the seed packets for sowing are only to be used this is mainly the long tap root which forms the
as guides. The times shown are for the South crop.
West of the country and here in the North West For those who are just starting to prepare their
the times should be read as 2 to 3 weeks later. plot you can start sowing seeds before you
Another factor to be considered is that seeds have any ground ready by sowing in seed trays
sown 3 weeks later when the soil has warmed and leaving them on the plot, i.e. using the
up will soon catch up with those sown earlier. trays as a seed bed. The seedlings can then be
When sowing seeds of many plants a seed bed transplanted into a prepared seed bed or
or trays should be used to start the seeds off, module later or into larger pots before
and only a few seeds sown at once. The planting out in their growing positions.
germination rate of seeds sold to the public is
approx. 60%, so for every 100 seeds sown at Happy sowing and hopefully great results!
least 60 will germinate, - hence if you only

Allotment Kitchen
The tea shop is up and running in the new Another idea for later in the year is a
container. It’s on every Sunday from 2 to 4 pm, monthly communal cooking session. We
serving tea, coffee, home-made cake and cold could bring produce from our plots and turn
drinks. it into lunch. Anyone interested?
If you have suggestions for other things that More volunteers always very welcome – with
could go on at the same time (such as seed or more people we can turn these ideas into
plant swaps), please come along and see us or reality.
get in touch with Veronica at
vmarris@marris.co.uk
We it and Reap Page 5

Some Bee Lines


You may have seen that work has started on
clearing the ground in the Apiary - or maybe
you are one of the people who has helped -
in which case, well done!

We are having work sessions on Thursdays


from 6.30 pm and Sundays 2 to 4 pm to
continue the work. We will be planting a
mixed hedge round the outside fence and
sowing grass and wildflowers on the ground.
We hope to have one or two bee colonies
later in the spring. For information on bee-
keeping training, see www.beetowns.com

A Helping Hand for New Plot Holders

The recent expansion to the site has resulted Hulme Community Garden Centre has offered
in no less than 34 new plots. That bit is the to run some courses. Taking place over four
good news! The less good news – as our new or five weeks, the aim will be to provide a
plot holders will testify - is the poor quality of basic introduction to organic gardening for
the soil, the numerous roots, not to mention new plot holders. The course will be free of
the stones, lumps of concrete and other charge, and will take place either on our site
rubbish that has been ploughed into the or at the Garden Centre.
ground.
If you are interested, please let me know as
Fortunately for those who have to struggle soon as possible (email me at
with all of the above, there is some help to phil.boyd@ntlworld.com or phone me or
hand. Not, alas, help turning over the ground, Veronica on 860 5625 to book a place or ask
but help with the basics of improving the for more details).
quality of the soil, raising plants from seed
and general cultivation.
Page 6 Weed it and Reap

Jobs for April

Time to Sow… Time to harvest…

 beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard,  Sprouting broccoli


summer cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce,
leeks, radish, turnip, peas, spinach  Sutherland kale
etc. etc.
 in-doors or under cover: tomatoes,  Leeks
courgettes.
 Parsnips

Time to Plant…  Last of the indestructible Jerusalem


artichokes
 Potatoes

And Time To…


 Thin out your seedlings – don’t let them
get lanky and weak.
 Transplant seedlings once they have their
second set of leaves.
 Watch out for freak warm days when you
may need to ventilate your greenhouse.