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By childshill, Oct 5 2015 09:57AM

Hallo everyone! Hope you are enjoying the Indian Summer. Everything is ripenin, and all the hard work is paying off. It really is a fabulous time of year. But, don’t forget to tell me your news, please:


A bicycle has been abandoned by the side gate to the allotments. If someone does not claim it soon, the committee is likely to remove and dispose of it.


Want to know all about apples? Then you might be interested in the Apple Day on 17 October organised by Urban Harvest ( in London N4. The website has all the details. Another interesting organisation for those of us who have fruit trees on their plots is The Urban Orchard (


We’ve been so lucky this year. Here in Child’s Hill, blight did not hit until mid September. If your plants are suffering, you should remove them from the site, or burn them, immediately.


All plot holders are invited to a HARVEST TEA PARTY on Sunday 4th October, 3-5pm, at the community garden, lower car park. Please bring a sweet or savoury dish that you have made with your own produce.


If you are pruning your bay tree, keep some of the off-cuts. Bay leaves do not only add a herby taste to soups and stews but they are also useful for deterring infestations of moths in the home.


I have hollyhock seedlings, if anybody is interested. They should flower next summer. The colour is likely to be a shade of deep burgundy. Also, a few self-seeded verbena bonariensis, if anyone would like some mauve-blue shades on their plot. Contact:


Onions (radar and senshu) and garlic have arrived in the shop. You can plant them now. Seed company Thompson & Morgan suggests planting mint among the onions to confuse and deter onion fly.


Natives of tropical Asia and Africa, loved as pets by the Victorians, the ring-necked parakeet is now very at home in 21st century Barnet. These noisy flocks of parakeets that we once saw flying high in the sky above the rooftops of Barnet are descending lower and lower towards our crops. According to the RSPB, it is the UK's only naturalised parrot – and they eat practically anything. So beware…….


Thanks to all those who contributed courgettes recipes. You can find them on the CHAS website ( We’re now asking for your chutney and pickling recipes. Please send them to:


Several plot holders have spotted a green woodpecker at the allotments. So, keep your eyes open and you might be lucky enough to see this stunning-looking bird too. Just so you know what you are looking for, in the words of the RSPB, ‘It has a heavy-looking body, short tail and a strong, long bill. It is green on its upperparts with a paler belly, bright yellow rump and red on the top of its head. The black 'moustache' has a red centre in males. They have an undulating flight and a loud, laughing call.’ Green woodpeckers eat ants, so they are really very useful. You might see them on a grassy path, poking the ground with their beaks to extricate the ants.


Homeless Action in Barnet ( is a charity that provides meals for homeless people every lunchtime, Mon – Fri. They would welcome any surplus produce we have. You can take it there yourself, to HAB, 36B Woodhouse Road, N12 0RG, any time between 9am and 3pm (9-2pm on Thurs). Otherwise, bring it to the shop on a Sunday and I will deliver it myself.

If you know of other local charities that could use a random unpredictable supply of fruit and veg, please email me:

By childshill, Aug 17 2015 05:18PM

Hallo again! And here’s another newsletter to keep you updated of everything that is going on at Child’s Hill allotments. If you have anything to add, please send your own items of news for possible inclusion in the next newsletter to me, Anna Kochan at Many thanks. And ‘happy gardening’!


There’s a plot afoot at Child’s Hill to produce a 2016 calendar illustrating life on the allotment – wildlife, plant life or even human life. If you have a photo or two that you would be willing to contribute to this project, please email them to


If you’re planning a picnic with friends at the allotment, you might like to know about our community garden down at the north-west corner of the site.

Furnished with tables and chairs and a large paved area, surrounded by attractive planting, it is the perfect picnic venue - or at least it soon will be. In recent times, the area has become somewhat overgrown, but thanks to Zea and Joan, it is now being restored to its former glory. Come along and help with the clearance. The next session is planned for Saturday 22nd August 3pm.


Child’s Hill came fifth in the 2015 Barnet Allotment Federation site competition. The winner was Gordon Road. Altogether 12 large allotment sites took part. Sites are judged according to seven criteria: good gardening, paths, visual appearance, information and facilities. Our poorest score was in the domain of ‘good gardening’, though exactly what that means in the context of allotments I am not quite sure!

