Transition Horsham Community Allotment 2014

January 2014

The New Year started well with the offer of some of the old pavers from the West Street refurbishment, some of us barrowed these down to the allotment and we will use them to edge beds and lay down paths. The high winds and the rain after Christmas damaged the greenhouse, one corner has been bent and the glass broken but at this point in time we think we can mend it.

Allotment 22On Saturday the 18th January we were very pleased to have a visit from Pete the Pond. As a very experienced Pond warden with his own business in pond work we had asked Pete for his advice on our pond, an ephemeral one which appears in winter and dries up in summer. Of course the allotment is at the bottom of a hill with a ditch draining the site nearby, so perhaps it is not surprising that it can get quite wet. On Saturday the pond was particularly full and Pete inspired us to develop it as a proper wildlife habitat.

We will widen and deepen it, puddle the existing clay up the sides to prevent it drying out so quickly, and plant it with native water loving plants like water mint. We were advised to provide stones or slabs, and piles of logs so amphibians can hide, and introduce water snails to begin with. Pete also suggested we keep a log of what we find and identify so that we have an environmental record of the allotment.

March 2014

Saturday afternoon, 1st March and the first of this year’s working parties on the allotment. A bright sunny day that felt like spring but the soil was still pretty sodden. There were four, and then five of us so we set about the tasks we fancied doing. Adam widened and deepened the pond, heavy work particularly with the water logged clay at the bottom and sides of the pond. Valerie and Alison weeded in-between the patio slabs and also the herb bed, while Maggie put up some hooks in the shed to tidy up the tools. Kristina then joined us to help with the weeding.

The wormery has survived a bit of neglect and the storms of winter, so that the compost they are making looks terrific, good old worms. We were very grateful to the Chair of Chesworth Allotments, Brian, and his 'men' who, without asking, mended our battered greenhouse and secured it to a base. Adam will now be able to get some polycarbonate panes to repair the broken glass and get it functional for spring. Laying paths with the old West Street pavers will be one of the main jobs coming up, in addition to sowing vegetables ready for planting out. As the afternoon drew on Alison made mugs of tea for us and we went away happy with produce of purple sprouting broccoli, spinach and some lovely early rhubarb. A good start to the allotment year.

June 2014

Due to busy lives we have not updated progress on the community allotment for a while, but progress is certainly being made through our fortnightly working parties. We were delighted that another young woman, Rebecca, has joined us who has had experience working on a community allotment in Brighton before moving to Horsham.

Helen continues the hard work to dig out a major access path through the site, which is to be laid with weed suppressant, sand and the Horsham West Street pavers. We were worried about the cost and delivery of sand but have had a generous offer from Rudridge, the Horsham based civil engineering and groundwork company, to supply us with sand and bark so with luck and hard work the path will be complete for our annual BBQ on July 31st.

Pete the Pond made another visit and helped us out with a pond liner, plants and his expertise. The pond has been kept topped up by recent rains so there are lots of water boatmen, visiting butterflies, expanding plants and single bees finding holes in the clay sides to nest in.

Water Butt The greenhouse is up and running after the storms of winter, and we spent the last of our Southern Water grant on waterbutts for the greenhouse which will help enormously with the task to watering the tomatoes that Adam planted the other day.

The fruit beds took a lot of weeding in Spring, and Alison and Rebecca bravely took on this task so they now look very promising with apples, pears, raspberries and strawberries all coming on well. Valerie grew courgettes and beans for us and these have been planted out with potatoes and brassica, with Adam on slug watch.

The community allotment site has expanded slightly with our taking on another half allotment at the end of our existing patch. We now have another greenhouse and small shed which need refurbishment but we are sure will be useful.

Last Saturday, 7th June, we had a stall in the Simply Gardening event in the Forum organised by our friends Horsham in Bloom. The idea was for us to advertise the Community Allotment and find a few more people who wanted to grow veg but were a bit unsure, or not wanting a whole allotment. There was some interest from people that did not know we were there, and many leaflets taken so it was a good day despite the monsoon like rain in the morning.

August 2014

In preparation for the summer BBQ on Thursday 31st July we picked beans, carrots, potatoes and courgettes from the allotment and made a variety of salads as well as carrot cake (Adam's speciality) courgette and ginger cake and courgette and chocolate muffins. We also tidied up the site and resurrected the old metal BBQ, promising ourselves that we should make a more permanent BBQ over the winter with the bricks we have.


