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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.