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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