Joe Maiden

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.  Joe was a gardening expert on Radio Leeds’ for over forty years.  He was also prominent in the National Vegetable Society, Leeds Horticultural Society, and many others.  He wrote a regular column for Kitchen Garden magazine and frequently gave talks around the region.  He has received many awards for his charitable activities.
 
He has been associated with Hollin Lane Allotments for over thirty years, finding time in his busy schedule to walk around our site and judge the “best plot” each year, and to join us on a September Sunday to judge the exhibits in our Autumn Show.   He had his own way of doing the judging – explaining how he made his choices, and throwing out gardening lore, funny stories and good cheer as he went.
 
We will miss the help and encouragement which has done so much to improve our allotments and gardening generally for so long.
Expounding2014

AGM 2015

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2015 was an active year, with six Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales, and our annual Autumn show.

We were very saddened by the death of Joe Maiden, who has been a great friend of our Association for over thirty years, judging our plots and show exhibits and giving lots of very helpful advice and encouragement in the process.

Once again the maintenance of the site was done by volunteers:  grass cutting, bramble control, communal bonfires, etc.  Big thanks to everyone who helped out!

We benefited from two generous grants for projects:

  • With help from the £350 from last year’s grant from St Chad’s Community fund we had a series of work parties to establish our hazel and ash coppice at the top of plot 46.
  • We won £500 from Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving initiative.  We used this for construction of a communal shelter, just next to our green hut. This gives us a place to meet and relax out of the weather – really useful this year.  Jon O’Neill, dry-stone waller from Horsforth, did the skilled construction work.

Security was a minor problem this year. There were a couple of break-ins, but nothing much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

The Trustees held three scheduled inspections with follow-ups. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

The Treasurer presented the audited accounts for 2014-2015 which showed our finances to be healthy.  Deliveries of manure have worked well, with the £1/load contributions from members enabling us to get more than usual.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall, Mary Davies, Jenny Tennant-Jackson.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.  Pat Shore and John Oughton resigned after many years of service.  Many thanks to both of them.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Joe Foster, plot 3o and 31B
    • 2nd Prize:  Malcolm Slade, plot 8R
    • 3rd Prize:  Peter Blakey, plot 13
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: Jane Harnett, plot 15BL and Jenny Tennant-Jackson, plot 15BR
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall

Joe Maiden judged the plots in July in spite of his illness. Thanks to Gordon Kirby for judging the show.  Thanks also to Pat Shore and Claire Evans for collecting prizes from generous business sponsors.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

For details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Autumn Show 2015

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.  For the first time in over thirty years Joe Maiden was unable to judge our exhibits, due to his declining health.  Gordon Kirby stepped in on the day and did an excellent job of deciding which were our most beautiful as well as our weirdest fruit and veg.  There were the usual delicious refreshments, useful stuff on sale, and a white-knuckle snail race.  The overall winner on the basis of most points was Rosie Hall, who also had the Best Exhibit in the show.

AGM 2014

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 23 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2014 was a good season for most of us, with some bumper crops. It was also an active year, with seven Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales which brought in £400, and our annual Autumn show. We had several work parties: planting 100 blackthorn seedlings to reinforce our bottom fence, pruning brambles and tidying the hedge, tending a couple of large bonfires, and clearing the top of plot 46 for our coppice wood. The paths were kept mowed as usual almost without anyone noticing, thanks to Peter Blakey. We had a skip here during April for rubbish collected around the site.

Security was a bit less of a problem than last year. There were a couple of break-ins, but not much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting in February we voted unanimously to donate £400 to the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners “fighting fund” to help fund a judicial review of the Council’s decision to double our allotment rents. The judge’s decision from the 16th July hearing was that the Council’s rent rise illegal, so our rents for 2015 will not increase.

