Plotholder's Newsletter
September 21st 2020

As I mentioned last time, the plotholder's committee meetings have been suspended, probably until next year now. In order to keep everyone informed of what is going on, the officers (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) will issue monthly reports. Here is the latest info.
Chairman’s report September 2020
Well here we are again, writing our reports rather than having a face to face meeting. With the figures of the pandemic on the rise again and restrictions being bought in I felt it necessary that we do not have face to face meetings to keep everyone safe. With winter approaching I think we may have to do meetings this way until at least the new year.

I would like to welcome Judith to the committee. For those people who do not know Judith, she has the plot next to the gate at the top of the site on the left, please introduce yourself from a distance if you see her.

We have concluded what competitions we had this year, thank you to all that took part and well done to all the winners. Hopefully next year our full programme of competitions can continue

Health and safety - I have had a tour of the site and cannot see any issues, but as usual, if you see anything wrong, please report it to a committee member

AOB - Show

I would like to make a proposal regarding the show next year.

I am suggesting a relaunch to give the show more vigour and hopefully get more people involved.

I am proposing splitting the show into a flower and domestics show and a vegetable show. Flowers and domestics to held at the beginning of August (Sunday) and the vegetable show 3rd Sunday in August but dates are open for discussion.

My reasoning behind this. I feel the flowers do not get the status they deserve. Flower displays should offer the “wow” factor but, due to space, they are crammed in the conservatory or in the back room. Having a flower show (and domestics) on its own gives us more room and the chance to add more categories ie begonias from tubers.

This then leaves the vegetable show, again having more room will allow us to add new categories ie garlic, peppers.

Having already spoken to John his could be an opportunity to go through he show schedule and ditch categories that get very little interest and bring in new ones. I propose that between John, Allan and myself we spend the winter going through the schedule.

By splitting the show it give the exhibitors more time to concentrate on one thing which should raise the standard of the exhibit (no need to rush) and plot holders should be here for at least one of the shows as I know August is the main holiday month.

Most importantly it gives the club another day to open up in order to increase their takings at the bar, the clubhouse is an asset this allotment site has, that no other site in Sutton Coldfield has, and we need to look after it and ensure it stays open.

I know it will be difficult to debate this not being face to face but please either talk to me when at the plots or send your thought by email

This concludes my report



Secretary's Monthly Report September 2020
My report is a list taken from notes made during the preceding month. These notes are what I use as the basis of my report to the committee when we can get together. My notes are updated during the month as time progresses.
For instance. Tony Simmonds reported a problem with the ash tree at the back of his plot. Paul had helped him remove a large branch that had fallen during the high winds. Tony thought that the department responsible should have a look at it. They were contacted and promised to visit the site within 28 days. They came on Tuesday and agreed some work was necessary. He was a very helpful guy who has visited the site before. They are pencilled in to do the work in November. Lets hope things are OK till then. I took the opportunity to raise the question of the eucalyptus that grows alongside the drive from a neighbours garden. He advises that we contact the householder. It is getting out of hand.

Peter Cooke on Plot 41c Suggested that the raspberries needed their annual tidy up and said that if the person who was taking over would care to do this that he would be pleased. My first two attempts at filling the vacancy had failed so I went back to my list and asked James Bevan if he would like to take the plot.
He did and has done a brilliant job. The raspberries are done the plot has been cleared of weeds and some debris has been taken away. That is three new plotholders ready to take over next month. I have added another new name to our waiting list. This is the wife of our local postman!

Another full load of Jacks Magic and Clover has been ordered. I spoke with Paul and Jason and decided that this would be necessary going into bulb planting time and winter potting up. Hirons are currently out of stock of both of these products but we will have a delivery as soon as he gets some in.

Glass in the greenhouse on plot 7b has been smashed. This is the ‘ community ‘ plot and the glass is toughened safety glass. A brick end, similar to those in a neighbouring garden has been found inside the greenhouse. This situation is being dealt with by Gill who has an interest in this plot. Being a community plot progress has been put on hold due to to current circunstances.

Our trophies have been assigned to the conservatory! They are lying in two boxes on the floor!
When I found out about this I was horrified! I have taken the big trophy away for safe keeping. It contains a mass of Sutton Coldfield History. The trophy itself is dated 1937.
I recognise three names on it from our past.
Most recently and the last name on it Tut Simmonds. Tony Simmonds dad
Then there is Ken Bowskill and also Bill Watson. There may be more Hill Allotment people on the trophy but unfortunately only names appear.

I received a call from the president of the social club on Wednesday 9th. September drawing my attention to the fact that the front door of the Social Club had been found open.
I went straight down and checked our front door key in the maintenance shed. All was present and correct! The key was in its rightful place. Plot holders on site had not used the toilets that morning so the situation is unresolved. I am confident that our plotholders are not responsible.

The Social Club is slowly coming back to life.
Apparently the trial over the Bank holiday weekend worked and the doors were opened the following Friday and Saturday evenings and for lunchtime on Sunday.
Apart from Sunday Lunch there is nothing to attract the plot holders. We should give it some thought.

John Craggs has offered to reveal all to anyone who would like to know how to produce 72 lbs. of potatoes from 3 tubers. He has offered to do a talk to all who are interested.
He has also commented that the trophy has room for just one more entry. He asked what would happen to the trophy when it was full. He would be very happy to provide it with a good home.

Fence panels have now been ordered through Duncan, my neighbour . He lost 2 panels in the recent high winds so needs to replace these so it would be no trouble to get our four three foot panels plus six lengths of panel capping.

Sam Longlan, who is having the work done in Duncalf Drive, has now put the panels back near the store shed. He is moving on with the job so I contacted him about the damage to our road surface. He has arranged for it to be repaired when he has the drive done on his property. I wondered if these people should be approached for a quote to repair the dip in the drive near to the store shed. Well, they will be on site!

That, I think should be the end of my report. Thank goodness you say!!!

Treasurer’s Report September 2020

Main account £5,486.85
August shed sales £52.75 Year to date sales £1,557.57
Most of the compost that was recently purchased has been sold. We need to consider if we should get some more to tide us over the winter period.

Management account £2,048.31
We have finished spending money on the shed lighting system. The total outlay was £457.38. Most of this was payed last year - additional sums were spent this year for brackets, connectors relays etc.
The Management account is showing a surplus of £113.48 for the period from April 1st 2020 This year we spent £220 or so on the new padlocks and keys and £200 approx on water.

Rent collection
This is due to start from October 1st. I have not yet received the rent list from the Council. When I get it I will email all plotters informing them of what their rent is and the payment process options.
As in the previous year, but even more so this year, everyone will be requested to pay electronically if possible. Last year, almost half of the money was collected this way.
I assume that the lockdown rules allow me to sit in the club house for several hours collecting money from people who insist on paying by cash or cheque. I have received no guidance from the Council regarding this. For the time being I will assume that rent collection will go ahead as detailed in the planner on the website.

Mike Hubball

If you have any thoughts on the reports shown above please contact me or a committee member.

The last competition of the year is the (unofficial) heaviest pumpkin competition. The weigh-in is scheduled for October 25th. We may bring this forward a week or so if the weather turns frosty.