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Spud & Slug monthly newsletter




JULY 2022

Starting off this month on a personal note, recently I had reason to be very grateful for the
sense of camaraderie and helpfulness found across our allotment sites. I was away for much
of May for various reasons, including ten days in Scotland where, on the last day I tested
positive for Covid (and it took until day 12 to test negative). Not a good time of year for a
lengthy absence from the plot. But help was at hand from at least five other Riverview
plotholders who watered (without being asked), harvested some rhubarb and left it on my
doorstep, and offered spare plants (squash, courgette, lettuce, etc.). Thank you, one and all!
We do have plenty of members who are more than happy to help their neighbours, so if you do
run into temporary difficulties in looking after your plot, then please let your site rep know. If you plan on being away, even just for a few days, mention it to your neighbouring
plotholders as most folk would readily do a little watering for you.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY SATURDAY 20 th AUGUST. RCAS Market Stall. The annual outing for the Society market
stall, selling allotment-grown produce to raise cash for the improvement fund. More
information on what to donate, how to donate, collection arrangements, etc. will appear in the
August Spud & Slug.

SUNDAY 21 st AUGUST. HDAF Show. 11.00am – 4.00pm at the Sun Pavilion, Valley Gardens
This is always a good day out, and of course, it would be great to see some of our members
entering. Full details including the show schedule, entry forms and some handy advice and
tips for showing can be found at: http://thehdaf.co.uk/allotment-show/

SUNDAY 4 th SEPTEMBER. Ripon Horticultural Show. Held at its usual venue, The Wakeman
Bar, Ripon Racecourse. Why not take a look at the tips mentioned above and have a go at
entering some produce. 20th - 23 rd OCTOBER. Late Fruit & Vegetable Competition. Advance notice of this new
event at RHS Harlow Carr - more details in the Spud & Slug over the next couple of months.

Many thanks to all those who have donated surplus produce to the Ripon Community House
Food Support initiative. Don’t let any surplus fruit or vegetables, go to waste - it will all be
gratefully received from Monday to Friday, before 1.00pm, at Ripon Community House, 75
Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LE (next to the Workhouse Museum).


GREAT BRITISH PEA WEEK, Running from 4 th to 10th
July, is an annual celebration of peas. The eastern side of Britain boasts a maritime climate
which, combined with the soil and planting conditions, is
the perfect environment for growing superior quality peas. The east coast is home to some 700 pea growers and
farmers, stretching from Suffolk, up as far as Dundee. The harvesting process, which lasts an average eight weeks, is a huge operation which takes
place between June through to August, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Harvesting machines, known as pea viners, work to harvest, shell and transport the peas from field to frozen as
quickly as possible. Most are processed in a little over two hours, ensuring the freshness and
nutrients of each pea is locked in.

At the time of writing, the waiting list stands at a total of 44 names, with a breakdown by
site as follows:
Kirkby Road: 24 Bondgate: 12 Quarry Moor Lane: 8
Fishergreen: 9 Gallows Hill: 10 Riverview: 12
All waiting list enquiries should be addressed to Gary Tulip: garytulip@gmail.com
If you are on the waiting list and change your contact details (email/phone) please let
Gary know. If we can’t get in touch, you will be removed from the waiting list. DO YOU KNOW YOUR ONIONS?
It may still be early summer, but thinking ahead, details of our Spring Bulb offer have been
emailed to members recently (including autumn planted onions and garlic). Anecdotally, we are
hearing of plotholders experiencing a few problems with onion and garlic crops this year, including onion white rot, rust and bolting (perhaps a subject for a future Spud & Slug). With root rot seemingly increasingly prevalent, one thought is that the sets may be to blame
(a great Dutch conspiracy perhaps?!). An alternative is to grow from seed, which may reduce
(rather than fully remove), the risk of rot. Do Members have any solutions or suggestions? Do please let us know.

