SKGAS member puts on a blooming marvellous show

Congratulations to our own Ronkeyram Doal who has again made the local paper with his giant blooms.

The Benton Road member caught the attention of the news desk at the Ilford Recorder with his giant sunflowers that have grown to a height of 16 and a half feet.

Read the story at: https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/garden-celebrates-tallest-sunflowers-in-seven-kings-1-6228149

Also, check out his previous appearance in the Recorder in 2017: https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/seven-kings-gardener-celebrates-growing-huge-sunflower-in-charming-photoshoot-1-5193015

Thanks to the volunteer Benton Road clear up squad

Thank you to those volunteers who braved the hot muggy weather to load the skip at Benton Road.

The skip ws needed to remove rubbish that had been left on vacated plots or dumped over our perimeter fence. There was also some domestic rubish believed to have been dumped by our own members.

We now have a number of cameras around the site and members caught dumping rubbish will find themselves facing disciplinary action and quite probably a fine.

However, to the majority of our members, please keep doing what you can to minimise waste. Remember you are responsible for anything you bring on to the site.

So if you bring it on and use it, take it away when it is empty.

SKGAS Spring Plant and Seed Swap

SKGAS is holding a Spring Plant and Seed Swap on Sunday 19th May.
Anyone can come along – you don’t have to be a member – but please bring along any spare plants, seeds, magazines or books to share with others in our community.
Come to the Vicarage Lane South Trading Hut between 0930 and 1200 and maybe find something useful for yourself.
Refreshments will be available.

Blue slug pellet ban to come in this year

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Hedgehogs love slugs and we should do all we can to encourage them onto our sites.

At last night’s AGM, SKGAS members passed a motion to remove all blue slug pellets from our sites this summer, in preparation for a nationwide ban which comes into force in Spring 2020.

The ban, imposed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is on metaldehyde, a pesticide used to control slugs in a range of crops and in gardens.

The ban follows advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that metaldehyde poses an “unacceptable risk to birds and mammals”.

Alternative methods to combat slug damage include sowing seed deeper in the soil, but alternative slug treatments and pellets are available that do not pose the same risks to wildlife.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “I recognise that significant effort has been put into encouraging growers and gardeners to use this pesticide responsibly by the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group.

“However, the advice is clear that the risks to wildlife are simply too great – and we must all play our part in helping to protect the environment.

“I encourage companies and growers to look at the alternatives, such as ferric phosphate, which is authorised and does not carry similar risks.”

The date for the SKGAS ban will be set at the next committee meeting, but is likely to be some point after midsummer. This will allow members to use up any stock they already  have on site.

When the ban on our allotment sites comes into force, the blue metaldehyde slug pellets must neither be used nor stored on SKGAS sites.

We urge our members not to buy any more of these dangerous products. An alternative to blue slug pellets will be available from the trading hut. They will also be widely available from DIY stores and garden centres.

The largest of these companies have already started to remove metaldehyde products from their stores.

SKGAS bans weedkiller across all sites

weedkiller BANNEDAt last night’s AGM, Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society members passed a motion to ban the general use of weedkillers across all its sites.

The motion to ban was passed by a landslide, with only one member registering their opposition.

Effective immediately, members must not bring onto the site, store, nor make use of any form of weedkiller on SKGAS allotment sites.

Where there is a specific need for the use of a proprietary weedkiller – for instance to kill a tree stump – members must seek written permission from a ground steward.

The steward will assess the request and advise on the type of product that may be used.

No application of weedkiller should be made without the express written permission from a ground steward or the committee. The committee will take swift action against any members breaching this rule.

The ban was placed tabled in response to a small number of members who insist on using herbicides to control grass on their paths. This results in the paths becoming undermined and becoming dangerous for those using them.

Glyphosphate, the active herbicide in most of the weedkillers used by allotment gardeners is widely acknowledged as dangerous. In 2015, it was identified by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a human carcinogen.

This is why the committee has sought to limit its use across our sites in all but exceptional circumstances.

Though not banned in the UK or EU, it is believed as many as two thirds of the EU’s members would like to see it banned.

Many countries and metropolitan areas have already banned the use of glyphosphate.

No bonfires for the 2019 growing season

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Members must not light ANY bonfires throughout the 2019 growing season, ending 31 September 2019.

The committee took the decision to put the temporary ban in place in order to encourage greater use composting and to see how we manage without recourse to bonfires.

Members should contact their site stewards or members of the committee with any comments and suggestions.

Alternatively, use the form below to provide feedback on the temporary ban.

Benton Road rubbish mountain cleared

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The volunteers who cleared the huge pile of discarded rubbish. Thanks also to Peter Gulliver.

A Herculean effort was made on Friday 22 June to clear a huge mound of rubbish that had been recently let to new members.

A small group of volunteers spent 90 minutes filling a 12 yard skip with carpet, glass and other rubbish left on former members’ plots.

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The rubbish had to be cleared quickly as some careless members had piled the rubbish against a neighbour’s fence.

Aside from the time committed, this has cost your society several hundred pounds. This is money we would have preferred to have spent on replacing the lawnmower or rotavator.

Carpet is no longer permitted on growing surfacs, but please consider the items you bring onto the site. The huge yellow bag in the picture is full of drinks cans, plastic bottles and glass jars, which may all be recycled with your domestic waste.
If it cannot be composted, take it away, as the rules state that members who leave the society may be charged for clearing up any rubbish they leave behind.

Anyway, if you see these wonderful people, do thank them for clearing up this mess. It was a filthy job on one of the hottest days of the year and as usual conducted by a small rump of members.

While you may not have been available today, please don’t hesitate to let your stewards know that you can help. Alternatively, ask to join the What’s App list for your site and you will be notified when we are trying to put together a work party.

There are fringe benefits, too, as those on the app will be told when a delivery, such as wood chip, arrives.