Monthly Tasks April

Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information ( This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.

Overview: As the soil is starting to warm it should be safe to sow seed directly in the soil. Pick a warm still day to do the job. Give the seed bed a final gentle raking to create a fine tilth. A good method can be to draw out the drills with a short stick because it allows better control of keeping a constant depth to avoid some seed being sown too deeply which could result in taking the germinating seedling longer to reach the surface or worse not being able to make it to the surface.

Sow: With favourable weather it is a good time to sow early beetroot, carrots, broad beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radish, salsify, scorzonera, spinach, spring onions, turnips and whitloof chicory for forcing.

Some later cropping vegetables are better sown thinly in short rows on a separate seed nursery bed. They are later thinned to space them out and allowed to grow on before transplanting them to their final positions. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, calabrese, leeks.

Sow under protection in a greenhouse or cold frame: Outdoor tomatoes, pumpkins, squashes, courgettes, sweetcorn, outdoor ridge cucumbers, runner beans, dwarf and climbing French beans. Plant tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergine into their final position.

Plant: Complete the planting of onion sets and the second early and main crop potatoes. Transplant any early sown lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, celeriac, peas, broad beans, beetroot and spinach.

General: Set up the bean poles in preparation for transplanting the climbing French and runner beans. Be prepared to cover up any emerging shoots of potatoes if a frost is forecast. Organise peasticks or netting to support peas.

Harvest: Sprouting Broccoli, lettuce/salad leaves, leeks, spinach and cabbage.

Pests and Diseases: There may be aphids and whitefly under glass and the first signs of aphids appearing on the allotment especially in the more sheltered and warm areas of the site. A good indicator of aphids is an increase in ant activity climbing up affected plants.


Monthly Tasks March

Monthly Tasks

Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information ( This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.


Overview:We are hopefully on the way to Spring and the new gardening season. The days are beginning to lengthen and although it may not feel like it at times the temperatures are slowly increasing day by day. more importantly the longer days are a trigger to new growth and you will find that with the help of a little protection you can really go for those early sowings. They may not all make it but it is still worth a try and you will still have plenty of time to re-sow any misses. Your best friend this month is the weather man. Try to keep up to date with the local forecasts, better still ask the advice of gardeners around you who have years of experience to draw on.

Rather than focus a great burst of energy over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month, better results will be obtained by planning your work load throughout the month according to the weather and the time you have available.

Sowing and planting: Plant our early cultivars of potatoes and follow on planting at regular intervals with the second earlies and first maincrops until the end of the month. Don’t be tempt to plant out more potatoes than you can protect from any frosty weather further down the line.

Transplant any early peas, broad beans, cabbages or lettuce you may have started off earlier.

Sow the seed of Brussels sprouts, summer cabbage, broccoli, onions and leeks in short rows on a “nursery seed bed.” These will be grown on to be transplanted in April.

Sow in rows in the open ground seeds of round seeded spinach, Swiss chard, early types of beetroot, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, spring onions, peas, broad beans and turnips.

Plant out onion sets, shallots and garlic before they start to produce shoots. Those that have shoots are likely to bolt during the summer.

If you can offer the protection of a greenhouse or polytunnel sow the seed of celery, celeriac, french beans (they are hardy enough to be transplanted out before the runners), cauliflowers to transplant on the open soil next month.

General: Complete any unfinished digging and winter pruning. Clear the old leaves off strawberry plants and clean up the ground between the plants. Keep some fleece handy to protect the developing strawberry flowers from frost. Any frost damaged flowers are easily identified by the tell tale “black eye” at the centre of the dead flower.

When the weather conditions allow it, complete the preparations of seed beds for direct sowing. Spred the job out over several days to allow the surface of the soil to dry out.

Monthly Tasks February

Monthly Tasks

Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information ( This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.


Overview: Early signs of Spring appear this month. The soil begins to warm up around mid-February and we can see buds beginning to swell on fruit trees and bushes. Overwintering vegetables start to show signs of life again producing new growth. These are signals that it is now safe to think about sowing a row of early, peas and broad beans using a hardy cultivar.

Sowing and Planting

After the middle of the month it is safe to think about the sowing the seeds of some early vegetables. When the soil is suitable to enable a seed bed to be prepared early sowings can be tried for early types of lettuce, possibly cut and come again could be best for cuttable leaves. Spring onions ‘White Lisbon’.