If you have the means of collection (trailer and/or bags) the Equestrian Centre / Livery
Stables at Bridge End Farm, Howe, Thirsk, YO7 4HT has a supply of horse manure - no charge. It’s not as far as you might think, simply take the A61 towards Thirsk and as you approach the
traffic lights at Skipton on Swale, the stables are on your left.
A number of these regular reminders appear from time to time, but these rules and guidelines
are designed to help with the smooth running of the Society. Please take note!
The Society does not charge members separately for water, although supplies to most sites
are metered. The more water is used, the greater the cost to the Society. Recognising that
water is a precious commodity, it is vital that we all use it to best effect. Remember, a
watering can puts water exactly where it is needed and thus does the most good. We all have an obligation to use hosepipes responsibly. There have been reports of
hosepipes being left unattended on tracks and across other plotholder’s gateways. This
makes it difficult at times for those who try to maintain tracks and cut the grass and also
presents a trip hazard - anybody using a hosepipe must ensure that it is not a danger to other
plotholders. Remember, unattended hoses of any sort are not permitted. Anybody using a hosepipe
must remain on the allotment, to disconnect it from the tap after usage and to ensure
the the hose is not inconveniencing other plot holders or just left laid on the track. The Royal Horticultural Society provide some excellent advice on the subject which is well
worth reading and following. If you do so, it will prevent the waste of water, your time, and
the Society’s funds. The RHS advise can be found at:

Please always ensure that all gates are shut when entering or leaving plots and sites, and
where appropriate lock gates (please scramble the numbers) on leaving the site. DOGS ON ALLOTMENT SITES
Dogs and kitchen gardens are rarely good partners so please remember the Society’s
guidance: If you bring a dog when you visit your plot, you must keep it under close control
within your own plot at all times. Nevertheless, if it causes a nuisance to others you will be
Compost, a key element of allotment gardening, is often a topic for discussion and the subject
of frequent questions. It was suggested that it might be of some benefit to members if the
Spud & Slug addressed the issue. Simple, they said….. Well, there is enough information on
the internet to write a whole book on the subject, rather than a few paragraphs in a
newsletter such as this. But, over the next few months, we’ll attempt to shed some light on
the art of compost making. Let’s get the technical bit out the way first; composting is a process that works to speed up
the natural decay of organic material by providing ideal conditions for detritus-eating
organisms to thrive, the microbial and fungal digestion of material with help from worms in the
presence of oxygen. Types of compost bin. The containers could be wooden or plastic; there are many proprietary
brands available, in all shapes and sizes. A look round any allotment site will reveal plenty of
home-made bins, using old pallets (guidance available on the internet). Composting works best
with a couple of heaps on the go; one currently in use, being regularly added to, whilst the
other has been filled and left to decompose; a process that can take up to a year. What can go in the compost bin? Good compost requires a mix of carbon-based waste
material, ‘browns’ and nitrogen- based plant remains ‘greens’. Aim for a ratio of roughly half
and half by volume, although the percentage of greens could be a little lower. The greens
provide nutrients and moisture, whilst the browns decompose more slowly and provide the
energy source for the microbes that carry out the composting process. The brown material
also absorbs excess moisture and facilitates air-flow within the heap. Avoid letting any one
material dominate (especially grass clippings, as these can become a slimy, smelly mess). Browns: dead leaves, old straw/hay, dry plant stems, sawdust in small amounts, shredded paper
in moderation, wood ash, cardboard torn into small pieces. Woody material should be chopped
up or crushed (shredding will speed up the process but is not strictly necessary). Greens: grass (in moderation), raw fruit and vegetables, tea leaves and coffee grounds, pea
and bean-tops, manure, bedding plants, flowers, comfrey / nettles. Avoid: cooked food or bread, meat or fish, coal and coke ash, cat litter or dog poo, glossy
magazines, and, obviously, non-degradable material such as plastics, metal and glass. Location. Extremes of temperature and moisture should be avoided if possible, as the
bacteria and fungi that convert the waste to compost work best in constant conditions. Position the compost bin in shade or light shade. Benefits of composting: quite simply, the better your soil, the better your crops, and:
? helps improve or maintain high quality soil (improved soil texture and aeration)
? helps to grow healthy plants
? increases the water–holding capacity of the soil
? feeds micro- organisms that keep soil healthy
? reduces the use of fertilizer and pesticide
? cuts the cost of buying compost (which of course is getting ever more expensive)
There are always plenty of jobs to do on the plot over the summer months and here are some
suggestions /reminders to keep you busy for the next few weeks: • Ensure onions do not go short of water, especially in warm weather. • Remove side shoots on tomatoes and stop the plants when 4-5 trusses have been
produced. Feed regularly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. Do not allow them to dry
out to avoid blossom end rot. • Enjoy first early potatoes before the skins set. Second earlies should be ready for
harvesting this month. • Harvest beetroot and other summer maturing crops while they are young and tender. • Autumn planted garlic should be ready to lift. Harvest now allowing the bulbs to dry
thoroughly (a dry, airy greenhouse is ideal) before storing for the winter. Don’t worry if
your plants sent up a flower stem (scape), unlike onions the bulbs will be fine. • Keep on top of the weeds, it really is so much better to hoe them when they are small
seedlings, rather than removing grown plants. Even if few weeds are readily apparent, hoeing will help kill tiny seedlings. • Pick runner and French beans (plus courgettes) regularly to encourage further cropping. • Make sure brassicas are netted to prevent butterflies laying their eggs leading to a
caterpillar infestation and to stop pigeons devouring your crops. • Also remember to net fruit bushes to keep birds off. • Remove any suckers appearing around the base of fruit trees. • Prune gooseberries and red / white currants immediately after they have fruited, pruning all lateral side shoots produced this year to half their length. Pull off any
suckers produced from the stem or roots whilst they are still soft. • Trim strawberries, cutting off old leaves once they have finished fruiting. This exposes
the crown of the plant to light, helping new leaves to grow. Remove unwanted runners. • Cut out old summer fruiting raspberry canes after fruiting and tie in the new canes. • Thin overcrowded apples, pears and plums. This should mean the remaining fruit is
larger, healthier and of a generally higher quality. • Sweet peas should be picked regularly and deadhead any dahlias that were not needed
for cutting. • Water crops in the evening during warm weather (and don’t forget anything in pots). Use
your water butt if you have one and wherever possible mulch around plants to help retain
moisture around the roots. • If you have a greenhouse remember to keep it well ventilated on hot days. Also keep
greenhouse plants well

