5th Jan 2021 – Latest Covid-19

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Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last evening on TV I have consulted the National Allotment Association’s website for latest advice.

It appears guidance continues similar to that offered in March of last year, allotment holders may continue to visit their plots on their own, with their household members and those with whom they are in a designated bubble.

This constitutes the daily exercise regime if that is how you choose to use it.

The National Allotment Association advice has been updated with latest details and may be consulted at : Covid 19 Emergency Measures – The National Allotment Society – National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd (nsalg.org.uk)

Robin Yetman

Chair, Imberhone Allotment Association

Discounted Seeds scheme

Kings Seeds Special Allotment Scheme

The committee have agreed that we should trial for next year for allotment association members only, a collective purchase of seeds from Kings Seeds. This approach offers a substantial  discount of up to 50% on the catalogue price of vegetable and flower seeds for members. Initial enquiries indicated enough members interested to make this worthwhile.

As of 20th February 2021 we have received a first delivery of our seeds order. Mike Wellman will be in touch with those who have ordered to arrange for delivery / collection.

Whilst the catalogue also includes other items, such as plants, fruit, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, onion and shallot sets and sundry items, these do not attract the discount. However, potatoes can have the cheaper rate band shown even for only 1 pack ordered. In addition, onion and shallot sets are available at a bulk price if 5 people are interested. [For example Onions are £7.70 for 2.5kg as against £4.20 for 500g catalogue price]

It is intended to place our order at the end of 2020 so you will need to notify your requirements by 31st, December to our committee organiser who will co-ordinate the order.

We will run the scheme as follows:-

1          Members choose their requirements and advise the following                                  information:-     Name of seed, product code and quantity, e.g.

2          When all the requests are received, the coordinator will advise you and the Treasurer of the total cost of your order.

3          You will need to pay into the Associations bank account, as described in our email to you.

4          When delivery is received, you will be advised and distribution / collection arranged.

We believe this offers members a worthwhile benefit where costs appear to be increasing substantially every year and also provides a saving on delivery charges which would otherwise be incurred for individual orders.

Kings also incorporates Suffolk Herbs and their website gives full details of their offering. Mike also has some copies of the catalogue which can be borrowed to make your choices. You can also view their catalogue online at: https://www.kingsseeds.com/

We look forward to your support to make this initiative worthwhile.

Contact committee@imberhorneallotments.org or the committee organiser whose details are in your individual email.

Covid-19 : 2nd Lockdown

To all our Allotment Holders,

As you will be aware the Government’s regulations on a second lockdown begin today and will continue at least to the first week in December. As before, it is the committee’s intention to keep the Allotments open to Association members, their households and support bubbles. We have received no contrary instruction from the Town Council.

You will be pleased to learn that the National Association for Allotment Gardens has confirmed this interpretation and you can find their latest full advice on their website at  https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/

The following is an extract from their document :

Can I still work my allotment during the Covid19 lockdown?

Yes, allotments are a great way of both getting exercise and obtaining food during this crisis.

Can I visit the allotment with my family and friends?

It is permitted to visit your allotment during this month- long lockdown but you can only visit with your household, support bubble or one other person from another household if permitted by site/association rules and regulations.

How can I ensure my family’s and everyone else’s safety at the plot?

Do not attend the plot if you have coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating, this includes people who need to isolate after returning from holidays abroad.

Please continue to lock and unlock the gate so that entry to the Allotments is restricted to its members only. It is good practice to continue cleaning the gate latch and lock and/or wearing gloves to help protect other members.

Wishing everyone well,

Robin Yetman

Chair

5th November 2020

Chairman’s Award for most improved plot

At the beginning of the 2020 season we announced a new initiative, (see our first newsletter.) This was to be an award for the most improved plot during the year.

Our site managers identified a number of candidates for this new award, and our Chairman subjectively selected the winner.

This year’s award goes to Shelagh Diebschlag.

Shelagh receives a personalised water bottle and certificate from the Chairman

Next year’s Chairman’s award will be for the most colourful plot. Hopefully, this will also provide a suitable stimulus to our efforts towards the National Gardens Scheme and the South and South East in Bloom competition.

COVID 19

Many of you will have heard Michael Gove interviewed on TV this morning, sadly I missed the crucial bit, however I am told that he confirmed working alone (or in your family group) in the allotment did constitute the allowed daily exercise provided you maintain the required 2 metres from other allotment members.

I wrote to the RHS last night and received a reply this morning. They referred me to the NSALG statement given below. The full text is available through the link at the bottom of the page.

