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Christmas Party!

at The Fourways Community Centre

 

We are celebrating the festive season with a party on Saturday 14th Dec from 4pm until 8pm.

All you growers plus your family and friends are invited. Please bring some drink and a pudding. Savouries will be provided. If you want to help with food and hall preparation from midday, you’ll be very welcome.

Note this party is NOT at the Bluebell Allotments!

The address is: The Fourways Community Centre, Stevenson Road, Norwich NR5 8TN. Tel: 01603 920147

Please ring or email food@grow-our-own.co.uk to let us know that you are coming and how many of you there are. Also let us know if you’re coming early to help.

Seeds and plants for next season

Food for thought …

Here’s a list of the seeds and plants we’ll be offering to all growers next season, to help you plan how you’ll be using your plot. All of these are reliable varieties, tried and tested – almost guaranteed to succeed.

Beans: climbing French, dwarf French, runners (scarlet and white); broad beans. Peas: traditional, mangetout and sugar snap. Cabbage family: purple and green sprouting broccoli, calabrese, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (autumn/winter and spring), Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, kale (three sorts, to take you through the winter months), kohl-rabi. Roots: beetroot, carrots (early and late sorts, to extend the season), parsnip, radish, turnip. Courgettes and winter squashes: courgettes (three sorts – green, yellow and stripey), Sprinter squash (butternut type). Onion family: garlic, onion sets (yellow and red), spring onions. Green/salad leaves: various lettuces, Swiss chard, oriental salads, pak choi. Other plants: sweet corn. Herbs: basil, coriander, parsley (traditional English moss curled and continental flat-leaf). Potatoes: a first early salad type (Charlotte); a maincrop for those who have the space (Lady Balfour). Flowers: a selection, including marigolds, nasturtium and cosmos.

For growers who fancy a challenge, we’ll also offer on request an assortment of additional plants and seeds, such as fennel, beans for drying and unusual types of squash (we’ll provide more details of these in the next few weeks). We’ll also offer small quantities of rare heritage seeds; we’ll ask you to save some of your crop from these varieties as seeds for our community seed bank – again, we’ll provide more details of these in the next few weeks.

The seeds and plants team will also be helping to look after fruit trees and soft fruit bushes for community cropping. More details to follow shortly.

If there’s a particular variety of vegetable that you’d like to try – or that you’d like us to trial on your behalf – do please give us your suggestions! Your ideas are important to us. And do let us know which varieties of vegetable have worked well for you.

Don’t forget to check out our demonstration beds near the greenhouse and polytunnel. The first one is planted up with kale varieties, all doing well. The second one contains garlic, onions, broad beans and some experimental peas – invisible at the moment, but fingers are crossed!

seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk

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Wishing everyone a productive New Year on your plots and hoping you can join us at the GO2 Centre at Bluebell Allotments for Food-share Sunday on 5th January 2014.

Christmas Party!

We are celebrating the festive season with a party on

Saturday 14th Dec from 4pm until 8pm.

All you growers plus your family and friends are invited. Please bring some drink and a pudding. Savouries will be provided. If you want to help with food and hall preparation from midday, you’ll be very welcome.

hollyberries

The address is: The Fourways Community Centre, Stevenson Road, Norwich NR5 8TN. Tel: 01603 920147

Please ring or drop us email food@grow-our-own.co.uk to let us know that you are coming and how many of you there are. Also let us know if you’re coming early to help.


Seasons Greetings from GO2 co-ordinators

We wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to a bounteous 2014.

Don’t forget to harvest produce from your plot at this time of the year.

Spinach, chard, kale, parsnips, Brussels sprouts are all growing now.

 

The next newsletter will be in January.

secateurs-animatedTraining this Sunday

Our next training session will be on pruning soft fruit bushes and fruit trees. So, if you have gooseberries, raspberries or currants, now’s the time to find out when to prune and how. It’s a bit early for raspberries, but we’ll explain what to do when the time is ripe, and we’ll enjoy hands-on experience of pruning those bushes and trees whose time is now. Book now for this session which will be 11.00 – 12.00 Sunday December 1st and will be led by Mahesh.

Sign-up at the big shed or email

training@grow-our-own.co.uk

First Sunday is …

… Food Share Sunday

Please come along at 1pm and enjoy some superb food & share ideas on how to use the produce on your plots.

At the moment I still have plenty of chard/spinach on my plot & will be making a spicy dish to share using these. I’m happy to share other ideas with those interested. I’ve also used apples/pears to make numerous crumbles, cakes and have even frozen some. chocolate cakebombayaloo

Come and say “Hi” to fellow allotment holders.
It may be cold so please wrap up warm and if you have a flask then some hot water would be great. I’ll provide the teas bags/biscuits!

Juyna Lewis – food@grow-our-own.co.uk

On your plot this November

Harvest

Vegetables

  • Brussels sprouts, kohl-rabi
  • Roots – parsnip, radish, swede
  • Green leaves – oriental salad leaves. Pak choi; leeks. (Wait till the frosts before picking your kale, which sweetens the kale – also parsnips are better after frost.)
  • Stored squashes, picked before the frosts.
november-2013

Fruit

Pick the last of the autumn fruiting raspberries. There’s also the last of the fruit on the community trees: apples and pears.


Sowing

Seeds

This month we have white onion sets and garlic. We’ve got two sorts of broad beans to plant now.

Plants

It’s too cold to plant out any plants at this time of year, unless protected under glass.


Next month

December/January is a quiet time, the ideal time to plan for your plot next year. We won’t have more seeds and plants until February.


The Seeds and Plants Team

A Reminder

“Food Share”

Please come along to Bluebell Allotments this Sunday, 3rd November, at 1pm and enjoy some superb food & ideas on how to use the produce on your plots.

Also enjoy excellent company! I’ve used the numerous small pears to make small crumble cupcakes – hope to make some for this Sunday.
lots-of-food-1
If you haven’t been to a Food Share Sunday yet then please do come along and say ‘hi’ to fellow allotment holders; you never know you may make some really good friends. We did!
lots-of-food-2
Please bring whatever you fancy cooking or even a bottle or two would be great if you’re not into cooking. Please remember to bring your own utensils/plates – this will save on washing up. Thanks.
pile-of-plates

Finally, I’d like to have a VERY short meeting at 2pm of the ‘Food’ group to say ‘hi’, and discuss some ideas &, of course, get to know each other. If you have signed up for this group then please do come along and bring your ideas/enthusiasm – I provide the teas/biscuits!”

Juyna food@grow-our-own.co.uk

Maintenance

We have made a start on small items that need attention. The guttering on the toilet has been mended by Kelly. Lawnmower care assigned to Simon G. and Darren will make new latches for the blue shed and any others that need doing. I will continue with keeping the big shed tidy(with Christine) and stocking up the toilet along with cleaning. A list is on the maintenance notice board for comments, work completed and anything related to maintenance.

Jane G maintenance@grow-our-own.co.uk

Another reminder

Jane C will be talking about seeds and basic tips on growing broad beans, garlic and onions at 11 am, before the foodshare lunch.seeds-in-hands

Also, if members of the Seeds and Plants team are around for the foodshare lunch, it would be great to meet up afterwards (say, at 2pm) for a very quick get-together. If the weather stays blustery, our ideal meeting place will be the greenhouse!

Jane C. seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk

Waste Disposal

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bin-bag-thCAXJE986 “If you have any non-recyclable waste on your plot/s and it is not possible for you to take it home to put in your domestic bin then please leave it under the pear tree near the bike stand. We are trying to make fewer trips to the tip as petrol is so expensive now and also frequent car journeys are not good for the environment! If you are able to recycle then that would be great. Many thanks”.

