Newsletter

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Reminder – this newsletter is not being sent out by post. We are circulating it by email and copies will be available in the hut and on the notice boards.

Competition Results

Welcome to new plotholders

AGM

This will be on Thursday 1st December at 8pm in the scout hut in Bynes Road.

Plot renewals

These will be sent out shortly with potato orders and must be paid in person at the hut.

Suttons seed catalogues

Will be available in October, allowing you to buy a range of Suttons seeds at a discount.

Winter onion sets

Will be in the trading Hut soon. Watch the notice boards for delivery date.

Work party and bonfire

Volunteers needed for working parties on Plots 140 and 18 Front on Saturday 15th October from 09.00. There will be supervised bonfires in both locations but special care has to be taken to be as smoke free as possible especially on 18F as it is near a boundary with houses. There are some brambles but a lot of sharp metal and an old shed so stout gloves, wheelbarrows, demolition tools as well as the usual pruners, forks, spades, rakes would all be useful. There will be a skip but the location will be notified later. The usual caveats – only wood and non-compostable weeds please. . These working parties are always great fun and a good way of getting to know other plot-holders.

Open Day

This was very successful. Despite the rain in the afternoon we raised £517 for Croydon Animal Samaritans. Visitors came from quite a long way and enjoyed buying produce, looking round the site and having tea and cakes.

Enough to see off any number of hungry crows.

Wildlife news

Members are now reporting more sightings and photos.  It has bright red, black spotted under wings below tiger striped fore wings. It is rapidly declining in England, so we are lucky it is on our site. It feeds on herbaceous and wild flowers. The Gatekeeper Butterfly (or Hedge Brown) has been present in substantial numbers, this one was photographed on plot 141, feeding on oregano flowers. It is small, and differs from the larger Meadow Brown in that it has two white spots on the ‘eyes’ on the fore wings rather than one. It mainly takes nectar from bramble flowers, so our wildlife corridor hedges are really working.

I am delighted to report that a newly hatched Common Chaser Dragonfly (pale green with brown eyes and thorax, slender bodied, about 2 1/2ins long) was seen on the reeds of the Wildlife pond, and several large dragonfly larvae have showed, very promising for next year’s population, Damselflies were numerous. Dragonflies on site was one of the main objectives of restoring the pond. Scores of this years froglets are hopping over my plot adjacent to the pond, sheltering under the old straw in the strawberry beds.

It really has been a great year, 2 out of 3 new nest boxes were occupied by Blue Tits who successfully reared broods, and our wildflower patches have been inundated with Bumble bees.

Hedgehogs and slugs

As they are voracious eaters of slugs and snails, it would be great to have them on site.

Slug pellets containing the active ingredient metaldehyde have been blamed for hedgehog deaths. While a hedgehog would have to eat an enormous number of slug pellets or dead slugs to get a lethal dose, smaller doses may also affect their health and cause other problems.

Slug pellets containing ferric phosphate (often sold as ‘organic’) claim to be safe for children and pets, and some say they are safe for hedgehogs. In any event it’s a good idea to put slug pellets where the slugs can get them but hedgehogs can’t such as under a tile. There are other, non chemical, controls such as beer traps, if you have the time to set them up and check them.

As with other chemicals, it is up to you whether you use slug pellets on your plot, but if you do, please use them with consideration to the other occupants of the site, including wildlife.

Recipe – Chocolate courgette cake

If you can’t look another courgette in the face hide it in this cake – it was very popular in the open day. Serves 12.
Preparation 15 mins, cooking 45 mins

  • 120g butter (softened)
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 130ml milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 450g courgettes, peeled and grated finely (Pumpkin or squash can be substituted in the same quantities for courgettes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. Line a 20x35cm baking tray with baking parchment and set the oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5.
2. Mix the butter, oil and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time and then the milk until mixed thoroughly. Mixes well in a food processor.
3. Sift the dry ingredients together and fold into the mixture. Stir in grated and peeled courgettes, vanilla and spoon into tin. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
4. Cut into squares whilst still warm.

Carlton Road Gate

Some keys have become worn and members are experiencing difficulty with the lock. Keys should be returned to the shop for replacement. New keys and those not often used are still OK.