Corona Virus on Allotments

Advice from LAF and NAS

Here is some advice from Leeds Allotments Federation about coping with the corona virus emergency on your plots.

Follow Government Advice at all times, and remain at a distance of at least 2 metres from other allotment holders. Don’t gather in sheds. Use hand sanitiser or soap & water as you enter and leave site. (We can’t supply this at the moment due to the panic buying). Be mindful of other allotment holders who may need help if they can’t get to the site regularly. If you are displaying any of the symptoms associated with Coronavirus stay away from the site until you are clear & if you decide to self-isolate for 12 weeks let your committee know via email/text so they know you won’t be around for a while and won’t hassle you over your plot not being cultivated.

Please be respectful if people don’t want to engage in conversation and don’t go onto anyone else’s plot unless they invite you. This is a situation which is changing daily and we need to ensure our own and other people’s safety.

The National Allotment Society also has a page about Covid 19 Emergency Measures which has a list of important precautionary measures.


Keep well!

AGM 2019

– summary.

Our 2019 Annual General Meeting was held on 25 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the official record, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Chair’s Report

The 2019 growing year brought us a cold, dry spring and wet summer, with an early appearance of potato blight in July. Some fruit crops were very good. Rats and squirrels were a big problem, and many corn crops were completely wiped out.

The Committee met five times this year.

Sue Stones has stepped down as Secretary. Big thanks to her for all her excellent work and creative input.

Our events this year included

  • The plant B&B was on 3rd June and was a great success, the quality of plants was again excellent.
  • Our autumn show on 8th September, judged by our own Gillian North.
  • A visit from Moorlands School on 25th September.
  • An apple juicing day on 28 September.
  • Several work parties:
    • Erection of our communal poly tunnel,
    • Bonfires,
    • Work on the coppice area.

Volunteers do a lot of important day by day work around the allotments: cutting grass, maintaining the hedges, looking after the composting toilet, letting out plots, collecting rents, maintaining our web site and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence.

Trustees’ Report

The Trustees do three plot inspections each year on about 1st of March, June and September, with three follow up inspections six weeks after. The committee meets each time to decide what to do about any problem plots.

There were 5 inspections between March and September, looking mainly at Health and Safety and Cultivation. There were 4 evictions. Several plots improved after warning letters.

Security: There were several break-ins, though the new fence and gate seem to help. It seems likely that leaving the code unscrambled is the cause of the break-ins, so it is important to remember to scramble the code.

Paths should be kept clear, and ideally at least 80cm wide to allow for safe passage of people, mowers and wheelbarrows.

Treasurer’s Report

Election of Officers and Committee

All officers and committee members stand down each year, but are eligible for re-election. Officers and Committee were elected for 2020 as follows:

PostNamePlot
ChairJoe Foster30 + 31B
SecretaryJayne Harnett15BL
TreasurerStephan Petzold26B + 26TR
Plot LettingRosie Hall12B + 23B
Ness Clarke20T
Mary Davies10BR
Glenn Drury6T
Tom & Trina Evans-Cheung20BL
Chris Foren26TL + 32BL
Giles Foster20T

Prize Giving

Best plots were judged by Brian Jenner of Hayley’s Field Allotments on 13 July. This year there were categories for full, half and quarter plots, as well as best newcomer.

Best Plot1st2nd3rd
Full PlotRos Dunlevey, plot 37Joe Foster, plot 30Peter Blakey, plot 13
Half PlotChris Thirkill, plot 14BMalcolm Slade, plot 8R
Quarter PlotJayne Harnett, plot 15BLJessica Johnson, plot 3BLBen&Sophia Hepworth, 38BL
NewcomerJessica Johnson, plot 3BL

Ros Dunlevey’s plot was best overall, so she holds the shield this year.

The Autumn Show, on 8 September was judged by Gillian North.

AwardName
Best in ShowRosie Hall (leeks)
Overall WinnerRosie Hall
Joe Maiden CupJenny Tennant-Jackson
NoviceJessica Johnson

AOB: Rachael Munro-Fawcett presented some of her recent photographs from Hollin Lane Allotments.

Apple Juicing 2019

was a huge success.

