Frequently Asked Questions
If you can't find an answer to your question email us at email@example.com
When is the Peabody Gate open?
The gate at the top of the site is opened for access for all members on the 1st and 2nd Saturday and the 3rd Thursday of each month between 10:00 and 12:00. Members should schedule deliveries of large items or bulk orders of compost and topsoil during these times. If it is essential for a member to gain access through the gate at other times this must be agreed with the Site Officer and an administration fee of £10 will be charged, Contact the Site Officer via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss, giving at least one week notice.
When does manure get delivered?
We get manure from several sources, but the main supply comes from the King’s horses who are stabled in Central London during the winter months. The manure is delivered when available, we don’t control the deliveries or get any warning.
A WhatsApp group has been set up to allow members to alert others when they see that manure has been delivered. Manure will be taken as soon as it arrives so you need to come to the site as soon as possible once you hear it has been delivered. Plotholders are requested to restrict themselves to no more than 2 wheelbarrows full or one tonne bag load to allow others to benefit from a delivery.
Occasionally there are deliveries of rotted mulch / leafmould from Buckingham Palace gardens, again plotholders should limit what they take to help others to benefit.
Do we know if the manure is free of contamination?
Some of our members have raised concerns about possible chemical contamination in the manure delivered to RAA. The following is a summary of answers from the Royal Mews in reply to our questions:
1) Please list the brand/names of current wormer products administered to horses stabled at the Royal Mews, with active ingredients if possible
They do worm their horses normally twice a year with Equest Pramox - the active substance is called moxidectin. From their research this is considered significantly less toxic than the avermectin group of products which includes ivermectin
2) Are antibiotics used?
They do use a selection of antibiotics for different reasons.
3) Are growth hormones used?
No growth hormones are used
4) Are steroids used?
Steroids are very rarely used.
We currently have no information on the manure delivered to us by Landor Rd stables regarding their use of these products.
Aminopyralid/Clopyralid weedkiller contamination
Sadly this issue has been experienced by some plotholders at RAA during the past 10 years. It has been found in some horse manure and black mulch deliveries from the Royal Mews but may also be present in any commercial composts containing council green waste or rotted horse/cow manures.
We're afraid that although our manure providers are aware of the issue they cannot 100% guarantee that their supply chain of hay and straw is aminopyralid free. Last year several bioassay tests carried out on suspect samples (manure and black mulch from the Royal Mews) confirmed the presence of aminopyralid.
If you are concerned about possible toxic residues in manure, we suggest that you read more on the subject which should help you to make a more informed decision about using horse manure as a soil amendment.
When does woodchip get delivered?
Woodchip is a seasonal delivery, deposited by various local tree surgeons in heaps next to the manure dump by the Peabody Gate. There is no warning of deliveries, but they often happen towards the end of the working day.
Woodchip should not be put on the paths in between plots as it kills the grass which is part of the structure of the paths. If you have problems with slippery paths, please contact the Site Officer email@example.com for advice and assistance.
How can I make best use of water in dry weather?
Two important things to consider when watering are: how to prioritize which plants need the most water, and how to make the water you give them go the furthest.
If you've got a lot of plants in your patch and a shortage of time and/or water then knowing how to prioritize which plants you water is a really useful thing. Here are a few tips:
Plants in pots (especially unglazed ones) are very prone to drying out so do water these if you can
Salad greens tend to be shallow-rooted so can't access water deeper in the soil; these will be some of the first to suffer water stress, and may bolt if they get too dry
Newly planted/sown seedlings have not had a chance to grow deep roots so do water these
Do have a dig around in your soil a few inches below the surface, you may find that there is more moisture than you thought down there.
Using water efficiently
Always water the soil at the base of the plant, not the plant itself
Make a small crater around the base of your plants before watering so that the water is channelled straight down rather than running off away from the roots
Ideally water in the evening so that the water has time to soak into the soil while it's cooler; however if your plants are desperate for water, then give them water, no matter what time of day
Water less frequently but more abundantly to encourage deep root growth
Mulching your plants with hay or straw is great way of holding moisture in the soil as it reduces water evaporation. If you use mulch it can be good idea to pull it away from the plant before watering, otherwise there is a danger that the mulch will soak up the water before it can get to the plant roots.
