November Newsletter

Notices and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, please visit members’ page on our website or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Thanks to those members who attended SLI AGM on Sunday 5th November at Marlpit Community Centre. The minutes of the meeting are available to members (click here).

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

We still have plots available on Bluebell as well as on Marlpit sites, so please do tell your friends and families who might like to have a small plot.

Finally, may I ask all GO2 Bluebell and Marlpit growers including Growing at Home members to send me a list of 10 vegetables that you would like to grow in 2018? Good quality organic seeds are expensive to produce; minimising seeds/plants waste is good for saving our money and saving the planet as well.  So far I have received only two replies!


Forthcoming events
Saturday 18th November: Training on how to grow and prune tree fruit and soft fruit, by Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant at Marlpit Community Garden, from 10 am to 1 pm.
(Course-notes are posted here.)

Sunday  3rd December,  10 am to 1 pm  Composting, Coppicing and Food-sharing lunch, at GO2  Bluebell South Allotments.

COMPOSTING
The three composting areas we have need a good tidying up and sorting prior to the winter.  Please come along and lend a hand. I’ll be there from 10am and hopefully we can sort it out within two or three hours. If you can’t make it for ten, please turn up when you can.

We’ll be weeding, strimming, moving stuff around and covering up those bays which are now full.

Thanks for your help.
 Phil, Composting Team

COPPICING
Mahesh will be running a session on coppicing – how to get your bean-poles and pea sticks free and how to make frames for climbing plants using  hazel poles and branches. If you are planning to grow  beans and peas next year, please come and learn how to harvest your beanpoles and  pea-sticks. No booking required, just turn up at 10 am.

FOOD-SHARING
As usual, at 1 pm, there will be food-sharing lunch; please bring something, preferably home-cooked food.


Christmas meal, Saturday 16 December 2017 at 1pm
We have booked Marlpit Community Centre for our Christmas meal and get together. We plan to serve Helen’s fantastic soup followed by a main meal. There will be vegetarian options. Please bring a pudding and your choice of drink. We are licensed  to bring our own alcohol.

Some help will be needed to set out tables and chairs and to prepare food. Suggested donation £5 to cover the cost of food and hall hire. If you wish to come please let Moira know by phoning 07855911331 or email food@grow-our-own.co.uk as soon as possible.
Last year was good fun and great chance to meet up. (http://grow-our-own.co.uk/christmas-lunch-2016/)


Notices

Soft-fruit plants available for free to SLI Members
Fruit bushes – raspberry, gooseberry and read/write currants plants are  available. If you are interested,  please come to GO2 Bluebell on 3rd December or to Marlpit on Tuesdays between 10  and 12.

GO2 Bluebell Shed winter schedule
Please note that from Sunday 19th of  November to Saturday 17th  February,  the main shed will not officially be attended on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. However, if you have got the main gate key and know where the toilet and big shed keys are, you can still access all our facilities on site.

Marlpit Community Garden winter schedule
From Wednesday 20th of December to Monday the 5th of February, there will be no regular volunteering session on Tuesday at Marlpit Community Garden.


Last plantings and preparation for winter
Broad beans sown in autumn are one of the first vegetables to crop in early summer. There are seeds in the big shed, and still time to sow a row or two.  There’s garlic too, ready for planting.  Garlic needs a cold period in the ground so if the weather turns wintery, just think how healthy your crop will be next year.

Preparing the ground on your plot now will give you and the crops a good start next year.  Clear any weeds and cover the ground, first with a thin layer of compost or manure and then with a mulch – cardboard or straw are best as they rot down and add organic matter.  The worms will pull the compost or manure into the soil, aerating it as they do so.

Bridget for Seeds and Plants team

October 2017

Notices and information about forthcoming events.
Welcome
First of all, a very warm welcome to both the new and renewed members of Sustainable Living Initiative (SLI). Whether you are interested in growing vegetables, fruit and herbs, or in learning about bees, wildlife and forest gardening or in improving gardening and cooking skills, you will find a lot going on.

