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News and stuff!

REMINDER – It’s Time To Pay The Site Contribution! 

The Burydell Allotment Committee organise on behalf of all plot holders deliveries of wood chippings and manure, and it pays the premium for site insurance and affiliation to the RHS. Our insurance cover includes a Public Liability Indemnity of £5,000,000 and other benefits for the association and plot holders. We have arranged for a copy of the policy to be pinned up in the allotment hut with a document listing frequently asked questions about the insurance. There are some other maintenance issues dealt with throughout the year which the committee also organise and pay for. 

I understand that all other allotment sites in St. Albans make a similar collection from plot holders, but ours is lower than most because we organise fund raising events during the year. This year our quiz has been postponed (and may be cancelled altogether) and this brings in quite a lot of money which we use to top up our account for purchases that the committee makes on your behalf. 

The amount of money spent on manure and insurance this financial year comes to just over £7 per plot. We ask all plot holders to contribute towards this by making an annual payment of £5. In previous years we have collected the money in cash on a “see you – ask you” basis which involves close personal contact. 

We have recently converted to internet banking for the association and the committee think that it is sensible to ask you to pay this contribution electronically if you can. It means that we will not have to handle the cash, and it keeps personal contact to a minimum. 

The bank details are: Account Name: Burydell Lane Allotment Association Account Number: 03555408 Bank Sort Code: 30-99-21 

To make sure that your contribution is correctly recorded, please include your plot number and surname in the payment reference. If you email me when the payment is made, I will issue an electronic receipt when it appears on the bank statement. Please try to make this payment before 31st May 2020, or let me know if you are unable to use this method, and I will try to make alternative arrangements. Thank you for your co-operation at this difficult time. 

Chris Feakes Committee Treasurer Burydell Lane Allotment Association chrisfeakes99@gmail.com

GARDEN CENTRES

About this time each week Barbara normally writes to you to ask you if you want to order any gardening requisites from Ayletts. However telephone orders are no longer possible. We are pleased to inform you that TODAY (Thursday 14 May) this week Ayletts are opening their doors for business. Ayletts would like to thank those of you who continued to support them during this difficult period when people have been unable to visit the garden centre.  From today they will be open from 9.00am to 4.00pm. Social distancing protocols will be observed. In his message Adam of Ayletts says they will be offering a ‘shop and go’ system at the garden centre. Customers will also be able to shop on line from the Webshop, using this link  https://shop.aylettnurseries.co.uk They are currently unable to take new orders for delivery via email as they need to process orders already in the system.

BE ALERT!
Following the Government’s announcement about beginning to reduce lockdown, we ask all plotholders whilst on site to continue to observe the rules for social distancing, opening of the gate and use of taps. We also request that only you and your immediate household members continue to visit the site.
AND FINALLY
A poem from Lyndon Spencer-Smith, plot 32A, about the finer motivations for growing your own. Enjoy!

Now I know it’s most important,

All this growing stuff.

The members there are busy,

And they sure work hard enough.

 

However all the  ”veggies” grown,

Have limited shelf life,

Which seems a shame to me  I think,

After all the members strife.

 

I’m only just an ‘elper there,

On the big plot thirty two,

I just straighten the bean poles,

That’s about all I can do.

 

But I keep my eyes just open,

I see growing things  ‘round me ,

That could be made to last,

Just need preserving you see!

 

They make vodka from potatoes,

And we have plenty in,

But maybe not this year – think,

I’ll stick Damson gin,

 

Blackberries  abound,

Along the  allotment fence,

They come in really handy,

So they make brandy-hence.

 

The sloes that grow along the lane,

Not quite ripe yet for picking,

The gin is waiting, sugar too,

Come Autumn, the clock is ticking.

 

Crab apples make great jelly,

Which turns a lovely pink,

But with added syrup, sugar,  gin,

It  makes a lovely drink.

 

Now Limoncello is the thing,

But lemons  don’t like   rain,

But Moss & Elaine bring them to us

From their sunny plot in Spain,

 

The pear tree in the middle,

Provides pears for Mark to brew,

He makes a potent wine you see,

I’ve tried  it  – cor! , gulp!, phew!!

 

Raspberry vodka’s just the thing,

A fresh and elegant taste,

You can of course eat them fresh,

But some say- what a waste.

 

Fresh produce doesn’t last for long

So brew – don’t hesitate!

But careful how you open bottles,

The contents evaporate!!