The Trustees held scheduled inspections on 1 March, 2 June, and 1 September, with follow-ups on 16 April and 16 October. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, P Shore, J Oughton, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Peter Blakey (13)
    • 2nd Prize:  Mary Davies (10BR)
    • 3rd Prize:  Jenny Ward (45)
    • 4th Prize:  Ros Dunlevey (37)
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: John Stonard (20BR) and Trina Evans-Cheung (20BL)
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Ros Dunlevey

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging both the plots and the autumn show.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

Discussion

We introduced our revised Guidelines, which aim for “Hollin Lane Allotments to be a friendly, harmonious, and productive place to grow food”.  After a discussion, they were adopted by the meeting.  They are now posted on the notice board on the green hut.  You can also see them on this website on the Rules page.

We have won a grant of £350 from the St Chad’s Community Fund to establish a coppice wood at the top of plot 46.  This would give us a  supply of beanpoles and a natural area underplanted with native spring bulbs.  We are also waiting to hear if we have won a £500 grant to create a social area and shelter above the green hut.

For more details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Plant Bring & Buy Sales 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00. All proceeds were put towards a new communal hut.

Plant Bring & Buy May 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00 in the car park area. Plot holders raised extra seedlings of veg and ornamental plants for sale to each other and the public. All proceeds go towards a new communal hut.  The May sale was a great success, with a good crowd of eager buyers.  Items on sale:

  • Veg seedlings
  • Garden ornamental plants
  • House plants
  • 100 good quality 8′ canes (sold out!)
  • Fertilizers from the hut
  • Garden bric-a-brac and used tools
  • Refreshements (including some ravishing home made cakes)

There was also a free tool sharpening service for everything from secateurs to axes (but not for eyesight or hearing!).

Threat to Seed Sovereignty

There is a new threat to our freedom to buy and share seeds of heirloom and less popular plant varieties.

The EU is considering a bill to tidy up lots of separate bits of legislation on plant reproductive material.  As it stands the bill would require even small seed companies and informal seed banks like Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library (HSL) to go through an expensive registration process for each variety to show that it meets a Europe-wide DUS standard.

“DUS” stands for “Distinct, Uniform and Stable”, which means that all seeds of a variety should be genetically nearly identical.  This standard suits the needs of large seed companies and industrial scale growers, but goes against small traditional farmers who save and exchange their own seeds, and anyone concerned about the longer term sustainability of agriculture, because it dramatically narrows the genetic diversity of the crops we depend on for our food.

Many small seed companies would likely have to stop trading, as they could not afford the registration process.  The HSL could face a bill of half a million pounds – an impossible amount.

Traditional, open pollinated seed varieties are the result of years of careful selection by generations of growers.  Control of this precious resource should not be expropriated by large corporations.  That would amount to a theft every bit as terrible as taking away a farmer’s land.

There is still time for us  to influence this legislation by writing to our MEPs, and to the Chief and Shadow Rapporteurs for Agriculture at the European Parliament.  You can find contact details for your MEPs at WriteToThem.  The Garden Organic website has details of the Rapporteurs, as well as more information on how to protest.

For more background see the Garden Organic page and the Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty, and particularly the text of the Vienna Declaration, from a meeting of twenty organisations from across Europe.

AGM 2013

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 14 November at the Meanwood Institute.

Reports

The Chairman reported that 2013 was a wonderful season for most of us, with many bumper crops.  Strangely, although we did not have a wet summer, many of the potatoes had slug damage.

We had plant Bring & Buy Sales on 9th June and 14 July, and our Autumn show on 8 September.  All three were well attended by plot holders and members of the public.

We had problems with the locks on the gates.  The old bronze padlocks were becoming unreliable, and then someone was able to open the gate and steal a greenhouse frame.  We decided it was time to change the locks.  A new set of trouble-free locks plus keys would cost about £500, so we are trying combination locks, as some other allotment sites seem to have success with these.  These have their own problems:  the numbers can be hard to see in poor light, the numbers don’t get scrambled sometimes, and one lock had to be destroyed because someone tried to move the numbers when the lock was not properly closed.  This had the effect of changing the combination, and no one could open the lock afterwards.

