Working party

We are going to hold our first (and last!) working party of the year on Saturday December 4th to give our communal areas a good clear-out and trim before winter sets in in earnest.

And as Christmas is coming we’ll add a festive note to the activities – do wear your Christmas jumpers and hats to keep you warm.

Meet at the Trading Hut at 1.00pm, bring gloves, secateurs and other useful hand tools with you.

Refreshments will be provided for workers – we may even run to some mulled wine –

For the benefit of new members, we have traditionally managed the upkeep of the communal areas on-site mainly by holding around 10 working parties a year, although Covid has meant that we haven’t held formally arranged working parties during the pandemic. There’s always a good convivial atmosphere, usually a couple of hours work followed by drinks and a snack for our workers and the satisfaction that the site has been restored to good order. We won’t ask you to tackle anything you can’t manage and there will be plenty of people around to help.

As an incentive, working party attendance will earn you a credit, two of which will give you a small reduction on your annual plot rent come renewal time in October.

Bonfire dates 2021-2022

The following dates were agreed as bonfire days at the Woodhouse Allotments AGM held in September. They follow the pattern of the first Saturday + the first Sunday of each month until the end of March, but avoiding Christmas and New Year weekends.

The days are as follows and no bonfires may be held at other times.

•             Saturday October 2nd

•             Sunday October 31st

•             Saturday November 6th

•             Sunday November 28th

•             Saturday December 4th

•             Sunday December 19th

•             Saturday January 8th

•             Sunday January 30th

•             Saturday February 5th

•             Sunday February 27th

•             Saturday March 5th

•             Sunday March 27th

Please follow good bonfire practice every time you have a bonfire.

Bonfire code of practice


•             If you have been building your bonfire for some time, check that animals have not taken shelter under it before lighting.

•             Consider wind direction and the way the smoke will drift once lit.

•             Build it in an open area away from sheds, greenhouses and other flammable items.

•             Have a hose pipe or water supply ready should it get out of control to dampen it down or extinguish the flames.

•             Keep the bonfire small.


•             Leave children and small pets unattended or near a lit fire.

•             Build a bonfire close to your shed, or next to a fence.

•             Put things on a bonfire that will cause smoke, explode or cause toxic pollution.

•             Leave a bonfire unattended.

ALWAYS stand at a safe distance from the bonfire once it is lit.

Summer social and competition – results

The sun shone on the summer Social and Produce Competition on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to get together and indulge in allotment chat and, of course, the delicious food supplied by all. Graham Clark’s apple scrattler, producing freshly pressed apple juice, was kept running in high demand all afternoon.

For the record, the results of the competition are as follows. Thanks to all our entrants – some particularly beautiful baskets and produce displays this year.

  • Tallest sunflower – David and Sonja Bleecker – 3.07m
  • Heaviest onion – Paul Young – 260g
  • Heaviest tomato – Paul Young – 400g
  • Heaviest potato – Paul Young – 500g
  • Heaviest beetroot – Michael Evans – 1.34kg
  • Heaviest courgette/marrow – Paul Young – 4.28kg
  • Longest runner bean – Christina Erskine – 37.5cm
  • Best plot sign – Genevieve and Adrian Guthrie – ‘Route 66’
  • Best 5 of any produce – Andy Duncan and Corinne Stannard – courgettes
  • Basket of 5 different varieties – Zeynep Karadag
  • Most unusual veg – Lucinda Vinnicombe – samphire

AGM 2021

The Annual General Meeting for 2021 will be held on Saturday September 4th starting at 3.00pm – please see the on-site noticeboards for details.

Documents for the AGM – the agenda and committee reports – can be found in the Members’ Area on this site.

Before the AGM begins, we have asked Pest Assassin to give a talk on controlling vermin on allotment sites – this will start at 1.15pm.

Oak processionary moth – update

We are very glad to report that Bartlett’s Tree Experts removed the oak processionary moth (OPM) nests from the affected oak trees on site yesterday. There were 17 nests in total, most of them in the large oak tree on the south side which overhangs our site.

Although the existing nests have been removed, there is clearly oak processionary moth in our area and we will need to be vigilant and to have the oak trees on site regularly monitored from now on.

I should imagine everyone knows what an OPM caterpillar looks like by now, but just in case, if you see a cluster of caterpillars looking like the ones below on an oak tree on site, do please notify a member of the committee with the location.

There are other, very hairy, caterpillars that you might find on fruit and vegetables. OPM caterpillars tend to stick to oak trees and to be found en masse as in the picture. Worth checking, though.

