Glebelands Allotments

the home of North Finchley Allotment Society

April News – our new Community Plot

The Committee are pleased to announce that we now have a ‘Community Plot’ on P-Field. It is located at Plot P8, at the top end of P Field on the path leading directly from the car park.

The Community Plot has a number of raised beds of different sizes, a small fruit cage and a large greenhouse. Beds may be rented from between £5 – £10 a year and are reserved for people who have little or no experience of gardening (but are keen to learn) or who cannot work a larger plot due to a disability.

The plot is surrounded by friendly and experienced gardeners who are always happy to give sound advice.  Like all our members the people on the Community Plot will be responsible for keeping the plot tidy and its general maintenance, like cutting the grass.

Community Plot

It has been decided that anyone on P-field who doesn’t have a greenhouse on their own plot may use an area in the communal greenhouse – on the proviso that they don’t take it over! To avoid cases of mistaken identity, all pots and beds should be clearly labelled with the plot holder’s name or initials (and if they have one, the number of their other plot).

This is an exciting project and we really hope we can all work together to make it a great success.


Dear plot-holders,

As the first daffodils appear to brighten up the site may we wish you all a wonderfully fruitful year.


As agreed at last year’s AGM there will be NO increase in rents this year. Rent is set at £8.45 per pole and water at £2.30 per pole.  Compulsory Society Membership per tenant also remains at £10 per year.

Plot Charges:

10 poles will be £107.50 ground rent/water + £10 membership = £117.50

5 poles will be £53.75 ground rent/water + £10 membership = £63.75

Rent can be paid by cheque, cash or by direct bank transfer (BACS). Our bank details will be on the invoices for those wishing to make direct payment.  If you prefer to pay by cheque or cash then Jane Healy (the Treasurer) will be in the Site Office every Sunday from 2nd April 2017 through to 14th May 2017 from mid-day until 2.00 pm.  If you miss her in the Site Office then you can catch up with her on her plots on P-field. Plot charges must be paid in full by 14th May 2017, failure to pay your rent will be treated as self-termination.


The Police and Fire Services have advised that all plots should be numbered.  You can paint your plot number on your shed or collect a wooden board and stake (available at the Trading Hut – free).  Your invoice will have your plot number on it, but maps will also be put on the gate Notice Boards so that you can check what number your plot is.


Please be reminded that the site is not a playground. Everyone is happy to see children on site, but they must be accompanied at all times, and must not go onto other plots, or into sheds. Games which involve running around the fields are not permitted – please use the playing fields next to P field for this sort of play. Failure to control children may lead to an official warning about the plot-holder’s tenancy.


The Committee have received a number of complaints about dogs fouling on plots; unless you actually see a dog fouling on your plot it is impossible to identify the source (we do have several other four legged visitors, foxes and cats, every day!). Members who bring their dogs on site please be vigilant about clearing up after your pet (and be aware that not everyone on site is dog friendly), your dog should be kept under control and on your own plot if you wish to bring it on site.  Would plot holders please not take matters into their own hands over issues concerning other people’s pets – please come to the Committee if you are experiencing problems.


Following a number of tragic deaths in allotment sheds, the Fire Officer requires all large gas canisters to be removed from allotment sheds immediately. Failure to do this will result in termination of a plot-holder’s lease. Here is a link to the Fire Officer’s talk to the Barnet Federation of Allotment Societies:


On another sad note most of you will all have heard the terrible news about an elderly lady being murdered on the Colindale Allotment Site.  The circumstances surrounding this tragedy are not fully known at this time but a man has been arrested and charged with murder.  We have been advised to pass onto members the need to be vigilant whilst on site and to always notify someone you know when you are heading to the allotments.  This is not always easy to do, especially for those of us who live alone, but in the interests of personal safety please check with neighbouring plot holders when they will be around and time your visits to coincide with theirs so that you are not alone on site.

Please remember to lock the gates after you at all times – gates should not be left open for friends who may be coming along later, or any other reason.

In the case of an emergency you will need to be able to give our full address to any of the Emergency Services so please make a note of our address and postcode and have it somewhere handy:

Legion Way, North Finchley London N12 0QF   (or Christchurch Close for emergency access to P Field)


As most of you know, we do have a Website

and a Facebook page

(If these links don’t work, please copy and paste them into your browser, the addresses are correct).

All members are encouraged to check the Website for regular updates and if you are on Facebook then please join us. The Facebook page is just a fun way of sharing photographs and site news, and of course, you can join the group without having to commit to any intrusion into your personal life.

The Website has a useful article about harvesting rainwater and how to water sparingly without damaging your crops and all members are advised to read it – let’s make 2017 the year we REDUCE our ever-increasing water bill!


