Autumn 2016 Newsletter


It’s time to be thinking of buying seeds for next season. In order to take advantage of the half-price seeds scheme, contact Matt for an order form (07709 959585). Tot up the prices of the seeds you want, divide by two, and give the money, in cash, to Matt. Please do not attempt to give your order form to any other member of the Committee. It complicates matters.

We now pay our own water bills, as an Association. So we have good reason to take water harvesting more seriously. The more water we can harvest, the smaller our bill will be. The Committee hopes soon to get hold of a supply of water butts to sell to plot holders, to help with this.

When in the mood for a spot of DIY, plot holders might consider numbering their plot, so it can be more easily identified. If you have forgotten your plot number, Roger Williams can help you out (02920 492934).

Paths and Fences.

Can I remind you of the rules and your responsibilities affecting paths and fences? Our site is laid out in such a way that adjacent plots are separated from each other by a path. The purpose of these paths is to avoid boundary disputes and provide access. They must not be obstructed. They are not owned by anyone.

The paths are normally half a metre wide. However, where a path gives access to an inner plot (one which does not front directly onto a roadway), one of the paths leading to the inner plot will be a metre wide—wide enough for a wheelbarrow.

Corners of plots are marked by yellow boundary pegs, which should not be moved. If you are unsure of the exact boundaries of your plot, ask any Committee member and we will check the boundary pegs for you. It is your responsibility to maintain the paths around your plot by cutting grass and ensuring that the paths are not obstructed. Normally this is done jointly with your neighbours.

If you want to erect a fence it must be on your side of the path. You are not entitled to incorporate the path into your plot. And the Council has ruled that fences cannot be higher than one metre, to minimise the shading of adjacent plots.

Roger Williams.


If you change your address, Tel. No. or email address, please tell Angharad (). Also, tell her if you want to receive Newsletters, etc., from the Association by email. Contact CAAA on:

Shop Matters.

At the time of writing autumn has actually arrived. For a long spell of mild weather we managed to persuade ourselves it was still summer. But there are now more leaves on the ground than the trees and it’s time to face the fact that winter is coming!

I have spoken to a few new plot holders in the last few weeks, most of them enquiring about weed suppressing fabric. Some were surprised to hear that they could be planting Japanese onions, garlic, shallots and broad beans now for an early harvest in the spring. We do have these in the Shop, as well as the usual variety of composts. I also have a load of spare pots and would be glad to pass them on.

Could anyone needing seed potatoes tell me which variety, so I can order the most popular ones? The Shop opens 12—2, Sat and Sun.

Cheers. Val Finch.


I thank everyone who contributed to the imaginative “Site Secretary Departure” present of a train trip on the Severn Valley Railway, pulled by the Flying Scotsman and the Tornado steam engines. Despite the 8am start, the weather was perfect and there was a terrific atmosphere both on the train and on the lineside. I was deeply chuffed by your kind gift.

Roger Williams.

Growing Garlic.

There are two types of garlic: ‘hard-neck’ garlic, which tends to have fewer, fatter cloves, and ‘soft-neck’, which stores better. There is also ‘Elephant garlic’, which looks like a huge version of garlic, and is used in the same way, but is actually a member of the leek family. It has a slightly milder flavour than proper garlic. And it’s expensive.

For regular garlic, many gardeners use bulbs bought from the greengrocer. But these may not be free of disease, and they may be more appropriate to warmer climate conditions than we enjoy in Wales. Of course, we can keep back some of our own garlic for planting next season (especially Elephant garlic, because of the cost). And we tend to get better results by using the larger cloves.

Most garlic varieties can be planted out in November or in February. If that’s not possible, they can be started off in pots in an unheated greenhouse and planted out in the spring. But they all need a spell of really cold weather, if they are to develop proper cloves.

Harvest the bulbs when the leaves turn brown. If they are not lifted at that time, the bulbs will split into cloves in the ground. Hang the bulbs up to dry before storing them in a cool, dry place.


Keep Colchester Avenue Site Tidy.

We would like to remind existing plot holders, and inform new plot holders, of their obligations as gardeners on our site.

It is forbidden to bring vehicle tyres on to the site for any purpose. To hold down ground cover it is best to use timber, stones or bricks, all of which can be recovered on the site. Last year we were forced to pay for the removal and disposal of 385 tyres at a cost of almost £500. Money that could have been better spent on other things, as you will agree. Other items which have no place on our site include red and white road cones, shopping trolleys and other such debris. The rule of thumb must be that if you don’t want it in your garden at home, we don’t want it on site. You will be asked to take such things away. During a recent removal of accumulated rubbish which consisted of glass, children’s toys, bottles, plastic bags of rubbish, abandoned PVC doors and windows etc., the Work Party loaded almost FIVE tonnes into a large 17 m3 waste bin which cost us £900 to dispose of. THIS IS CLEARLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. Such costs prevent us from spending our funds on site improvements, and, in particular, on security.

It is against the Council’s rules to use hosepipes on the site, even to syphon water from the troughs. If hosepipes are discovered by the Committee during the regular site inspections, plot holders will be asked to remove them. Failure to comply may result in the Council terminating that person’s tenancy. Whilst on the subject of water, please do not interfere with the troughs or the ballcocks. We don’t want to waste water from overflowing troughs as we are now responsible for paying our own water bills. If there is a problem with a trough, please contact Roger Kay (02920 464556).

Please drive responsibly on the site, as parents do bring children to help them in their gardens. As an Association we very much wish to welcome the next generation of gardeners into our midst, and we would like to make sure the site is safe for them. And don’t forget to use the car-parks, rather than obstructing the roadways.

Remember to secure permission before erecting a greenhouse or a shed. They MUST be of a regular aluminium or timber construction. Constructing them out of miscellaneous PVC doors and windows is not on.

After a number break-ins and thefts this year, we have reinforced parts of our boundary fence with heavy duty steel mesh. As long as we have the money, we will continue to improve security, and the quality of our roadways, as well as dealing with horsetails/marestails, which will require special and costly treatment, and which we can only do with the agreement of plot holders.

Some plot holders are using tarpaulin as ground cover. This does not allow rain to pass through, and it encourages moss to grow. We would recommend buying permeable ground cover from Craig (07944 417528). It is more user friendly, and will not sour the soil.

Thanks to everyone, in advance, for their co-operation in helping to make our site a better place.

Roger Kay.
Colchester Avenue Allotments Association (CAAA) is a registered charity. Charity no. 1092014.

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