In a greenhouse or windowsill early sowings can be made of a range of crops to include, Lettuce, oriental leaves, Leeks, Tomatoes, Sweet & Chilli Peppers.

February is also a good month to plant out garlic & Shallots. Prepare the bed first as a seed bed and plant using a trowel rather than pushing into the soil which can cause damage. Plant just below the surface about 5cms (2 inches) deep.


Apply a mulch around fruit trees and soft fruit bushes.

Check over fruit trees and bushes for damage and disease problems and take appropriate action.

Complete any outstanding Winter pruning of fruit trees and bushes.

Cover the soil with cloches or sheets of plastic to warm it up in readiness for the next batch of sowing and planting. Don’t overdo it. Little and often is the best plan over the coming weeks.

Check over chatting potatoes and begin to rub off any eyes that are unwanted leaving 3 or 4 well spaced shoots. Keep some fleece or newspapers ready to cover over during clear frosty nights to avoid possible damage at this stage.

Keep checking the condition of any produce in store it will begin to wake up after its winter dormancy and start to regrow.

Monthly Tasks – January

Monthly Tasks

Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information ( This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.


Overview: January is probably the coldest period of the Winter and coming on top of the floods and heavy rains from December onwards. It is well worth taking the time to look over the allotment and prioritise the jobs for the month. Top of the list has to be to clean up the plot and dispose of all the damaged and rotten crops. Check all framework structures and whether new materials will be required for next years frames for beans etc.

It is an excellent time of the year to make a plan of where you will be putting crops for this season and considering how this fits in to your rotation system. Make a note too of any seed shortfall that you have in readiness for your next visit to a Garden Centre. Seed Catalogues can be obtained from Phil if you still want to put an order in to Kings.

Harvesting: Brussels sprouts, cabbages, leeks and parsnips if they are still sound. Check on any of your vegetables and fruit in store and discard any that have gone mouldy or rotten.

Sowing and planting: Patience is the watchword. The days are still too short and cold to even think of sowing seed outdoors or in the open. A few sowings of onions, lettuce, peas, broad beans, radish and early carrots can be made under protection towards the end of the month. January sun can push up temperatures so some ventilation may be needed.

Monthly Tasks

Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information ( This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.




January is probably the coldest period of the winter and coming on top of the floods and heavy rains of just before Christmas it is well worth taking the time to look over the allotment and prioritise the jobs for the month. Top of the list has to be clean up the plot and dispose of all of the damaged and rotten crops. Don’t worry too much about soil preparations for now just concentrate on clearing the way for a February blitz; weather permitting of course. Most of the overwintering vegetables will have suffered under the wet conditions make a list, visit the site shed or garden centres and get in what replacement seeds or bulbs you will need for your immediate needs.


Brussels sprouts, cabbages, leeks and parsnips, if they haven’t been damaged by flood water. Check on any vegetables in store and discard any that have gone mouldy or rotten.

Sowing and planting

Patience is the watchword. The days are still too short and cold even think of sowing seeds either outdoors or in the open. A few sowings of onions, lettuce, peas, broad beans, radish and early carrots can be made under protection towards the end of the month. The January sun can push temperatures quite high so give a little air to the transplanted lettuce plants on warm days closing down early in the afternoon.


Protect overwintering vegetables under cloches or fleece. don’t forget to ventilate and allow plenty of fresh air to get in on sunny days. Under the protection winter sunshine temperatures can get as high as on a hot summer’s day.

Pack some straw or fleece around celery to protect it from any damaging frosts but remove it on sunny days to let the plants breathe.

Draw the soil up around the stalks of cabbages and winter cauliflowers to just under the first set of leaves. Check over Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli and support them with a strong stake to prevent them from being blown over in high winds.

Take advantage of days when the soil is frozen hard to barrow and stack manure and compost close to where it will be dug in later on. Don’t walk on the soil as it begins to thaw it will be wet and sticky.

If you have any plants or seedlings ticking over in a cold greenhouse cover them with several layers of newspaper on frosty nights but remove it on warm days.


Dig up rhubarb roots and divide them leaving the sections on the surface of the soil for a few days to let them be frosted prior to forcing. Cover any crowns in the soil that have been set aside for forcing with an upturned bucket or flower pot and cover the drainage holes to shut out the light. With luck you will be harvesting pale pink sticks by late February.

