Chair’s letter 2019

I’d like to begin by welcoming the new plot holders who have joined us since last September and hope they are enjoying their plots. Also a warm welcome to Lisa Burrage who has joined the PACA Committee following our AGM in 2018.

After a cold and dry winter and spring early sown seeds again got off to a slow start. But blossoms were good in the early spring, which should result in abundant fruit harvests this year. Already strawberries have been doing well with good crops. After spells of dry weather we’ve also had heavy rain at times in May and June, which has got the growing season back on track. The recent spell of warm dry weather now looks set to continue with good growth for all vegetables.

Unfortunately this season we’ve had three incidents of fires being started on the site and tenant’s sheds being burnt out. The fire brigade attended on all three occasions to put out the fires quickly and thanks to their efforts more damage to the site has been avoided. Please don’t keep valuable tools in your sheds as the site isn’t secure. Also importantly don’t keep flammable items in your sheds such as paraffin, petrol and calor gas canisters as they can cause a lot of damage when ignited. The fire brigade have warned that we are being targeted by vandals who may return unless they are caught or grow tired of starting the fires, so please be vigilant and keep an eye out for any unusual activity on the site.

The working party of volunteers continues to clear unused and vacant plots, prior to reletting them. In the autumn of 2018 the working party also planted hedging whips of hawthorn, black thorn and hazel along the northern boundary. A discretionary grant of £1,000 we received from Pitshanger Community Association last year was put towards the cost of the project. The whips are now starting to establish themselves following further work to clear goose grass and resurgent blackberry plants growing around them. A big vote of thanks to Charles Vaughan Jones and Patrick McMahon for organising the work, and to Antonio Rumori, Maggie Simpson, Robert Reynolds, Kathy Clutterbuck, Brian Field, Alison Mitchell, Hatsue Bardi and many others who’ve all participated in the working party activities. The site communal paths are also now being kept cut by Charles Vaughan Jones and Tom Lafferty. This all helps to foster the community spirit on the site.

In a further project we had an asbestos containing material (acm) survey carried out in March and have removed all the visible acm’s from the site. Thanks to everyone for cooperating with the work on and around their plots. In total we’ve spent around £5,000 on this, which we believe is money well spent.

Some housekeeping matters; firstly please can plot holders refrain from accumulating unnecessary items on their plots as PACA have to pay for their removal! Also a reminder that during the summer months from 1 May to 31 August bonfires are only allowed after 7pm. Please also cut back bushes on your plot if they overhang the site road, as recently cars have been scratched by overhanging brambles whilst driving along the road. If they aren’t cut back then we will have them trimmed.

We’ve had one event again so far this season; a ‘Seedling Swap’ on Sunday 12th May, thanks to Monica Booth and Edith Rambure Lambert, who organised it and provided coffee, tea and delicious cakes. The site produce show and a picnic (weather permitting) will be held again on Sunday 18th August. Details of the show categories will be posted on our noticeboard and copies of those and the rules will be in the trading hut. Thanks to Paul Hamill and Tanya White for agreeing to help organise it. Please enter your produce in the show; we had a very successful, well supported show last year and let’s see if we can do even better this year!

Just a reminder that we currently hold contact details for all our tenants. To comply with the Data Protection Regulations, the spreadsheet on which they are held is password protected and only accessible to PACA Officers. The details are used by PACA for Association business only and never passed to any third party. If you wish us not to hold your phone or email details let us know and we can remove them. However we still need to have your address so we can contact you when necessary. 

Our website at is still being kept going by Stefan Jasinski, but if anyone else can take on keeping it up to date please let us know. We’d be very grateful for your help. If you want to get in touch with us please note our contact email address remains Special thanks to Robert Reynolds and all those who have helped him in the trading hut again this year. Please support the trading hut by buying your seeds, tools and garden products there. If we don’t use the hut then Robert won’t be able to keep it going. And thanks again to Maggie Simpson and her team of ‘weedathugs’ for keeping Sheila’s garden and the area around the toilet tidy and weed free.