February 28th 2014

Food Share Sunday

Please come and join us for the ‘Food Share’ lunch this Sunday 2nd March at 1pm.  The idea is to try to make something using produce from your plots, but if you don’t have much available then bring a drink or anything else you’d like to share. I usually make a spicy bean casserole and add anything I’ve got on my plots to it. I’ve still got potatoes from last year and also sprouting broccoli and chard from this year which will go into the hot dish for Sunday. I’ve been asked for this recipe, so I will post it on the website soon.

Foodshare-out

Juyna, Food Team
These photos are from last month’s gathering and show some hardy folks dining out whilst the rest are huddled inside!
Foodshare-in

Magic Muck: When and How to Use It?

Thank you to everyone who helped shovel muck last Sunday.  We now have a big pile, just to the left of the main path on the way to the Red shed. It is clearly marked.  Please do not take muck from anywhere else.  It won’t be ours!

Before you set about loading your wheelbarrow, make sure you understand what you are doing otherwise you could end up ruining your crops. One of our growers last year had used a lot of muck on his plot before planting onion sets; the result was that all his onions bolted (ran into seed) early on. Another grower used fresh muck on her plot before sowing parsnips and she got a lot of deformed parsnips.
Magic MuckSo, to find out how to use muck successfully, click here.

Courses

Sunday March 9th we’ll be running our regular monthly workshop which will be focusing on How To Make The Most Of Your Plot.

Mahesh will go through the process of digging, planning and composting.  Meet at 11am at the big shed. We’ll finish at noon.

Stepney City Farm

in London is running a series of workshops on sustainable gardening. They are aimed at people who already know the basics of how to sow seeds, maintain and harvest a garden, and are looking to incorporate new, sustainable gardening techniques into their spaces.  Sessions include; mushroom cultivation, making organic fertilisers and soil conditioners, shady spaces, weeds as soil indicators and their uses.  Check out their website for further info Stepney City Farm
www.stepneycityfarm.org

Let us know if you decide to go because we’d like to hear how you got on.


If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to newsletter@grow-our-own.co.uk

February 21st 2014

Spring?

You can feel Spring is in the air: the sound of the birds, the bulbs getting ready to burst forth, and tasks to be done around our community garden.

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This is the start of our busy season and we need participation from all our members. If each of us gives just a few hours every month, we can keep this little bit of paradise going.
Actually, the taking part in community tasks is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our scheme. We have a lot of fun. Read on…

The great big spring tool and shed maintenance event.

On Sunday 9th March from 10.00 to 12.30 come and join us for a community task. We’ll be repairing, sharpening and colour coding all the tools, and cleaning and tidying the sheds.
All members are welcome to help with the tasks, to meet the Maintenance Team and to enjoy free coffee, tea and cake.
Jane Graham, Team Leader, will be running the event. Meet at the big shed.

Tea-IMAG0085

Would you like some manure for your plot?

Yes? Well, we have unlimited supplies of horse manure, but we need to move it from the stables to our site. And for that, we need some help.
A team at the loading end, at Dereham Road, and another team at GO2 end for unloading.

horse-laugh
It’s happening this Sunday the 23rd, if anyone is available for a 9am start at the GO2 end, please call or text Phil, the Compost Team Leader, on 07884 391472.

Potatoes and shallots

We’ve got potatoes for chitting: Charlotte (salad – second earlies) and Lady Balfour (main crop).
There are also shallots, ready for you to plant out from now until mid-March. Shallots have a lovely sweet mild flavour, rather like a red onion. Plant them so their tips are just poking through, 5cm apart and 25cm between rows.

seeds

Heritage seeds

We’ll be growing rare varieties of heritage vegetables for seed again this year: French beans Bird’s Egg, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Eastern Butterwax (love those names!); Pilot pea; tomato Maghreb (from Morocco) and a melon Green Nutmeg, which will be grown in the polytunnel.
We’ve built up a small collection of heritage seeds to share, if you would like to try something unusual this year. All we ask is for you to save some of the crop for seed, to return to our collection. We’ll be putting a list up on the Seeds and Plants noticeboard soon.

Dwarf and/or fast growing varieties

Peter A will be trialling a selection of vegetable varieties that are smaller than usual and/or faster to mature than usual.
This demonstration plot will be near the polytunnel, so you’ll be able to see how this selection progresses.
They’ll include broad beans, French beans, baby beetroot, carrot and turnip, mini calabrese, a blue sweetcorn called Baby Fingers Blue and a very fast maturing yellow outdoor cucumber.

Seeds and Plants Team
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Pests and Diseases

Two of us had a problem with our Autumn sown broad beans. They looked like this:
diseased-beans

So GO2 wrote to Garden Organic, of which we are members, and we received the following reply:
‘It looks as though your young broad bean plants are being ‘nipped’ off at the base – possibly by mice, or the culprits could be cutworm or leatherjacket larvae. (Cutworms are caterpillars of the turnip moth and leatherjackets are larvae of crane flies, often called ‘daddy long legs’). The larvae live in the soil and are green/grey-brown in colour. They are usually responsible for severing the stems of beans at soil level. Hoeing around the plants will help expose them to predators such as birds, or they can be physically removed by hand. The only other thing I think it could be is foot rot (Fusarium) but as there is no visible evidence of white fungal growth at the base of the stems where they have been severed, I think it far more likely to be mice or the larvae mentioned above.’
We will store this advice, and others like it, on the website, and in the shed with the plant by plant guide.

