Autumn 2019 Newsletter

CAAA (Colchester Avenue Allotment Association) newsletter — Autumn 2019

CAAA cheap seeds scheme 2019/20 – HALF-PRICE seeds from Dobies available to all CAAA plot-holders.

This year we are operating a seed ordering scheme enabling plot-holders to buy Dobies seeds at 50% of the normal price. This offer includes disease-resistant varieties and organic seeds, flowers and vegetables: seeds are NEW not old stock. Other items in the catalogue are also available at 15% off.

The Dobies scheme is easy to use.

  • Anyone who wants to take part can pick up the 160 page colour catalogue plus a special order form;
  • Complete the order form at your leisure and return it to me with payment, including £1.99 postage for any number of packets of seeds.
  • After Christmas I’ll start sending our orders and money to Dobies;
  • Your seeds will then be delivered directly TO YOUR OWN ADDRESS
  • The sooner you order, the sooner you’ll receive your seeds.

Pick up a catalogue and order form from the allotment shop, or from any committee member. I shall be available to distribute catalogues and forms and/or take in orders and money as follows:

  • Saturday November 9th 10 am to 12.30 – Meeting room next door to the shop on the allotment site
  • Sunday December 15th 1.30 to 4pm – Sainsbury’s Café in Colchester Avenue
  • Saturday January 11th 10am to 12.30 – Upstairs in Penylan Library
  • Sunday February 16th 1.30 to 4 – Sainsbury’s Café in Colchester Avenue
    Caroline Joll (committee member, plot 32B)

Site improvements

After much detective work, digging and laying of some new pipes over the summer we’ve slashed the amount of water we lose through leaks. Last year around 8,000 litres was gushing into the ground every 12 hours. We’ve now reduced that to just 300 litres and we plan to tackle those remaining leaks too. We all pay for the water through our annual subs. So stopping most of the leaks means we have more to invest in site improvements in future.

We’ve also installed a new water trough on the road from the Dorchester Avenue gate to help plotholders in that area and fixed faults in other troughs. If you notice or suspect a leak, let site manager Roger Kay know or email

As usual, we’ve turned the water off over the winter when nature normally provides more than enough rain. We’ll put the water back on in the spring.

Roads and scrap metal

We plan to take advantage of the quieter winter months to repair the roads near the shop and fill in the worst of the potholes. Tarmac is expensive, so we’re only able to repair the worst affected and busiest roads on the site.

The new storage bay (pictured opposite plots 118 and 119) for scrap metal will help us keep the site tidier and raise money. It’s also good for the environment as any metal you leave here gets recycled.

The new general waste storage bay is only a last resort for rubbish already onsite. Ideally we should all take any general waste home or to the Council dump at Lamby Way. It costs nearly £300 every time we hire a skip to get rid of general waste – money we could otherwise spend on site improvements.
Roger Kay & John Sanders

Shop, compost and manure

It’s the time of year to spread compost and manure on cleared beds ready for the next growing season. Large bags of compost are available to buy in the site shop Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes from 12 till 2 pm. Val also sells onion sets, garlic, broad bean seeds and lime among other items.

Plotholders often ask for details of manure suppliers. Two who deliver to the site are farmer John (a trailer or skip of manure for £50) on 07816 356645 and Joe at Woodlands Compost who supplies organic horse manure at £5 a bag (minimum 50 bags). Contact Joe at 01749 870797 (eve), 07553 765808 (day) or email
John Sanders, plot 24a


Saturday courses – For information about the “Timely tips for successful growing” sessions see the site notice-boards, phone 029 2087 2030 or enrol online at

Wasps — Hopefully, no-one is plagued by wasps at this time of year, but if you find a nest in spring, the Council will remove it free of charge. Email saying where the nest is and we will contact the Council for you.

Bug Hunt — Looking ahead to next year, CAAA chairman Julian Goss has arranged another bug hunt for the children and grandchildren of plot holders on the morning of Sunday May 17.

Where home is a compost bin

By ‘5 a day’
People with a compost bin on their plot often don’t realise how important it can be for wild life. All that decaying plant material is food, and also a habitat, for many creatures that decompose our compost and make it usable on the plot, such as earthworms, slugs, snails, woodlice, springtails and millipedes.

These in turn attract animals that eat them, like centipedes, spiders and beetles. There are up to 300 species of beetle that favour compost bins. Beetles may live in the garden as adults, but they often started out as larvae in the compost bin.

Birds, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and shrews all eat insects that are found in the compost heap. And a recent study in Bristol found that gardens with a compost bin were twice as likely to contain slow worms. This helps, because slow worms love to eat slugs!

To attract wild life, it’s best to put the compost bin on bare earth rather than a hard surface, so that wild life can more easily get in and out. And it might be best not to turn the compost, which would disturb the larger creatures.

Newsletter contact:
CAAA website

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