JUNE 2022


HDAF SHOW. The annual Harrogate Allotment Show, will be held in Sunday 21st
August (11.00 – 16.00) in the Sun Pavilion, The Valley Gardens, Harrogate. There are
many different classes to enter – fruit & vegetables, flowers, baking, as well as
classes for novices and children. You don’t have to be an expert so why not have a go;
RCAS members have had much success in the past. Show schedule, entry forms, as
well as advice and tips on showing can be found on the HDAF website:

RIPON HORTICULTURAL SHOW. Whilst talking about the Harrogate show, don’t
forget our very own Ripon Show will take place on Sunday 4
th September at the usual
venue, The Wakeman Bar, Ripon Racecourse.

GRASS TRACKS. Please remember that we all have a
responsibility to maintain the grass tracks near our own plots. On every site, there are a few plotholders who kindly do more
more than their fair share, but that doesn't provide an excuse
for everybody else to do nothing. If all plotholders made even
a small effort to maintain the area adjacent to their plots, the
benefits would be readily apparent.

RIPON COMMUNITY HOUSE FOOD SUPPORT. Thanks to all those who have
donated surplus produce to the Ripon Community House Food Support initiative. Don’t
let any surplus fruit or vegetables, go to waste - it will all be gratefully received from
Monday to Friday, before 1.00pm, at Ripon Community House, 75 Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LE (next to the Workhouse Museum).

An old Chinese proverb: All gardeners know better than other gardeners.

At the time of writing, the waiting list
stands at a total of 40 names, with a
breakdown by site as follows:
Kirkby Road: 40
Fishergreen: 22
Bondgate: 9
Quarry Moor Lane: 8
Gallows Hill: 11
Riverview: 11
We are very pleased to welcome the
following new plotholders:
Fishergreen: Maria Blackwell
Nancy Stroer
Diane Forster
Kinga Goldsmith
Bondgate Green: Alexandra Nicol
Riverview: Tim McCarthy
All waiting list enquiries should be addressed to Gary Tulip: garytulip@gmail.com
If you are on the waiting list and change your contact details (email and/or
phone number) please inform Gary. Otherwise, if we can’t get in touch, you will
be removed from the waiting list.