Charles & Juyna Lewis

Composition and graphics by Jim

Grow Our Own Newsletter November 2013

An Introduction

For this newsletter we have contributions from the new team leaders and a feature on what to do this month from Clive Sexton. There’s also news of a job that may be of interest – details at the end.

I thought I would mention that the bottle tops we used to save for recycling are now quite widely accepted by the Matthew Project. They have collection points in All Saints Church near John Lewis and at Waitrose. They prefer to receive them in washed milk containers which can also be recycled, rather than plastic bags.


What’s happening in GO2 at the moment?

From Christine Wilson

Welcome to the new growers who signed up last Sunday! If you need help getting going on your plot, please get in touch with Rochelle who is arranging a mentor for anyone who’d like one. Her email is training@grow-our-own.co.uk

It was nice that a few new growers stayed for lunch. This is always the first Sunday of the month and the idea is that everyone takes a dish to share, ideally one which includes an ingredient from their plot. It’s a good time to meet others, try out new recipes, and share information and ideas.

Onions and garlic are available to plant and we will soon have over-wintering broad beans. If you’re unsure about how to plant these things, there is plenty of information in the shed and on the website and, again, get in touch with Rochelle who will arrange for someone to help you.

We have several free plots at the moment so please tell your friends and family in case they’re interested in taking one. You might like to consider taking a second plot yourself?

I will be there on Sunday 20 October from 10.30am – 1 pm, so anyone interested can come along then.


Signing up to your team

If you can remember which team you signed up for, please now get in touch with the team leader who will be talking to you about allocating tasks. They are:

land/water management – land@grow-our-own.co.uk – Ian
maintenance/tools – maintenance@grow-our-own.co.uk – Jane G.
compost – compost@grow-our-own.co.uk – Phil
seeds – seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk – Jane C.
admin – admin@grow-our-own.co.uk – Christine
training/mentoring – training@grow-our-own.co.uk – Rochelle
food – food@grow-our-own.co.uk – Juyna

Team lists are posted on the noticeboards in the shed and the provisional tasks are in the minutes http://grow-our-own.co.uk/20130830/#main


Welcome to the new season – update from the Seeds and Plants team

From Jane Chittenden

We’re keen to collect ideas to shape into a plan for next season: ideas about things we could grow, things we could do differently and so on. Here’s a selection of great ideas from Peter A.

Seed sowing: why not try making our own seed and growing-on compost this year, in collaboration with the composting team?

Potatoes: most of us don’t have much room for these on our plots. Should we leave out the maincrops and concentrate instead on first earlies and second earlies (especially salad types like Charlotte), as these mature quickly and are very expensive in the shops?

Sweetcorn: let’s grow more of them this year, ideally open-pollinated varieties because we can save their seed.

Garlic: what about trying some bigger varieties?

Other thoughts: we could try aubergines, indoor cucumbers in the polytunnel; flowers for companion planting; a plot for borage for making liquid fertiliser (another venture to share with the composting team); teasel for the small birds – and other things to encourage wildlife, such as more wildlife-friendly plants and nestboxes; eco-netting (we could buy some in bulk and sell it to growers at a big discount).

And Christine was inspired by a visit to Hyde Hall recently, where they were growing squashes in a new way; we’re going to try that too.

If you’ve got ideas and suggestions for our Seeds and Plants plan, do share them with us! Email seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk


Here are a few things that you can be doing this month

From Clive Sexton

Soil that would otherwise be bare over the winter should be covered with e.g. leaf mould or with cut down plants such as runner beans that can be removed and composted in the spring.

As the soil cools down the only green manure seeds that will germinate reliably are field beans and Hungarian grazing rye

Crops to sow this month (and up to mid-November) are garlic, over wintering onions and autumn sown broad beans. This is also the best time to plant rhubarb sets.

Remove dead and yellowing leaves from brassicas. This helps to reduce whitefly infestation and lowers the risk of disease spreading

Collect leaves to produce leaf mould. The easiest method is to hammer four posts into the ground in a square shape, attach chicken wire around the perimeter, and pile the leaves inside. Alternatively, on a smaller scale, put leaves into a plastic sack that has been perforated, sprinkle with water, and leave for a year.


Training

From Rochelle Wilson

Session Two of Gardening for Beginners is on November 3rd from 11.00-12.00 at the GO2 Shed.

This month Jane Chittenden, head of the seeds and plants team, will offer practical advice for new growers and anyone who wants to brush up on the basics. She will outline what’s on offer over the coming year and follow this up with a practical demo of how to plant onion sets, garlic and broad beans, all available now.

Session Two of Gardening with Nature is on 19th October from 10.00-12.30 at Marlpit Community Garden when George Ishmael will be discussing soil – maximising its potential; water – minimising its use; and plant communities.


Food Matters

From Juyna Lewis

Thanks to those who came to the last Food Share Sunday; we had some superb food to share out and excellent company. (Photos on the website when available.)

It was great to find out how others use the produce from the plots. I’m making another squash soup today to warm up on this cold day. If you haven’t been to a Food Share Sunday yet then please do come along and say ‘hi’ to fellow allotment holders; you never know you may make some really good friends. We did!

The next one is Sunday 3rd Nov at 1pm so bring whatever you fancy cooking or even a bottle or two would be great if you’re not into cooking. Please remember to bring your own utensils/plates – this will save on washing up. Thanks.

Finally, I’d like to have a VERY short meeting at 2pm after the Food Share of the ‘Food’ group to say ‘hi’, discuss some ideas & get to know each other. If you have signed up for this group then please do come along and bring your ideas/enthusiasm – I provide the teas!”


Job Opportunity

Norwich Farmshare wants to recruit a paid grower. More details and the job description is on their website : http://norwichfarmshare.co.uk/job-vacancy-grower/

May be of interest to some of our members.


Dates for your diary

Saturday 19th October Gardening with Nature – George Ishmael
Second session – at the Marlpit Community Garden 10.00-12.30

Sunday 20th October  Christine Wilson, Admin team leader, will be in the shed if you want to sign up for an extra plot

November 3rd Preparing your plot session 11 – 12 – with Jane Chittenden

Food Sharing  November 3rd 1pm onwards

An Introduction

This is my first Newsletter for our Allotment Group. My name is Janet Johnson and I have 3 plots by the muck heap, to the left of the path going down from the hut, where the Elderflower tree is. I’ve been a member for four or five years and have enjoyed the practical help and the social side as well as taking home my produce. The allotment has given me many new friends and is a most wonderful outdoor space. I have a few ideas but thought I’d just get out my first Newsletter quickly as some of our new team leaders have things to say. A big thank you firstly to Clive and Bridget who have done a great job in keeping us going in the past year.

Janet

news@grow-our-own.co.uk


What’s happening in GO2 at the moment?

First of all, on behalf of the new team leaders, welcome back to the new growing year and an especially warm welcome to new growers! We all look forward to meeting those we don’t know and renewing acquaintance with growers we haven’t seen so much of recently because of holidays, work or other commitments. A lot of changes are underway in GO2 and at the moment we are in something of a limbo while waiting for everyone to renew their plot rental and to sign up for a team. We are also sorting out the best way of doing things and as we work these out we’d be pleased to hear ideas and views from growers.

Why are growers being asked to sign up to a team?