 

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Allotment update

Hi all

A quick round-up of some items about the allotment as we continue in lockdown. If anyone wants to share something on the website as part of our general update, please send to me kim.scrivener@gmail.com

GARDEN CENTRES

The scheme we have agreed with Aylett has proved to be very straightforward. I compiled a list of requests with contact details to Ayletts on Thursday, and on Friday they contacted the customers, discussed the order (in case there were any issues) and took payment. A time was then agreed for the customer to collect their order in a trolley just outside the side entrance – usually on the same day! Nobody else around as they are shut, so safe for them and safe for us. I therefore encourage you, if you need gardening supplies, to send me an email with your order, including quantity and whether substitutes are acceptable – and most important, your contact details. I will then send to Ayletts in one email and they will then deal with you direct. They are experiencing significant problems because of course the whole centre is shut. So although people are emailing in (they are not taking phone calls) it takes some time for staff to work through. Burydell Lane is very fortunate, as Ayletts want to give us priority. Some have asked if a delivery can be made direct to the site – the problem with this is that they are already flat out with deliveries, and of course, there will be the problem of how to get the stuff to the right people. In view of social distancing for both their staff and our plotholders, the current scheme seems the most sensible. So please do think about supporting a good local garden centre, who needs all our help and who wants to help us to keep growing!! My email is kim.scrivener@gmail.com – please do not call me as it is much easier dealing with email.

There is also a petition “Gardeners, gardens, : KEEP GARDEN CENTRES TRADING”. If you want to help, the goal is to reach 5,000 signatures and more support is needed. You can read more and sign the petition here:
http://chng.it/sTzvJJPYKp

SITE ISSUES

The barrier has now been lifted!!

We have put away for the time being all “communal” tools, e.g. wheelbarrows, shovels, to minimise risk. I have discovered that it is perfectly possible to open the gate padlock with normal gardening gloves, so please do that in future – no need for food hygiene or surgical gloves. The same etiquette applies to water taps – please use your gloves.

SEEDS AND SEEDLINGS

We have heard of individuals who already have spare seedlings – if you are in that lucky position and want to help others, please leave them on the table outside the hut. The same applies to spare seeds.

COMMITTEE

And finally, your committee is still meeting even in these difficult times! Thanks to all of them for their ongoing commitment and enthusiasm in embracing new technology!

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AYLETTS
The Committee is delighted to confirm that we have come to an arrangement with Ayletts during this difficult time that will benefit us as well as them. As you may know, Ayletts are completely overrun with deliveries at the moment. They are not answering phone calls and only responding to individual queries via email as they are operating on a skeleton basis. We are therefore offering a temporary service to allow plotholders to still obtain their gardening supplies while at the same time reducing the load on Ayletts and helping them maintain their business. The service will work as follows:

1. If you want to order any supplies, email Kim Scrivener (kim.scrivener@gmail.com) with the following information:

*Product name and quantity including whether substitutions would be acceptable
*Your email address
*Your telephone number
*Your address (in case of 4. below)
*Your plot number or membership status

2. Kim will collate orders on a weekly basis and forward the consolidated list to Ayletts each Thursday. They will then contact you for payment over the phone.

3. Ayletts will make the orders available for collection in their car park during a specified time slot on a Saturday with a named trolley of goods. You will get an email from Kim to tell you when. There is security so nothing will go missing. Please observe all the normal social distancing!

4. If you cannot collect because you are self-isolating, let Kim know. We will then arrange to collect and bring to your home.

Ayletts have asked me to make it clear that there can be no contact with their staff – the idea is to ensure you have supplies with minimal risk to yourselves or to them. Ayletts has been a strong supporter of our Site for years and this would be an excellent way to repay them.

ST STEPHENS GARDENING CLUB

As the hut is now closed, the Club has very generously donated some potatoes which can be planted now, as well as onion sets. They are outside the hut. 

SEEDS AND SEEDLINGS

If you have spare seeds please consider donating them to the site as others may appreciate them. They can be left on the table outside the hut. If you are sowing and have plenty of seedlings, please also consider donating spares to help others – again they can be left on the table outside the hut. 

 

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I am very pleased to confirm that Pat, our Site Officer, has spoken to St Albans Council, and based on Government advice, they have today confirmed that the allotments remain open at the moment. Social distancing obviously applies and no group activities are permitted as per government rules. This means:

* No ad hoc barbecues or other social gatherings
* No visitors to the site – only plotholders, that is, those who regularly tend the plot, should come to the site. Do not bring any of your family members or friends to the site.
* All forthcoming social events, including the AGM, are cancelled for the time being
* To minimise the risk of infection to yourself and others, please use food handling or surgical gloves to open the gate, as this is the one thing we all touch.

The Committee is thinking about other measures to help. One immediate measure is to not collect this year’s annual contribution until later in the year.

The Council are aware that availability of water on site is variable at the moment. It has also confirmed that rent renewal notices will be sent out as usual.

