Best Allotment in Loughton 2017
This year our site had the Overall Winner. Many congratulations to Mr Yee Sek on Plot 42. A well deserved winner as he is on site 365 days of the year! The Judge said that although it was not a traditional plot, there was imaginative use of various recycled materials to build micro- environments that enable exotic fruits and vegetables to be grown, and that the resulting produce was of excellent quality. Plots 21, Bill Meeson, and 122, Lesley Ford, were both given Highly Commended certificates. Well done.
In the past it has been usual practice for individual plot holders to deal with rodents when they are seen. Aplot holder complained to the Town Council after seeing a rat around their plot and the Association had to employ a company to put bait down. This is very expensive and we, and the Town Council, recommend that anyone who sees rodents use one of the treatments available in DIY stores and supermarkets. They are cheap, easy to use and completely safe if the instructions are followed.
Contacting the Committee
Having tried various contact methods for the Committee it seems the best way is just to have one point of contact so that any queries get directed to the correct place as quickly as possible. Please contact the Secretary, Diane Tong, either by phone (telephone number on the notice board on the garage) or by email and she will ensure the query goes to the correct Committee member or to the full Committee at the next meeting.
I was sorry to hear in the summer of the passing of Stan Goodwin. Stan was one of our longest standing allotment tenants, and in the past had been a member of the committee. My condolences to Stan's family.
Now is the time to be planning what you will be growing next season. We are members of a group discount scheme with Dobies, where we get a 50% discount on seeds and 15% off other products, so don't forget to get your new Dobies catalogue from the Association Secretary at the AGM.
I am very pleased to see a 20% reduction in our water bill this year. Water is the allotment's biggest outgoing, so it is good to see that members are using this resource carefully. Please do continue to use water carefully. Over-watering your crops can lead to less flavoursome produce and your plants becoming over reliant so that they cannot cope during dry spells, particularly if you go away on holiday. And of course, please do remember to make sure that you collect all the water you can from shed roofs, greenhouses etc. See you at the A.G.M.
For the honeybee colony to be successful it needs to reproduce, it does this by swarming. Successful swarming is the establishment of two or more colonies where there was one before and the survival of all those colonies through the winter. The urge to reproduce is very strong and that is why it is so hard to prevent.
As beekeepers we do our best but bees are wild insects and don’t read the same books as us and so do their own thing. The swarm is controlled by pheromones in the hive, the age of the queen and the worker bees, the swarm usually issues on a warm sunny morning, bad weather can delay the swarm. The old queen goes with the swarm, after making provision for a new queen to replace her, she also takes half of the worker bees with her, they fill their stomachs with honey, then usually land on a nearby tree, bush or shed, probably on your plot, and from there send out scout bees to find a suitable new nest site.
The swarm looks quite dramatic and to some quite scary but it is quite safe for us, they have just filled them-selves with honey and are quite content. Next time you see a swarm on your allotment, stop and look it’s quite amazing, oh and give me a ring I will collect them and give them a nice new home.
The beekeeper's telephone number is on the gate of the apiary, or you can contact the Secretary.
David will have a limited amount of honey for sale at the AGM.
Dogs on Leads
Please ensure your dog is kept on a lead or in a penned area on your plot.
The AGM will be held on Monday 4th December can be found with this newsletter. The
evening will include a talk from one of our plotholders, John Thompson, who is the Vice Chairman of Buckhurst Hill Horticultural Society. Refreshments will again be provided by Waitrose under their Community Matters scheme.