Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas – hope it has been a good growing year for you all.  We’ve had a  very productive year as an association, the shed came down and the container went in (thanks to Time Wiseman, Andy Wilson and Andrew Fairweather-Tall), we have a new noticeboard (thanks again to Tim Wiseman) and a back account thanks to the hard work of Dominic Parkinson (who has sadly left us as a committee member and allotment holder).  We’ve had a several successful social and fundraising events thanks to Pam Wilson and Jenny Tamargo and everyone who attended.  We also came 2nd as a site in the Oxford allotment competition as well as several individuals picking up awards.
The working parties have also been a success – we’ve managed to  clear Danny’s old plot and bring it back into cultivation – a big thank you to everyone who has come along to those and supported.
A couple of notes and updates – 
If you are burning stuff on your plot please please make sure its dead and dry.  Look around to see if anyone is about and ensure the smoke will not disturb them.  Avoid burning on warm days when it is likely that surrounding houses will have windows open and washing up. Please don’t burn rubbish, particularly plastics.
We are planning to develop the top area into a picnic/wildlife area and build in a special bonfire area.  For the moment please avoid adding anything more to the bonfire as we need to get rid of it all before we can proceed. there is a lot of rubbish on there at the moment (old carpets etc) – it is a bonfire area not a  rubbish tip!
Sadly we have lost Dominic Parkinson as treasurer but we have gained two new committee members….
Pam Wilson will be joining us as the new treasurer and Corrinne Prescott has joined us as co-field secretary.  Thank you and welcome.
The association can’t run without committee members so please consider joining next year – we are always looking for members.

2016 AGM minutes

REPORT:  Barracks Lane Allotments Annual General Meeting

17th November 2016, Regal Community Centre

Attendees:  Rebecca  Mead (Membership secretary), Andrew Fairweather-Tall (Field Secretary and Chair), Sarah Baker-Wilkes (Committee) Megan Harcourt (Secretary), David Mead, Andy Wilson,  Stephen Pegg, Tony Brett, Corinne Prescott, Franco De Matteo,  Vincent Fagen, Robert Grayson, Jane??


  1. AGM2015 Minute

Approved as an accurate record.  Some action points to be carried over.


  1. Election of committee and vacancies

Andrew Fairweather-Tall relected for Field Secretary and chair and seconded  by Sarah Baker-Wilkes. No objections.

Noted that Andrew would like to hand over both chair and field secretary next year and is looking for someone willing to hand over to.

Rebecaa Mead relected for Membership secretary. No objections.

Noted that Rebecca would like to hand over next year and is looking for someone to hand over to.

Megan Harcourt relected as secretary  Approved by attendees.

Pam Wilson nominated for Treasurer.  Seconded by Sarah Wilkes. No objections.

There were no other nominations for the roles above.

It is noted that both Andrew and Rebecca will be stepping down from their respective roles next year. If  no one is willing to come forward the association will find itself in difficulties.

Mowing rota discussed – Megan Harcourt to step down and Andy Wilson to take place.  Otherwise it will stay the same.

Volunteers for committee asked for.

Email out job description of committee roles.

Email out mowing rota to see if there are any volunteers.

Dominic to hand over treasurer role to Pam with whole committee present.





  1. Reports

Treasurer Accounts

We looked at interim accounts for income /expenditure and these had not yet been audited, however they were agreed in principle by attendees.

It is noted that there is extra income from two grants but they have been paid in since bank account opened and were dated from last year.

Notable expenses – the container.

We are on budget and broke even this year.

Cash in hand terminology queries – when audited this will be changed to something more appropiate.

Noted that £2000.00 of the surplus is reserved in case the association collapses.

PW to create a list of assets.

Field and Membership Secretary

We are now full with a small waiting list.

1 plot is being held back for a polytunnel.

16 plots have been let out over the year (some twice) – a big thank you to Rebecca for working so hard.

The allotment is being fully utilized.

We have had several successful working parties – “Danny’s” plot is now back in cultivation.

Vinny and Sarah have been putting in lots of hard work on B12.

Formal thanks to Tim Wiseman for the noticeboard.