The teams and tasks were set out in the minutes of the meeting (click here to see them again). The team leaders’ names are there too. Once everyone has signed up, the team leader will get in touch and each team can decide how to arrange their tasks. This will probably be after 6th October which is the deadline for plot renewal and when we’re signing up some new growers. However, there are lots of jobs to be done so if you’re free for a bit do come and see whoever is in the centre. The usual open hours for the centre are Wednesday and Sunday, 10 – 1 pm until Sunday 17th November inclusive and the rota is being shared by the team leaders plus others who have been there before or like to be around when people are about. After all, it is the hub of our growing operations! We will shortly be getting some noticeboards (cast off from an office that closed) and we will have much more on growing, including demonstration plots outside.


Food Sharing Lunch

On Sunday 6th October Christine will be available for renewing plot rental (deadline for existing growers!)and signing up new growers. Food-sharing lunch is at 1 pm as usual. It’s always a great occasion and we hope lots of people will be there. Bring a dish, made with something from your plot, if you can. Meanwhile we hope you’re enjoying harvesting your produce and preparing your plot(s) for the next sowings.

See you soon! Christine Wilson

Welcome to the new season – update from the Seeds and Plants team

Here’s a quick update on what the Seeds and Plants team will be offering over the next season. We’re planning to offer everyone a basic range of seeds and plants that we think are guaranteed to succeed, concentrating on a small selection of high quality rather than lots of different things. During the next few weeks we’ll be putting together lists of the plant varieties for next year, which we’ll pin up to share with you all. And we’ll start work on demonstration plots to help you see what things you could be growing and when to plant them. For growers who like a challenge we’ll also be offering rare heritage varieties to try out (this year’s saved seeds include the legendary pea from Tutankhamun’s tomb). And we’ll be selecting six more rare varieties of beans from the Garden Organic heritage range to save for seed. We’re also planning to grow some exotic plants in the greenhouse next summer (eg melons and lemon cucumbers) to inspire those of you with greenhouses at home to try something new. We’d welcome your ideas too! If you have suggestions or requests for something new, do let us know – such as a seed swap (Gareth’s idea – thank you!), tastings of different varieties (Mahesh organised potato tastings last year), or visits to inspiring places… Best wishes

Jane C

seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk


Training

We have some excellent training lined up for October, all free for our members. George Ishmael, an environmental scientist and chartered landscape architect is running ‘Gardening with Nature’; three mornings on how to create a colourful garden which also benefits wildlife. These sessions will be held at the Marlpit Community Garden 10.00-12.30 on Saturdays, starting October 5th At Bluebell South, we’re running short one hour sessions just before Food-Sharing Sunday, between 11.00-12.00 to help you with practical skills for growing vegetables, fruit and herbs. The first session will be on October 6th when Mahesh will tell you all you need to know about Soil Preparation, including;

  • clearing your plot
  •  digging
  •  when and how much manure to use
  •  the best way to compost.

Places are limited – just 5 for wildlife gardening, and 10 for soil preparation – so please book before October 1st by emailing training@grow-our-own.co.uk Also email if you’d like more information. Rochelle is leading the Training and Mentoring team and would love to hear from you if you have signed up for this team and also if you have any ideas or requests.

Rochelle Wilson

training@grow-our-own.co.uk


Food Matters

The first Sunday “Food Share” is on Sunday 6th October @ 1pm and ALL are welcome. It would be great to meet new growers as well as existing members. Plenty of apples/pears are available at the moment if you want anything from the allotment for your dishes. The idea behind the first Sunday is to prepare a dish (or 2!!) with produce from the allotment. Of course, we’re more than happy to have dishes made with shop bought produce. If you are not into cooking then maybe you could contribute a drink or two? Also, it would be very helpful if you could please bring your own plates/cutlery as this will save on washing up. If you do forget to bring them then don’t worry as we have plenty of spares in the big shed. Please do come along and make friends and have fun in this special place that is the Go2 scheme. We look forward to meeting you. Keep your fingers crossed for a sunny day.

Juyna Lewis

food@grow-our-own.co.uk


Dates for your diary

1st October Final day for signing up for training sessions
6th October Final day for paying your plot renewal feesPreparing your plot session 11 – 12 Food Sharing 1pm

News contributions should be sent to news@grow-our-own.co.uk

Marigold

A popular garden plant.

Marigold has exceptional healing powers and is used in many therapeutic disciplines, as its unique anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties promote rapid healing. It lifts the spirits, relaxes spasms and is a common first aid for cuts, burns and particularly good for dry skin.

Come and try my test run of marigold oil and cream on our Open Day this Saturday, 21st September at Marlpit Community Garden.
See you Saturday?

Amy


PS

Here’s a new take on how to make spanakopita, from Janet J.
And more Plum Tarts from

Jane C.

On your plot this month

September

This is the month for bumper harvests and getting ready for winter crops.

Harvest

In season now: beans; brassicas – broccoli, Chinese and summer cabbage, cauliflower, kohl-rabi; roots – beetroot, carrots, Florence fennel, radish, turnip; squash family: courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, squashes; green leaves – spinach, salad leaves; chilli peppers; sweet corn; tomatoes; herbs; maincrop potatoes.

There’s also fruit on the community trees: late season plums, maincrop apples and pears.

Seeds

This month we have green manure seeds – phacelia, Hungarian rye and winter tares. Sow them now and dig the plants in next spring, to give your plot a good over-winter feed.

Plants

This month we have kale plants and winter salads.

Next month

In October we’ll have onion sets; and in November we’ll have broad beans for late autumn sowing.

The Seeds and Plants Team

Allotment gathering

this Friday 13th September 2013 around 6pm to share food and good company and the lovely space that is the allotment. Hope to see everyone there. Keep fingers crossed that the sun will shine; but just in case please wear warm clothes, bring blankets or insulating life-saving foil!

THE FOOD TEAM

Bottling session

Sunday 15th September at 2 pm at Fourways Community Centre; contact Mahesh at: mahesh.pant@talktalk.net to book a place.

Open Day

You may have seen the Marlpit Community Garden Open Day poster in the Big Shed – it is on Saturday 21st September. You are welcome to come and see your new Garden. Any offer of help would be appreciated for example, making cakes, help on the day. Look forward to seeing you there,

Mahesh  

Important Notice!

Dear Grow-Our-Own Bluebell South Allotments and Growing-at-Home Members,

Re: Payment of Grow-Our-Own plot rent/Grow-at-Home Membership

It is the time of the year to renew your plot rental/membership.

Please send your payment along with a signed copy of the Grower Agreement form which is available in the big shed or downloaded from our website: http://grow-our-own.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/GO2_Grower_Agreement_2012_13.pdf
If you would like an additional plot or would like to give up some or all plot(s), please let us know.

Please pay by 6 October. If we don’t hear from you we may remove your name from the list. Thanks!

Mahesh Pant/ Christine Wilson

How much to pay?

Plot rent – £22 for the first plot and £20 for additional plots Those of you who have 5 plots together, it is £90

Wheel-chair accessible plot – £ 9 per plot

Grow-at-home – £16

No child plot from 1st of October but we can offer you an additional adult plot if you want.

Choose how to pay –

1. By bank transfer (BACS)

Account name: Sustainable Living Initiative

Bank name: The Cooperative Bank

Sort code: 08-92-99

Account Number: 65178511

2. By cheque

made payable to: Sustainable Living Initiative  and posted to:

Sustainable Living Initiative

Fourways Community Centre

Stevenson Road

Norwich NR5 8TN

3. In person cash/cheque only

At the big shed on Bluebell South Allotments on Sunday 15th of September from 10 am until 1 pm or on  Sunday 6th October from 10 am until 1 pm.

We have sent an invoice to all our members by e-mail. If you have not received it, please let us know.