For members of the Imberhorne Allotment Association, your committee would very much wish to endorse the precautionary measures listed below, in particular :

  • You are welcome to use the Allotments and its facilities at your own risk, unless we are precluded from doing so by Government directive
  • Do not visit the site if you are self-isolating because you or a family member is ill
  • Maintain at least 2 metres between non-household members
  • Do not wash your hands in the water troughs
  • Use hand sanitiser and wipe the gate lock and catch clean with household cleaner if you have it (I did twice this morning – more help from everyone required please)
  • You may continue to use the container and the mowers (£2 a time to the honesty box) but please be aware this may be a common touchpoint. If you are using the mowers please clean them after use and wipe the handles etc. with a hand sanitiser or anti-viral solution
  • If the container key is not in the lock box and the container is not open please ask a committee member and we should be able to advise or arrange
  • Please consider parking in the public car park or leaving your car at home in order to reduce the numbers and the concentration of people in our on-site car park (I used my old bike today !)
  • Stay safe and keep others safe too

Link to National Allotment Society Home Page

Homepage

Covid 19 Emergency Measures

March 23rd, 2020

Following the instructions around movement and gatherings from the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020, we are consulting with central g overnment but as we understand the situation at the moment it is still permitted to visit your plot, ideally on your own to take daily exercise. It is vitally important that you follow all the advice about social distancing and hygiene in the points below and not gather together on site.

Any plot-holder who is self isolating because a household member is ill with corona-virus should not be visiting the site.

Associations should display an advice notice on their boards. It is important that anyone attending the allotment takes care to stay the appropriate distance from others, avoid body contact and wash hands at taps, do not wash hands or use detergents in the water tanks and please pay attention to notice boards.

It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency, if you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to Secretary or Site Manager.  Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.

We are living through a crisis, the likes of which none of us has experienced before, not since war time has the community spirit that exists on allotment sites been more important.  Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times.

Members should take the following precautionary measures :

  • Keep hand sanitiser in your shed and wash your hands regularly
  • Use hand sanitiser before opening and closing any gate locks
  • Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres
  • Do not share tools
  • Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes
  • Do not wash your hands in water troughs
  • We recommend that all communal facilities are closed

The full text of the National Allotment Society’s advice is available at

What to do with waste on our Allotment site

Background

The Coronavirus restrictions have fortunately not stopped us working on our allotments, but the situation presents the Association with a number of challenges, one of which is waste management.  With the temporary closure of the Imberhorne Lane recycling centre, we have to manage the waste material generated on the allotment site more effectively.

The Committee held one large bonfire at the end of March, which cleared our bonfire plot at the far end of the site.  However, we are now told that no more bonfires can be lit until further notice.  We don’t want to stop plotholders adding material to the bonfire plot, but this really must be limited to the woody materials described below. 

There is no change to the existing Site By-Laws, this is additional guidance in response to the current restrictions.

Policy update

Please help the Committee by following the Guidance below:-

  1. Only woody plant material such as bush and tree prunings can be taken to the bonfire site, also old pallets and other unsound or rotten timber.  We cannot accept any of the following materials for burning:-
  2. Soft green prunings
  3. Grass and weeds, stems or roots
  4. Plants with soil on the roots
  5. Chipboard, plywood or blockboard
  6. Plastic or felt
  7. Diseased plant materials
  8. No material should be added to the bonfire that has not been used on the site by the plotholder – i.e. no domestic waste. 
  9. The Allotment Site must not be treated as a dumping ground for materials that have no horticultural value, and are only brought to our site because the local tip is closed
  10. We encourage all plotholders to make compost from their waste plant material where possible, on their plot(s).   Compost making is not as difficult as some of the published guides make it sound, as long as a few simple rules are followed.
  11. If you don’t wish to compost, then please arrange to remove your waste plant material from site. 

Composting guide

You need to mix coarse plant materials with soft, nitrogen rich plant materials to get your compost to break down.   Most beginners manage to produce usable compost within a year.

Coarse materials include weeds, long grass, crop wastes, shredded paper or card.  Cabbage stems and other tough material can be chopped up before adding to the heap. Remove as much soil from roots as possible.

The most readily available soft material is grass clippings, but you can bring vegetable waste and peelings from home.  Tea and coffee grounds are good.

Do not include meat, fish, bread, cake, pasta, rice or any cooked food, as these will all attract rats!

Do not include marestail, bindweed or couch grass roots or stems;  but most other weeds are fine and indeed help provide enough coarser material.

Do not include diseased material such as clubroot or onion white rot, this is best disposed “off-site” in your black bin. Most other diseased plant material can be safely composted, though opinions vary on this subject!

The heap will work best if it comprises between a quarter and a half soft material, between half and three quarters coarse plant material.

If the heap is placed on the soil, mini beasts and bacteria will migrate into the heap to help it rot down.  You only need to add water and air and away it goes. 

The heap needs to be contained in a plastic, metal or wooden bin. The most important thing is to use a container with solid sides and to cover the compost with sheet or a bit of carpet.  Otherwise the heap will tend to dry out. 

A dry compost heap will not rot down, and drying out is the most common cause of failure.  There is also a risk of a wasps’ nest appearing in summer in a dry heap.

If you cannot obtain or build a compost container, then make a pile and cover with a sheet, weighted down with stones or bricks.

Sufficient moisture and air is required to produce good compost, this is best achieved by emptying or removing the bin once a month, forking it over to mix the materials up, and watering it if dry. It just needs to be kept damp, not saturated.  

Managing the process is best achieved by having two heaps.  Keep adding to one heap for 6 months, then mix it, cover it and leave it be.  Then build the other heap for 6 months.  By this time, the first heap should be ready to dig in.

You can use your compost as a mulch around established plants, or as a manure under potatoes or in planting holes for any nutrient hungry crops. 

Good composting!

IAA Committee   3rd April 2020.