If you want to know what a good allotment look likes, then go and look at Walter’s (plot 129) at Child’ Hill. However, his plot only came 9th out of the 11 best-plots in Barnet that were entered. The individual plot competition is judged according to the following criteria: plot, paths, crops, soil, weeds, sustainability, permanent structures, and temporary structures.


The car that was dumped in the north car park for the most part of a year has at last gone. Congratulations to the CHAS committee for arranging its removal.


Saturday 22 August is the date of the Barnet Allotment Federation Horticultural Show. There are prizes to be won – but if you want to enter any of your produce, you need to have applied by 18 August. Full details at


Sunday 4 October, 3pm, is the date of our next allotment tea party, to celebrate this year’s harvest. Note the date, and watch out for further detail.


Sooner or later, the spinach goes to seed, the beetroot is finished and the peas stop cropping, and you are left with bare soil. But don’t just leave it lying fallow. Take advantage of the gaps between crops to sow green manure and improve soil fertility. This will stop nutrients leeching away, prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds and provide a habitat for insects. The RHS website ( is a good source of information about how to use green manures and the different types available. And, even better, you can buy the seeds in our very own shop.


This year is the 125th anniversary of the foundation of the Child’s Hill Allotment Society. Yes, potatoes and plums and pumpkins have been growing in our plots since 1890, long before any of us were born. You can discover a full history of the site on the CHAS website:


If you knew your onions, you would be aware that they are one of the crops you can sow in October/November and leave to do their ‘thing’ over winter. These so- called autumn onions will be on sale in the shop in September. But don’t delay.

Stock will be limited due to changes in purchasing methods.


For those who can never get enough potatoes, you need to start thinking about your orders for next year’s seed potatoes. Deborah needs to have your orders for 25kg bags by the beginning of September.


So, what do you do with all those courgettes that just keep growing and growing? If you’re not careful, the family will go on strike and refuse to eat any more. What you really need is a new recipe! So, just in time for the 2015 glut, two of our plot holders are sharing their tried and tested courgette recipes, with us (See below).

Thanks to the Petra who manages our website, we’re starting a recipe section on the site, and we’d be grateful if you could contribute your own favourites. We’ll start with courgettes but move on to other crops in the future. Please send courgette recipes to, and check the CHAS website ( for new posts!

COURGETTE POLPETTE (a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe from Linda)

INGREDIENTS (makes about 12)

2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

500g courgettes, diced

Grated zest of ½ lemon

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan

½ ball buffalo mozzarella, diced

50g white breadcrumbs

50g pine nuts, lightly toasted (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Grease a large baking sheet. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, fry the courgettes until golden and tender. Drain on kitchen paper. Mix the cooled courgettes with the other ingredients, season, then form into small balls the size of a walnut. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot, warm or cold.



1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion, chopped

4/5 courgettes – cut into small chunks Vegetable stock

1 cup white rice

1 can chopped tomatoes Salt and pepper as required i Handful of basil leaves Parmesan for serving


Cook the onion in the oil until soft. Add the courgette and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the stock and rice, and cook over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until the courgette is tender and the rice is cooked. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil. Simmer for a few minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with parmesan cheese and buttered bread.


For the rest of August, the shop will only be open from 12 – 1.30pm as it is a very quiet time of year. Normal hours, 11-1.30pm, will resume in September.


A warm welcome to all those who’ve recently joined the merry throng at Child’s Hill Allotments. Let’s hope you all get through the one-month trial period and become fully paid-up members of CHAS. The last five vacant plots will be let soon as there are still more than 100 names on the waiting list.

By childshill, Aug 17 2015 05:04PM

Hallo everyone! This is a short newsletter to keep us all up to date with what’s happening here in Child’s Hill. Please send your own items of news for possible inclusion in the next newsletter to me, Anna Kochan at Many thanks. And ‘happy gardening’!


Unfortunately, blight comes to Child’s Hill almost every year, sometimes earlier in the summer, sometimes later. The combination of warm weather and high humidity is a sure sign that a blight attack is not far off. It would be helpful if you could inform our secretary ( as soon as you spot blight and she will communicate an alert to all plot holders. You can also sign up to a blight alert website that monitors the arrival of blight in different areas of the country (full details at Blight affects potato and tomato plants so both need to be treated to prevent harm to crops. Our shop sells the Bordeaux mixture that you’ll need to spray your crops with. Any plants that do get blight should be immediately disposed of so that they do not infect neighbouring crops.