This year’s competition will be judged by David Griffiths and Sue Wood. David has an
allotment at Oatlands and is the past Chair of HDAF. Sue Wood is a Horticultural
Officer with Harrogate Borough Council and has been a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom
for many years. David and Sue will be accompanied to the sites by Officers and
Trustees from RCAS. Local site reps will show the judging party around their sites
whenever possible. Approximate times for each site are shown below:
Bondgate: 9:00 Quarrymoor Lane: 12:00
Fishergreen:10:00 Kirkby Road: 13:30
Gallows Hill: 11:30 Riverview: 15:00
Site reps will be inspecting all of their plots in order to decide which should be short
listed for the Top Plot Competition. On the large sites, 10 to 15 plots will be put
forward whilst on the small sites, about 5 plots will be selected. Prizes and trophies
will be presented to the winners at the Ripon Horticultural Show on 4
th September. During the visit, the Trustees will also be checking to confirm that plot holders are in
full compliance with the terms of their tenancy agreements. Any who are not in full
compliance, will, after consultation with the site rep, be issued with a yellow card.

By now the last of the frosts should be behind us and most planting will have been
finished, but there is still plenty to do on the plot. Here a few suggestions: ? Keep tomatoes well-watered as irregular watering will result in the dreaded
blossom end rot. Feed every 10-14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser once
the first fruits start to set. A proprietary liquid tomato feed such as Maxicrop
is ideal (available in the Society Shop). Pinch out side-shoots and keep the main
stem well supported. ? Continue using a hoe between crop rows to keep annual weeds at bay. This also
helps to control any weeds present in the potato patch. Once the leaves of
crops are touching across the rows it becomes very difficult to hoe. Clear any
debris from harvested crops and add to the compost heap. Not only does it look
neater, but it also removes a haven for slugs. ? Depending on when they were planted, early potatoes could be ready for lifting
round the middle of the month. Unlike main-crop potatoes, don’t lift them all at
once, rather take up a root as and when you need some. ? Once early crops such as broad beans or shallots have been cleared, be sure to
re-use the space for winter crops such as leeks, broccoli or winter cauliflowers. ? If you haven’t already netted strawberries, gooseberries, currants, etc., don’t
delay as the birds can decimate your crop. ? Also, if you haven’t netted brassicas, again don’t delay. They make a tempting
meal for pigeons and of course, white butterfly lay their eggs on brassica crops. ? During the growing season, give strawberry plants a liquid potash feed – such as
a tomato feed – every 7 to 14 days. Stop feeding once the first fruits start to
turn red. Remove runners, if not required, as they sap energy from the plant
and reduce the crop. ? Pull off any suckers appearing from the base of gooseberry, red and white
currants. Prune off any suckers appearing from below the graft on fruit trees. ? Thin fruit on heavily bearing fruit trees such as apples plums, in order to
improve the size and quality of the remaining fruit. Don’t be alarmed if some
fall naturally, a process known as the ‘June drop’. ? Stop picking asparagus spears from around the third week of June. Allow plants
to produce foliage which dies back in autumn, putting goodness into the crowns
for next year’s crop. ? There’s still plenty of time to sow crops such as beetroot, radish, spinach, Swiss
chard, swede, turnip, spring onions, carrots and runner beans



The water supply has now been turned on and a few leaks fixed (thanks to Malcolm). Please
remember that cleaning of tools or washing harvested vegetables in the dipping tanks is
forbidden as this quickly leads to a build-up of silt in the bottom of the tank. Please also
remember that supplies to most sites are metered and the more water that is used, the
greater the cost to the Society. It is vital that we all use it to best effect. A watering
can puts water exactly where it is needed and thus does the most good.

After the early May spring bank holiday, the shop will open for just one hour each Saturday
(10.30 to 11.30). As well as your usual allotment needs, look out for second-hand tools, and
hopefully we’ll soon start to see plenty of donated plants.