If you have any questions, please e-mail to: sustainable@talktalk.net;  Tel: 01603 920147

Grow Our Own (GO2) Bluebell South Allotments, Norwich

Management of the Bluebell South Allotments project from 1st of October 2013

Thank you all for sending your feedback.

As you may know, we had a meeting on Sunday 25th August to discuss the new organisational arrangements.

Adobe PDFPlease follow this link to the minutes document.

Here are the main points:

From 1st of September, 2013, the GO2 Bluebell South Allotments will be managed by seven teams (see below); each team will have a team leader and growers will have to sign up to one team at the time of joining/renewing their membership of GO2. Land and water management and compost and muck team leader’s position is vacant at the moment.

Teams

  • Admin – Christine Wilson
  • Seed and plants including Heritage seed – Jane Chittenden
  • Training and mentoring – Rochelle Wilson
  • Land and water management – vacant
  • Maintenance/Buildings – Jane Graham
  • Food and jam-making – Juyna Lewis
  • Compost and muckvacant

If you are interested in any of the vacant positions and/ or have any questions/comments, please let me know.

Mahesh Pant

GO2 Open Meeting on Sunday 25th August 2013

Time: 11:00 am
Venue: Fourways Community Centre, Stevenson Road
Norwich NR5 8TN.
Tel: 01603 920147
Mob: 07969 996646

We aim to finish the meeting by 1 pm but you are welcome to stay afterwards for lunch (bring and share).
Our GO2 Centre at Bluebell will be closed on Sunday 25th August.
I look forward to seeing you all at the meeting,

Mahesh

PS Three weeks ago you may have seen this


A link to a proposal and a request for ideas for a new management for the GO2 Bluebell site

This Saturday – Jam Making

From 2pm to 5pm at the GO2 kitchen – click to see map

Mahesh will be leading a jam-making session – just let him know if you want to join in, he’ll provide what’s needed.

sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk or 01603 920147

Don’t forget we have an open meeting (in the same place) on the 25th to decide on a new management team… 

This Sunday at the allotment….

Get your nitrogen fix

When broad bean and pea plants have produced their last pods and withered don’t pull them up. Instead, cut down to within a few centimetres of the ground. The roots have little nodules and, as they rot, these help fix nitrogen in the soil.

Rake or fork over the ground between the stumps, pull out weeds and the ground is ready. The stumps could make it difficult to sow seeds but there are plenty of plants that can go in the gaps. There are lettuces, chinese cabbage, oriental salads, basil and parsley available from outside the polytunnel. Or plant pointy spring cabbage, curly or purple kale or purple sprouting broccoli; all will love the nitrogen fix. We have the plants almost ready to go out; some need potting up so help on Sunday would be very welcome.

A couple of exotics fruit/vegetables

The next time you’re at the allotment, take a look at the borders inside and behind the polytunnel. There are plants growing there which seem to like hot dry weather and have produced some rather useful fruit.

One is achocha, or fat baby,

a member of the curcubit or cucumber family. Fat babies (!) can be used much as you would a pepper. Cut each fruit in half, remove the seeds and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

The other is tomatillo.

This looks like a green tomato but actually belongs to the physalis family, which also includes cape gooseberries. Tomatillos are delicious baked whole with courgettes, little onions, garlic cloves and beetroot. Or made into Tomatillo Salsa Verde (click for recipe)

Both are fruiting well so if you’d like to try either or both ask whoever is on duty on Sunday. Any surplus will be left on the table in the picnic area.
Bridget

Update on heritage seeds.

I’ve started to harvest some of the heritage seeds.
Mr Jones broad beans were easy. All I had to do was to wait until the pods turned bone dry and papery on the plants, then pick the pods and shell them. Some of the pods got a bit scorched in the recent heatwave, but they are fine inside. I checked that each bean is dry – if it is hard and sounds like a pebble when dropped then it’s ready to store. But just to be on the safe side I’m leaving them on a sunny windowsill for a few days.
<>Mr Jones planted in April
Catskill Brussels sprouts seeds were not so easy! There are huge bunches of tiny pods, each containing very small seeds. Collecting the pods and shelling them was not difficult, although a bit fiddly. The tricky bit was the passengers – tiny grey and yellow mites, still very much alive, which had to be separated from the seeds. The only way to do this was to carefully roll the seeds (like miniature ball-bearings) to one side of a white plate before storing them in a glass jar. I shall check them again, just to make sure that no uninvited guests are still lurking. <>
Jane

Photos of Mr Jones broad beans and Catskill Brussels sprouts by Jane

Layout and graphics by Jim

This Sunday, 4th August… what to do?

Eating alfresco

It is the first Sunday of the month, so we will be sharing our allotment grown food. There is an abundance of crops at the moment; courgettes, beans, chard, onions and much more. I’ve just acquired a copy of Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book (thanks to a recommendation from Jane C), which is packed with recipes and peppered with historical references and anecdotes. For example, the former US President Thomas Jefferson was a keen gardener, and engaged in annual pea growing competitions with his neighbours. A far cry from a more recent President of the United States who famously hated broccoli!But as far as I am aware, no US President ever grew peas like these:,

August Recipes

Alison Foss shared these recipes on the website

Broad Bean Bake

Beetroot tops and bottoms with a pearl barley risotto

Tomato late-blight research

The recent rainfall, although very much needed, has increased the chances of late-blight infection of tomatoes and potatoes. The most obvious symptom will be brown or black lesions on leaves and stems, without significant yellowing of the surrounding leaf. James Stroud, a Bangor University/Sarvari Research Trust PhD student, is investigating late-blight with the aim of developing new strains of tomato that have higher resistance to late-blight. If you would like to take part by examining potatoes and tomatoes, and sending James samples of infected plant matter, please let me know.

Lost watch

If you find a Lorus swap watch, lost on or around 7th July, please let Tom Greaves know

Time to relax?

It’s hot, crops are maturing, and maybe now is the time to be less busy on the allotment. Instead, aim to be mindful and observant. Watch the bees moving in and out of flowers, see which plants are prospering, smell the soil after the rain. Because the physical benefits of growing our own are obvious. The manual work, the nutritious fruit and vegetables. But being in the moment, and letting all of our senses engage with our environment, is beneficial too.

Clive
PS

Management Changes

Mahesh has proposed a new management strategy which can be seen on the Members’ Documents page
Please read the document – it aims to share ideas about changes to coordinating task-based teams and to increases in plot rentals.

Graphics and layout by Jim

This Sunday at GO2

Eddie was inspired by the fennel growing in the borders beside the main path to post the recipe below. If you want to try it, all the herbs can be found in the communal areas of the allotment. Feel free to take what you need; ask whoever is on duty if you’re not sure where a particular herb is.

Roast Fish

What can we do with all those fennel stalks? Don’t throw them away as you can use them fresh, or dried for the winter. They can be used to flavour a variety of fish dishes. The photo shows a bed of herbs for roasting fish, all out of my patio garden or the allotment. The aroma of these herbs is wonderful when you are working with them.
Roasting bed -:

Fennel stalks
Basil
Thyme
Rosemary, with flowers
2 star anise

A fish of your choice, preferably a firm fish such as halibut, tuna, hake or, if you are feeling flush, turbot. Lightly fry the fish on one side until it colours, then place it on the bed of herbs. Sprinkle over some olive oil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 1600 or gas mark 3.

Place on plate and serve with cooked fennel or summer vegetables, pouring over any liquid left in the roasting tin.

Enjoy

Eddie

Butterfly Conservation Society in Eaton Park on Sunday 4th August

A report published this week on research by the European Environment Agency said that pesticides and intensive farming are blamed as butterfly numbers fall. Last winter probably didn’t help either. Butterfly populations are a leading indicator of the health of other insect species. The Butterfly Conservation Society is having a stand in Eaton Park on Sunday 4 August from 10 to 5, with information sheets. The stand will be near one of the entrances to the circular rose gardens and will be pleased to see you if you can make it.