SLI is run by volunteers; the long-term sustainability of the organisation depends on your cooperation and active participation. We currently have four Trustee vacancies. If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please e-mail me at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk , along with a copy of your brief CV before the AGM on 5th November.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm. Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

We still have plots available on Bluebell as well as on Marlpit sites, so please do tell your friends and families who might like to have a small plot.

Finally, may I ask all GO2 Bluebell and Marlpit growers including Growing at Home members to send me a list of 10 vegetables that you would like to grow in 2018? Good quality organic seeds are costly; minimising seeds/plants waste is good for saving our money and saving the planet as well!

SLI evaluation

Dear All
Your responses to last year’s evaluation of our scheme have been extremely helpful. I am planning to send another evaluation to you all in October/November and will come and talk directly to people who are happy to chat, on volunteer days. The evaluation will be used to help Mahesh and the trustees plan for future developments and to support funding applications.
Many thanks for all your help and support with this.

Roberta Manners – GO2 Bluebell Plot holder and SLI Trustee

Forthcoming events

Saturday 21st October, 10 am to 3 pm.
Volunteers from the University of East Anglia are coming to Marlpit Community Garden. SLI members are welcome to join and stay for lunch. Please let Mahesh know if you are able to come and help: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Saturday 28st October, 10 – 1 pm
Cooking Authentic Nepali food, Sel Roti and vegetable curry, by Champa Neupane, Marlpit Community Centre,
Please follow this link to read about Sel Roti : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sel_roti
Booking compulsory. Please book your place (maximum 10 person): sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk.

Sunday 5th November, 12 to 2:30 pm
SLI AGM at Marlpit Community Centre
What next for SLI? It’s your say about SLI. Lunch available. Please let Mahesh know if you would like to stay for lunch after the AGM.
NB – no food-sharing at Bluebell this day

Saturday 18th November, 10 – 1 pm
Training on how to grow and prune tree fruit and soft fruit, with Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant at Marlpit Community Garden.
Please book by sending an email to sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Notices

Growing fruit and vegetables: an introductory training course at GO2 Bluebell on Sunday 15th October
On Sunday 15th October, about seven new growers turned up for an excellent introduction to basic gardening techniques from Mahesh and Jon Darby of Easton Horticultural College. We covered preparation of soil, dealing with weeds, compost and muck, whether or not to go for raised beds (best not!), crop rotation and only planting ‘easy to grow’ crops in the first year. After that we had a digging demonstration which obviously helped a few people get going on their plots. Many of these subjects will be taken up later in the year at sessions at Marlpit so watch out for details, and don’t miss them!! Those interested then had an introduction to using the petrol strimmer.

The Bluebell Model Allotment Association has sent round notice that Bluebell North is seeing a lot of rats. If you notice rats on our site, please let us know.
Christine Wilson, GO2 Bluebell Admin Team

GO2 Bluebell Shed Winter Schedule
Please note that from Sunday 19th November to Saturday 17th February, the main shed will not officially be attended on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. However, if you have got the main gate key and know where the toilet and big shed keys are, you can still access all our facilities on site.

Autumn planting at Bluebell
Broad beans can be sown any time from now until November, to give a crop in late spring next year. There are broad bean seeds, Super Aquadulce and some heritage varieties, in the big shed.

Garlic and overwintering onions are also in the big shed. Onions can be planted from now until November. Garlic is best planted from late October into November. There are planting instructions for all in the big shed, on the window and in a file on the table.
Bridget for Seeds and Plants team.

September Newsletter

Notices and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, please visit members’ page or contact sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

Forthcoming events

Sunday 24th September: World River Day organised by Norwich Rivercare Group, at Marlpit Community Centre from 12:30 to 4 pm.
Marlpit Community Garden will be hosting the visitors during the day and we need volunteers to welcome the visitors. Please contact Mahesh – sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk, if you are able to help.