The theme of the 2022 HDAF inter-site competition is PURPLE and each allotment site is
challenged to produce a purple arrangement, to include one variety of purple fruit, one
variety of purple vegetable and one variety of purple flower, with the arrangement fitting
into a 2ft x 2ft square. There will be a prize of £30 for the winning site. Last year, through the efforts of Roger and Malcolm, Ripon won the competition, so we need
to be on top form to retain our crown!! If any members are interested in taking part, please
contact Roger or Malcolm at the shop, or email jenandrog.satariano@btinternet.com or
malcolmhutchinson@btinternet.com. It’s not just on the growing side where help is needed, hopefully we have some members with the skills to present the produce to best effect. Waiting List / New Tenants
At the time of writing (27
th April), the
waiting list stands at a total of 47 names, with a breakdown by site as follows:
Kirkby Road: 24
Fishergreen: 9
Bondgate: 12
Quarry Moor Lane: 9
Gallows Hill: 11
Riverview: 13
We are very pleased to welcome the
following new plotholders at Fishergreen:
Louise Palliser
Stephen Gray
Yvonne Ward
Simon Blagden
All waiting list enquiries should be addressed to Gary Tulip: garytulip@gmail.com

Many of our plotholders can be pretty resourceful at times, so if you
fancy building a home-made cold-frame, then Helen Mason has about
half a dozen old wooden windows (assorted sizes). These are free, but would need collecting from Riverview. Contact Helen on 07790 979871 or helenmason67@btinternet.com

Pollinators are vital to growing many crops and plenty of allotment favourites are pollinated
by bees and other insects. These include, amongst others, strawberries, raspberries, broad
beans, tomatoes, squash, courgettes and pumpkins. Try growing a few plants beneficial to
pollinators such as cornflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, borrage, fennel or lavender. One of the biggest problems for pollinators is a lack of flowering plants, especially those packed with pollen and nectar, so look out for the ‘Plants for
Pollinators’ symbol when buying seeds.

In summer, these brassicas are a magnate for butterflies. They
lay their eggs and the resultant caterpillars can cause untold
damage. In the winter, pigeons can ruin a plant by tearing away
the leaves. Consider growing these vegetable under a permanent
cage of mesh or fine netting.

The oldest continuously cultivated allotments are believed to be those at Great Somerford in
Wiltshire. Land use in England was transformed by a practice known as ‘enclosure’ that
reached its peak in the 19
th century. Landowners fenced off or enclosed rural land, including
open fields and common land that the rural population had come to rely on for grazing animals
or collecting firewood. Many people were left unable to produce their own food. Some benevolent landlords stepped in to help local residents and the rector of Great
Somerford, a chap by the name of Stephen Demainbray, petitioned King George III to allow
an area of land to be set aside for villagers to use. The 1806 Enclosure Act for Great
Somerford required land to be set aside, and initially a six acre site was provided. Originally, crops such as wheat, oats and potatoes, along with the delightfully named mangel
wurzels (a root vegetable used primarily for feeding livestock) were grown, along with beans, cabbages, parsnips and leeks. Every year, on the Tuesday after Easter, the plots were
inspected and tenancies renewed, but only for those maintained to an acceptable standard, a
practice that continues today.