A big concern this year has been the Council’s “Allotment Consultation” and then their decision to raise our rents.  The way in which this was done has caused much ill-feeling on all sides, and there has been a breakdown in communication between LDAGF and the Council officers involved.

As things stand, our rents will increase each year until 2016-2017:

Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Full plot rent £38.50 £58.00 £65.00 £72.00

At present we keep 2/3 of rent collected + give LCC 1/3.  By 2016-17 we will keep just 32% and give LCC 78%.  The total value of our share stays about the same, but theirs will be four times bigger!

Concession for pensioners will be just 20%, instead of 50% as before.  A concession of 50% will still be available for people in receipt of certain benefits.

Our old lease has been cancelled, and the new one has to be signed by Oct 2014.  The new lease lasts 25 yrs, not just 6, so it will be better for getting grants.  Need to read new one carefully before signing.

LDAGF has started proceedings for a  judicial review to try to overturn the Council’s decision.  Even a favourable judgement will only cover this current decision, though.

We need to raise public awareness of benefits to the community of allotments.  Good news stories are needed!

The Treasurer reported that our finances were in a good state, with about £1500 more in our current account than at this time last year.

The Trustees carried out plot inspections on 1 March, 15 April, 3 June and 16 Sept, looking at health & safety issues and the state of cultivation of plots. Five people were evicted or voluntarily left their plots.  Not all plots have compost bins, and they should.

Election of Officers

The officers elected for 2012-2013 were

  • Chair: Joe Foster
  • Treasurer: Ness Clark
  • Secretary: Louise Allen
  • Committee: Rosie Hall, Ness Clark, Donald Hood, Gillian North, John Oughton, Pat Shore, Jenny Ward, Angie Willshaw.

Rosie Hall agreed to act as letting secretary.

David Jones stood down as Treasurer, and has been helping Ness Clark to take over.  Many thanks to both.

Peter Blakey retired from the Committee after serving for more years than anyone can remember. We will miss his steadying hand and wise contributions.

Prizegiving

This year three of us entered the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners Federation city-wide Best Plot competition.  Ros Dunlevey won a special merit certificate for “effective and innovative use of terracing on a very challenging plot.”  Joe Foster and Peter Blakey also entered.

The Hollin Lane Best Plot competition was judged by Joe Maiden 15 July:

  • 1st place:  Ros Dunlevey (plot 37) and Peter Blakey (plot 13) tied.
  • 2nd:           Joe Foster.
  • 3rd:            Malcolm Coles (plots 19B, 22B, 34).

The best Best Newcomer competition was judged by the Trustees, and this year’s winner was Jess Poole (plot 4BR).

The overall points winner at this year’s Autumn show was Rosie Hall (plots12B, 23B), and the best exhibit in the show was Pat Shore’s onions (plot 25).

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging both the Best Allotment and the Autumn Show.

These year we were able to give some attractive prizes.  Thanks to John Oughton for arranging this, and to our sponsors for their generosity.  Please support them:

  • Glendor DIY, 2-4 Weetwood Lane
  • The Secret Garden Cafe, 6-8 Weetwood Lane
  • Maria’s, 4 Green Road, Meanwood
  • Fobi’s DIY 44-50 Grean Road, Meanwood
  • Woodies Ale House, 104 Otley Road
  • The New Inn, 68  Otley Road
  • Giorgios Ristorante Italiano, 72 Otley Road
  • Floral Expression, 86 Otley Road
  • Fancy Dress Experience, 88 Otley Road
  • Unwin’s Seeds
  • Steven H Smiths Garden Centre, Pool Road, Otley
  • Kings Seeds

Discussion

The meeting closed with an open discussion. Several points and suggestions were made by members of the audience:

  • C Foren suggested that we could make our perimeter more secure by planting blackthorn (sloes) along the bottom fence. Young blackthorn whips are not expensive, but we would need some volunteer labour.
  • M Coles suggested that we should be quicker to evict people who are not using their plots, and that paths around some plot are badly overgrown.
  • R Hall inquired about plans to replace the communal hut. We need to decide on a design, and get some idea of cost.
  • E Walton asked if we planned to paint the hut. We should have a work day to do this.