All members are reminded that you may borrow any of the equipment in the Trading Hut for the purpose of maintaining your plot.  No charge is made but we do ask that if you are borrowing our equipment you take a couple of minutes to mow all the paths around your plot, remembering that all plot holders are responsible for maintaining their own Southern footpath.  If you would like to borrow equipment please contact the NFAS e-mail address: pre-book) or look for any of the following members who have keys to the Trading Hut:

E Field: 

Lee Chesters (E97a, E95b)

Agi Wilton (E37, E38)

P Field:

Jane Healy (P54, P55)

Pamela Marre (P23a) – until mid – May only.

Tom McGovern (P6a, P7)

Peter Simpson (P56)

Alice Dickens (P1)

Graham Street (P19)



The Committee is made up entirely of volunteers, people who freely give up their time in order for all of us to enjoy the benefits of working our allotments.  As with all voluntary organisations we are always looking for more people to join us, but the truth is that unless more plot holders are willing to come forward there is a real risk that the site may not be able to continue in its current form.  If you are able to spare just a couple of hours a month then please do volunteer. If you do think you would like to join the Committee, or have any concerns that you wish to raise with them please find below a list of all current members – we all very approachable and welcome the opportunity to get to know everyone on site.

Chair: Alice Dickens

Treasurer (and acting Secretary from April 1st): Jane Healy

Secretary until March 31st: Pamela Marre

Members on E Field:

Lee Chesters

Carol Menashy (until March 31st)

Roddy Stylianou

Members on P Field:

Noel Callinan

Peter James

Tom McGovern

John O’Reilly

Graham Street



Finally, the Committee would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Peter Simpson and Tom McGovern for all the work they have put into tidying up P-field this winter.  The field looks great for the start of the new season! We would also like to say a special thank you to all the retiring members of the committee, especially to Peter Simpson for all the years of tireless effort  he has put into improving conditions on both fields,  to Carol Menashy for all the years she has spent on the Committee and to Pamela Marre, who has enthusiastically served as our Membership Secretary this year.  We hope Pamela has a great time in Germany this year and look forward to her return in 2018.


Can you help?

Pamela, society secretary, writes…

Spring is springing and Peter (Simpson) and Tom (McGovern) have been doing loads of work on the site recently – clearing wild growth overhanging paths, clearing plots that have been previously unworkable, felling trees, etc.

If anyone has an hour or two to spare at any time to help, please get in touch with Peter and/or Tom via at the Trading Hut and offer. Even some help picking up rubbish and glass from an empty plot would be much appreciated.

Also, if anyone can help to transport some rubbish round to the recycling centre in a few weeks’ time, that would also be much appreciated.



Now that Spring is nearly here …..

… and soon we will all start getting busy on our plots it is very important that we start thinking about what we can do to save water over the coming season  – when water shortages are forecast  – and hopefully stop our water bills creeping up, as they have been doing every year.    Jane, our treasurer, has kindly supplied these useful tips.


‘Harvest’ Rainwater  

Whether you cultivate organically or not rainwater is much better for your crops than tap water, with the additional bonus that is free!

The annoying thing about our rainfall is that most of it falls in the winter, when we don’t need it for our crops. So,  plan ahead and collect as much as possible in the rainy winter months to help you through the drier summer ones.

If you have any sort of structure on your plot (shed or greenhouse) then please make sure you have guttering in place and at least one water butt to collect the rainwater. Your systems need not be complicated but we all need to make an effort to reduce our water bills. Not everyone has a shed or greenhouse, of course, but here are some other things you can do to help conserve water:

Water in the right way at the right time

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.

Use 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 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.

Plant out with care

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.

Choose good plants 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 require a lot of watering during a drought. Therefore it is best to avoid the following – celery, courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, squash, rhubarb and spinach.


A heartwarming story

A message from Barnet Allotment Federation to all Barnet Allotment Societies

The Ted Green Memorial Award 2016

When the results of the annual site and plot competitions were announced in July’s News and Notes, it was said that there had been no entries this year for the Ted Green Memorial Award. Named after Ted Green, who was for many the secretary of the Federation, it is an award for an outstanding community initiative by an allotment society during the previous twelve months.

However, after the closing date for entries, we received a submission from the Pointalls and District Allotment Society which, in the opinion of the judges, described a project that was clearly worthy of the prize.

The society has successfully hosted the Barnet Refugee Service Sowing Seeds Project since its inception in April 2015.  This has seen a neglected 5.5 poles plot become alive with beds of flowers and vegetables, each section assigned to different refugees. It has given the participants not only a chance to enjoy the benefits and well-being of gardening, but also to use this as an opportunity to learn English, picnic and socialise

The committee therefore decided to allow the rules to be waived in this instance and to award the prize to Pointalls. Further details of the project may be found by following the link on the website at

The Ted Green cup will be presented, together with the prizes for the site and plot competitions, at the prize-giving meeting at Rathbone allotments on October 17.

Hushang Balyuzi
BAF Chair

Use water wisely!

Every year the water bill is the biggest cost our Society has to budget for, so now when the weather appears to be warming up again is probably a good time to remind every one of the need to use water carefully. The very useful advice below was recently provided by John O’R on P Field – some of you may have already seen it on our Facebook page   (Thanks John!)

