Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Harris Road Allotment Newsletter

Eager tenants and prospective tenants gathered in the sunshine (remember that ?) once more on Saturday 12th May for another workday with the aim of expediting plot clearance and rental. 

The day began with a talk from Lee Hinchcliffe, Council Training Officer, on the things we had to consider once we started running our own workdays.  We already knew that we had to have public liability insurance, but he also covered supervision, Risk Assessments, First Aid, the Council advice booklet for public events, recording attendance and the use of tools.  The session was informative and Joanne Buck will let us have an electronic copy of the guidance that the Council issues for such events to allow us to plan our own in the future.

We went on to clear rubbish from the site into a large skip at the entrance (which was soon full to the brim), create a woodpile for burning close to the main gate and to continue clearing sites and hedge trimming.  A Council Ranger was on site to help with chipping smaller cuts of wood which created a useful resource for paths and mulches.  We all had a productive day and once again left the site looking better than when we had come. 

We aim to hold another workday in the autumn once we have completed risk assessments and taken out insurance.  We’ll keep you inform you of the date in the future via the website and notices.
Asha Dube

Reflections of a new plot holder
Anna, Tom and myself began our allotment adventure in January with a lot of digging and rubble removal. Our plot yielded many treasures - particular highlights included a mangle, a flat iron, christmas lights, various parts of a bike, corrugated sheeting, beer bottles and cans by the sack load and several pairs of shoes!

We got two beds established fairly quickly and have slowly inched our way backwards across the plot. We have learnt what a pernicious weed bindweed is and how quickly weeds spring up after a bit of rain.

We are enjoying experimenting with our various seeds, new bushes and seedlings and might actually have some things to eat sometime soon!

One unexpected and very pleasant bonus is how many more people we now know to say hello to in our local area now thanks to the allotment. Another bonus is the very virtuous feeling that follows an afternoon of digging. Here's to the next six months!
Julia Hunter
Membership of Harris Road Allotment Society has been set at £5 per year. This is designed to cover both the insurance required for public liability (to enable us to run our own work days, and to allow members of the public to attend our events on site), and also to join the national federation.
Membership will be due each year on the 1st August, and should be paid to Ben Kentzer (treasurer). Cash is preferable, but once the back account is in place we will be able to accept cheques payable to 'Harris Road Allotment Society.
Membership fees will be reviewed each year.
Ben Kentzner
Bank Account:
A bank account has been applied for so that the society can keep all it's monies safe. The bank account will be with LloydsTSB. We are just waiting for confirmation of the account set up - the last pieces of paperwork are working their way through at the moment.
Note that any payments out of the society bank account need to be signed by 2 of the 3 signatories on the account - these 3 are Asha (Chair), Peter (Secretary) and Ben (Treasurer).
Ben Kentzner
With most of the plots now occupied and others almost so, Im pleased to say that security on the site has been very good. Apart from the occasional children playing there appears to have been no vandalism or theft of any kind. Ceri Ashton has got the gap in the fence under control so hopefully we can look forward to a safe and pleasant environment to work, rest and play
Mick Caveney
Sheffield Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Federation 

We went to the outdoor meeting of the Federation at the Rivelin Allotments on 25 June.  Rivelin, Harris Road, the National Federation, Hagg House, Hangingwater and Norwood allotments were represented.
As we wandered round the site we were able to pick up lots of nuggets of advice and information.
The first plot we visited was inspirational with veg, flowers, pond, summer house, potting shed and sculptures.  It was divided in to separate ‘rooms’ with seating to relax and contemplate the garden.
Rivelin  site is a quite a contrast with Harris Road.  Its much bigger, with over 100 plots. We benefit from much better security. Rivelin is very open and on a main highway so consequently suffers from thefts and vandalism.  There seem to be many more  uncultivated plots with a serious problem with knotweed and horsetail or mare’s tail.  They have running water - from the river!- but also several springs on the hill side which make the paths slippy.
We found that the members were only too willing to share advice.
Through the Federation we learnt that in addition to very cheap insurance we would be entitled to buy King Seeds at a discount.  They would supply us with brochures to make our selections; we send in one bulk order and get a 10% discount on list price and the society would receive 10% as well.
We would like to promote this for Harris Road and take orders for 2013 season through Kings.  Would you be interested?
Rob Hawkins the President, and chair of Hangingwater allotments mentioned that they had received a Community Assembly grant for tons of sharp sand and £200 for cow manure!  Something we might consider in the future!
Rob asked if we  would like to host a federation visit in August.  We tentatively said yes.  Its something we should discuss at the July meeting but we would recommend it.  It shouldn’t be seen as an inspection! Its a chance to stroll round the site and seek help on anything and everything to do with allotments.