Our apple juicing day on Saturday 28/9/2019 was a huge success. There were barrowloads of fruit there at the beginning – so much that I thought we couldn’t possibly get through them all in one day. But then lots of people turned up and set to, and we finished early. We estimate that we made over 100 liters by the end of the day. Fantastic!

There are some photos on our Gallery page.

Arson 1995

– from the Yorkshire Evening Post

One of our communal huts was burnt down in 1995. Here is a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post of 6/9/1995. Since then we have greatly improved security on the site, but occasional problems still occur.

Potato Blight

Blight arrived in July this year. What to do when your potatoes have it.

Here are some tips about identifying blight and rescuing your potato crop once you have it.

Blight has appeared early this year because of the recent warm, humid weather. We don’t usually see blight on our potato plants in Leeds until August, but this year it has started in the last week of July on our site.

AGM 2018

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 30 October at the Meanwood Institute.

Our 2018 Annual General Meeting was held on 30 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the official record, read the minutes.  Here is a (rather long) summary.

Chair’s Report

The 2018 growing year brought us a cold, wet spring followed by a warm, dry summer, with some spectacular harvests of fruit and other crops. This year we discovered that chili powder is a good repellent for rats and squirrels on our sweet corn. Thanks to Ros Dunlevey for this tip.

The Committee met seven times this year, discussing the usual allotment business, and also organized a number of other events.

We are very grateful to Angie Willshaw, who is stepping down after four very active years as our Secretary. She has been the main driver in all of our successful projects during her time, including the new fence and gates, the communal toilet and tool shed, the senior plots, and much more, even including improvements to the public footpath along the bottom of our site.

Many thanks to John Balfour, Jenny Tennant-Jackson and Sandra and John Olive, who are also stepping down after giving generously of their time and efforts.

Our events this year included

  • A plant bring and buy sale on 3rd June, which featured lots of beautiful vegetable seedlings and plants raised by our members, and open to all.
  • Our autumn show on 9th September, also open to all.
  • An open day on 18th August, during National Allotment Week.
  • An apple juicing day on 6th October, when we hired equipment from Leeds Urban Harvest and members brought along their own apples for juicing.
  • Several work parties which also involved members of the public and volunteers from Morgans City Living. We improved the public footpath, tidied up the site, cleared an overgrown plot, and more.

Volunteers do a lot of important day by day work around the allotments: cutting grass, maintaining the hedges, looking after the composting toilet, letting out plots, collecting rents, and all the other jobs that need doing just to keep the allotments running.

Trustees’ Report

The Trustees do three plot inspections each year on about 1st of March, June and September, with three follow up inspections six weeks after. The committee meets each time to decide what to do about any problem plots.

This year there were seven evictions. This is our least favorite job of all, but a necessary one. Several plot holders received warnings, and managed to improve their plots.

Security was not too bad this year. There was no vandalism, but we had several instances of sheds broken into and property stolen. On the last occasion we could not see any evidence of entry around the boundary of the site, so it looks like someone had the code for the locks. This can happen if the lock is left without scrambling the numbers. Whenever this happens we have to change the code on the locks, and then tell all the members the new code.

Please keep the code secret!

Paths should be kept clear, and ideally at least 80cm wide to allow for safe passage of people, mowers and wheelbarrows.

Treasurer’s Report

Ness talked us through the accounts for 2018, which showed us to be in good shape financially, with over £8K in the bank. Our takings from the plant B&B sale and show together were over £900, the best we have managed so far. She gave us a helpful explanation of how our balance seems to shift from year to year, due to the times of the accounts overlapping with rents coming in. This should be less of a problem in future.

Ness has managed to find a new Treasurer for 2019, so she can step down for a well deserved break. Big thanks to her for doing this important job so ably since 2013.

Amendment to Constitution

We added a bit to Section 5 of our constitution to create a new post of Letting Officer.

Election of Officers and Committee

All officers and committee members stand down each year, but are eligible for re-election. Officers and Committee were elected for 2019 as follows:

2019 Officers

PostNamePlot
ChairJoe Foster30 + 31B
Hon. SecretarySue Stones9TL
Hon. TreasurerStephan Petzold26B + 26TR
Hon. Letting OfficerRosie Hall12B + 23B

2019 Committee

NamePlot
Ness Clarke20T
Mary Davies10BR
Glen Drury6T
Tom + Trina Evans-Cheung20BL
Chris Foren26TL + 32BL
Jayne Harnett15BL

Prize Giving

Best plots were judged by Brian Jenner of Hayley’s Field Allotments on 20 July. This year there were categories for full, half and quarter plots, as well as best newcomer.

