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