Christine

Feedback on supply of seeds and plants wanted

Rochelle, Christine, Tessa and I, the ‘seed team’, would like feedback on the supply of seeds and plants this year, to help as we plan for next year. We’d like know what you think about the quality, number and timing of plants and about the provision of seeds. Our questions are:

  • Did you get the plants and seeds you wanted, and at the right time?
  • What do you think we could improve?
  • What other variety or type of seeds or plants would you have liked?
  • Do you have any other comments?

Please email your responses to bluebell@grow-our-own.co.uk


GO2 community working morning

This Sunday, as the last in July, is when all those jobs get done that are better carried out in company. There is plenty to do, including:

  • Picking red currants and gooseberries
  • Potting up lettuce and dill seedlings
  • Clearing overgrown plots
  • Clearing and planting the last bath in the family picnic area
  • Sorting compost
  • Levelling paths

Come along and join in; there will be cake and, depending on the weather, hot or cold drinks.

Lastly, there will be basil and various salad seedlings available on Sunday, on the benches outside the polytunnel. Take a look at the growers’ guides for July and August on the website grow-our-own.co.uk to see what seeds can still be sown. The password for the members’ area is ‘garlic’.


Bridget

(graphics and layout by Jim)



This Sunday, 21st July… what to do!

Strawberries

It’s been a great year for most soft fruit, including strawberries. Once you have picked your last summer strawberry, cut back all foliage (taking care not to damage the crowns) to leave a stump of approximately ten centimetres. Compost the discarded leaves and any straw that was used as a mulch. Water the surrounding soil to encourage the growth of fresh new leaves.

Herbs

Now is the time to pick herbs for drying. They are best picked early in the morning, when the dew has just lifted. Suitable herbs include mint, lavender, rosemary and lemon balm. You can hang them upside down in bunches in a dry, well-ventilated and dark place. Or I strip the leaves from the branches and put them in an open tray in the airing cupboard. They are ready when the leaves are crisp to the touch, and may be stored in air tight containers. For more information on using herbs visit the Garden Organic website www.gardenorganic.org.uk Or even better, ask one of the wise women (so to speak) in our allotment group, such as Bridget, Juyna, or anyone called Jane.

Communal stuff…and the future

As many of you know, I will stop co-ordinating Grow Our Own soon, and Bridget will step down from her co-ordinating role at the end of September. I have really enjoyed being at the centre of events at the allotment. And I have met some amazing people, and grown some amazing vegetables. But I do need to find some more paid work and have started working for two new social enterprises, Bullying Stinkz and Greener Growth. I will still be around to mentor less experienced growers, manage the composting and of course grow my own food. This all means that we need more growers to take on unpaid responsibilities, and we need your ideas on how the project can flourish in the future. For example, should the current co-ordinator’s role be split into discrete tasks, are there services that we provide that are not needed/too demanding on volunteer time? Please e-mail your thoughts or talk to me or Bridget. We will of course update you regularly on what is going on.  

Orache

You may have noticed this plant springing up around the allotment. I had thought that it was a relatively recent arrival in the UK. But Jane C tells me (from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book) that it is…… “an ancient pot herb of Asia and temperate Europe; on the royal court menu in 1430 – so it’s been eaten in England for six hundred years. But it went out of fashion about three centuries ago. The herbalist Philip Miller writes in 1741 that you should only eat the young leaves “for when it is run to seed it is very strong””.

Clive

Graphics and layout by

Jim

Marlpit Community Garden is open

The garden opened on Saturday 29th June 2013.

We already have over 15 enthusiastic growers growing vegetables and herbs on their plots.

If you live in the Earlham, Larkman and Marlpit areas and would like to have a plot to grow your own fruit and vegetables, please read the application pack (click here).

This Sunday at the allotment…

What to sow and plant this week

If you are wondering what to do when the broad beans and early peas are finished and you have an empty patch on your plot, there are plenty of seeds to sow now. Try some Florence fennel that, if kept watered, should produce bulbs to enjoy by the end of summer.  It’s not too late for a row of French beans, sugar-snap or mange-tout peas.  Or turnips.  Or mooli radishes, the ones with long white roots that are mild and sweet in salads.  Thinking ahead to the winter, sow some Swiss chard or Nepali spinach.  These will keep you in cut-and-come-again greens in all but the harshest weather. And, if you pull a lettuce, plant another one straight away, to keep up the supply.

Herbs

Take a look at your herbs, replacing those that are going to seed.  (Though, if you allow coriander and rocket to flower and set seed, you’ll never be short of either.)   There are basil and parsley plants ready to go out.  And herbs that don’t like being transplanted, such as coriander, chervil and rocket, can be sown directly in one of those empty spaces.

Community tasks

Many people in GO2 take on the communal tasks needed to keep the project going; but not everyone does.  So, if you haven’t done your stint during the year, now is the time.  Here are some ways you can fulfil your obligation to do communal work; any of the tasks can be done whenever you are visiting and have half an hour or so to spare.

  • Cut the grass on communal paths as well as that between your plot and the next.
  • When you return your tools to the shed, and it’s all a bit of a mess, do a quick tidy up.
  • Find a broom in the blue shed and sweep the paved areas, the main paths and around the raised beds.
  • Weed under the tables in the picnic area.
  • Cut down nettles and add to nettle soup in the composting area.
  • If the plants in containers look dry, water them.
  • Look at the watering rota on the door of the Big Shed.  If there’s no-one down to water in the greenhouse or polytunnel while you are there, check the plants and water if it’s needed.
  • Weed or cut grass around the polytunnel and greenhouse.

(Quite a list! – ed.)


Happy gardening

Bridget 

Jane’s Heritage seeds

Prew’s Special peas have grown much bigger than I expected (I should have read the packet notes!) and are doing very well. With luck we’ll all be able to try peas descended from the originals found in a Pharaoh’s tomb!  
Sutton’s Purple Podded pea is so pretty that it’s worth growing for its decorative qualities alone. Like Prew’s Special, it’s much bigger than I was bargaining for. I’d forgotten that most of the old peas are much bigger than our modern ones. I’m growing Alderman on my own plot, which grows at least 6ft high. The downside to these old peas is that you need to give them support; the upside is that they are very easy to pick.  
Mr Jones broad bean  (which Peter has grown before) has a terrific crop of excellent quality (I sampled a pod raw, just to find out – delicious). This is a first rate broad bean.  
Jane C

This Sunday, 7th July… what to do!

Watering in this hot dry weather

  • Should be done early morning or in the evening.
  • A thorough and occasional soaking is better than little
  • Aim the water at the base of plants rather than on to the leaves

Courgettes – once they start to crop, pick regularly to stimulate the plants to produce more. And if you are going away for a few days, ask a neighbouring plot holder to pick them!

Mulch – around perennial plants, e.g. fruit trees and fruit bushes. Potatoes benefit too from having cut grass and nettles laid around the plants to conserve moisture


Communal stuff…

Weeding around the greenhouses is always useful, and on Sunday it would be great if someone could help me sort out compost.


Shock as hole discovered near greenhouse!

An especially annoying animal has dug a large hole near the greenhouse. Any guesses as to what it might be? Suggestions so far include badger (interesting), rabbit (hope not, see next suggestion) fox (can be useful for eating rabbits), and bandicoot (don’t want to even think about this)  

Click picture for some wildlife info


Gallant-soldier

Have you noticed this one, pictured above? It will thrive in the warmer weather.

