2013 Easter Sunday

The Big Shed will be open as usual on Sunday, from 11am until 2pm. It may be that you want to work on your plot, getting it ready for when the weather improves and the soil warms up. Or come and sit in the shed and plan what you’re going to grow this season; there will be people around to help and plenty of books and magazines to consult.

There are also jobs to be done:
• a spot of spring de-cluttering in the sheds and greenhouse;
• invasive bramble and fennel roots to be dug out from borders;
• the picnic area to be weeded and spruced up.

As usual, there will be cake and a hot drink.


Bridget

(With layout and pictures by Jim)

Help needed at Marlpit Community Garden Saturday 13th April

With a view to improving the existing hedgerows, we will be planting trees in the gaps along Gunton Lane. We will also plant fast-growing trees such as hazel and willow. These will eventually be coppiced by our growers and used as bean poles and pea sticks.
We will start work at 10.00 am, with refreshments being available at Marlpit Community Centre from 12.30 pm.
We can supply the tools, but please wear suitable clothing, footwear and gloves.
There are no car-parking facilities, so please travel to the site by other methods.
If you are able to help, please contact Mahesh


Jim,

with pictures and graphics from Jim

Sunday 24th March

This week’s newsletter comes from Eddie, Tessa and Juyna who will be on duty, with Jane G, in the Big Shed on Sunday.


‘How on earth did you get parsnips that big?’

Last year my plots were very productive and successful with large onions, good sized garlic and beetroot and an extremely good crop of parsnips.
Some have asked, ‘How on earth did you get parsnips that big?’ The only answer I have is, ‘I have no idea but by the Grace of God and a bit of luck it’s happened’. Many of you know that I have survived a stroke and my involvement with GO2 has been an integral part of that recovery. Helping to pot on seedlings, watching my crops grow and the many friendships I have made have helped me to become part of the wider community.  Now I look forward to the new season and what it may bring, including the slugs and snails.

Eddie

Keeping paths clear

As the main growing season begins and you begin to work on your plots, remember to keep the main path clear of garden tools, wheelbarrows and personal effects. As well as being a health and safety hazard, such objects make for an obstacle course for anyone trying to pass, particularly with a wheelbarrow.
Also, keeping the grass short in front of your plot both looks neater and reduces the habitat of the slugs which we were plagued with last year.

Tessa

Your wellbeing & gardening

As I write this I’ve just heard on the radio that it’s the first day of Spring!  Now is the time to get your allotment plots organised as the soil is warming up.

Whilst gardening is a lovely thing to do as it great way to keep fit and has calming effects it can also unfortunately result in injuries, especially in the lumber region. Just a few precautions will help to avoid these problems. In particular people with existing back pain should take extra care when gardening. Plan your gardening time and don’t overdo it.
Firstly, warm up by taking a quick walk around all wonderful plots which will stimulate your circulation. Secondly, limber up by doing some simple stretches exercise such as the one illustrated. This is simple to do and can be done by anyone; even in a wheelchair. Start by rolling your shoulders forward VERY GENTLY 10 times and back 10 times. Continue to breathe normally as you do this. Finally, relax and start gardening. Enjoy!

Juyna

Jane’s Recipe for the Spring Equinox

Impossible to work out what to eat with this changeable weather – blooming cold and snowy, then lovely and sunny (but still cold). So – it’s French vegetable soup, which is very simple but really good.

Jane

Layout and graphics by Jim

What to do – March 17th 2013

The cold snap has delayed some of the usual March tasks. But as the ground begins to warm:

  • Where there is bare soil, and you are planning to grow tender crops such as courgettes, beans and squashes from late May/June, sow green manures such as mustard, phacelia and tares. These will provide ground cover for a couple of months and a habitat for beneficial insects that are emerging from hibernation.
  • Spread compost and small amounts of well-rotted manure on the surface around overwintering crops to boost their growth in the spring.
  • Dig in any green manure that was sown in late summer/autumn
  • If you are planning to grow runner beans, prepare a compost trench and fill with kitchen scraps, small amounts of manure, grass cuttings etc. And cover with soil.
    Prepare your plot for seed sowing in late March/April by clearing weeds and incorporating sieved compost

Help needed at Marlpit Community Garden Saturday 13th April

With a view to improving the existing hedgerows, we will be planting trees in the gaps along Gunton Lane. We will also plant fast-growing trees such as hazel and willow. These will eventually be coppiced by our growers and used as bean poles and pea sticks.
We will start work at 10.00 am, with refreshments being available at Marlpit Community Centre from 12.30 pm.
We can supply the tools, but please wear suitable clothing, footwear and gloves.
There are no car-parking facilities, so please travel to the site by other methods.
If you are able to help, please contact Mahesh


Helpful hippos?