Check on any fruit and vegetables in store and remove any that are diseased or soft.

Towards the end of the month when the weather and soil conditions allow plant out soft fruit bushes. Spray all fruit trees and bushes with a garlic winter wash on a fine day; do not spray in frosty conditions. It won’t hurt to hold the job over to next month.

Seed potatoes will available from the end of the month. Order your seed potatoes and collect seed trays or wooden tomato trays ready to chit them in. On days when you can’t work on the plot clean the shed, greenhouse, tools and linseed oil any wooden handles. Check that the watering can and buckets don’t leak and that the wheelbarrow doesn’t have a flat wheel.

Contact & Applying for a plot

To apply for a plot at Elder Stubbs – There are currently about 40 people on our waiting list. The Covid virus has given impetus to people realising the benefits of having an allotment plot! Please refer to details lower down the page.

Estate Manager: Phil Creme  Telephone: 07944 417289

E-mail: (Your message will get through to Phil)

Address: Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments – Rymers Lane, Oxford OX4 3JZ

Location: The main entrance is opposite Florence Park and is indicated by the red marker which also leads to the Restore buildings. The usual meeting point is along the main path by the Restore buildings.

Location and Plan of the allotment site.

Please click on plan or map to enlarge.

Applying for a plot at Elder Stubbs

Our waiting list – As noted above there are now about 40 people on our list. During normal times we would anticipate a turnover of approximately 10 plots per year. Most become available around the time when rental payments are due at the end of March.

The next person on the list as a plot becomes available is contacted and a visit can then be arranged to see if what we have is suitable. Ideally you will be living or working within a mile or so of Elder Stubbs.

Cost: Small plots are currently charged at £14.50 per year (Up to about 130 square meters). Larger plots are charged at 11.2 pence per square meter. There is a reduction of 25% for people on benefits or in receipt of a pension. A additional charge of £5 is made for late payments in April.

Maintenance Charge: We hope that all tenants will contribute at least 3 hours per year to help keep the site looking good in which case there is no charge. When rental is paid for the year either there is a commitment to helping with allotment site work or there is a charge of £10 to contribute towards site improvements. For more details please look at the site maintenance and volunteering page.

Realistic expectations of what is involved is key to becoming a successful allotmenteer who enjoys the experience and is not overwhelmed by the work!

Plot sizes: These vary from a standard plot of approximately 10 pole (250 square yards), there are also some larger ones as well as half and quarter plots too.

Already experienced: Having had a previous plot you will be aware of the level of work required to manage a plot. It is worth noting though that the soil at Elder Stubbs is on the heavy side so more work will be required than on a plot with lighter soils.

Taking on a plot for the first time: Welcome! If you are able to spare at least a few hours every week and are happy to get stuck in with managing your soil and controlling the weeds regularly then there is no reason why you can’t make a success of your plot.

You will find many of your neighbours are happy to pass on advice if you are apprehensive about starting as a novice and there are many good books, as well as internet sources that are available too.

Starting small is a good idea. You can always put in for a larger plot once you feel confident about having managed a smaller one.

How to start: Please E-mail Phil Creme at to confirm that you are prepared to wait for what is likely to be at least 3 years for a plot when you are added to our waiting list. We will need contact details – Name, address, E-mail and telephone (preferably mobile).

Elder Stubbs Festival & Vegetable Show

Saturday 17th August 2019 starting at 12 noon

Entry – Adults £3, Unwaged £2 and under 12’s free.

Parking: This will be challenging near the site late morning onwards.

Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments: The allotments are located opposite Florence Park on Rymers Lane. It is a community site providing approximately 100 plots of variable sizes to local people. 2 local charities are also supported – Restore and The Porch who work with and support some of the more vulnerable members of our community.

Vegetable Show: This will be open to include growers with allotment plots in the Oxford area. It will be great to share our growing passion with fellow allotment enthusiasts. The Festival usually attracts around 3000 people from our local community and our display helps to showcase positive aspects of what can be produced on allotments. Details about entries are in the attached category list below.

The Elder Stubbs Vegetable Show 2018



The Vegetable Show will be in our event marquee which can be found on the lawn area in front of the Restore buildings.

Elder Stubbs Festival: An excellent family friendly occasion with many local people attending and in the past there have been lots of stalls selling interesting items, community groups advocating for causes which they enthusiastically support, a number of groups and musicians performing on 2 stages, face painting, raptor displays, multicultural food, circus acts, face painting, swing boats etc. What is described does vary from year to year depending on the availability of stall holders and artists wanting to take part.