In the meantime, please look after yourselves and others, and hopefully we can still reap a bounteous harvest this year. Our plots will never have had so much attention!

Kim Scrivener, Chair, BLAA Committee

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The BLAA Committee has agreed to cancel the forthcoming annual quiz due to be held at Park Street Village Hall this Saturday, due to the Covid-19 situation. While we are sorry to have to do this, we feel it is the responsible thing to do. We will arrange a new date for the quiz in due course and will of course give you plenty of notice of when that will be.

If you have any concerns or queries about this, please contact kim.scrivener@gmail.com, BLAA Committee Chair.

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Happy New Year!

And here’s to another year of growing great produce in spite of the elements and the pests!

Here is our Social Calendar for the year, following on from Barbara’s email:

  • Saturday 14 March – QUIZ. As in previous years this will be held in Park Street Village Hall and run by our esteemed Treasurer, Chris Feakes. Join us for our biggest fundraising event, bring your own nibbles and drinks – and get quizzing!
  • Sunday 5 April – Spring Brunch. Time to blow off those cobwebs and celebrate the start of the growing year. At the usual Sunday time of 11am.
  • Sunday 3 May – AGM at 11am, with refreshments and seedling sale/swap.
  • Sunday 2 August – Open Day from 11am-1pm. A chance for you to show off your plot and contribute to the produce sale. All welcome.
  • Sunday 1 November – Autumn Brunch and the last Sunday event of the year.

Look forward to seeing you – as ever, your support will be greatly appreciated.

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Autumn news

Hi everyone

A good turnout at the recent Soup and Squash event on site, despite the kerfuffle about weather…  in the event the morning was sunny and people warmed up with Jan’s excellent soup (2 varieties). The winner of the biggest pumpkin was this little beauty, produced by Winston! Shown here with other excellent examples of the squash family.

In other news, we are going to have the last social even of the year tomorrow on site – fill your boots with bacon or sausage butties! And manure, which has now arrived (though you may not want to fill your boots with it obviously).

Barbara recently wrote to you recently about the rat problems some plot holders are experiencing. Unfortunately the Council is unable to help. The Committee recommends that you use non-toxic ways to repel the vermin. The use of rat poison is really not good for the other critters that live in our site. This problem does tend to vary with each year, so hopefully next year will be better!

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Sustainable St Albans – Open Allotment this Sunday
For the third year running, we are taking part in the Sustainable St Albans Open Food Gardens event tomorrow, Sunday 4 August, from 11.00am to 1.00pm. Tea, coffee and cake will be available. It is a great opportunity to show off your plot to an admiring new audience!

You can also help us by offering produce for us to sell on a donation basis, proceeds to go to our funds. Please see any member of the Committee who will be on site from around 10am.

Finally, we are delighted to be able to offer honey for sale from one of our plot holders, Klaus, who has recently introduced two bee hives to the site. The honey has been made by bees foraging in our site and in nearby gardens, so you cannot get more local than that!

If you are planning to come to the site tomorrow, it would be great to see you. It should be a lovely event.

 

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Best plot results!

A very hearty congratulations to our Burydell plot holders who achieved well-deserved accolades for their hard work this year! The results are:

  • Best Plot – Derrick Davis (Plot 34)
  • Runner Up Best Plot – Cliff Pickett (Plot 28A)
  • Best Newcomer – Rob Flanagan (Plot 8)
  • Runner Up Best Newcomer – U3A (David Choppins, Martyn Roberts, Mark Taylor and Heather Spencer-Smith) (Plot 33A)

Pictured on the left is the winner of the Best Plot, Derrick Davis and on the right representatives of U3A, who won the Runner Up Newcomer (Plot 33A).  Aside from a lovely certificate, these plot holders were also awarded gift vouchers from Ayletts, who kindly judged our competition again this year.

 

 

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Allotment News

We are having our usual first Sunday of the month get together from 11.00am on Sunday July 7th. Coffee, cake and a catch-up. Look forward to seeing you.
Best Kept Plot
Judging took place yesterday and the winners of the Best Plot and the Newcomers Best Plot will be presented with their Ayletts vouchers on Sunday. Another reason to come along!
Sustainable St Albans Open Gardens – 4th August 11am to 1.00pm
We encourage you and your friends to come along to this event. It would be good if you could work on your plot at this time and be prepared to chat to visitors. If you have spare produce to offer up for sale, all donations will go to the Association coffers. We will be providing coffee and cake. If anyone is able to make a cake or maybe has some jam this would be gratefully received. If you are planning to bring a cake please let Barbara know.
A Harvest Special! Coffee at the plots with a difference – October 6th
Please bring along your pumpkins! We will provide the barbecue .

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