AGM 2012

The 2012 AGM of Hollin Lane Allotments was held on 8 November at the Meanwood Institute.

Reports on 2012

Don’t even mention the weather!

There were a number of break-ins, and an arson attack which was attended by the fire service. The police stepped up patrols in the area. A new, more secure, gate at the Highbury end was installed with funding help from the Council.

Successful plant Bring & Buy sales were held in May and June, attended by plot holders and members of the public.

The autumn show was held on 9 September, with many good exhibits despite the awful summer, a ‘Bring Your Own’ barbecue, a garden bric-a-brac sale and a thrilling snail race.  Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging the exhibits.

Hollin Lane Allotments was one of the sites studied in the Urban Pollinators Project by a group of UK universities.  Preliminary results show that allotments offer very favorable conditions for both honeybees and many species of wild bees.

Scheduled Trustees’ inspections were carried out at the start of March, June and September.  Plots were generally in a good state, but one tenancy of terminated because of non-cultivation.

The Treasurer presented the accounts for 2011-2012, which showed our finances to be in a good state.

Election of Officers

The officers elected for 2012-2013 were

  • Chair: Joe Foster
  • Treasurer: David Jones
  • Secretary: Louise Allen
  • Commitee: Rosie Hall, Ness Clark, Donald Hood, Gillian North, John Oughton, Pat Shore, Jenny Ward, Peter Blakey

Rosie Hall agreed to act as letting secretary.  Many thanks to Peter Blakey, who did the job for many years!

Prizegiving

Prizes for the best plots were awarded as follows:

  • First: Joe Foster
  • Second: Malcolm Coles
  • Third: Malcolm Slade
  • Best Newcomer: Jointly Clare Simpson and Mary Davis

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging the best plots.

The overall winner of the autumn show was Rosie Hall, who also won the prize for the best exhibit in the show.

AGM 2011

Our Annual General Meeting was on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at the Meanwood Institute, Green Road at 7:30 pm.

Last year’s officers were all re-elected, except that Donald Hood stood down as Treasurer.  He is still on the Committee, and our new Treasurer is David Jones of plot 11TL.  Many thanks to Donald for all those years of excellent service as Treasurer, and to David for taking the job over.

The prize for best allotment this year went to Malcolm Slade on plot 8B and 8TR.  Second prize went to Joe Foster on plot 30, and third to Ros Dunlevey on plot 37.  The prize for overall winner at the autumn show went to Gillian North on plot 46.  The ‘best newcomers’ prize was shared between Andrew Tocher, plot 7BR and Kate Rosenberg, plot 11TR.  Congratulations to all of the winners, and to everyone whose hard work is helping to transform our site into something to be proud of.

The Chairman gave a short talk on Making Compost.  There seem to be quite a few plots where no compost is being made, and they are missing out on an easy and sustainable way of getting rid of most garden waste and improving their soil.

Rosie Livingstone introduced her report on peat free compost.  Peat mining is very damaging to the environment, and supplies are limited.  We need to find a way of gardening without it.  The trouble is, most peat-free ‘all purpose compost’ is of variable quality.  We agreed that the Association would purchase stocks of several of the best peat-free composts for members to buy and try out.

Many thanks to John Oughton for rounding up lots of valuable prizes for the prizegiving and raffle.  Please support the following shops and businesses who have generously donated:

The meeting ended with a raffle and mulled wine.  Many thanks to everyone who came out and supported our Association.