Contact Details

Chairman: TBA 

Secretary: Mandy Baxter, 51 Armstrong Close, Wilstead, tel 01234 742699

email: mandarina_25@hotmail.com

Treasurer: Deryk Ville, 10 Luton Road, Wilstead, tel 01234 816765

email: wilstead.treasurer@gmail.com

Parish Clerk: Lizzie Barnicoat. Tel. 743152

Wilshamstead Allotments: Brief History

The present site is the last to survive in the Parish. Previous sites were near the Bedford Road “loop” and at Littleworth.

During the Twentieth Century the existing allotments lost land to what is now the Jubilee Field and to the Bowls Club.

The allotment ground was purchased by the Parish Council for allotment use in the 1920s.

Starting from the entrance nearest to Bedford Road the Lines of plots are numbered 1-10.

Within each line plots are lettered A, B, C, etc. depending on how many plots are currently in each line.

Plots vary in size [and can be varied in future] to give tenants opportunities to choose a plot suited to their needs.

There are two plots which do not fit the “Line” scheme. Plot 11 is at the Jubilee Field end of Lines 8 - 10 and Plot 12 is next to the Bowls Club at the Churchyard end.

Wilshamstead Allotment Society

W.A.S. was begun in 1998, the inaugural meeting being attended by John Farmer, the National President of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.

The A.G.M. is held in September or October.

The Committee meets several times a year to deal with matters of the day and to plan improvements to the site and services to members.

A copy of W.A.S. rules is to be found in this publication..

Annual subscription to W.A.S. is £5 which £2.50 is for the National Society. Subscriptions are payable to the Treasurer each October.

What We Do

We defend the allotment site from the effects of development and keep abreast of planning which could affect the site.

Unused plots are treated against weeds which spoil the plots and are a nuisance to neighbouring plot holders.

Plots for new members can be cultivated when first let, if in poor condition.  Subscriptions should be paid in advance of this work.

We work with the Parish Council in the interests of the allotments.

We have agreed with the Parish Council a rent free period for plots in need of extra effort.

Through NSALG and Kings’ Seeds we run a successful and worthwhile seed scheme. Savings from this can more than pay for the cost of your subscription.

Cultivators maintained by the Society are available at very low rates for the use of members, at their own risk and after consulting the handbook (in Society Shed) and referring to Tony Squire.

We have extended the water supply to make it more accessible from all plots.

                                Members co-operate to cut the grass and maintain


The main tap has been “landscaped” and a Society notice board has been erected.

A Society shed has been provided with facilities for members.

The A.G.M. is held every October or in early November.

The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners

Wilshamstead Allotment Society is affiliated to the NSLAG. Its advice and legal backing could be crucial and we take an active part in its business. Under its umbrella we are represented at quarterly meetings of the Beds. Bucks. And Herts. Gardening Council which in turn keeps us in touch with events in the Eastern Region.  This is also a forum for the exchange of information on current issues and it enables us to help promote the allotment movement.

Gardening Advice

We stick here with what will be helpful to new gardeners and plot holders in Wilshamstead, as general gardening advice is already plentiful. We include material prepared by the NSALG.

The Soil

Our soil is heavy clay which can be muddy and sticky when wet. When dry it can bake hard and become deeply cracked. In either condition it can be difficult to work.

Advantages are that the soil retains moisture and any fertilisers much better than lighter soils and there are things you can do to improve matters further:-

1. Digging the ground over in the autumn and leaving a rough surface allows the rain and frost to break down the soil. In theory you can then hoe or rake it into a tilth for seed sowing in spring.

2. The addition of manure and compost helps [gradually] to improve soil texture. A “manure” crop such as mustard can be grown after summer crops and dug in during the Autumn.

  1. 3.Where greens are to be grown a dressing of lime can help break down the surface of the soil if applied in February or March.

Clearing an Overgrown Plot

Rotovating an overgrown plot will make a weed problem worse.  Persistent weeds such as couch grass, docks, nettles, and bindweed will be chopped up and spread.

A non-residual weed killer such as “Roundup” should be used, taking care to follow the product instructions.  This should kill roots as well as top growth.  Dig or rotovate when the weed killer has taken full effect.

Covering weeds with material such as black polythene or thick cardboard, will keep out the light and kill weeds.  Recent advice is that carpet should not be used as chemical residues may be left in the soil.

This method can be unsightly and coverings should be removed as soon as possible.


You will need a spade, fork and hoe at a bare minimum.  A rake and a hand trowel will be more than useful, and so will a watering can.

If you are a beginner you will find a selection of tools to borrow from the Society’s shed.  Please clean and return tools after each use.

Your agreement with the Parish Council says you need the consent of the Council before erecting any building on your plot: this includes a tool shed.

Crop Rotation

Growing related crops together makes sense because they need similar soil treatment.

Moving them to a different part of the garden year by year makes the best use of nutrients in the soil and helps prevent the build up of pests and diseases in the soil.