Regular readers may remember that towards the end of last year, mention was made in the
Spud & Slug of the Ripon Community House Food Support initiative. This story came to us
relatively late in the growing season, at a time when many crops had already been harvested. As plots are now beginning to fill up and early maturing crops will soon be harvested, it’s well
worth repeating the message that outlines this highly laudable project. From time to time, most of us will be faced with a glut of certain crops, so stop worrying about how to deal with
the surplus, donate it to the Ripon Community House Food Support initiative. Changes made in 2020, saw Ripon Community House take the Bread of Life foodbank under its
umbrella and then amalgamated with the Salvation Army plus other smaller groups who were
supporting people with food. This provided a central point for collection and distribution. This
project then became Ripon Community House Food Support covering Ripon, Boroughbridge and
Masham and places in-between. The support has developed from a home delivery of food into a place where people come and take
what they need rather than being given things they might not use or want. We still deliver if
people are unable to collect but encourage people to come to us if they can – so they can make a
choice. We are also able to talk with people in a confidential way and signpost them to
alternative/additional means of support so they are less likely to become reliant on food parcels. Waste Not Wednesday came about due to the fact that we collect surplus food from local
supermarkets – Marks & Spencer and Aldi – for distribution. We also had donated items that were
close to their best before date. We try very hard not to throw anything away and are fortunate that we have Caroline Bentham
working with us to concoct delicious things from what would otherwise have been discarded. She
also makes jams and chutneys, pasta sauce and soups. What we get is what is used and we try not
to buy additional ingredients (although occasionally have to, e.g. flour, margarine, sugar). These Wednesdays run from 1pm to 3pm and are open to anyone within the community, operating
on a donations basis. They therefore cater to a wide range of people in terms of income, cooking skills, access to facilities
or just wanting a quick meal/something that someone else has prepared. If you have any surplus fruit or vegetables, they will gratefully be received from Monday to
Friday before 1.00pm at Ripon Community House, 75 Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LE (next to the
Workhouse Museum).

Don’t forget, judging for our annual Top Plot Competition is scheduled to take place on
Wednesday 22nd June. Final details will appear in the June Spud & Slug, including timings for
each site. Don’t forget that although the judges are on the look-out for the best plots, the
judging party (which includes RCAS Trustees) will also be noting plots that are clearly not
being cultivated and thus deserving yellow cards.

Here are some suggested jobs to be getting on with, but do remember, as with all our regular
monthly tips, these are just for guidance and much will depend on the weather conditions. Even in May, we can still get some late frosts. ? Look out for blackfly on broad beans. To reduce the risk of an infestation, pinch out
the growing tips as soon as the beans start to develop at the base of the plant. ? Earth up potatoes as the haulm begins to emerge. This will control the weeds, help to
prevent the tubers turning green (potentially harmful if eaten) and also ward off frost
damage. So it really is an important task. ? Cover brassicas with nets as soon as they are planted otherwise pigeons will devour the
lot. You really don’t want to be planting pigeon food, they’re fat enough as it is. ? Carrot fly can be a real nuisance. If you want decent carrots, use Enviromesh (available
from the Society shop) as a physical barrier to prevent the fly from laying its eggs;
make sure the edges are pushed well into the ground all round the crop. ? When tomatoes in the greenhouse start flowering, begin feeding on a weekly basis with
one of the many products that are widely available. Also stick to a regular watering
regime otherwise the plants will be afflicted by blossom-end rot. ? Before sowing or planting out runner and climbing French beans, erect wigwams or
similar structures. Consider adding a few sweat-pea plants round a runner bean wigwam. This will look colourful, add fragrance and will also attract pollinators. ? Look out for gooseberry sawfly caterpillars and remove as soon as spotted. If left to
their own devices they will very quickly strip all of the leaves from a plant. ? Hang pheromone traps in apple and pear trees to monitor codling moth numbers. ? Dahlias can be planted at the end of the month although as with the tender vegetables, they may need to be covered with fleece if late frosts are forecast. ? Protect fruits grown in greenhouses from sun scorch by putting up shading nets or
applying a shade paint to the outside of your greenhouse. Open vents and windows on
warm days. ? Start feeding strawberry plants regularly from the time they begin to flower until the
fruits begin to ripen. Towards the end of May, after strawberry plants have flowered
and fruit formation has started, use a fertiliser that is high in potash,. Place straw
(preferably barley straw - it’s softer and more pliable) around the plants and under the
fruit trusses to help keep the fruits clean and dry and to deter slugs. Cover with
netting to protect from birds. ? Remove any raspberry suckers that come up too far away from the main row. ? Whether you grow in beds or rows you will need to keep the annual weeds from
smothering your crops by regularly hoeing between the rows and hand weeding along the
rows to remove any weeds the hoe wasn’t able to account for. Andrew Turnbull / ajturnbull@live.co.uk



APRIL 2022

MARCH 2022





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