Sunday 1st October: GO2 Open Day, Bluebell South allotments, 11 am – 3 pm
Time to renew your annual membership, apple pressing, stalls, refreshments; bring friends and family!

Would anyone like to help with renewals? We have one person each hour from 10 – 2 but it’s helpful to have a second person and we need people from 2 – 3. We may have visitors interested in taking a plot so they need showing round. Please email Christine if you can help: admin@grow-our-own.co.uk

Sunday 15th October: Basic gardening techniques and strimmer demo at GO2, 10 am – 12 pm
This session is a must for new growers!  it is free but booking is essential.
Basic gardening techniques and important things to know how to get the best out of your plot. Also for those interested: how to use the power tools such as petrol strimmer.  Please book your place by emailing to: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Tuesday 19th October:  10 am to 3 pm.
Norwich Union (Aviva) team coming to Marlpit to help with the conservation work.  Any help from our members is appreciated. Members will get free lunch.

Saturday 28th October: Cooking Nepali food, Marlpit Community Centre, 10 – 1 pm
Details later.
Please let Mahesh  know in advance if you would like to come: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Sunday 5th November: SLI AGM at Marlpit Community Centre, 12 to 3 pm
What next for SLI? It’s your say about SLI. Refreshments available.  Details later.
NB – no food-sharing at Bluebell this day

 Notices

IMPORTANT NOTICE, PLEASE READ!

All GO2 Bluebell and Marlpit Community Garden plot holders should have received a personal email about plot renewal. If you have not received an e-mail from Sustainable Living Initiative, please let me know as soon as possible.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Mahesh Pant
e-mail: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk
Tel: 01603 920570

Autumn planting at Bluebell

There will be lettuce, red mustard frills and giant red mustard plants available from the covered stand outside the greenhouse.  Lettuces planted now will stay small all winter but, with fleece protection if possible, will start growing in early spring to give an early crop.  The red mustards should keep growing through the winter, giving leaves to pick in all but the coldest weather.

Broad beans seeds can be sown any time from now until November, to give a crop in late spring next year.  The trick is to get the new plants big enough to survive the cold, but not so big that they are rocked by the wind.  I’ll be sowing mine in mid-October, depending on the weather.  There are broad bean seeds, variety Super Aquadulce, in the big shed.

Garlic and overwintering onions will be arriving soon in the big shed.  Onions can be sown from now until November.  Garlic is best planted from late October into November.  There are planting instructions for all in the big shed, on the window and in a file on the table.
 Bridget for Seeds and Plants team.

August Newsletter

Notices, and information about forthcoming events.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will also find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCG), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

Forthcoming events

Saturday 19th August, 10 am 1 pm.  Indian cooking with Viji, at Marlpit Community Centre.
This session is free to all SLI members but booking is essential; there will be charge for non-members. Please e-mail sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk or call 01603920570 and leave a message to book.

Tuesday 22nd August, 10 am to 3 pm.
Norwich Union (Aviva) team coming to Marlpit to help with the conservation work.  Any help from our members will be appreciated. Members will get free lunch.

Sunday 3rd September, 10 am to 1 pm.  General maintenance tasks  and food-sharing lunch, at GO2  Bluebell South Allotments.
Just a reminder about our regular volunteering day, we would like more helping hands to carry out a number of essential maintenance tasks. At the last volunteering day on 6th August, hardly anyone came but there were over 20 people at food-sharing lunch!

Amy from the Food Team says, it would make everything easier if you could bring your own utensils and take them home with you. If you use the utensils from the shed, please wash up using the facility available on site.  Help with clearing up after lunch is always welcome.

Sunday 10th September, 12-30 to 3:30 pm, Vintage cycle rally at Marlpit Pub, Hellesdon Road.
SLI will have a stall at the event and will be selling  vegetarian food, cakes, jams and honey.  If you could help in cooking or running  stall, please let Mahesh know: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Tuesday 12th September,  10 am to 3 pm.
Norwich Union (Aviva) team coming to Marlpit to help with the conservation work.  Any help from our members will be appreciated. Members will get free lunch.

