Cucumber Soup

A good use for a giant cucumber

A good way to use up that cucumber that hid away behind the leaves and grew into a giant. Sally adapted the original recipe from our ancient “Menus & Recipes for Vegetarian Cooking” from Sunset Magazine.

  • 3 tbs butter
  • A cucumber, peeled, seeded (if necessary) and sliced.
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 cm chunks
  • 2 cups lettuce leaves, coarsely sliced
  • 4 spring onions, including tops, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • Salt + pepper
  • Fresh dill sprigs or parsley

Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the cucumber and potatoes for 4 or 5 minutes, then add the lettuce, spring onions, dill and stock and simmer until the potatoes are done. Purée the soup, and stir in the milk and yogurt. Heat it to the serving temperature, season, and garnish with dill or parsley.

Joe Foster

Hosepipe Ban – Correction

It affects allotments, too.

Several people have pointed out that the itv article was incorrect (thanks!), and we are allowed to water our food crops with a hosepipe:

A hosepipe can be used for watering food crops but not for general flowers and plants. Where you can, we’d encourage you to use a watering can to save on the volume of water which is used through traditional hosepipes. It’s best to water in the morning or evening, as that means the water won’t evaporate quickly in the sunshine.

Yorkshire Water web site.

Watering dry, bare soil requires patience. It can take a long time for the water to soak in, as shown in this clever little video.

A layer of mulch helps prevent evaporation from the soil, and it also helps the soil soak up water more quickly. I’ve seen a great little video showing this, but I can’t find it just now…

Exhibiting Vegetables and Fruit

Tips for showing veg and fruit.

Our member Peter Blakey has put together some useful tips for showing your produce in our annual allotment show.

Show judging is usually done according to the RHS Horticultural Show Handbook, which you can buy online. At Hollin Lane we have our own rules which follow the RHS ones fairly closely.

Peter has picked out the advice given by the RHS for some of the most popular vegetables in our previous shows, and included some photos of his exhibits in a recent show organised by the RHS.

ClassTips
French BeansStraight, fresh pods with stalks, even length, good colour, no outward sign of seeds.
Runner BeansLong, uniform, straight, good colour, with Stalks, no outward sign of seeds.
Globe Beetroot60-75 mm in diameter, taproot in place, foliage trimmed to about 75mm.
CabbageFresh solid heads, 50mm of stalk.
CarrotsFresh, no sign of side roots, foliage trimmed to about 75mm.
CauliflowerHeads fresh and solid 50mm of stalk.
CourgettesAbout 150mm long 35mm diameter.
Leeks Clean, firm, long barrel.
MarrowsFresh, less than 350mm long, tender.
Onions - over 250 grams Large, well ripened, thin necks, intact root plates.
Onions - under 250 grams Firm, thin necked, blemish free bulbs.
ParsnipsLong, free from side shoots, taproot intact.
PeasLarge, long, with stalks, well filled with tender peas.
PotatoesAbout 175-225g, few eyes, clear-skinned.
SquashYoung, tender, well matched.
Sweet CornFresh, well set including the tips, straight rows
Tomatoes (medium)About 60mm diameter, ripe but firm, calyces attached.
Tomatoes (small)Less than 35mm diameter, calyces attached.

Here are some photos of Peter’s exhibits.

4 Onions
6 Medium Tomatoes
6 Peas
5 Coloured Potatoes
Runner Beans

AGM 2021

25 October, on Zoom


25th October, 2021 on Zoom


Present: 15 members. Apologies: 5 members

Minutes of 2020 meeting

Minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record. Matters arising :

  • Rents will stay the same for 2020-2021 (£72.00 p.a.) but go up for the 2021-2022 year due to inflation.