This Festival is organised by Restore and they work hard to convey what their charitable work promotes in supporting members of our community who are recovering from mental illness and to reduce the associated stigma.



Appointment of Assistant Estate Manager: We are very pleased to inform you that Mr. Edmund Faria has been appointed for this position. He will be familiar to many of you, particularly those of you who have a plot in Oxford Field as a fellow plot holder.

Elder Stubbs Festival and Vegetable Show – Saturday 19th August
A date to note in your diary!

For those of you interested in booking a stall or offering your assistance with the setting up of the Festival you will need to contact Restore 01865 747176.

Elder Stubbs Allotment Tenants – be a part of the action and help us to present a great Vegetable Show. It is a good challenge to select some of your best vegetables, flowers and home made preserves to display and compete in the show. Winning is always good, but taking part is the more important.



Site maintenance and Volunteer Group

Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments is quite a large site with an area of approximately 5 hectares (12 acres) which includes a wide range of habitat areas.

Volunteers make a huge contribution in helping to maintain the site. Details about volunteering can be found at the bottom of the page.

To ensure that the site is developing well and looking good there are aspects that require regular attention. These include:

The main and perimeter grass paths and lawn areas: There are about 1 kilometre of paths that require cutting during the growing season every 1 -2 weeks. We are very fortunate that members of Steppin’ Stones assist with quite a lot of this work. The rest of the main paths on the Cowley side of the site is cut using a ride on mower which also cuts a few of the larger lawn areas.

Hedges: There are about 650 meters of hedge which provide a welcome home to our local bird population. These are cut along the roadside before the festival in August and on the inside during the winter. Occasionally it is also necessary to reduce the height of the hedge to ensure that it remains manageable. Volunteers assist with ensuring that the hedge receives sufficient light and any encroaching trees and shrubs are cut back.

Woodland areas and trees: The woodland occupies about 1 acre of the site. We engage the services of tree surgeons to cut back and pollard some of our larger trees that require attention. Routinely as the woodland matures it is necessary to thin the trees. Small trees that can be cut using hand tools – pole saws and pruning saws are undertaken throughout the winter and is a task that volunteers are involved with.

Heritage Orchard: This is located on Oxford Field (Bhandari Close side of site). The apple trees are of an interesting range of varieties including some of the more unusual – Count Pendu Plat, Keswick Codlin, Pittmaston Pineapple, Lord Derby as well as the more well known Bramleys, James Grieve, Worcester Pearmain and Egremont Russet. Volunteers  enjoy participating in this worthwhile but demanding task.

Pond: This is located on the main, Cowley side of Elder Stubbs. It presents a positive contribution to our habitat range encouraging many vertebrates and invertebrates to benefit, including frogs, toads, dragonflies and numerous insect species. The ponds water level fluctuates during the year replenishing during Winter and early Spring and falling during the Summer and Autumn. It would appear to follow water table levels which falls when the woodland is in leaf and the trees taking up large volumes of water. Annual maintenance requires the trees to be maintained around the pond as well as reducing pond weed when necessary.

Osier bed: This is located on Oxford Field (Bhandari Close side of site). This needs to be cut from time to time to encourage new growth. Cut willow has been used to make various willow structures around the site.

Wildflower meadow: This is located on Oxford Field (Bhandari Close side of site). Another of our beneficial habitat areas which annually has a population of about 3-400 Fritillary blooms.

Elder Stubbs Volunteer Sessions: These take place normally on a Tuesday and Friday mornings from 9.30 – 1 pm with volunteers offering what time they have available. Their contribution is of enormous benefit in making the site look good and enhancing its environmental potential.

New volunteers are welcome to participate: Please contact Phil Creme to find out more details.

You are also welcome be included in the Volunteer Session bulletins which are E-mailed on a weekly basis outlining the main areas of work which we will be attending to.

Calendar of Events


Volunteer Weekend sessions: 18 & 19th March 10am – 1pm

Additional weekend sessions will be noted in due course.

Rental collection at Elder Stubbs: 18 & 19th March 10-11am

Elder Stubbs Festival and Vegetable Show: Saturday 19th August 2017 Starting at 12 Noon.

Tenants Open Meeting: Tuesday 12th September 7pm