(13 May 2020)
We are recommending that our members follow National Allotment Society (NAS) guidance, and we will be monitoring their advice and updating this web-page if this changes.
Longcroft Allotment Association members can work their allotments during the Coronavirus (Covid19) lockdown - either alone or with members of their families/household. You should practice good hand hygiene when working your plot and when using the locks when entering and leaving the site, and maintain a social distance of 2-3 metres from other members.
Allotments are a means of getting exercise as recommended by the government (and for obtaining food during this crisis).
The Government have now removed the limit on exercise time.
Do not attend the plot if you have Coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating.
(27 March 2020)
After the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Monday 23 March, Chancellor Michael Gove (Minister for the Cabinet Office) clarified matters relating to ‘exercise’. He said people would be allowed to run, walk or go to an allotment, but that more social activities, such as playing golf, were not allowed.
BBC Gardener's World Magazine has listed some considerations covering:
Coronavirus – We are recommending that our members follow National Allotment Society (NAS) guidance as summarised below. We will be monitoring their advice and updating our web-pages if this changes.
Longcroft Allotment Association members can work their allotments during the Coronavirus (Covid19) lockdown - either alone or with members of their families/household. Members should practice good hand hygiene when working your plot and when using the locks when entering and leaving the site, and maintain a social distance of 2-3 metres from other members.
The toilet facility at Broadwater and the toilet/kitchen facility at Digswell have also been closed until further notice.
Allotments are a means of getting exercise as recommended by the government (and for obtaining food during this crisis). Government Ministers suggest that an hour’s walk is reasonable and have asked us all to limit time spent outside the home. The NAS believes that an hour or two is reasonable to undertake the jobs that need doing for that day and then to return home.
Do not attend the plot if you have Coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating.
Please ensure that children visiting our sites are closely supervised by the plot-holder, in order that everyone observes proper social-distancing rules.
National Allotment Society (NAS) guidance is available from: https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/
Additional information about staying safe on the allotment is provided by BBC Gardener's World Magazine: https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/coronavirus-can-i-still-go-to-the-allotment/
Waiting Lists – This currently stands at fourteen for Digswell and ten for Broadwater. No plots are currently available at either site.
AGM Update – IWe are hoping to hold the AGM later in the folling its cancellation in March due to Coronavirus.
The Shop - In view of the Coronavirus spread and out of respect for the health of both customers and helpers, we feel it appropriate to close the LAA Digswell shop until the situation returns to normal.
In order to avoid unwanted visitors please scramble the combinations on the padlocks whenever you arrive or live the allotment sites. Also, please don’t keep power tools or items of value on site. The Association has had an unfortunate history of break-ins, vandalism, fly tipping and theft.
If you are the first person to open the gate or the last to leave, ensure that you don’t leave the padlock with the combination showing. If you open the padlock, change the combination. If you close the padlock, change it once you’ve locked the gate.
The mowers are provided to help members keep their plots tidy. Please adjust the cutting height as appropriate before use, and empty the clippings basket return them in a clean state after use. They are one of the main expenditure items for the Committee and keeping them in good condition is in everyone’s interest.
Waiting Lists – There are currently eighteen people on the waiting list for plots with ten queuing for the Digswell site and eight at Broadwater. No plots are currently available at either site.
AGM Update – In the light of the growing concern and uncertainty over the spread of the Coronavirus, the AGM, due to be held on Wednesday 18th March was postponed. We will look to hold this event later in the year, once the situation has normalised.
Pumpkin Competition - We will be repeating the LAA competition to nurture the largest pumpkin, as judged at our September BBQ. Thomas Markatopoulos has kindly saved seeds from his prize-winning 'Atlantic Giant' pumpkin. These are available from the Digswell shop this Sunday and next. However, as with other items these days, seeds will be limited to a maximum of three per person. If you would like to have a go but cannot make it to the shop, please contact Helen McLean or Andrew Hepher.
The Shop - In view of the Coronavirus spread and out of respect for the health of both customers and helpers, we feel it appropriate to close the LAA Digswell shop until the situation returns to normal. However, we also appreciate that this is approaching peak demand time for supplies of compost, manure etc. Given this, we will open the shop on Sunday 22nd and 29th March, from 09.30 - 12.30. After this, the shop will close for an indefinite period.
Digswell – Thanks are due to Thomas Markatapoulos has erected a wishing well over the cess pit – see News Item.
Plot markers needed to be repainted and it was agreed that this could be done at the next work party.
It was noted that the gate to the site requires adjusting, which will be arranged.
Broadwater – The additional water tank at Broadwater was installed in February and is ready to use for the coming growing season. A cover will be fitted over the coming weeks.
A skip will be delivered to the site later this year – watch this space.
If any of our Broadwater members have thoughts on ways to help increase their use of the shop at Digswell please send ideas to Andrew Hepher, LAA Chair, at email@example.com.
Water supplies to tanks – these have been isolated to prevent frost damage to pipework over winter.
Quotes for an additional water tank at Broadwater have been obtained by the Committee and permission has been obtained from the council to install it – members can look forward to improved availability of supplies for future growing seasons.
Digswell – It is provisionally planned that the trees on the eastern boundary and it was suggested that this could be undertaken at the next work party when loppers and an extendable saw would be brought along.
Broadwater – The gate has now been repaired and an adjacent section of fence which was damaged has now been fixed with adjacent foliage trimmed to prevent the recurrence of damage
"The Shed" - The shop closed at the end of September for the winter and will re-open in March.
Digswell – Attendance at the most recent work party was rather small, but most of the jobs had been carried out.
Tree work on the eastern boundary needed to be completed satisfactorily, and rabbits had been seen on the site and any holes in the boundary would need attention.
