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Cambridge Allotments Newsletter No. 19 - 3rd December 1999

bulletCambridge Allotments 2000 grant approved
bulletPlots ploughed at Trumpington Allotments
bulletLast Chance to Help at Farmers' Market Stall in 1999
bullet82 MPs sign up for allotments
bulletChannel 4's 'Fork to Fork' programme
bulletForthcoming events


CCCAS made an application to the Sustainable City fund for a grant of almost 5000 for an allotments promotion campaign titled 'Cambridge Allotments 2000'. We are pleased to announce this grant has been approved in full. Although the funding is there, we are still relying on allotment holders across the city to contribute the skills and effort which will make this campaign a success. Many local societies and individuals are already working hard at promoting allotments, but this City-wide campaign under the banner "Cambridge Allotments 2000" will kick off in the spring. The four elements of the campaign are:

bulletLocal Plot Awareness Campaign - leaflet for distribution via Cambridge Weekly News is already planned, also we can fund posters and/or postcard adverts
bulletSupporting Plot Holders - booklet aimed at providing information to help new allotment holders keep their plots going.
bulletFunding for some group subscriptions to HDRA and one new site noticeboard.
bulletDisplays at Stalls and Fairs - we're already quite experienced at this sort of thing after doing the Farmers' Market and other events this year. Now there is funding for some decent display boards, and we intend to take a stall at Strawberry Fair as well as a display in the Central Library.
bulletBest Plot Competition - Funding to pay for advertising, some prizes and limited expenses for celebrity judges.
bulletA number of plot holders already offered to help with parts of this. Ed and Keith will produce leaflet designs. Tim, Helen, Louise and Vince have already offered to contribute articles for the booklet (please work towards completing these by mid-January). Anyone else who would like to get involved please contact Dave

The use of the full grant is detailed in our funding application at but there is some room for flexibility and we also have our own funds generated by the Farmers' Market stall. So if you have a good idea for local allotment promotion do speak up we may well be able to fund it!


Ten uncultivated allotment plots at the Trumpington site have now been cleared and ploughed by Cambridge City Council's contractor. Three of these are already let, one to a long-term plot holder who is recovering from illness and looking forward to getting back to gardening. The others will be marked out to include 4 half plots. They are expected to be harrowed in the spring timed with a leaflet drop to every home in the village, as part of Cambridge Allotments 2000. Hopefully more new tenants will come forward (Site vacancy is now down to 18%). Meanwhile, last weekend volunteers at Burnside allotments continued the clearance of bramble and rubbish, that had accumulated over many years, prior to ploughing (total of 10 plots). Similar efforts are currently underway at other sites in Cambridge in preparation for next year's allotment promotion campaign (probably the biggest the city has ever seen).


We had another good day at the market last Sunday. A potential new plot holder at Holbrook Road/Baldock Way came forward, we made contact with Girton Allotment Society and raised another 45 for allotments promotion, selling surplus Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, Potatoes, Leeks, Jerusalem Artichokes, Carrots, Beetroot, Turnips, Marrows, Pumpkins, Sorrel, Salad Mix, Mustard Greens, Choy Sum, January King Cabbages, Chinese Cabbage, Radishes and Japanese Burdock. Not bad for late November! Thanks to Dave, Mike, Louise, Vince, Cairo, Paul and Hannah for helping this week. Next Sunday, 5th December, will be the last chance to help at the market until we resume in the new year on Sunday January 16th. Please contact if you can help on either of these dates and/or have some surplus produce to donate. Situated on Market Square, Cambridge from 10:30am.


On May 11th 1999 the following 'Early Day Motion' on allotments (Number 631:Session 1998-99) was tabled in Parliament; "That this House recognises the health benefits of allotment gardening, welcomes the good work carried out in communities across the country by allotment gardening groups such as the Bolton Allotments Council; notes the value of allotment gardening in leisure provision, exercise, growing fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers whilst providing therapeutic health benefits; and calls upon the Government to overhaul allotments legislation and do all it can to protect allotment sites in the future especially in the interest of allotment holders."  A total of 82 MPs signed EDM631 by the end of the last Parliamentary session in November when all EDMs, tabled during that session, closed for further signatures. Early Day Motions are notices on any subject, inviting Members to add their signatures and thereby drawing attention to an issue. More on the website about EDMs;


TV gardening presenter Monty Don's has been illustrating his organic approach to gardening in the Channel 4 programme 'Fork to Fork' (Sundays at 7pm). The series features Monty and his wife Sarah hard at work in their Herefordshire garden, giving practical advice on tending crops from seed to harvest without the use of pesticides and herbicides ("down the organic route to a garden that celebrates rather than dominates nature"). Each programme naturally leads on to the preparation of delicious meals using the fresh produce. Even if you don't get to see the programme you can follows the series via the website This site has many details of getting started organically, making compost, controlling pests, recipes, resources, Monty's philosophy and more.


Sun. 5th Dec. Farmers' Market stall (see details above)

Wed. 8th Dec. Workshop called 'Are Planning Authorities Overlooking the Environmental Concerns of their Residents?' at Selwyn College. Details in Newsletter 17 or Tel: 0207 404 1030.

Also on the 8th - Pest Control for Organic Vegetables and Vegetable Variety

Trials Open Day at Ryton Organic Gardens, near Coventry. HDRA's annual event. Details;

TOPICAL TIPS - BLACKCURRANTS are easy to grow, great to eat during July-August and are particularly rich in Vitamin C (relevant to article about health in Newsletter 18). Autumn/early winter is a good time to prune established bushes to encourage the production of young strong shoots on which the heaviest fruiting will take place in time. Crop size will decline if bushes are neglected so it is commonly practice to remove about a third of the older stems (darker, thicker) each year, cutting them right down to ground level. Also remove any diseased or overcrowded stems. New stems will grow from the base and none on the bush will be more older than 3 years so that heavy fruiting is maintained. If you've just taken over a plot with old neglected bushes there is no better treatment than cutting everything down to ground level -sounds drastic, but these plants respond to heavy pruning! Good time to plant new bushes as well.

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