Chair´s and Trustees´ Reports:

  • Trustees inspections and Committee meetings occur at the beginning of March, June and September, with follow ups after a 6 week interval. Giles Foster agreed to be a Trustee after the tragic loss of Chris Thirkill. Two people were evicted. There were some outstanding plots this year and generally the standard is quite high, perhaps thanks to Covid.
  • We had several events:
    • the May Plant Bring and Buy sale was a success although only open to plotholders.
    • The Autumn Show was also a success thanks to Eric Wells who stepped into judge.
    • There were a couple of work parties to tackle the brambles growing over the footpath which can be quite dangerous for horse riders. A big work party began to clear the path at the top of the site where there are many overgrown bushes/trees.
    • Apple Day, where we used our new scratter and apple press.
  • Rats are still a problem that needs a concerted effort from everyone. Poison will not work on our site so we must make it unattractive to rats by not leaving food sources available to them. Rats love windfall apples, corn and sunflower seeds so these need to be removed as soon as the rats have found them. Also compost bins need to be made rat-proof with the wire mesh available from hut free of charge. AGREED: As this is a health and safety issue the Trustees will regularly take note of where there is food for rats and name and warn the plotholder responsible.
  • Paths: narrow and uneven paths are a problem between plots. A work party is needed to fill in ruts and cut back overgrown fruit bushes. If brambles are arching across a path, anyone can cut them back. Paths between plots should be 80 cms wide and the main paths 2 meters.
  • The stone retaining wall has collapsed in places on the top path and we can get three quotes for repairs to be carried out. We believe the Council will pay for this work.
  • Security: we have not had many break-ins and only a few complaints about fruit being taken. Remember to scramble the code on the locks when arriving and leaving the site.

Treasurer’s Report

Damien submitted the Treasurer´s Report for Rachael, which showed a healthy balance due to the generous bequest from Gillian North.

Water rates are high and we should find out why there has been such a large increase. Is there a leak?

Discussion on how to identify payments for hut supplies and Joe agreed to create some standard forms. Jenny T-J suggested a docket book with 3 carbon copies would be a simple solution.

Polytunnel lettings were not all being recorded and this needs to be addressed for the coming year.

The accounts are being audited by Yvonne Oughton but the accounts as submitted were accepted by the meeting.

Plot Letting

Rosie stated that we have 125 people on the waiting list after a questionnaire from the Council reduced the list by 10%. There were three quarter plots ready to let and people at the top of the list will be offered these plots. Hollin Lane has the longest waiting list for plots in Leeds and is also the site that has reduced the plot size the most.

Elections:

All stand down, but are eligible for re-election.

  • Chair: Joe Foster
  • Secretary: Jayne Harnett
  • Plot Letting: Rosie Hall
  • Treasurer: Rachael Munro Fawcett
  • Committee (need 7)
    • Ness Clarke
    • Mary Davies
    • Louise Allen
    • Chris Foren
    • Giles Foster
    • Jo Ann Eisenberg
    • Stephan Petzold
    • John Balfour.

AOB:

Autumn Show Rules:

Discussion about the rules of entry and the meeting agreed that at the next show only one exhibit, per class, per person would be permitted. There were no entries for the Joe Maiden cup this year and we discussed changing the description. Agenda item to be discussed in the Committee as well as the entry description for the Gill North cup.

Gillian North Bequest:

Discussion and suggestions were put forward for the money Gillian North left to HLAA which will become a communal resource. Some suggestions:

  • Replacing the hut (shipping container). Need planning permission for larger concrete base?
  • Mechanical Shredder.
  • Electric grid, or solar panels and battery storage.
  • Communal strimmers.
  • Better communal seating area.
  • Polytunnel staging.
  • Solar panels: Lidgett Lane Allotments have solar panels and it was agreed that James, Giles, Joe and Rosie would arrange to see how they work on site.

Coppice Wood:

The coppice wood is in a bad way with bindweed taking over. It was suggested that members be encouraged to ´adopt a tree´ and take care of it by clearing the area around the tree. A tree could be twinned with the plotholder’s plot. Agreed to email membership outlining this scheme.

Toilet Fairy Co-ordinator:

Jenny T-J agreed to take over from Angie to manage the rota and recruit new fairies. Joe will put the rota on the website and call out for new volunteers.

Seed Orders:

Many copies of the seed catalogues have been taken but few orders received. The deadline is this weekend. Rosie will send out a reminder.