The orchard is now quite extensive, with apples and pears on the south and plums and gages on the north. The Forest Garden is in the distance.

The orchard is now quite extensive, with apples and pears on the south and plums and gages on the north. The Forest Garden is in the distance.

Orchard and Forest Gardening Tree Planting

Nine people turned out on Saturday, 23rd January to plant trees in the orchard and Frest Grden at Marlpit Community Garden.
Lunch was rice, dahl and cake, provided by Amy, and was very welcome.

We made a good start, planting English varieties of apples, pears, plums and gages to replace those trees that had succumbed to attack by muntjac deer, or not made it from last year for other reasons. All the fruit trees have since been supplied with tree guards against the deer.

Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka Myrtle

Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka

Planting continued all week in the forest garden of more exotic trees and shrubs and is now complete. The trees planted were mulberry, peach, persimmon, almond, cherry, Siberian pea tree, sweet chestnut, yellowhorn and blue beans. Shrubs were chokeberry, goji, jostaberry, Worcesterberry, bog myrtle and manuka and also three varieties of grapevine.

Lycium barbarum, Goji Big Lifeberry - bears red fruit to be eaten fresh. The young shoots and leaves may be cooked as a vegetable

Lycium barbarum, Goji Big Lifeberry – bears red fruit to be eaten fresh. The young shoots and leaves may be cooked as a vegetable

The fruit and nuts from these trees and shrubs will provide us with familiar and new tastes which should result in some interesting additions to our dishes and preserves in a year or two.

The leaves and nuts from bog myrtle are used to flavour dishes and wax from the leaves can be used to make candles.

The first crocus to flower in the Forest Garden, 'Cream Beauty', photographed on 25th January.

The first crocus to flower in the Forest Garden, ‘Cream Beauty’, photographed on 25th January.

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Newsletter Number 7 – 22nd January 2016

“How did it go?”
This newsletter is a bit thinner than usual, reflecting a slow time for gardeners. It’s a good time for reflection and planning. How did it go on your plots last season? What were your problems and successes? What will you do differently this year?
Please write in, share your thoughts, and make this a newsletter for and by our members. Send contributions to newsletter@grow-our-own.co.uk


Newsletter No8 follows on 5/02/2016, deadline for items to include is /02/2016

Upcoming events

Marmalade Workshop – 6th Febuary
The New Training Programme for 2016
Tree planting at Marlpit Forest Garden and orchard – Saturday 23rd January from 10am.
MCG Bugs Day – Sunday 21st February


Marlpit Wildlife in January
January First Sunday Food Share at Bluebell

Newsletter No8 follows on 5/02/2016, the deadline for items to include is 3/02/2016

Postponed – Learning at Marlpit

The first sessions of the 2016 Programme of Practical Gardening courses at Marlpit Community Garden on Saturday 16th January 2016 was postponed – and will be combined with Part2 on 20th February.
In Part 1 of “Growing Fruit and Vegetables“, from 10am to 1pm, Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant will talk about “Growing soft fruit and tree fruit” and “Pruning fruit trees” and in the afternoon in Part 1 of “Growing and Using Herbs“, Alex Hobbs will discuss “Infused Oils and Ointments” and “What to grow, Where to get them, Where to plant them ” – see below to book a place in February or later.

New Training Programme

The new programme of courses for 2016 is published. Two courses will be run on the third Saturday of each month. There are morning courses titled “Growing Fruit and Vegetables” and afternoon courses titled “Growing and Using Herbs“. To find out more and sign-up, click here.

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December’s Training Day

Last month’s course was on a very rainy day – to see Teresa’s report, click here.compostbin

Gordon taking advantage of the mild days of the new year to prepare the land edging the Marlpit the herb garden for planting. Picture by Mark Sorrell

Gordon taking advantage of the mild days of the new year to prepare the land edging the Marlpit the herb garden for planting.
Picture by Mark Sorrell

Birds of Marlpit Community Garden January 2016

We are now into the New Year, and more birds have started singing around the Garden. They are beginning to establish territories and looking for mates for the coming breeding season.

One of the first has been the Mistle Thrush, well known for singing in winter storms from the tops of trees, giving it its old country name of ‘Storm Cock’. Mistle Thrushes have been declining over the UK in the last few decades, having lost 45% of their population since 1969. They are named after one of their favourite foods, the mistletoe berry.

Turdus philomelos, Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos, Song Thrush (Photo by Tish, 6/1/2016 at MCG)

Song Thrushes have also been singing, and can be distinguished from the Mistle Thrush by the repetitive nature of the song, with each phrase being repeated several times. Song Thrushes also experienced a decline in population of 50% between 1969 and 2006, but have recovered slightly since then. They are very fond of slugs and snails, so should help to keep the Garden free of these pests. Thrushes are known from breaking open the shells of snails by beating them on stone ‘anvils’, and you may come across one of these surrounded by fragments of shell if a Thrush has been using it. The warm weather has meant no frost, which has failed to kill off the slugs and snails this year; we have just had by far the warmest December since records began, with temperatures in Britain averaging 9.7C, far higher than the previous record of 8.1C, perhaps more evidence of global warming.
Great Tits have also been singing lately. They are the largest member of the Tit family in Britain, and the first to begin singing. They sing a number of different songs, all variations on a two note theme, and it has been found that the more songs they sing the larger the territory they can hold, which is important for influencing breeding success. I look forward to the late spring, when they will be with their young in the hedges alongside the garden.

Chris Keene

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First Sunday Food

2016-01-03 13.05.33About twenty of us turned up at Bluebell South for the Grow Our Own First Sunday Food-Sharing Lunch.
The Food Team arrived early and helped set up tables in the Big Shed.
It was quite cosy for January and we had three different hot soups, nut roast and curried vegetables, lots of nibbles, some very tasty puddings and a little fizz to celebrate the new 2016.

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We’ve had a few new enquiries for plots and we are now running short – but if you know people who would like to join the scheme by all means show them round. Word is getting round what a good scheme it is and people are also taking just membership. Which reminds me, if you haven’t got your membership card, they are in a little wallet pinned to the admin noticeboard.
If you’d like to join the shed duty rota on Wednesday or Sunday mornings, please contact Rita via admin@grow-our-own.co.uk

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SLI Christmas Meal 2015

P1200520bThe food team did us proud with our Christmas lunch at Marlpit Community Centre on 19th December. The hall was looking festive with paper chains round the walls, branches hung with baubles as a centre piece on a floor patterned with snowflakes and decorations on the tables.

Forty two people sat down to a delicious vegetable soup and an impressive array of dishes produced by the team. This was followed by an imaginative selection of desserts and cakes brought along by the members along with wine and soft drinks.

The hall was abuzz with conversation and the time passed quickly. We all heartily supported the thanks expressed to everybody who contributed to making the event an success. Finally many hands made light work of washing up and tidying the hall at the end of a very enjoyable celebration.

P1200507Click the picture to see more.

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Marlpit Arms Christmas Minimarket

The Marlpit Arms is still in the process of restoration but the Christmas Minimarket held on 12th December was a warm and cheerful occasion. Mulled wine was served in the marquee and we were among the local organisations entertained by a folk band. Among the other stallholders were the Friends of Train Wood and Alec Steele, a young Norwich blacksmith, who was demonstrating his craft.
We donated a giant pumpkin and freshly picked vegetables from Marlpit Community Garden which were ingredients in the delicious soup and stews served in the pub itself.
Our sales of nicely presented jams and chutneys made by the GO2 food group brought in £23 towards funds.
marlpit pub minimarket viewmarlpit pub minimarket stall, Teresa on the stallmarlpit pub minimarket jams and chutneys


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