Source: Vital Plants
Can I hire a strimmer?
Strimmer hire has restarted, every Saturday morning from 6 August until 28 October 2023 between 10am and 1pm. (Last booking around 12pm. Strimmers to be returned by 1pm)
Where: The old committee hut/site workshop opposite the bike racks at Rosendale Rd entrance
How: On a first come, first serve basis for the rest of this year.
Cost: £10 per hour for 1 strimmer (battery powered) plus 2 batteries. Cash only.
Currently we have three strimmers and so can only offer 6 one-hour hire slots on Saturdays as long as we can get the batteries recharged.
To expand the scheme further, we would need more volunteers to help run the service at other times/days. Please contact info.rosendaleallotments@btconnect if you would like to volunteer. (If you have already volunteered to do strimmer hire earlier in the year, please get back and let us know if you would still like to do so)
What are the parking arrangements near the allotments
New controlled parking rules are being implemented on Rosendale Road and Lovelace Road from 2nd October 2023. There are new loading bays with 30 minute restrictions by the Upper and Lower Lovelace gates (no return within 2 hours), and all other parking bays are Parking Permit only or Pay by Phone between 12 noon and 2pm Monday to Friday (only 1 hour allowed).
It will no longer be possible to park in the bay outside the main gate, this has double yellow lines. Stores deliveries will still be possible with arrangement with Lambeth Council, but members will need to find a parking space to offload material and tools.
For up to date information on the implementation of the CPZ and Healthy Route see https://rosendalerd.commonplace.is
Can my friends and family help me look after my plot?
Informal sharers are welcome to assist you in maintaining your plot. You should ensure any children including teenagers under the age of 18 are supervised by an adult authorised by the plot holder to take responsibility for their presence on site, and such under 18s are not allowed to wander around the site or onto any other plots. In particular children should be supervised when near the water tanks which can be much deeper than the part showing above ground. Please keep the gate code confidential to as few people as possible.
Can I move between plots?
If you have been successfully maintaining a plot for some time you may be able to move to another plot if one becomes available. This may be because of changing personal circumstances, you may wish to downsize to a smaller plot (large to normal, normal to half plot) or move from a plot higher up the site to one lower down in a flatter area if you have mobility problems. Requests for moving plots should be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How often do I pay rent?
Rent taking runs between 1st and 22nd October each year. Several in-person sessions will be held to allow plotholders to pay by cheque or with cash. Our preferred method however is to accept bank transfers through BACS. Each year you will be contacted with details of how to pay, please ensure you keep your email details up to date by notifying the Membership team via email RAAMembership@gmail.com
If you don’t have an email address you may wish to give a relative’s contact details, or we will contact you by letter.
Non-payment of rent will ultimately lead to you losing your plot, so watch out for emails and notices on the site gates during September each year.
What is a "sharer"?
If your friend is helping you as a formal sharer, they will be able to take over the plot from you if you wish after 4 years as long as you have not failed any plot surveys for cultivation reasons. Contact the Admin Officer by email email@example.com for Sharer scheme details.
How can my friend get a plot?
The waiting list was open from October 2022 to August 2023. It is now closed so there is no option for your friend to join our waiting list.
How are plots allocated to the waiting list
When the waiting list opened we wanted to be sure everyone had an equal chance of getting an allotment not based on when they happened to see our posters, or the timing of our response to enquiries.
The waiting list is split into 4 sections based on the response to the question Access to outside space that was given on the application. The allocation is prioritised in this order:-
No outside space, Balcony, Small garden, Large garden.
While the waiting list was open, if a plot became available, the members of the group being considered were given a random number generated by the Excel / Google Sheets RAND() function. The group was then sorted by this random number and the applicant with the lowest number was selected. This number was recalculated every time a plot became available.