The plant is a small Peruvian daisy, Galinsoga parviflora, named after the Spanish botanist Don Mariano Martinez de Galinsoga. The name became corrupted in Britain to gallant-soldier. If you want to find out more about the history and culture of weeds, Richard Mabey’s “Weeds” (Profile Books Ltd. 2010, ISBN 978-1846680816) is an excellent read.

Galinsoga parviflora

Click picture to see reviews


Food sharing

And finally, the first Sunday of the month is, as always, a food sharing day. We’ll assemble at 1.00 to share dishes and allotment gossip. You don’t have to be a Nigella or even a Delia. You do have to be willing to show others what you have grown, and how you use it.

Clive

Graphics and layout by

Jim

This Sunday

Tools and where they live

Many thanks to Ian for searching out a source of reconditioned hand tools. We now have ten ‘new’ trowels and forks which, when they’ve been colour coded, will be distributed between the sheds.

As you may have noticed, small tools have terrible habit of becoming lost, in long grass or on the edge of plots, or otherwise misplaced. Please make sure that all tools you borrow are either put back in the right shed, if they’re marked with a colour, or put back where they came from. Recently gone missing are little green pricking out tools, watering can roses, all from the greenhouse, and kneeling mats from the blue shed. If anyone knows where these might be hiding, please let us know.


Volunteering morning this Sunday

Even reconditioned tools are costly. One of the ways funds are raised for the project is to make jam and chutney from our own fruit to sell, on Open Day or during the year, from the Big Shed. Among the tasks for this coming volunteering morning is to pick gooseberries from the bushes near the polytunnel.

Bring some good gloves, sit in the sun and chat while you pick. Then find some shade and top and tail the fruit ready for jam-making. Other tasks for the morning are clearing and planting the baths in the family picnic area, clearing paths, weeding and cutting grass. And if you would like take cuttings of thyme, sage and other herbs, come along and learn how it’s done.


Are you a jam or chutney maker? Or would like to learn?

The gooseberries, once picked, topped and tailed, will need preserving.

Preserves - Pickles, Jams, Chutneys, Sauces, Beverages, …

If you are able to take some of the fruit and turn it into pots of jam or chutney to raise funds for GO2, let us know. We can provide sugar and other ingredients. If you would like to learn how to make jam or chutney – as well as gooseberries there will be currants, strawberries, plums and apples and many suitable vegetables later in the season – also let us know. If enough people are interested we can hold workshops in the kitchen of the new SLI Centre in Fourways Community Centre, 
Stevenson Road.

Time to make Elderflower Cordial

An easy way to start preserving produce is to make your own elderflower cordial. There is an elder bush on the allotment, by the manure heap, which is a mass of blossom. Pick the elderflowers in the morning if you can, when the scent is strongest. Choose blossom heads that are creamy in colour rather than white and overblown. Give them a good shake to get rid of any tiny insects and use as fresh as possible. Here’s an adapted version of Sophie Grigson’s recipe from ‘Country Kitchen’, published by Headline.

About 20 elderflowers heads
1.8kg (4lbs) granulated sugar
1.2 litres (2pts) water
2 unwaxed lemons
75g (2 ½ oz) citric acid
  • Place elderflowers in a large bowl.
  • Put sugar in a pan with the water and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pare the zest from lemons in wide strips, slice the lemons and add all to the bowl of elderflowers.
  • Pour over the boiling syrup and stir in the citric acid.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • The next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or J cloth). Pour into very clean glass or plastic bottles.
  • Store in a cool dark cupboard. The cordial also freezes well if you leave a gap at the top of the bottles for expansion.

Larger chemists and shops selling winemaking equipment stock citric acid, though if you can’t find it, tartaric acid can be used instead. The cordial will last all year. Try it diluted with sparkling water or poured over ice-cream. Or use it to sweeten gooseberries or apples in a compote or crumble.


What to plant or sow this Sunday

There are salad plants of all kinds, a few climbing beans and squash plants, parsley and four types of basil. Look at the grower’s guide for advice on what to sow in June on the website, grow-our-own.co.uk; there will be plenty of seeds in the Big Shed.


Bridget

 

 Grow Our Own is Growing

After nine years of the birth of GO2 Bluebell South allotments, we now have a new site – Marlpit Community Garden – situated at the junction between Marlpit Lane and Hellesdon Road. This site will provide growing spaces for up to 200 people who live in Marlpit, Larkman and West Earlham, plus up to six schools and community groups.  The site is going to be OPEN on Saturday 29th  June, 2013.

Anyone interested in helping out or wanting know what is happening out there, please let me know.

 Mahesh Pant

e-mail: sustainable@talktalk.net

Tel: 01603 920147

Mob: 07969 996646

Click for slideshow

This Sunday, 23rd June…

what to do with your vegetables

Broad beans – once pods have begun to form, the growing tips of each plant may be removed. This helps to reduce infestation by black bean aphid, and the tips may be eaten if steamed or fried lightly. Harvest the pods when the beans can be felt through them.
Peas – once they start to crop, pick every few days to stimulate the plants to produce more.

Nettles – may be used as a mulch (laid on the surface of the soil) around fruit bushes and trees after rain. This retains moisture in the soil, inhibits weed growth and as the nettles rot they provide a source of nitrogen which stimulates plant growth.
Nettles may also be soaked in water to produce a nutritious, albeit smelly, liquid plant feed for tomatoes, squashes, courgettes, sweetcorn and other heavy feeders.

And it is still not too late to sow french beans, radishes, carrots, peas………


Communal stuff …

Thanks to everyone who helped with clearing out and planting in the young peoples’ plots, especially Tessa, Jane G and Peter M. This Sunday we will focus on the area around the polytunnel and greenhouse. And maybe the composting area.


Bangladeshi Dhata

I am taking part in a Garden Organic trial to examine whether or not this plant can be grown viably in the UK. I have a few spare plants if anyone would like to try them. Also, if you have any recipes for this vegetable, please let me know. The trial forms part of Garden Organic’s Sowing New Seeds Project , funded by the Big Lottery Local Food Fund.

Golden Triangle Open Gardens 22nd & 23rd June

If you are a garden lover, or you are just nosey, here is a chance to look at over 20 gardens in this part of Norwich. Entrance is by programme, available for £5 per person, from the Plantation Garden in Earlham Road. Net proceeds will go to The Plantation Garden Preservation Trust (Registered Charity No. 801095).

Strange Weather?

AMERICAN football player Flash Gordon is to investigate the UK’s recent unusual weather.

The Met Office hopes to discover the cause of the unpredictable weather by sending Gordon into space with an attractive journalist and a scientist of questionable sanity. A Met Office spokesman said: “Some would argue that a professional sportsman is not the obvious choice for a meteorological research project, but Michael Fish was busy doing a series for BBC2.
However we don’t feel this will be a problem, as Flash will be accompanied by the brilliant scientist Dr Hans Zarkov and journalist Dale Arden, who is extremely feisty. Our plan is to send Flash and his companions to a new planet that has just entered the solar system, Mongo, which we think may have some connection to our lousy summer weather. Once they get there, they will just need to conduct some simple meteorological tests then come back. It should all be pretty straightforward.”
Gordon said: “I’m just glad to help. There’s nothing worse than it raining during a barbeque and having to finish your sausages off under the grill. Dr Zarkov says he’s been picking up some strange radio transmissions, including the words ‘dispatch war rocket Ajax’ and the sound of booming laughter, but it’s probably nothing. It’s not as though we’re going to encounter some threatening but weirdly camp extraterrestrial civilization.”
The Met Office has predicted scattered meteorite showers at the weekend.
(Credits to the Daily Mash for this story)

Clive

Layout and graphics by Jim

This Sunday …

… there will be plenty to plant and sow. If you haven’t put any runner beans in yet there are plants, or you could sow seeds. There are still sweet corn, courgettes and squash, plenty of salads, brassica and leeks.

