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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 05:04PM

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.