As the waiting list has exceeded 500 applicants, it is now closed. Random numbers have been allocated to the whole remaining waiting list, within Access to outside space groups. Once sorted, these numbers were then converted into a sequence number which is stored on the waiting list and can be shared with the applicant to give them their position on the waiting list. Newly available plots will be allocated from this sequence number with no further randomisation.
Can I jointly own a plot with my partner / husband?
Plots must be held by a single plotholder, the sharer scheme allows you to formally record your partner’s interest in the plot. Historically there are a small number of joint plotholders but this is no longer supported.
How many plots can I rent?
In the past where there was less demand for allotments, some of our plotholders took on multiple plots to ensure the site was well managed. With growing demand, we only allow a plotholder to rent one plot.
How often are plot surveys done?
The survey scheme has changed from Spring 2023, there will now be 3 surveys every year, each taking place over a 6 week period. Survey dates will be advertised on notices on gates and notice boards, in the newsletter, on Facebook and the website. Click here for the Autumn 2023 Survey Notice.
Plot surveys are done to ensure the site is kept cultivated in line with our lease with the Dulwich Estate. Surveyors also check for health and safety issues around plots and paths.
If your circumstances change and you feel unable to properly maintain your plot for health or other personal reasons, please inform the Membership team via email RAAMembership@gmail.com who will advise you on ways to keep your plot in shape.
How does the water tank system work?
Mains water is available from a system of water tanks distributed around the site. The water is switched on from 1st April to 31st October each year. As you take water from the tanks a ball valve opens to allow the tank to refill.
Some tanks have separate taps, this water is drinking water quality, water in the tanks will have been mixed with rainwater as it falls.
Hosepipes must not be connected to the mains water taps. You may attach hosepipes to water collected on your plot and stored by you.
If you notice water leaks from any water tanks please contact our Water Engineer by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our water hotline on 07510 091046.
How do I dispose of rubbish from my plot?
Plant waste should be composted. Click here for composting advice.
Metal-only waste can be put in the scrap metal area next to the manure dump at the Peabody Gate
Other rubbish can be put in the rubbish bin at the front of the site, but this has limited capacity so if possible please take your rubbish home to your own bins.
Other Recyclable items can be taken to council recycling centres
The nearest site for Lambeth residents is Lambeth Recycling Centre at Vale Street. See web links below for other centres
Can I sleep overnight on my plot
Our lease with The Dulwich Estate does not permit overnight stays on the Rosendale Allotments Site.
When are the Stores open?
The Stores are open to RAA members only, on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 10:30 and 12:30 from February to October each year (Sundays only in August).
What can I buy from the Stores?
Just about everything a plot holder might require: compost and manure (both loose and bagged), fertilisers, pest control, canes, netting, tools, vegetable, flower and herbs seeds, etc. In spring, you’ll find a range of seed potatoes and in spring and autumn we have onions sets, shallots and garlic.
We also sell veg and flowers grown from seed in the stores polytunnel or donated by plot holders.
Prices are kept at an economical level to benefit members.
How do I know what’s available in the Stores?
The RAA newsletter contains a link to the current Stock List and stores news is frequently posted on the RAA Facebook page. There’s also a link to the Stock List on the Stores compound gate.
Can I light a bonfire on my plot?
Bonfires are currently allowed from 1st November to 29 February (January 2024 update). This time frame is reviewed each year but is usually from November to end of January. Click here for full bonfire guidance.
Please restrict the number of bonfires you build.
Start fires after 10:00 when there is little wind, and always put out the fire before you leave.
Only burn dry material, and don’t burn plastic, MDF, any manufactured wood/glue based board, tyres or carpet.
Can I have a barbecue on site?
Barbecues are allowed unless extremely dry weather has made them unsafe. Notices will be placed on the gates if barbecues and other open flames are banned.
Can I hire the Community Building?
The building is available to hire for regular bookings and one-off events. We are always happy to have new community groups making the most of the space. Contact email@example.com to discuss your requirements.