Herbs on the allotment

Our light sandy soil really suits herbs and they don’t need much attention. Following on from Juyna’s piece on drying herbs last month, here are two herbs that come into their own in summer dishes.

Janet writes:

My favourite herb is French Tarragon – it has an aniseed flavour and goes well with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Gardening books say that Tarragon is not hardy in our climate, but my plant has been on the allotment for about 4 years and survived really cold winters – but it does die back so I harvest the last leaves and dry them for the winter. As soon as a hint of spring came it was putting up shoots and looking quite cheery. It lives in a sheltered corner which may offer just a little protection.

Try roasting a chicken stuffed with a herb butter made from a tablespoon of tarragon leaves, garlic and 1oz of butter and salt and pepper. You can make a sauce at the end with brandy and cream, added to the meat juices. An alternative to the brandy is vermouth and lemon juice. Or just lay sprigs on tarragon on the breast, and incorporate them into gravy at the end.

Tarragon is also good with mushrooms – try it with parsley in a mushroom sauce for pasta. I use a little pancetta as well, but I’m sure it would be good without the bacon. You don’t need a lot of the leaves – the proverbial tablespoonful will do. Try flavouring a white bean soup with spring onions and tarragon and bay leaves. It also has an affinity with tomatoes – try roasting tomatoes with tarragon and butter. You can add parmesan and cream if you want some richness.

Or make a herb mayo – I use Hellman’s, with finely chopped tarragon, thyme, flat parsley and chives. Pink peppercorns and celery seed are an interesting optional addition. Nice with salads, cold meat and fish fingers.

If you would like a cutting for your plot, please come and see me!

Janet Johnson

Basil

Basil is a wonderfully aromatic herb but it is very tender. While it will grow outside in Norfolk in a good summer, in a sheltered spot, it won’t like the weather we’re having at the moment anymore than the rest of us do! However, it will thrive on a warm windowsill, so why not take a potted-up seedling to grow on at home? We have several different varieties available; just ask in the Big Shed. And, if you can give a hand with the potting up – some seedlings are still in their trays – you could take several different kinds to see which do best.

We have Genovese basil, the variety most supermarkets stock. We have lemon basil, which is lovely added to a pasta sauce. Then there is lettuce leaf basil with large leaves making it ideal for pesto. And purple basil which, when mixed with Genovese basil, looks spectacular on a tomato salad. We’ve planted all varieties in the polytunnel so take a look when you’re passing.

Bridget

Book review

The Nordic Diet – Trina Hahnemann
Quadrille Publishing Ltd 2010

Looking for some ideas for using your salad crops? This book by a Danish chef may be of interest.
The Nordic diet, reported to have the health benefits of a Mediterranean style diet, is based around the traditional lifestyle in Scandinavian countries:
• Eating indigenous seasonal produce (whole grains, root and green vegetables, berries and herbs, fish)
• Enjoying eating by taking time to prepare and share meals with family & friends
The book starts with a section explaining the nutritional basis and philosophy of the Nordic diet. The tone is a bit preachy but factually clear and concise.
Then there are 75 recipes, beautifully photographed. I found plenty of ideas for
• salad combinations e.g. fennel & strawberries
• soups e.g. cold cucumber
• open sandwiches as per the famed Scandinavian Smorgasbord
The book is a well presented, glossy paperback of 144 pages, published at £12.99 and could make a nice gift.

Alison Foss

Layout and graphics by Jim

Note that graphics are usually links to further information on our website or elsewhere – let me know if links do not work for you.
The whole newsletter is always in the members pages and is also archived.

Sunday, 9th June…

… what to do with your vegetables

Plants available include squashes, courgettes, runner beans, kale, … and seeds such as dwarf french beans, sugar snap peas, carrots. Water any newly established plants and small seedlings, remembering that thorough and occasional watering is better than superficial and frequent applications of water.


Pests

You may think that your crops are delicious, and you are not alone in your thoughts. Pigeons will love to eat your kale and peas. Protect brassicas (kale, cabbages, brussels sprouts etc) with netting and peas with netting and/or closely woven sticks. And look out for signs of caterpillars and other pests.


What to do with your fruit…

The “June drop” is nature’s way of removing surplus fruit from trees and bushes, reducing the stress on branches which will be less likely to break. You can aid this process in the case of gooseberries for example, if they are laden with lots of tiny fruits. Consider removing every other fruit, which will allow the remaining fruits to grow larger. And of course you can cook and eat the thinnings!
Strawberries should be producing runners (tiny plants that grow on stems from the mother plant). You can use some of these to produce more plants for next year. Remove the rest because they may sap the energy of the main plant. To use the runners, simply peg them into a pot or directly into the soil using a piece of bent wire. Detach from the mother plant once new roots have formed.


Communal stuff…

I won’t mention grass cutting again; well, maybe once. Also, some of the young peoples’ plots are unused and looking neglected. And they need to look especially amazing, being near the entrance. So let’s clear them out, and create something beautiful! Maybe someone could take some photos for our website?

Clive

 Sorry, no graphics this week, Jim is away.


Update from Dano, our medicinal herbalist…

I love this time of year as each week new plants come to the fore. A way to mark the passing of the seasons and celebrate seasonal flowers as well as veg. So May flowers for me are Cowparsley, Bluebells, Lily of the valley. June is the start of poppy time. As a June baby myself those really big red poppies were always on my birthday table, what flowers mark your birthday? Its never too late to have a birthday flower and a great way to mark if seasons are changing and there are always a few flowers out even in winter.

Dano

– www.herbaculture.co.uk


Opportunity to take part in a research project…

Hello all
I am a university student from the University of East Anglia, and am undertaking a Masters degree in Environmental Science. My final project is around the aspects of sustainable food systems and community involvement, the GO2 project being my case study. I have visited the project and liaised with the organisers, and in the coming weeks I will be around the site talking to people and helping out as much as I can. I will possibly be interviewing people who would be willing to talk about their various reasons for joining the GO2 project, and their history of growing food.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

Joe Chambers

This Sunday, 2nd June…

The usual suspects – courgettes, runner beans, sweet corn – will all be available from outside the polytunnel and can safely go out into plots. Or you could try something less usual; some climbing stripy French beans maybe; a custard white summer squash or a Crown Prince winter squash; some kohl rabi or one of several kinds of stir fry/salad leaves. Now is the time, too, for sowing dwarf French beans, mange tout or sugar snap peas or a row of fennel.

Do you have spare plants or seeds to offer other growers? Providing seeds and plants as part of the GO2 package isn’t just to make growing vegetables possible for people, it’s part of the philosophy behind the project. We buy in bulk, which is cheaper than buying singly, and then try to use all seeds in a packet. This means less waste, a better use of the planet’s resources. However, people sometimes like to start off their own seeds, on a window-sill at home perhaps. Or they pick up a packet of seeds of an interesting vegetable and sow a row on their plots. But then the question is, what to do with the spare seeds or plants? If you have the fag end of a packet of (in-date) seeds, bring them to the big shed for others to use. Or if you’ve grown more dwarf French bean seedlings than you can use – as Sophie who instigated this idea has – put them outside the polytunnel, with a label saying what they are, for others to make use of on their plots.