We also have the option to ask the Forestry Commission to authorise spraying our oak trees in spring with a preventative bacterial control, as part of their programme to contain the spread of OPM. This would be at no additional cost to the allotment society.

Trading Hut open again

You may already have spotted the Hut now has a smart new noticeboard and postbox – the first of many improvements to the facilities and running of our shop.

We also now have our first stock in for 2021 of potatoes, spring-sowing alliums, compost, manure and seeds.

For the duration of the current COVID lockdown, the Trading Hut will not open at its traditional times; however, it will be open from 12 midday to 1.00pm on Sundays for you to collect any orders you have previously made. Order forms are available from the Trading Hut door.

Either post your order into the letter box on the Trading Hut door or email it to us. Prices for all items are posted on the new noticeboard outside the Trading Hut; prices for potatoes, onions, compost and manure are posted below as well.

Bonfire update for Jan-Mar 2021

Bonfires will be allowed on the following dates:

Saturday January 2nd and Sunday January 3rd

Saturday January 30th and Sunday January 31st

Saturday February 27th and Sunday February 28th

Saturday March 27th and Sunday March 28th

Please follow good practice when holding a bonfire – it really isn’t a question of burning everything on your plot as quickly as possible:

A good bonfire can be built using the wood in your pile to create a small teepee-shaped fire well away from any trees or structures.

Bonfires should be used for woody waste – anything leafy should be composted. Material for the bonfire should be as dry as possible before burning – wet stuff produces thick smoke. Please take care not to burn any plastics or anything other than wood. Anything non-compostable and not suitable for burning should be taken to the recycling centre at Summers Lane, which has now reopened on a book-in-advance basis.

All normal bonfire precautions should be taken, such as:

  • Checking before you light that no hedgehogs or other wildlife are living in the wood pile
  • Adding waste gradually to the fire and not allowing it to grow too big
  • Burning dry waste only – do not burn wet wood as this creates choking smoke
  • Not using petrol or any other kind of accelerant
  • Not leaving the fire unattended at any time
  • Ensuring that the fire is extinguished before you leave the site.

Bonfire update

During the pandemic, Woodhouse Allotments has suspended rules allowing bonfires on our site.

We now propose to allow our members to light bonfires from Thursday October 29th to Sunday November 1st, and then again on Saturday November 7th and 8th. This is to enable our members to dispose of the considerable amount of woody waste that cannot be easily composted or taken to the Recycling Centre that has bult up since February this year.

Our lease with Barnet Council allows bonfires between October and the end of March; however, out of recognition that many of our neighbours in roads surrounding the allotment site are now spending more at home than normal, and that we now have a primary school as a close neighbour, we banned all wood fires during March and from the beginning of October this year.

We have chosen this time to relax the ban to coincide with half-term and also the weekends either side of Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes night, when one might reasonably expect bonfires to be lit elsewhere, including in our neighbours’ own gardens.

Important: updates re coronavirus

March 26th, 2020

Updated instructions for visiting the allotment during the coronavirus outbreak

Dos and Don’ts

  1. The allotments are OPEN.
  2. Be careful when opening and closing the main allotment gates:
    1. Wear gloves to unlock the padlock.
    2. If possible, disinfect the gate and padlock before and after you use it.
    3. Use hand gel if you have it.
  3. The only people you may bring with you to the allotment site are other members of your household.
  4. Social distancing: keep a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else at the allotment site.
  5. Do not loiter on paths or the roadway.
  6. If you or anyone that you live with is showing symptoms of coronavirus, DO NOT come to the allotments. STAY AWAY until you have completed your isolation period.
  7. If you see anyone not abiding by these guidelines, please contact a committee member.

The instructions above are for your own safety and also to protect those more vulnerable than you from infection.

General information

  1. The Trading Hut will remain closed until further notice. We will be continuing with our order and delivery service while stocks last.
  2. No further deliveries are currently scheduled.
  3. The water will stay OFF. The water tanks will be filled and topped up on a weekly basis. Members should collect rainwater on their plots where they can.
  4. Working parties between now and the end of May are cancelled.
  5. The plot inspections scheduled for April 4th-5th will be postponed.
  6. We will continue to carry out Health & Safety inspections on an ad hoc basis and we will get in touch if anything on your plot needs to be fixed or repaired.

There is further information on the noticeboards around the allotment site. Please read them and make sure you are familiar with all the guidelines re coronavirus.