Sunday 1st October, 11am to 3pm: GO2 Open Day, Bluebell South allotments

Time to renew your annual membership, apple pressing, stalls, refreshments, bring friends and family! There will be plots available. Please contact Christine if you can help: admin@grow-our-own-co.uk

Sunday 15th October, 10 am – 1pm: Basic gardening techniques and strimmer demo at GO2
This session is a must for new growers!
Basic gardening techniques and important things to know how to get the best out of your plots. Also for those interested: how to use the power tools such as petrol strimmer. Please book your place by emailing to: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Saturday 21st October, 10am to 1pm: Cooking and preserving, Marlpit Community Centre
Cooking using seasonal produce. Please inform Mahesh in advance if you want to go: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Sunday 5th November, 12 to 3pm: SLI AGM at Marlpit Community Centre
What next for SLI? It’s your say about SLI. Refreshments available.  Details later.
NB – no food-sharing at Bluebell this day

 Notices

Late summer seeds and plants at Bluebell
There’s still time to sow a few seeds.  If sown now, Swiss chard and red
mustard frills will both grow during the autumn and winter months and
provide you with cut-and-come-again leaves to add to soup or a stir fry.

It’s also time to get the soil ready for autumn sowings of broad beans,
garlic and overwintering onions.  Once the summer crops have been gathered, think about sowing a green manure.  If sown now the plants will germinate quickly and grow fast to protect the bare soil.  When dug in they add organic matter to the soil.  Digging in can be in a couple of months, ready for autumn sowing, or in early spring as the soil warms up.  There are packets of buckwheat and phacelia seeds on the table at the back of the shed.

There will be a few spring cabbage plants outside the greenhouse at the end of August and overwintering lettuce plants in early September.  Both will need protection, the first with netting to stop the pigeons, the second with fleece during the cold winter months.
Bridget, for Seed and Plant Team at GO2 Bluebell

Indian Cookery in August

Tree spinach and courgette

Click here for more pictures

On Saturday 19th August at Marlpit Community Centre half a dozen people came to help and learn.

Thanks to Vigi, who kindly and expertly showed us how to prepare locally grown vegetables using methods and extra ingredients from South India.

We learnt how to use vatha kuzhambu / vatral kujambu, a vegetable curry paste.

I have made a gallery (click here).

July 2017 News

Notices and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, please look here on our website or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk (mailto:sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk) .

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCG), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm. Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!


Forthcoming events

Sunday 6th August, 10 am to 1 pm General maintenance tasks and food-sharing lunch, at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments.
Just a reminder about our regular volunteering day, we would like more helping hands to carry out a number of essential maintenance tasks.

Moira, Food Team Leader, says there is plenty of produce to make some tasty dishes. The variety of recipes is always surprising and delicious. It would make everything easier if you could bring your own utensils and take them home with you. If you use the utensils from the shed, please wash up using the facility available on site. Help with clearing up after lunch is always welcome. (PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR DIRTY PLATES ON THE TABLE AND EXPECT SOMEONE TO WASH UP FOR YOU!)

Saturday 19th August, 10 am 1 pm. Indian cooking with Viji, at Marlpit Community Centre
This session is free to all SLI members but booking is essential; there will be charge for non-members. Please e-mail sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk (mailto:sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk) or call 01603920570 and leave a message to book.

Sunday 1st October, 10 am to 4 pm. GO2 Bluebell Open Day
This is an advance notice!
We will be renewing our subs, enjoying food and apple juice from the press, and generally making visitors and new growers welcome. More later. Offers of help most welcome. Please email Christine at admin@grow-our-own.co.uk (mailto:admin@grow-our-own.co.uk)


GO2 Bluebell Car Park
There are clearly marked three spaces for Blue Badge holders and one space for first-come-first-served, but this must have priority for elderly people, those on shed duties, or immobile for some other reason. If people park on these spaces when they do not need to, they must be asked to move. Please note, this is a gentle reminder; if the problem of unauthorised parking persists, we will have to introduce more stringent measures.
Mahesh Pant

General Gardening Tasks , GO2 Bluebell
It’s seeding time – weeds are seeding all over the place – perhaps on your and your neighbours’ plots? Please cut or strim the grass around your plots and keep the paths tidy bearing in mind also that some of our neighbours are not in our scheme and may have things to say to us about this!