The weather stayed dry and warm so it was an ideal evening for the event. Alan made his famous veggie kebabs and everyone brought their own BBQ food, from salmon steaks to veggie burgers. Maggie produced some elderflower cordial, made from elder flowers picked from hedgerows surrounding the allotment site, which with sparkling water was delicious.

We had fewer other allotment holders attending this year, but just as many interested people as last year, perhaps more, some of whom went home with bags of allotment produce. We managed to clear up just before the light faded completely; feeling satisfied that it had been a lovely evening, and one that will become a regular feature of the summer for us.

2PathLayingr.jpgOn Friday 8th August, late afternoon, we had a delivery of 8 tonnes of sand, wooden path edging and pegs, plus two rolls of weed suppressant all supplied by our friends at Rudridge. We began to shift the sand from the allotment gate down to the community allotment site and then the team of 7 volunteers began again on Saturday morning to continue shifting the sand, spreading it on the path on top of the weed suppressant. 9PathLayingr.jpgThen came the job of putting in the wooden sides, drilling and fixing, levelling and compacting the sand, and then placing the pavers on top before whacking down again.

A long, exhausting and careful job, but the result is excellent as you can see in the photos. There is more to do, and any volunteers more than welcome next Saturday afternoon. In the meantime many thanks to Trevor Rogers who did a sterling job in both expertise and endless energy, Helen of course who kept us all up to speed, Trevor and Alison Marshall, Adam, Valerie, Maggie and a new volunteer Justin, who gave all or some of their time

October 2014

Saturday, 18th October, was our last official working party of the year. During the week Helen had taken delivery of wooden planks, the gift of Rudridge, in order to build some raised beds. We had hoped to begin making these beds on Saturday but several things conspired against us. There were only four of us, Helen, Valerie, Alison and myself, Maggie, and none of us were in possession of a battery operated screwdriver. And then there was the rain, although it did pass. However, we measured up and planned where the two beds would go, had a cup of tea, and thought about it some more.

Once the rain had subsided we began to clear the site of piles of bricks and stack them neatly out of the way to be used later for paths and edging. We finished, reasonably pleased to have prepared the area for the beds. Although the official working parties have now ended we will get together again fairly soon to build the raised beds, and invite Rudridge to see what we have done with their generous support. We left, taking with us some lovely ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse, kale, potatoes and the one remaining Bramley apple still clinging to the tree.

We have had enquiries about joining the community allotment from two people keen to become involved but with limited time due to family commitments and shift work. We were delighted — this is no problem, and would encourage any others out there to get in touch — we can try and work around any difficulties.

December 2014 - a celebration

This will be the last update of the year and it ends on a high with a celebration by local building materials company Rudridge who have provided our community allotment with pavers and wood so that we could improve access onto and through the site.

RudridgeCelebration141205i5.jpgThe celebration took place at the Community Allotment on Friday 6th December when John Chesson, Branch Manager for Rudridge Horsham and Darren Price, Rudridge Business Development Manager, and two media professionals came to the allotment armed with a bottle of bubbly and cameras. We provided the cake. It was chilly but a glimmer of sun helped the photos as we showed off the new path and two raised beds, to much appreciation. Three other allotment holders from Chesworth came along to join in the celebration, have a chat and make new friends. Hopefully a piece will be in the County Times this coming week, and our relationship with Rudridge will go from strength to strength.

We are delighted to report that we received £494 from the Waitrose Green Token Scheme so very many thanks to those who voted for us when they shopped. The first priority will be to get glass, or similar material, to refurbish the second greenhouse in the New Year.

Seedy Saturday will be on Saturday, 21st February 2015 at Horsham Friend’s Meeting House from 10.00am until 4.00pm. Put it in your diaries now and bring along your collected seed to swap or pick up for a donation.

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Main path Pond 1PathLayingr.jpg 3PathLayingr.jpg 5PathLayingr.jpg 6PathLayingr.jpg 7PathLayingr.jpg Work Party 1.jpg Work Party 3.jpg WorkParty14101805.jpg RudridgeCelebration141205i8s.jpg RudridgeCelebration141205i9s.jpg