AGM next Thursday

AGENDA, Barracks Lane Allotments Annual General Meeting

17th November 2016, 7.15pm, Regal Community Centre, Ridgefield Road


Cheques should be made payable to ‘Barracks Lane Allotments’

  1. AGM 2015  Minutes
  2. Election of Committee
    1. Up for re-election are:
  • Secretary – Megan Harcourt
  • Membership Secretary – Rebecca Mead (Plots A16 and A17f)
  • Sarah Baker-Wilkes – Committee member (Plots A45b and A46)
    1. Vacancies
  • Field Secretary:
  • Treasurer: nomination Pam Wilson
  • Secretary: nomination for Megan Harcourt
  • Mowing rota
  1. Reports
    1. Treasurer:
      1. Accounts and budget for 2016-17
    2. Field and Membership Secretaries
      1. Membership, working parties and field report
    3. Changing the lock on gate
    4. New eviction procedure of neglected plots
    5. Fencing update
    6. Any other business


    1. Project ideas – which come under  the aims of the association (see below)
    2. Ideas for working party projects
    3. Other ideas relating to Aims in the Constitution


  1. To promote the interests of the Members with regard to good cultivation, management and enjoyment of the allotments.
  2. To ensure that as many plots as possible are allocated and cultivated in accordance with its rules.
  3. To manage, maintain and improve the site responsibly and sustainably, respecting the environment, and to encourage and educate others to do the same.
  4. To respect the terms of the Lease with Oxford City Council (‘the Lease’).
  5. To work with Oxford City Council, the Oxford & District Federation of Allotment Associations, and other organisations and individuals in furtherance of our aims.


Gardening in drought

Gardening in drought

The word drought often conjures up images of faraway countries suffering from months of baking sun and no rainfall. It is not often a word which you’d instantly link with Britain, but unfortunately times seem to be changing and hosepipe bans are becoming more frequent.

Where possible every gardener should have water butts to harvest any rain that does fall. If you do decide to water your allotment, the best time of day is during the cool of the morning or evening. Water the roots of the plant and concentrate the watering to once or twice a week, as opposed to giving your plants frequent light showers, otherwise you’ll encourage the roots of the plant to seek water near the surface of the soil, as opposed to deep down in the earth.

Manure and Mulches

There is something that all gardeners can do to help prepare themselves for drought conditions and hosepipe bans and that is to ensure that your soil is fertile and contains plenty of organic material, which will help it to retain moisture. The condition of your soil is of paramount importance to your crops, and the easiest way of ensuring your plants have a good start in life is by ensuring that the four main growing chemicals needed – calcium, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, are present in your soil. You can check this by buying a good quality soil testing kit form the garden centre but as a rule of thumb, add back into the soil whatever was taken out by the last crop grown. One of the quickest ways of adding these nutrients is through the addition of farmyard manure (well-rotted over a twelve month period), green manure (crops high in nitrogen, grown specifically to be dug into the soil e.g. clover) and good quality homemade compost (garden and food waste, not cooked meat, well-rotted and turned over a twelve month- two year period). Not only will these products improve the quality of the soil, but also the soil’s ability to retain moisture, meaning you won’t need to water your plants so frequently (and in some cases not at all). Dig the manure into the soil during a dormant period, end of the summer or early spring are ideal times.

Ensuring that your soil is always covered with a layer of mulch will help to retain moisture and suppress weeds; the mulch could be garden compost, composted manure, leaf- mould or a geo-textile etc.

Planting out

When planting out your young plants it is always recommended that you water the hole or trench very well, before putting in your seedlings. This means the root system of your young plant will have instant access to water, also encouraging them to grow downwards to seek new water supplies, as opposed to waiting for you to come along with a watering can. Once the plant is well established, reduce or cease watering all together depending on the plant.

Good plants to choose for dry conditions

When choosing plants for your allotment it is a good idea to go for those that originate in a hot climate and so have evolved not needing very much water, or ones where the edible part of the plant grows below the soil – meaning its roots (and the crops) all benefit from deep water.

For example

  • Carrots – never water , it will lower the yield
  • Potatoes – water only when the flowers have just opened, but otherwise there should be enough moisture in the soil to sustain the plants
  • Parsnips – watering doesn’t benefit the crop
  • Jerusalem artichoke – never water, otherwise you encourage the formation of leaves and not tubers
  • Rosemary and Thyme – woody herbs which can withstand dry seasons
  • Beetroot – don’t over water as this will increase leaf size not root size, but don’t allow the soil to dry out completely
  • Brussels sprouts – established plants will only require watering during exceptionally dry weather
  • Kohlrabi – the root system of this is plant is well developed for sourcing water and so can withstand very dry seasons
  • Onions – after the plant has been established, they require little watering and never after mid-July as this will delay ripening

There are some plants which survive very well during wet weather and as such require a lot of watering during a drought. Therefore it is best to avoid the following – celery, courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, squash, rhubarb and spinach.

Source: The National Allotment Society