Asha Dube 
Peter Morton
Gentle Reminder from Ceri Ashton Allotment Officer
I was at the site recently, and it was great to see that a lot of plots are really coming on but the paths are getting a bit out of hand.
Tenants are responsible for keeping the section of path adjoining their path free from weeds.  With the very wet weather the weeds are getting the upper hand and blocking the paths.  It would be helpful if everyone could attend to their section of path.
Thank you
Useful Weeds
As a new plotholder on Harris Road I, like many others have faced a mountain of new and various weeds to get to know and do battle with.  Brambles are one of the most formidable of enemies, but at least the fruits can go towards making an excellent Apple and Blackberry pie!
But the merits of some of the other weeds mightn’t be so obvious.  Cleavers (also known as Goose Grass or Sticky Willie) can be turned into a tea which is said to aid the lymphatic system.  Pick a few good handfuls of cleavers, steep in a pot or cafetiere of hot water for 10 to 20 minutes and then drink.  Though I have to say the taste is a bit marmitey – you’ll either love it or hate it!
Nettles can be rotted down in water and used as ‘nettle tea’ on your vegetables, but they’re equally nice added to a risotto or soup – once they’re boiled they lose their sting.  If you have a nettle patch (and who doesn’t!), chop them all down and use that to feed your plants, then use the nice young regrowth for adding to your meals, or again, you can use them to make a tea (use the same method as the cleavers) which is said to contain a natural antihistamine and used by many to fight off infections or colds.
Now if I could just find a use for that bindweed………
Vicky Cooper
Sheffield City Council Parks And Countryside Service Bolton Cup Allotment Competition
We are inviting entries for this year’s Bolton Cup Allotment Competition and the categories are:
►Best Kept Allotment 
►Best New Allotment - Sponsored by Ferndale ►Most Environmentally Friendly Allotment 
►Best Scarecrow
The winner of the best kept allotment citywide will receive the Bolton Cup and £50 in prize money. 
As well as the citywide winners there are additional awards for the best kept allotments and best new plots for each allotment site. The prizes include certificates and gift vouchers.
The deadline for entries is Friday 13th July 2012 Please contact the allotment office on 0114 2734528
Plots will be inspected as per Sheffield City Council's allotment policies and the advice in the Allotment Handbook, with particular emphasis on range and quality of crops, plot maintenance and overall aesthetic appeal. Judging will take place on the 16th, 17th and 18th of July 2012.
Entry Form For The Sheffield City Council Parks And Countryside Service Bolton Cup Allotment Competition 2012
Contact Telephone:
Please note to be eligible for entry you need to hold a current allotment tenancy with Sheffield City Council.
Allotment Plot Number:
Allotment Site:
Please enter me for the following categories (please tick) 
□ Best Kept Allotment
□ Best New Plot (for tenants of not more than one year) 
□ Most Environmentally Friendly Plot 
□ Best Scarecrow
I agree to allow access to my plot for the judges and I understand that judging will take place on the 16th, 17th and 18th of July 2012.
Please return this entry form, or email the Allotment Office with the above details, no later than 5pm on Friday 13th July 2012. Please clearly mark your envelope or email subject with ‘Bolton Cup Allotment Competition Entry’.
Our postal address is: Meersbrook Park, Brook Road, Sheffield S8 9FL Our email address is: parksandcountryside@sheffield.gov.uk

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