Bone Meal Offer

We are offering bone-meal to our growers for the first time. If you have fruit bushes or trees on your plot, remove weeds thoroughly at the base of the plant and apply a hand-full of bone-meal. Remember not to overuse it – you may kill the plant! It is good practice to apply bone-meal after pruning.
If you have fruit bushes on your plot and would like to get some bone-meal, please see our team members during the opening hours (Sunday and Wednesday from 10am until 1pm)

If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to newsletter@grow-our-own.co.uk.

Heard of Hugelkultur?

It’s a raised bed, or garden, made out of woody material in layers from big to small, topped with green or softer material and soil.

Hugelkultur garden raised beds originate from Eastern Europe and Germany. Hugel translates as ‘hill’ or ‘mound’. The bed uses up wood waste and other materials It retains moisture as the wood decomposes and is usually wetter than normal flat beds. This process releases heat, enabling plants to be grown earlier than usual, or keeps them warmer in cold weather. A diverse population of micro-organisms is created and it increases the growing surface, again compared to a flat bed.
It’s also fun to do.
We are going to dig out one of GO2’s demonstration plots to about 6 inches, put the soil aside, fill in the bed with the woody material, add other, softer material, and put back the soil. Done! Ready to plant.
Contact Peter Anderson if you’d like to help:

peteranderson_187@btinternet.com

hugelkultur-P1090455


Notes following last Sunday’s pruning instruction are on our website (click here)


If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to

newsletter@grow-our-own.co.uk.

February 7th 2014

Potatoes

Our seed potatoes have arrived: salad potato Charlotte and maincrop Lady Balfour. Both have been selected for their great taste and reliable performance on the plot.
Traditionally, potatoes are planted on Good Friday (which is very late this year); in practice it’s sensible to plant them out any time from the end of March. But first they need some help!

They should be chitted, which means encouraging them to create nice sturdy little growing points. This will speed up the growing process when they are planted out. All you have to do is to decide which sort of potato you want to grow (you can have some of each if you like) and how many (allow 30cm between individual potatoes and 60cm between rows), then pop them into an eggbox to start the sprouting process. chitting
Chitted spuds
Look at your potatoes for little ‘eyes’, which are the starting point for the growing points, then place your potatoes with an eye upwards. If you’ve got room to do this at home on a cool window sill, that’s ideal – but if not, don’t worry. We can look after them for you in the shed – just make sure you label them with your name.
If you don’t have time to do your own chitting, we’ll make sure we have plenty of spare potatoes ready to plant out. Do remember: never grow potatoes that aren’t certified ‘seed potatoes’, as ours are. If you plant out potatoes that you’ve saved from last year, or use cooking potatoes, you are inviting disease.
Do check out our demonstration plot opposite the greenhouse, where we’ve sown onions, garlic, broad beans and peas.
Peter A is experimenting with peas under a cloche there too.
cloche

Harvest…

Vegetables: Celery, celeriac, brussels sprouts, kohl-rabi; roots –beetroot, parsnip, swede, green leaves –oriental salad leaves. Pak choi; leeks, kale, winter cabbages and sprouting broccoli; winter herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme.
Seeds: Wait till mid-February (or later if it’s cold) to plant broad beans if you haven’t already sown them. We’ll have red onion sets soon too. Later this month we’ll be offering beetroot, parsnip and radish seeds.

Time to prune and plant soft fruit

Don’t forget this Sunday is our training day and we’ll be pruning gooseberry bushes and other soft fruit. This will be a practical session so if you have any favourite secateurs that you would like to bring, please do. We will also be offering a few raspberry canes and some currant and gooseberry plants on a first come, first served basis. secateurs-animated
pruning-sketch
Included in the session will be a short introduction to some of the really useful resources on the website.  You may not be aware that it includes all the growing guides by plant and by plot, plus recipes and other goodies.  Take a look now at www.grow-our-own.co.uk. Go to the members area where the password is ‘garlic’.
Click here to see the “Grower’s Guide”grow-info-thumbnail
Training is from 11.00 to 12.00 at our big green shed.

GO2 growers who also have Council allotments on Bluebell South

Several GO2 growers now also have Council allotments and they have asked about using GO2 tools. The answer is that, provided the Council plot is on Bluebell South, growers who want to use GO2 tools and take seeds and plants must pay the £16 fee that other grow-at-home growers pay.

So, if you have recently taken a Council plot on Bluebell South and still retain your GO2 plot, plus use GO2 tools and seeds and plants, please arrange to pay £16 by your usual payment method. If you give up your GO2 plot and want to use tools, seeds and plants on a Council plot, then that is also £16. Please note that tools may not be taken to the Bluebell North site. tool-rack in shed

Thanks!
If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News,
please send it to newsletter@grow-our-own.co.uk