Until September, you can only burn rubbish on your plot on the first Wednesday of the month. This means that the next date for a bonfire is Wednesday 1 July. Let’s hope, we get buckets of rain before then – but not on that particular day.


Interested in chillies? Then go to Waddesdon Manor (near Aylesbury, Bucks) on 5 or 6 September where a Chilli Festival is being held. Full details:


We’re still hoping to get deliveries of free Council compost but there’s no date fixed just at the moment.


Ken Moth, who has had one of the best-kept plots at Child’s Hill for longer than anyone can remember, is seriously ill in hospital. We send Ken our good wishes for a speedy recovery.


Try this website: I find it very useful! If you know of other websites for advice and information on growing fruit and veg, please send me the details.


Many thanks to Tom Coyne who has done a great job at repairing the main gate.


Some vegetables, not just asparagus and artichokes, can be grown as perennials. You plant them once and they keep producing a crop year after year with very little maintenance. Can it really be as easy as that? Take a look at this website:


Keep watering rhubarb plants and you’ll be able to harvest it right through to the end of July. Here’s a recipe for a delicious rhubarb cake that is best served as a pudding.

Dorset Rhubarb Cake


225g self-raising flour

115g soft dark brown sugar

115g margarine

450g rhubarb, cleaned and cut into 1cm chunks

Cinnamon, about 1 tablespoon, but this can be adjusted to your preference


Mix the rhubarb chunks with the sugar, and set aside. The sugar will gradually dissolve.

Rub the margarine into the flour and cinnamon until it resembles bread crumbs.

Once the sugar has completely dissolved in the rhubarb juices, stir in the flour/margarine crumbs.

Transfer the mixture into a loaf tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper, and bake at 175 deg C for about 35 minutes. Test with a skewer to ensure it is cooked before removing from the oven.

The cake is best served hot or warm, with custard!


If you are behind on your planting, do not despair. There is still time to sow seeds for quite a few different vegetables. You’ll find packets of seed in our very own shop. And, if you check out this website, you’ll also find a helpful listing of varieties suitable for summer and autumn sowing.


If the birds are getting at your spinach, or your tomato plants are looking spindly, or you’re worried about blight, then come to our shop and find the solution. And, if you need more compost, take advantage of our current promotion on peat-free compost, now selling at £4 a bag (previously £4.65). The shop is open on Sunday mornings between 11 and 1.30pm. We still need more volunteers to help run the shop. If you can spare a little time on a Sunday morning, we would be very grateful. Please send me your name and contact details.


Our recent tea party and plant sale was a huge success. It raised a total of almost £60, which was donated to Cancer Research UK. But, as well as helping the charity, the tea party was also hugely enjoyable. Many thanks to all those who organised the event, baked the cakes and donated the plants. There were beans and sprouts, squashes and cucumbers, currants and cabbages, and more.


Some plots are looking more like a wilderness than an allotment. This may be because the current plot holder is not working their plot adequately. In this case, the committee will be contacting them to give them a nudge or a warning. In addition, a number of plots have been vacated and the committee is in the process of re-letting them. We still have a waiting list so this should not be a problem and, all being well, the wildernesses will soon transform into order and harmony.

By childshill, Feb 6 2015 12:57PM

The final opportunity to pay your rent on site was on Sunday February 1.

You may still pay by sending a cheque by post, or by BACS transfer (online banking), by following the instructions on your rent invoice.

If you have lost your invoice, please email the treasurer ( to ask for it to be sent again.

By childshill, Feb 6 2015 12:52PM

On Thursday February 5, we were visited by an asbestos inspector commissioned by Barnet. He spent a couple of hours on the site, during which he visited all the plots as well as our shop buildings, looking for dangerous asbestos.

The only asbestos he found was in the form of asbestos sheeting used for shed roofs, etc. This contains white asbestos in relatively small quantities and is not dangerous unless it is disturbed. He did stress however that it must never be drilled, sawn, cut, etc.

When he had finished, he told us that he would not be recommending that any asbestos be removed from the site, though we must wait for his written report for confirmation of this.