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Potato Day 2019

What a fantastic day…

Saturday saw one of our busiest Potato Days with queues out of the door (yes, in that weather!) and a packed hall once the doors were opened at 10am.

The first variety sold out in 14 minutes and another four were gone a few minutes later. Luckily there were lots more options for people to try, and again there was a lot of people trying growing potatoes for the first time.

Talks by potato expert Alan Romans and BBC Radio Leeds gardening expert Graham Porter were popular and well attended. As usual, the Wholegrain Café kept everybody well fed and watered throughout the day.

But if you missed it – don’t worry, there will be some leftovers for sale at Northcliffe Allotments Clubhouse in Shipley this Saturday the 16th, from 10 – 2pm. For more information contact

Organic varieties in capitals.  (EM) denotes early maincrop.
1st Earlies:
Belle de Fontenay (3kg)
2nd Earlies:
WCF: Divaa (7kg), Jazzy (6kg), Kestrel (1kg), Vivaldi (10kg).
BELMONDO (EM) (5kg), CAROLUS (EM)(3kg), DESIREE (EM) (1kg in poor condition), GOLDEN WONDER (4kg), ORLA (EM)(1kg).
Red Emmalie (EM)(1kg), Sarpo Blue Danube (10kg) (EM), Sarpo Kifli (EM)(2kg), Vales Sovereign (EM)(2kg), Violetta (6kg).

Potato Day a roaring success

Potato Day 2018 was a roaring success, with crowds once again queuing patiently well before the doors opening, and the first variety to sell out going in just 11 minutes.

Talks from Riverford Organics and Plate2Plate compost kept people entertained, the Wholegrain Café kept people topped up with food and drink, and Veg on the Edge swapped seeds all day long. Stalls from West Riding Organics, Palestinian Solidarity Oil and the Vegan Society provided plenty of things to look at and buy. Once again, there were a range of fruit trees and bushes for sale.

There was a good deal of interest from local media, with radio spots on BBC Radio Leeds and BCB community radio, together with a great article in the T&A.

Thanks to all the volunteers who either helped in the kitchen or sold spuds, by the end of the day we were nearly sold out. There are a few varieties left and if you’re still after some you can get hold of them on the 24th of February, 1-3pm at the club house on Northcliffe allotments. To get to the club house park at the Cliffe Gardens entrance to Northcliffe Woods (off Bradford Road), walk up the steep tarmac road and onto the muddy track, keep going for a couple of hundred yards and the club house is on the right, at the top of the bottom set of allotments, it has a ramp and lots of pots etc outside. If you get to a car park and NEET then you have gone too far so come back down the track.

Annual Show 2018 a great success

28th Annual Show: Size doesn’t always matter!

Terry Marshall present Mike Hurdiss with the trophy for Best Exhibit in Tomato Section

WYOG’s 28th Annual Fruit, Flower, Vegetable and Produce Show took place on Saturday September 9th in Shipley College’s Exhibition Hall, Saltaire. Over 500 entries were exhibited, and all (except, that is, the flower arrangement class) were judged on taste. So no matter what the item looked like, it was the taste that counted – as nature intended.

The Best in Show trophy demonstrates this approach perfectly. The winning item was a small pear, described by the judges as having ‘stunning flavour’. It was grown by Carol Stanley from Idle, and her two examples quickly disappeared when exhibits were available for tasting. Show registrar, Jane Robinson, was delighted: ‘We were especially pleased with Carol’s success as she is a newcomer to exhibiting in the Show, and she only entered 5 items – so she did really well!’

All entries were grown using organic methods, ie without chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers. The annual Show is a testament to the huge variety of delicious crops that can be cultivated in this area with attention to good soil and appropriate conditions. Founder member of WYOG and expert tomato grower, Terry Marshall, was on hand during the day to offer tastes of his many different varieties of tomato, and to provide guidance and tips on organic growing.

Over 80 classes were available for growers new and old to enter, with everything from flowers to attract butterflies or bees, to culinary seeds, chutneys, cakes and alcoholic drinks, as well as fruit and vegetables. There were also special classes for children and young people.

It is thought that this is the longest-running show in the UK which judges on taste.

Terry Marshall presented the trophies:-

  • Best exhibit in vegetables – Marion Pencavel for lemon sorrel leaves
  • Best exhibit in tomatoes – Mike Hurdiss for a beefsteak tomato
  • Best exhibit in fruit – Carol Stanley for a pear
  • Best exhibit in children’s classes – Leighton for his animal figure made of vegetables
  • Best exhibit in bread – Northcliffe Environmental Enterprises Team for their potato and sage bread
  • Best in produce – St Matthew’s Primary School, Allerton (Bradford) for their loganberry jam
  • Best exhibit in alcoholic drink – Paul Marshall for his vodka
  • Best stall was John Brookes’ vegetable and fruit stall
  • Best exhibit in show – Carol Stanley for a pear

So congratulations to everyone who entered – whether you won or not, you helped demonstrate the fantastic range or fruit, flowers and vegetables that can be grown in this area. And, finally, well done to all those who helped organise the event or volunteered on the day. We look forward to 2018!

WYOG’s next event will be Potato Day, where over 40 varieties of seed potato will be on sale for growers. This will take place on Saturday 10 February 2018.

Bright future for bees?

a bee on a flowerElectronics weekly has a fascinating article on how shining 670nm red light on bees could ameliorate damage caused by neonicotinoid insecticides, according to University College London and the University City, University of London.

“The researchers found that when shining a specific wavelength of red light (670nm) it significantly reduced bee death rates and improved cell energy levels, mobility and visual function in animals exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides such as Imidacloprid which are widely used in agriculture worldwide,” said the universities.

Biodynamics, Revitalizing our Earth, one Garden at a time Conference 2016 at Garden Organic!

Gardeners  are the natural stewards and protectors of our Earth, and how we garden has never been so important.
Biodynamic gardening methods provides a much needed catalyst for regeneration, which revitalizes soils, nurtures bees, provide safe havens for wildlife,  and keep our precious bio-diversity alive.

The aim of biodynamics is to maximize the inherent vitality of our soils and gardens through its use of herbal compost and spray preparations, by harnessing the subtle cosmic forces of nature, building natural resilience with open pollinated seed, and by creating a garden full of harmonious life, which becomes self-sustaining .

Want to discover more?
Packed with hands on practical advice,  workshops and captivating lectures, our conference  devotes itself to biodynamic approach to gardening, and how to take your organic gardening to a new level of holistic health.

Book your ticket here.
Look forward to seeing you in Sept!  – Warm wishes – Jessica Standing (BDA Office UK)


Call for help!

I am doing the Good Food Advice Stall for Bradford Community Environment Project’s Gardening for Health programme (my work) on Thurs 26 March, 11am – 1pm.  The stall is in Oastler Market, Bradford City Centre.  I did have a helper coming who would have been able to sell WYOG left-over seed spuds from Potato Day, but she is no longer available.  Can anyone help out?  It’s not too onerous a task, and is usually quite jolly (I do it once a month – though we don’t usually sell potatoes!).  All you need to do is be there, I will bring the potatoes etc.   If you can help, contact me at my work –, tel 01274 223236.

Jane Robinson