There have been a few thefts of veges from neighbouring plots. If you see or hear of anything, let us know. If you see people wandering around with bags and you don’t think they are bona fide plot holders, you can always ask if you can ‘help’!

Weeding – use a hoe to keep weeds down on your strip. Regular hoeing will keep the weeds at bay.

Another predator! – the Great White butterfly is around. They lay their eggs on brassicas and the caterpillars, lovely to look at as they are, will devour every leaf. Protect your brassicas with netting.

And don’t forget to pick your produce. Several plots have lettuces that are bolting and even broad beans. Please do not waste food!
Christine

Seeds and plants Team at GO2 Bluebell

Seeds

There is still time to sow seeds. Carrots, beetroot, fennel, spring onions, Swiss chard and lettuce should all give a crop in the autumn. Sow thinly and keep seedlings as weed-free and watered as possible.

Plants
There will be pak choi and kale plants ready soon alongside spicy salad leaves – mizuna, komatsuna and red mustard frills. Again, all need to be kept well-watered. And, as birds find pak choi very tasty, covering with netting as soon as it is planted is a good idea.
Bridget for Seeds and Plants team


Miscellaneous
An urgent message has come round from the Bluebell Allotments Association
On Bluebell North a person has been spotted helping himself to produce from various allotments. To make it harder for people to do this, please can you make sure that you lock the allotment gates on arriving and on leaving. It is recommended that you do this each time you enter or leave however it is particularly important early in the morning and at times when there are only a few allotmenters around. (Anyone who is legitimately on the allotment site should have a key to let themselves out, so you needn’t worry that you will be locking someone in!)

If you do see someone acting suspiciously at any time or witness a crime being committed please report it to the police. They recommend dialing 999 if the crime is in progress.
If it is possible (and safe) to take a photo of either the person or their vehicle that may be helpful.

June Newsletter

with notices, and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, please click here.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

Forthcoming events

Saturday 24th June, 12 to 4 pm, Marlpit Community Garden Open Day, at Marlpit Community Garden.
Our own honey and home-made gooseberry jam, summer fruit and plants for sale,  a tour of the forest garden and bee-hive viewing,  are some of the attractions.
Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Sunday  02nd  July,  10 am to 1 pm,  General maintenance tasks  and food-sharing lunch, at GO2  Bluebell South Allotments.
Thanks to all those who helped with improving the path leading to small picnic area. We would like more people to join this time as well.

Saturday 15th July, 10 am to 1 pm, Practical Gardening Training on pests and diseases, by Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant at Marlpit Community Garden, followed by lunch at the Marlpit Community Centre at 1 pm.
This is a must for all organic growers and it is free for all our members. Please let Mahesh know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk)   if you would like to attend the training.

Saturday 15th July, 1 pm to 4:30 pm,  Food Production, Forest Garden Workshop by Aaron Wheaton at Marlpit Community Garden.
This workshop will start with lunch at the Marlpit Community Centre  followed by the workshop.  Topics for discussion include:

  • forest gardening as a sustainable food production system.
  • growing more edible perennials.
  • producing food within a self-contained low energy input system.
  • Tips and advice on plants that have more uses than you might think for you to use on your own plots.

Please let Mahesh know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk)   if you would like to attend the workshop. It is free for all our members.

Notices

Seeds and plants Team at GO2 Bluebell
Seeds
There is still time in June to sow seeds for a crop later in the year.  Beetroot, carrots, dwarf French beans, lettuce, Swiss chard and perpetual spinach seeds are all available in the big shed.   Water the ground before and after you sow and, when they emerge, keep the seedlings well watered.