Allotment Watering Tips

Before you start to water, consider the state of your ground. If it is hard packed around the stems, the water will not penetrate the soil round the plants but will run off. Go down the rows with a hoe; I use a hand held device with 3 sharp tines which rips out weeds and breaks the soil up nicely. Do this regularly and you will notice the difference in days.

Remember the roots spread out in a circular fashion round the plant, so water both sides of the rows and all around large plants like courgettes or tomatoes.

The best time to water is evening, when it is cooler and the loss through transpiration is reduced. If you have to water in the heat of the day, it is better to water the ground and not the leaves in most cases, as wet leaves, especially on beans and cucurbits (marrow family) will scorch in strong sunlight. Wet leaves also encourages blight in tomatoes.

Do not give all the plants on the plot the same quantity of water; their requirements differ.

Start POTATOES in moist soil, then leave them until they show. Too much water may rot the tubers. Earlies require lots of water in their shorter lives. You can begin to dig when the flowers open, or use a trowel to check the size first.

Maincrop should be watered in a drought, but don’t flood them on a regular basis, especially in our normal wet summers.

PEAS & BEANS require lots of water once they are beginning to swell after flowering (sweet peas included). Don’t let peas dry out and give French and Runner beans a soaking about every three days. Broad beans should hardly need watering at all until the pods set, then give them plenty.

CLIMBING PEAS & BEANS are best grown in a trench to facilitate watering, and if you are growing up canes in a ‘teepee’ scoop out the centre to hold the water. If leaves are turning yellow you are probably overdoing it and watering nutrients out of the soil.

Don’t let CARROT & PARSNIP seedlings dry out and shrivel, but once established water only in a drought and sparingly. Overwatering will dilute the flavour, and worse, split the roots longitudinally making them useless.

ONIONS & SHALLOTS do not require much watering. Do not water them in the last 3 weeks before harvesting.

LEEKS are thirstier – water them regularly if it is dry.

CELERY – difficult to overwater this, give it plenty or it will turn leathery.

LETTUCE require regular moderate watering; they may bolt if kept dry. Water the ground, not the leaves.

CELERIAC – water regularly but do not flood like celery.

BRASSICAS vary in their requirements. CAULIFLOWERS need the most water, don’t let them dry right out.

CABBAGE are less thirsty but water regularly. Treat SPRING HEADING BROCCOLI like cabbage, but increase the supply if spring is dry. BRUSSEL SPROUTS need even less water but you can increase the watering when sprouts are forming.

BEETROOT don’t require a lot of water but once a week is necessary or they will be dry and not sweet.

Do not allow OUTDOOR CUCUMBERS to dry right out. COURGETTES, MARROW, PUMPKIN & SQUASH like plenty of water but not wet feet, plant them on a low mound to help drainage; waterlogging will cause fruitlets to shrivel, too little water will encourage powdery mildew on the leaves. You have to get the balance right.

KALE & KHOL RABI– water when young but they will get by on very little water after that.

SWEETCORN needs plenty of water once the male flowers at the top & the silk on the cobs (the female flowers) appear, but not much while they are growing up.

TOMATOES inside & out need regular watering, especially once fruit has formed. Lack of water is one cause of blossom end rot. After a dry spell (no water from you or God)) heavy watering will cause the fruit to split. Seriously avoid watering the leaves of tomatoes plants as latest research suggest the blight spoors develop in the moist leaves then spread blight through out the plant.

Established FRUIT TREES & BUSHES shouldn’t require any watering except in very dry conditions when the fruit is beginning to swell. Standard APPLES have deep roots, PEARS less so. If your trees are on dwarfing stocks they will have shallower roots – the smaller they are the smaller the roots. Newly planted fruit must be watered in dry conditions, even in Winter, for the first year. If you need to water trees, give each at least 5 gallons (22 litres) per week, pausing when puddling occurs.

Remember that too much water can cause as many problems as not enough. If you can get the right balance your crops will be better for it!

Finally, a few general points to remember please:

  • Hosepipes: As it says in the Society handbook, only hand-held hoses are allowed, eg. with a spray gun attachment. (No sprinkler systems please, or just letting  your hose run unattended. )
  • Try to save as much rainwater as possible, e.g with gutters on your shed or greenhouse, and water butts. If you need advice or help with installing a simple rain collecting system please ask a member of the committee.
  • Be considerate to your neighbouring plotholders – don’t hog the water tap!



Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday 22nd May

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held at the Model Engineering Club (same venue as last year) on Sunday 22nd May at 10.30am.  As  usual, Committee members and officers will be elected to serve for the next 12 months.  Nomination forms will be available at the Trading Hut from Sunday 8th May. The meeting Agenda will be posted on the gate and notice boards and on this this website.

Please make every effort to attend your AGM and let us know as soon as possible if there are any topics or issues that you would like to have included on the agenda, by emailing us at or by using the contact form on this site.