Working up an appetite for …

There are plenty of jobs to do; building a frame for cucumbers and gerkins alongside the polytunnel, cutting grass, planting up in the polytunnel, turning compost, tidying under the bench in the greenhouse… the list could go on!

… the GO2 Big food sharing Lunch!

We’ll have our version of the Big Lunch at 1pm on this, the first Sunday in June. Bring a dish to share, made from whatever is growing on your plot, or from whatever is in season.

Bridget

GO² Birds

We may not give much thought to birds while working on our plots, except of course to curse the predatory pigeons. But there are many more delightful, and even exciting, birds to look out for from day to day. Magpies and jays provide a great deal of noise but the latter seem to be much more common than formerly giving plenty of opportunities fro admiring their quite exotic plumage.
Starlings have been in decline but it has been good to see them in greater numbers recently. Normally they are to be found in the tree branches or foraging on the ground but the other day large numbers of them were hawking in the sky among the martins and swifts – hardly as graceful, but they seemed to be catching insects successfully. Watch out for a sudden flurry of starlings into the air – it might mean that a predator is about. Last week the cause of such a commotion became clear when a sparrowhawk dashed past.
Many birds are feeding youngsters at the moment, and robins and blackbirds can be quite bold as they fly down to pick up worms almost from under your feet. Nests are not easy to spot but a bluetit is presently raising young in a hole in the apple tree next to the rock garden near the carpark. Who knows what else might be about or might appear overhead if we keep our eyes open.

Charles Lewis

Herbs

People have made use of herbs since the beginning of time for both food and medicine and later on as a preservative for meat and fish. Herbs were regarded so highly they assumed importance in religious rites and festivals and many superstitions grew up around them. Now they are so common that some regard them as weed, especially the invasive mint! Some of you may have noticed that the sinks next to the bike rack are now full of some wonderful aromatic herbs which are ready for anyone to help themselves. If you are unsure as to what is a herb and what isn’t then please consult those on duty and also the books in the Big Shed.

Storage: Dried herbs are best kept in glass containers away from direct sunlight. An airy dark cupboard away from heat is ideal.

Drying: Really easy! Gather a few long stems of your favourite herbs, group them into bunches and tie with string. Hang the bunches upside down in a warm place and let them dry in the air. When they are firm and crispy strip them from the stalks and store in airtight glass containers.

Here is a simple recipe to whet your appetite using common herbs:-

Spiced Herby Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes
2 tbsp oil
A little salt & pepper
A little paprika / coriander powder
3 tbsp mixed ‘hard’ dried herbs such as sage, rosemary, bayleaves1. Peel the sweet potatoes / potatoes and cut into thick slices.
2. Put the oil into a non-stick baking tray and add the sliced sweet potatoes / potatoes.
3. Mix in the herbs, salt, pepper, paprika & coriander.
4. Bake at gas mark 6 / 200C for approx. 25 minutes.
Juyna

Graphics and layout by

Jim 

What to do on Volunteering Day

Communal activities

Grass cutting, planting in unused areas, grass cutting, weeding, grass cutting, compost bin construction, and did I mention grass cutting?

Vegetable activities

Squashes and courgettes to be planted on your plots. Remember that they are big plants so need lots of space. We have lettuces and other salad plants to fill in the gaps. And climbing beans, komatsuma, heritage kale (Theyer) and much more.

And seeds to be sown, such as chard, beetroot, carrot, radish, dwarf beans……..
If you have planted or are going to plant sweetcorn, green manure seeds can be sown in the gaps between the corn to help prevent weed growth.


Fruit activities

Check gooseberry leaves for sawfly caterpillars. They are a similar shade of green to gooseberry leaves, and tend to cling on to the underside of the higher leaves, eating their way from the edge to the centre.

They have voracious appetites, so plants will need to be examined every few days. Collect the caterpillars and take them several yards away from bushes. The soil around fruit trees and bushes can be mulched with cut grass and weeds to retain moisture.
Strawberry plants benefit from having straw placed under their leaves. This prevents the fruit from touching the mud, and helps to reflect heat back from the sun.


Historical find in the compost heap!

This is what Natasha found while sieving compost!Click to see bigger image
Peter Robins, at Norwich Castle Museum, identified it as a flint knife, long, narrow secondary flake with shallow retouch along much of the right edge and signs of use wear on the left edge. Probably Early Neolithic, 4,000-3,000 BC.

Worth a Visit

Audley End has a wonderful organic walled fruit and vegetable garden. It is accessible by public transport, the village being on the train line between Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk for details

Clive,

with graphics and other exciting bits from Jim

Jane says …

Here’s a fab recipe to add to the seasonal collection – Spanakopita, which is a Greek spinach and feta cheese pie

23rd May 2013

An invasion of red

Have you found little reddish purple seedlings on your plot and wondered if they were weeds or something more useful? They could be from wind-blown seeds of red orach, a handsome annual plant with edible leaves and flower buds. It grows to about a metre high but, because it isn’t bushy, doesn’t take up too much room or need staking. When young the leaves are very tasty in salads and later can be cooked like spinach.
To keep the plant producing new leaves the flower buds should be picked; they’re delicious steamed. Then, if one stem is left to flower and produce seeds, there will be a new supply of seedlings the following year. If you don’t have seedlings, I’ll pot up some from my plot and leave them outside the polytunnel for anyone to take. Look out, too, for self-sown borage seedlings; the blue flower heads have a cucumber flavour and look wonderful scattered over salad leaves.
There are plenty of seeds and plants available for colour and interest on plots. Ask in the big shed for seeds for nasturtiums; the leaves and flowers are a peppery addition to a salad. Or for sunflowers with their stately flower heads and, once ripened, seeds for humans and hamsters.
There will also be also flower plants available; cosmos, French marigolds and sweet rocket. Sweet rocket will produce flowers in shades of blue and mauve with a fragrance as sweet as a violet, which accounts for one of its other names, damask violet.


What to plant now

Kale seedlings - click for info

There are plenty of plants ready to go out. On the bench outside the polytunnel are several different types of kale for autumn picking. Peter and Helene have planted a row of each in the plot opposite the greenhouse so, if you’re not sure about how to space the plants or how to protect them from pigeons, take a look.
It continues to be cold with a risk of frost so some might say it’s foolhardy to plant out courgettes and squashes. However, as the first plants are outgrowing their pots in the polytunnel, brave souls are needed to take the plunge. They could be rewarded with extra early courgettes.

Start with one, at most two plants; there will be more available over the next two or three weeks. Dig a sizeable hole and work a spadeful of manure or compost into the bottom of it. Some people plant courgettes in a slight dip, others on a mound, still others on a mound with a slight dip in it like a doughnut. Take your pick! Water the plant well and, for the first week or so while it gets established, think about protecting it with fleece, a large cut down water bottle or similar.
Parsley, sweetcorn, calabrese and various salads are also available as plants. For a list of which seeds can be sown in May, look at the grower’s guide on the website (click here)


Volunteers needed

As always, there are jobs to be done. The beds round the polytunnel will be planted with cucumbers, physalis and fat baby (achocha) in a week or two. The beds need digging over and a frame to support the trailing plants built. Grass cutting, compost turning and weeding are perennial jobs for anyone with an hour to spend. Come to the big shed for seeds, advice or to offer help with one of the tasks.


Finally..

Are there any (older) gardeners wanting to be on television? Channel 4 is to open the first job agency for OAPs. The production company Plum Pictures say that ‘we are currently casting for a new Channel 4 television series which will be presented by Mary Portas and we are looking for retired people to take part. We want to bring together a group of talented retired people who can use their skills for the benefit of their community.’


Bridget

Layout and graphics by Jim