Thank you to everyone who has helped with communal activities over the last few months. Especially to Paul, Juyna and Charles for taking away large items of rubbish. We expect all growers to contribute to these general tasks, so if everyone were to take a bag of rubbish away over the next month that would make a huge impact.


Norfolk Organic Group Monday 25th March 7.30 pm

Tim O’Riordan is an inspiring and authoritative speaker, so this is a must see event!


Clive,

with pictures and graphics from Jim

What to do this weekend?

You could sow a few broad beans or a row of parsnip seeds and there are white and red onions to plant.

You might even risk sowing a row of peas. Choose smooth-skinned ones as these germinate better in cold weather. There will be seeds and sets for all the above in the Big Shed.

Find ways of warming the soil ready for sowing more tender seeds.
This week I constructed a cloche from sheets of clear plastic to cover a small section of my plot. It’s rather rickety but, if it stands and does its job, I’ll sow a row of beetroot next week and maybe some sugar snap peas (wrinkled seeds as it gets warmer) as well. Covering the soil with black polythene will also warm the soil and has the advantage of suppressing weeds.


Join the watering (and snail hunt) rota

The seeds sown in the greenhouse are doing well and it won’t be long before the young plants require daily watering. We need volunteers to take on one or more ‘slots’ in a rota. The job doesn’t take long; it involves checking and watering if necessary and then a quick inspection of pots and modules to search out any snails that have found their way into cracks and crevices. So, if you can come regularly on the same day each week, either morning or evening, let us know. There is a technique involved, to avoid under- or over-watering, so, if you’re unsure, we’ll show you how. Hunting out snails needs less skill.


Bean-poles

Because of the disease, ash dieback, threatening our ash trees nationally we’re unable to get bean-poles from our usual supplier. We have some left over from last year but there won’t be enough for everyone. We prefer not to buy imported bamboo canes so need another source. If you’re intending to grow runner beans this year keep an eye open for anything, in skips or stacked behind garden sheds, that could be used as poles, for your own plot or, if you know of a good supply, for the rest of us.


Happy gardening

Bridget

Recipe for Fennel and Pea Risotto

Don’t I wish I could succeed with growing fennel! I’ve tried and it was a dismal failure. BUT if I had succeeded, I could be making this lovely dish with my own home-grown fennel (have to wait a few weeks for home-grown peas though).

Jane C.

Food sharing

As usual on the first Sunday of the month, we will stop work at 1.00 to share a meal.

Try cheese scones with soup

Think using allotment grown and local produce, rather than competitive baking. And no horses please.

 

 

 See Jane’s recipes at grow-our-own.co.uk/soups-and-sauces


Is now the right time to be sowing?

We have lots of broad beans, and some yellow onions which can be sown from now on. And some red onions on order. As the soil (hopefully) warms over the next few weeks we can begin to sow parsnips, peas, chard, spinach, radishes and lots more!

Visit our website (your password is “garlic”) for more ideas, or talk to other members on Sunday and Wednesday mornings.


Heritage seeds – Jane Chittenden

I’m very pleased to be looking after the heritage seeds for GO2 this year. Heritage seeds are seeds that have been in cultivation for at least 50 years, usually for much longer, and must be open-pollinated – that is, they are not laboratory-controlled hybrids. These are varieties developed for gardeners and commercial growers from the time before post-war intensive farming. They’ve been treasured for generations because they taste great and they are reliable in our tricky English climate; they’re not grown for uniformity and long shelf life but for the kitchen.
I’ve picked six from goodness knows how many wonderful varieties in the Garden Organic catalogue. I’m starting with broad bean Mr Jones – from WW2 Dig for Victory (tall plants cropping over a long season). Because the seeds are so precious, I’m sowing them indoors this weekend to guarantee maximum germination. As soon as they are about an inch tall I shall plant them outdoors (weather permitting) on a plot near the picnic area. I’ll be reporting on progress with all six varieties – do feel free to take a look at them as they grow. I’ll also be sharing my experiences of learning how to save seed, with help from Peter A and Mahesh.


Annual report

We aim to be as transparent and accountable as possible. Therefore Sustainable Living Initiative posts its annual report on line. The latest report for the year to 30th September 2012 is now available, just follow this link for photos, growers’ stories, statistics and more.

21 new growers have joined the Grow our Own scheme since 1st October 2012 and we currently have 131 members at Bluebell Road South, with a further 9 subscribing to the Grow at Home scheme. In contrast to the perceived standard allotment demographic, around two thirds of our members are female. So if you are reading this newsletter you are probably a woman!


Clive