Plants
When clearing broad bean plants, cut the stems to ground level so that the roots are left behind.  The tiny nodules on the roots will add nitrogen to the soil.   It’ll leave the ground a bit rough but, with the addition of compost, it’s an ideal place for planting kohl rabi, kale, purple sprouting broccoli or Brussel sprouts.  These are a limited number of these on the table alongside the greenhouse.  Later, in July, there will be fennel, pak choi and more salad plants.

Bridget for Seeds and Plants team

May Newsletter

with notices, and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, please visit members’ page or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 3 pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!

Forthcoming events
Sunday 04 June,  10 am to 1 pm:  Central path improvement and food-sharing lunch, at GO2  Bluebell South Allotments.
Thanks to all those who helped with weeding and clearing various strips by the greenhouse on  first  Sunday in May. It was a very good turnout!

This time, we are hoping to improve the central path.  Also the grass is growing fast now and about to sends its seeds everywhere, so we all need to clear our paths.

Saturday 17th June, 10 am to 1 pm, Cooking using seasonal produce, at Marlpit Community Centre.
Please let Mahesh know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk)   if you would like to cook or learn how to cook.

Saturday 24th June, 12 to 4 pm, Marlpit Community Garden Open Day, at Marlpit Community Garden.
Please let Mahesh know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk) if you are able to make cakes, organise activities and help with general tasks on the day.

Notices
Admin Team at GO2 Bluebell
Rita will be arranging the next rota. If you’d like to help by spending a Wednesday or Sunday morning, please let us know: admin@grow-our-own.co.uk.   It is a nice thing to do as you get to meet people and find out what’s going on.

Water, water everywhere?? Not always. It’s very important for everyone that the hose is connected to the tap by the carpark and that the tap is on. Sunday the week before, some tanks were nearly empty and not filling. This was because the big tank behind the shed was not sufficiently full and so it wasn’t feeding through to the smaller tanks. If the dry weather continues we will all be using more water. When you arrive/leave, please check that the hose is attached and the tap is on, provided that another plot holder isn’t using it of course! Valves in the large tank will stop the flow when it’s full. There are instructions for the watering system on the small tanks and in the shed.
Christine, Admin team Leader

Seeds and plants Team at GO2 Bluebell
The very end of May and beginning of June bring the promise of frost free nights and so the time to plant the tender crops that have been sheltering in the GO2greenhouse.  If it stays mild, the first few courgettes and beans will go out onto the tables beside the greenhouse over the bank holiday weekend.  There will be many more to come during June, so there’s no hurry.  We’ll add butternut squash, sweetcorn, climbing French and Borlotti beans, leek and salad plants as they become ready.

Courgette and squash plants grow large so give them plenty of room to grow.  They are also hungry plants so add a good spadeful of muck or compost to the planting hole, and water in well.

Runner beans, Borlotti and climbing French beans are grown vertically, so take up less space.  A mixture of plants grown on a wigwam of poles will give colourful display, and a variety of tasty beans, over a long period.

If you’re not sure how far apart or how deep to plant, look at the grower guides displayed in the big shed.
Bridget for Seeds and Plants team

Finally, do you want to be able to use a petrol strimmer? If so, training will be available on Sunday 4thof June between 11:30 and 1 pm at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments (subject to enough people signing up). Please let Mahesh know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk)  if you are interested.

April News

 Dear SLI Members
This is your April Newsletter with notices, and information about forthcoming events. For information about what to grow, when and how, look here on the website or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk.
If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please read the message from the GO2 Bluebell Seed and Plant team below. As this Newsletter comes only once a month, you will find the  latest information and updates on the noticeboard on site.
If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 2 pm.  Marlpit Community Garden also has a regular volunteering session on every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by home-cooked lunch. All welcome!


