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Allotments Association

Nearly Christmas and in fact, Bernard’s just lit a fire, an activity that goes really well with my sitting with my favourite seed catalogues. At the allotment association, we have a good relationship with Kings Seeds so, if there’s anything you would like, let us know via the containers or and we will add your shopping list to our order if we can.

This month is really about tidying up. If you have a greenhouse or

polytunnel, you need to give the inside and out a good clean, including all the staging. Also, wash your pots, seed trays etc. and stack them away neatly. This keeps pests and diseases at bay and allows as much light as possible to reach any plants you are still growing. Obviously if you haven’t already cleared away any tomato, pepper, chilli etc. plants, clear and compost them before you clean. At Grow and Learn we’ve been clearing and tidying our brassica

beds. A good deal of our Brussels sprouts “blew”. That means that the sprouts themselves looked like little flowers rather than nice firm sprouts. The main cause of this is that the plants weren’t firmed in sufficiently when we planted them out. All brassicas need to be firmly planted into already firm soil. Some people walk slowly up and down their brassica bed a couple of times before planting and then firm each individual plant with the heel (hence the term “heeling in” for this task). For cabbages and cauliflowers, if you don’t do this, you don’t get a nice tight head. Any tall brassicas you are leaving over winter, such as sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli etc. would benefit from being tied to stakes. This will help prevent them being blown about in any winter high winds which will result in less root rock and help your sprouts to remain tight over winter. If you still have any carrots or parsnips in the ground, or unusual

things such as celeriac, you can leave them and harvest as you need them. On the other hand, if you do this they might get frozen or snowed in and they are more susceptible to attacks from pests. If you lift them, you can store them in crates lined with dry sharp sand or compost. Put a layer of sand/compost in the bottom of the crate, put a layer of the root vegetables in next, then a layer of the sand or compost, then more vegetables, finishing with a layer of your chosen medium. Keep in a dark, dry, frost free garage or shed. You can still sow seeds this month. It’s traditional to sow onions

for eating and for showing on Boxing Day. You need to keep them heated though, at about 15oC on a windowsill or in a propagator. You can also continue to sow salad leaves and, if you fancy something different, you could try sprouting seeds and micro greens. If you have some old seed packets of herbs, greens, salad leaves, radishes, peas, it’s a good way of using them up and getting some high quality restaurant mini vegetables. I’m not sure how to do sprouting seeds as I’ve never tried so, if you find out and give it a go, please let me know. With micro greens you sow the seeds and snip them when the first true leaves appear or very shortly afterwards so, you need lots. You eat them with your salads. Remember that, for your foodie Christmas presents, the Farmers’

Market will be on 10th December. We will be doing soup again (see the other article on page 32) and will have a stall full of good things, as will other stall holders. If you have any spare vegetables, please bring them to our containers between 10.00 and 11.30am on Sunday, 4th December for us to use to make the soup or, see us on the day and we’ll sell your surpluses to raise money for our skips. Also, a lot of people around Saltburn have expressed an interest in

learning more about bees, keeping them, understanding them, attracting them etc. Because of this we have organised a Bee Aware training course. We had to postpone it recently because a lot of interest didn’t translate into people signing up. We will run it in the New Year and, if you’d like to have more information, contact me and I’ll keep you up to date. Merry Christmas to everyone, Sue.


Saltburn Rotary Club

We have chosen a very deserving cause to receive a Christmas present this year from the Rotary Club of Saltburn, using funds donated to us by the wonderfully generous people of Saltburn and the rest of East Cleveland. We are providing some children’s outdoor

play equipment for the Women’s Refuge in Redcar. We approached the refuge, which opened in 1991 at a secret location in the town, with a wish to bring a little joy into the lives of youngsters whose mothers seek to escape from violence in all its forms. Julie Relph, a senior officer at the refuge,

gave a talk to us at one of our November meetings, which increased our wishes to want to do something for the children. The refuge takes care of families from

Penzance to East Cleveland and beyond. One frightening statistic is that quite often women have been assaulted up to 35 times before they seek help. The money for the equipment, around £400, was raised last year by our Christmas Chocolate Tombola, and supporting the refuge was the choice of our then president Peter Holbert. This year’s Chocolate Tombola will be held at

the Saltburn Community Centre on Saturday, December 17th, and many of the prizes will be examples of the skills of our friends at the town’s chocolatiers, Chocolinis. There will also be a visit by Father Christmas and his elf in his grotto. Before then on December 5th the club takes

part in the second round of the Rotary District Quiz against Hartlepool Rotary at The Grand Hotel, Hartlepool. Some members observed that winning the first round was more of an achievement than a year’s fundraising. Our recent Bob Dylan Night raised almost

£1,000, and Past President Mike Sellars who organised it with Rotarian Martin Nesbitt said: “We could have sold the tickets twice over. The artistes did a terrific job, and rehearsed for months on end.” We owe thanks again to our friends at

Saltburn Health Foods shop for their magnificent work in selling tickets for our events. We were also pleased to be able to help Talk

of The Town editor Ian Tyas in his piano marathon and raffle to raise funds for the magazine. The club has agreed to pay £700 to the

Emmanuel Church Hall Fund as part of the £1,000 we pledged last year, and we congratulate the church on the fine building which will be an asset to Saltburn. The club also took part in the town’s

Remembrance Day service and wreath-laying at the war memorial. Our president the Reverend Bruce Harrison said: “For us 2011 has been another year when we have been privileged to have the support of the people of Saltburn and East Cleveland in helping others at home and in disaster zones around the world.”

We shall be staging Carols around the

Christmas Tree in front of Saltburn Theatre at 7.00pm on Sunday, December 18th, and last year’s event in the snow was like a scene from a Christmas card.

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