Broadwater – The Association had received a complaint via the Council from a neighbour whose garden backed onto onto the site in relation to overgrown plants which were climbing their fence and beginning to invade the garden. The issue was addressed by a work party which was called at short notice.
Also we are experiencing problems with the gate and are in discussions with the Council about resolving this.
Water supplies - these have now been shut off at both sites to reduce the risk of frost damage over winter.
Summer Barbecue - More than fifty people gathered for our annual BBQ on 8th September 2019 at the Digswell site. Blessed with good weather everyone enjoyed the food prepared by our regular BBQ-gurus Peter and Sue, as well as various other items brought by those attending.
Overall a great day, to be repeated in 2020.
2019 Pumpkin Competition - a highlight of the barbecue was the award of the "Largest Pumpkin 2019" trophy. This went to Thomas Markatopoulos, who produced the two largest specimens, the biggest having a girth of 157cm! The results announcement was live-streamed to Thomas in Greece, while the award was presented to his wife Anna.
Anglia in Bloom - Longcroft Allotment Association has been judged the winner of Anglia in Bloom's "Grow Your Own" category. This is a great testament to the Association. Judges visited our Digswell site in late June and the results were announced at the Anglia in Bloom award ceremony held on 10 September
Digswell –Unfortunately the event was preceded a break-in at the Digswell site one Saturday night. After cutting through the padlock on the front gate the thieves opened several of the doors in the buildings. While the shop door wasn't forced, the mower shed was opened and all the contents taken. In addition, some of the individual plot-holder sheds were opened.
Broadwater – Several pallets were delivered to site early in October to be converted to compost bins, raises beds, etc. There is also still some woodchip available at the corner of the car park – all potholders are welcome to help themselves.
Summer Barbecue - The 2019 Summer BBQ will take place on Sunday 8th September from 12:30. Please join us at the Digswell site for our summer event.
Burgers, sausages, vege-burgers and tea/coffee/soft drinks will be provided, but as always please bring salad, fruit/dessert, cake, wine etc. to share with others, as well as crockery and cutlery for your own use.
The cost is £5.00 per adult, £2.50 for a child, or £16.00 for a family of two adults and up to 4 children
Please RSVP with payment to any Committee member or at the Digswell Shop on Sunday mornings by Friday 30th August.
Kings Seed Catalogue – The Kings Seed catalogues for 2019/20 Broadwater Shed, the Digswell kitchen and also from the Shop on Sunday mornings. All the information you need to complete your order is provided in the inside front cover of the Catalogue. Completed order forms should completed by 27 October 2019 and returned either to Barbara Wilton at her Quadrangle address, or to the Shop at the Digswell site. These are then sent in as a bulk order, thereby giving us a better discount.
Meeting with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council - Andrew Hepher (Chair of the LAA) met with representatives of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council during August. The main points that came out of the meeting were:
Broadwater – There is still some woodchip available at the corner of the car park – all potholders are welcome to help themselves.
Digswell – The next Work Parties is scheduled for Saturday 7 September starting at 9:30– please help out if you can so the site is at its best for the barbecue.
Rabbits have been seen on site and the boundaries will be inspected to see if there are any gaps in the fencing that require repair.
Summer Barbecue - The 2019 Summer BBQ will take place on Sunday 8th September - 1pm, at the Digswell site, Brockswood Lane. Come along meet old friends and make some new ones.
Broadwater – The loose posts on the boundary fence were repaired towards the end of March. We’ve also had a second delivery of wood chip to the site.
Digswell – The next Work Parties is scheduled for Saturday 29 June – please help out if you can. We’d like to prepare the site for the Anglia in Bloom visit.
Anglia in Bloom – WHBC if the Association would be prepared to include our Digswell site as part of the Council's entry for Anglia in Bloom, a challenge we have willingly accepted!
Anglia in Bloom is part of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society’s) Britain in Bloom competition - a campaign/competition to encourage the improvement of our surroundings through imaginative planting and landscaping.
This will be the second year that WHBC has entered the competition, and the first time it will have included an allotment site. Judging will take place on July 9th or 10th, so we have an opportunity p present the site at its best during the community work party planned for Saturday June 29th (9.30-12.30).
Annual General Meeting – The Association’s 45th Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 14th March in the Jack Lee Hall, Woodside House.
Changes to the Committee - Andrew Hepher had become Chairman in the middle of the year and was formally proposed and seconded to continue as Chairman. Andrew has taken the role from Philip Fotheringham who had had been a long-standing Chairman (and previously Treasurer) and, in recognition of this, proposed that Philip be made a Life-member of the Association
Paul Davis, the Treasurer, had decided to step down from this position and Sam Hayton had agreed to take over the position of Treasurer. Our thanks go to Paul for his work on the Committee as both Treasurer, and for updating our web-site and email address.
Other existing members were re re-elected and Ian Cocksedge has agreed to join the Committee.
Annual Subscriptions - In order to balance income and expenditure for 2019/20, the Committee has deemed it necessary to raise the annual subscription for main tenants from £5 to £10. That for joint members and associate members will remain unchanged at £5.
Health and Safety – During the past year a Health and Safety policy had been set up for both sites, details of which were now on the website.
Social Activities – The barbecue has been a successful annual event and will be repeated in summer 2019. Members were invited to suggest additional social activities and we will keep you posted as these develop.
Guest Speaker - James Homer (Officer for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council with responsibility for allotments) gave a talk explaining the problems for the Council in managing approximately forty five allotment sites in Welwyn/Hatfield.
(full minutes of the AGM have been sent to members and copies are available from the web-site)
Digswell – The next Work Parties is scheduled for Saturday 6 April – please help out if you can.