A three year rotation:A four year rotation:

Year1Cabbage family         Potatoes

Year 2Peas/beans/onions  Peas/beans

Year 3Potatoes/roots  Cabbage family

Year 4                 Onions/roots

Choosing Crops

Grow what you like.  Have a crop for every season so there is always something fresh.  You can have excellent winter crops of leeks, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, Savoys etc.

You can choose crops with disease resistance or crops which will grow to differing sizes.

Space out sowings of some crops to avoid a glut and to get a continuous supply from the same packet of seeds.

To help with these aspects read your seed catalogue for plant information.  We issue Kings’ catalogue each October.

Why Compost?

Less household waste going to landfill.

Compost conditions soil and supplies plant food.

Save money spent on commercial composts.

Not using peat based compost helps preserve peat bogs and wildlife habitats.

What to Compost?

  YES                        NO

Garden waste (grass cuttings,        Cooked food, meat, fish,

clippings, prunings, old plants).                bread.

Uncooked kitchen waste: fruit and        Dog and cat waste.

veg. peelings, tea leaves, egg shells.Nappies.

Young weeds; sawdust; wood ash.        Glass, plastic, metal,

Autumn leaves in small amounts.        Paper with coloured ink.   

Bedding from vegetarian pets.               Diseased plants; coal ash.

Composting Tips

Use two bins side by side: fresher waste rots in one whilst usable compost can be taken from the other.

Adding nitrogen aids rotting but you can use sulphate of ammonia or “Growmore” more cheaply than named products.

If the heap is soggy and smelly mix in more tough dry material.

Dig in to improve soil structure: clay soil will be easier to work.

Use as a mulch round shrubs or bushes.

A Guide to Bonfires

Avoid lighting fires in unsuitable weather conditions.  Smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days. Wind can spread fire easily in dry conditions.

Avoid burning when air quality is officially “poor” or worse.

Try to burn only dry material.

Compost instead if possible.

Avoid burning at weekends and Bank Holidays when neighbours are more likely to be in their gardens.

Never burn anything with rubber, plastic, foam, or paint.

Do not use old engine oil, meths or petrol to start or encourage a fire.

Do not leave the fire unattended.

                                              Check for hibernating hedgehogs before

                                               lighting a heap that has been in place for

                                               some time.

“To be considered a nuisance the bonfire would have to be a regular problem interfering 

with the well-being, comfort, or enjoyment of a neighbour’s property.  Occasional bonfires are unlikely to be considered a nuisance” -- NSLAG Advice.

The Environmental Health office believes a single bonfire can be a nuisance.


Please refer to our separate publication on water use.  The water is there to use, otherwise we will lose our crops in some seasons.  Please do not waste water either through overuse or ineffective watering.  Remember that water costs are passed on to us all in our rents.

Rules of Wilshamstead Allotment Society

1. The name of the association shall be the Wilshamstead Allotment         Society.

2. The objects of the Society shall be:-

A. to promote the interests of all members in the gardening activities and to take joint action for the benefit of members.

B. to conduct negotiations with the local authority and private landlords for the use of gardening land.

C. to take action to protect members against damage, trespass and theft.

D. to obtain a supply of seeds, fertilisers, tools and other horticultural equipment on behalf of members.

D. to arrange lectures, film shows, demonstrations, competitions and other social events.

E. to co-operate with other gardening associations in matters of mutual interest.

3. Membership shall consist of such persons whose applications are approved by the Committee.

4. Subscriptions: Every member shall pay on entry into the Society an annual subscription of £4, renewable in October each year.  This subscription includes the annual subscription payable to NSLAG Ltd.

5. Arrears: any member who is 3 months in arrears with his subscription shall be held to have ceased to be a member, unless explanation in writing is given to the Committee of extenuating circumstances.

6. Officers: the officers of the Society shall be a Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer.  They shall be elected at each Annual General Meeting.  Retiring officers shall be eligible for re-election.  They shall be members of the Committee.

7. Committee:  the affairs of the Society shall be conducted by a Committee of Management of not less than 3 members.  The Committee shall retire at the AGM but shall be eligible for re-election.  Casual vacancies shall be filled by the Committee and members so appointed shall hold office until the next AGM.  A quorum shall be 2 members.

8. General Meetings: the AGM shall be held at such time as the Committee or an AGM shall decide.  Six members shall form a quorum.  At the meeting the audited accounts and the Secretary’s report shall be submitted and the officers/committee for the following year be elected.

Special General Meetings shall be called upon the requisition in writing to the Secretary of at least 10 members.

No party political or sectarian discussions shall be raised or resolutions proposed at either Committee or General meetings.

9. Bank Account:  the Committee shall open a bank account in the name of the Society and all monies received from any source on behalf of the Society shall be paid into such account.  Cheques shall be signed by 2 out of 3 signatories.

10. Auditor:  an auditor shall be appointed who is not a member of the Committee to audit the accounts and report thereon to the AGM.

11. Membership:  The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd. shall be applied for and it shall be a condition of membership to agree to pay such annual affiliation contributions as may from time to time be prescribed.

Published by John Bramall for Wilshamstead Allotment Society, 62 Whitworth Way, Wilstead.