Newsletter March 18th, 2019

Last revised: 18 March 2019

Ealing in Bloom

The Committee for Ealing in Bloom has decided not to continue for the foreseeable future. Competitions for Schools and Allotments will be managed by a sub-committee of Ealing Allotments Partnership, some members being co-opted from their previous roles. Under the banner of Greening Ealing, competitions for Schools in Bloom and Allotments in Bloom will continuing part of the previous competition, applying the same rules.

Jubilee Road Allotments will compete for the Best Large Allotment category.

Any current tenant may enter one plot they rent. Terms, guidance and entry forms may be found at EAP website. Closing date for entries is 24th May, 2019.

Even now, during March, I can see several plots that may well see a podium place. Make sure you read the guidance provided.

Winter activities

Gerry has small supply of potatoes and onions for sale. These are remainders from our pre-ordered supply for 2019. Please contact him at plot 10, most mornings until noon.

Beware of temptation to plant out onions, potatoes or sow seeds. The ground is saturated and any rain or snow will increase the water levels and ruin any new plants or seeds. Only sowing in a raised beds, above the water line, may survive. Established plants will likely do well, but worth keeping an eye on.

Starting off seeds at home or in greenhouse is worth doing to get a few small plants growing before they are planted out when the weather and ground becomes warmer. Using cold water on newly sown seeds is acceptable, but when plants begin to show use water at room temperature by decanting a jug and leaving over night before use.

Chitting, also called green sprouting, is a method of starting the seed germination process before the seeds meet the soil. Most commonly this technique is used for starting parsnip, but can work just as well to test if an old packet of seed is viable. Try a few seeds laid on damp kitchen or blotting paper, cover with cling film and leave in warm place (16 to 20° C) for 7 to 14 days. If tiny shoots are seen, the seed can be carefully placed into pots or seed tray. If no sign of growth, the seed is probably dried out and will not germinate.

Good light is important. Rotate pots or trays to avoid plants leaning towards the light. Too far from the window will make seedlings leggy and weak as they reach for light. Try a sheet of silver cooking foil wrapped around one end of the tray and facing the window. This will reflect light onto the plants.

For most of us, be patient. Wait for better conditions before sowing seeds or putting seedlings outside.

Raised Beds

We have kicked off a project to build and provision raised beds on plot 68, located at western side of the oak trees. This is a poor location for a decent plot, which we hope to rectify and put to good use.

The plan is for eight beds, each about 6 sq. metres which will be rented to new or existing tenants who do not have a plot.

We are seeking funding of about £5,200 to complete the work, which will include wood beds, filling with soil, grassing the pathways and replacing the old tool sheds with something more suitable.

Ealing Council have given approval for the raised beds, and similar initiatives at other sites.

The initial build of beds is almost complete. However, funding takes time to raise which means completion may take a further 6 months before they are available for rent.

Community jobs

The vacant plots need digging over and tidying up. If you have the time and energy please contact the site manager.

The floor of the main tool shed has been resurfaced with plywood. This was easier than replacing the original floor, which is showing signs of decay.

Plot vacancies

At time of writing there are three vacant plots. If you know of local people who may be interested in allotment gardening please refer them to the site manager.

Shared tool shed

During November we received a donation of several new and used forks, spades and trowels, plus two new wheelbarrows.

Sadly the new three spades are missing. While there are others to use, it is discouraging to assume the new tools have been taken away. I shall be reluctant to take further donations of similar kind.

After use, please return tools to the shed in a clean condition. Report any breakages to site manager.

Events diary

AGM 2019

Provisional date for AGM is Sunday, 12th May 2019. Previous Minutes are available from web site.

The AGM includes election of officers. If you wish to stand for Chair, Treasurer or Secretary please contact the Society Secretary at least one month prior to the meeting. Further information about the roles may be obtained from the current officers.

Summer Show

Sunday, 8th September 2019. Rules, hints and tips