Best Plots 2018

Best PlotNamePlot
Full PlotJoe Foster30
Half PlotMalcolm Slade8R
Quarter PlotHarriet Gardiner4BL
NewcomerLeonard Cummings31TL

Malcolm Slade’s plot was the best overall, so he will hold the shield again this year.

The Autumn Show, on 9 September was judged by Gillian North.

Show 2018

AwardName
Best in ShowPeter Blakey (red cabbage)
Overall WinnerJoe Foster
Joe Maiden PrizeJo Ann Eisenberg

October 2018 Work Party

Finishing the job of improving the public footpath past our allotments.

Back in March 2018, we started some work on the path alongside the allotments (part of the Meanwood Valley Trail) to improve it for the local community. The work of installing our new fence (funded by the National Lottery) had left the path a bit muddy over the winter. We did a good job but we only got half way, so in October 2018, we went back to finish the job. Once again, Leeds City Council provided two loads of stone, and we asked our friends at Morgans City Living to come and help.
Morgans staff had done some voluntary work for us before on the allotment site, creating the lovely coppice area and making some compost bins, so we knew they were up for the challenge.

We cleared the path of layers of mud to reveal the original stone base and spread the new stone on top. After a chilly start, we all warmed up quickly with our Sunday morning work-out – no trip to the gym was needed that day! We also cut back the brambles and nettles, and now hope that the wider, tidier path will now be fit for the winter weather to come.

After a much needed lunch break, with fried egg butties, coffee and cake (thanks Rosie!), we resumed work, this time clearing an overgrown plot, so that it can be let to new allotmenteers. The original plot began to emerge, as we cut back trees and bushes to let the light in and wake up the baby frog having a Sunday afternoon snooze. Branches and twigs were hauled up to the back of the coppice where there is a wildlife haven. The Morgans team and the allotment volunteers enjoyed working together as a team, but I think we were all glad when time was called and we could go home to put up our feet and start thinking about doing it all again!

Apple Juicing Day 2018

Converting our surplus apples into beautiful juice.

There was a time a few of us remember when there were practically no apple trees at Hollin Lane Allotments. Recently, more of us have planted them, and now we have to figure out what to do with all our surplus apples.

This year (2018) we tried a new approach – large scale juicing. We hired equipment from Leeds Urban Harvest and spent Saturday 6th October up to our elbows in apples and juice. Anyone with apples could come along and make their own juice, or just donate their surplus.

We had plenty of helpers, so we quickly developed an assembly line:

  1. Washing the apples and cutting out any bad bits.
  2. Scratting: putting them through a fierce machine to cut them up into pulp.
  3. Pressing out the juice from the pulp using a traditional hand press.
  4. Bottling the juice.

By the end of the day we had made about 70 or 80 liters of delicious juice. Most of this was for drinking fresh, but some is being made into cider. That will be very interesting…

Here are some photos from the day:

 

And a short video of the pressing:

Show 2018

Another fun Autumn Show

Our Autumn Show for 2018 was held on Sunday 9th September. There was a big turnout of volunteers to set up the gazebos and tables and to tidy it all away again. At one point one of the gazebo frames looked a bit like a confused maypole dance, but it all came together in the end.

Gazebo maypole dance

There were some really delicious refreshments (thanks to all our cooks!) and another thrilling snail race at the end of the day. Unclaimed exhibits went into the “hedge veg” box by the main gate, and quickly disappeared.

Results of the judging:

Overall points:

  1. Joe Foster       27
  2. Rosie Hall       25
  3. Peter Blakey  15

Best in Show: Peter Blakey’s red cabbage

Joe Maiden Cup: Jo Ann Eisenberg

Joe Maiden Cup:

Some of the winning exhibits were from newcomers – it wasn’t all just the usual old-timers.

Gillian did the judging in our usual informal Hollin Lane way, explaining what she was looking for in each class and giving useful tips about growing and showing things from her own long experience as a gardener and exhibitor.

Gillian judging the squash

Many thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success.

Lots more pictures in the Gallery.