SLI Evaluation Findings
Thank you so much for your views and ideas about SLI. What a positive response! The evaluation report can be found at http://grow-our-own.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SLI-evaluation-report-by-RM.pdf
Some of your suggestions have begun to be implemented – particularly the ones that don’t need immediate additional funding.   For example

  • A monthly volunteering morning has been re-introduced at Bluebell
  • There is a permanent notice board at Bluebell
  • The email newsletter has returned
  • Information about the project went out in “The Citizen” and new leaflets have been designed.
  • There are training sessions for all members at Marlpit Community Centre on the 3rd Saturday of the month.
  • Plans for improved signage are underway.

If you have particular comments to make about the evaluation findings and/or ideas about tackling the “Challenges for the Future” of SLI please contact Mahesh or one of the trustees.
Roberta Manners


Forthcoming events
Sunday 7th May:  Maintenance and food-sharing lunch at GO2Bluebell
Volunteering morning helping with general maintenance around the site. We look forward to seeing as many people as possible. There will be refreshments at 11 and the food-sharing lunch will take place at 1 pm. If you intend staying for lunch, and we hope you will, please bring a dish to share. You can use some produce from your plot if you have any, or cook up some beans or grains, or make a salad or dessert. All contributions are welcome and if you’ve been coming for some time, you’ll know what culinary surprises can turn up! If you don’t know what to bring, good bread is nice. You can ask us for some ideas as there are plenty of things that are inexpensive and easy! See you then!
Christine Wilson

Saturday 20th May: Growing Vegetables Organically at Marlpit Community Garden, 10 am. – 1 pm.
Whether you are a novice grower or a grower with some experience, this session is a must. The session will cover topics like plant family, crop rotation, growing from seed, looking after you plants and seed-saving techniques.  This session will be jointly run by Jon Darby (horticulture lecturer) and Mahesh Pant.

Saturday 20th May:  Herbal Medicine Workshop at Marlpit Community Garden, 1 – 4:30 pm.
Dan Wheals, Medical Herbalist will run a herbal medicine workshop which will talk about herb growing tips and cultivating culinary herbs, making herbal remedies and take-home creams.

Both sessions are free to all SLI members; please book to reserve your place by sending an e-mail to: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk


Notices
Admin Team at GO2 Bluebell
Welcome to several new members, the youngest being five weeks old! We still have a few plots if you have any friends who are interested.

Seeds and plants Team at GO2 Bluebell
The first salad plants – lettuce, mibuna, mizuna and red mustard frills – will be available for growers from Sunday 23rd April.  They will be on the open table alongside the greenhouse.  Take just a few plants; there will be more to come in the weeks ahead.
There are Lady Balfour potatoes to plant and plenty of seeds to sow now.  Small packets of radish, turnip, beetroot, spinach, carrot, spring onion and parsnip seeds are on the table at the back of the shed.
If you’re unsure about how to sow or plant ask whoever is on duty in the shed.  Or look at the growing guides available for each crop.  These are displayed in the window of the shed, or on the table at the back.
Bridget, for Seed and Plant team

Composting Team at GO2 Bluebell
Thanks to all who came and helped with the composting on 2nd April. This has opened up two compost heaps which have been labelled, so if your soil level is low, you can add to it.
Phil Young

Main picnic area – with planting-bathtubs.

WWW – wildlife welcomes weeds

Compost ready to be used – in the main composting area

Compost ready to be used – near the “crossroads”

Active compost heap near the Red Sheds

 

A small picnic area near the Red Sheds

Dear SLI Members

From now on, we will be posting important notices and information about our events once a month. For information about what to grow, when and how, please visit members’ page on our website or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk.

If you have a plot in Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and would like to know what seeds and plants are available, please visit the site on Sunday and Wednesday mornings (from 10 am to 1 pm).

If you are a Grow-at-Home member or have a plot in Marlpit Community Garden (MCC), please come and see us on Tuesdays from 10 am until 2 pm.

Forthcoming events

Sunday 2 April: Composting and food-sharing lunch at GO2 Bluebell
You may have noticed that the various composting areas need some TLC. With this in mind, I’ll be around from 10 in the morning of our next food-sharing day, Sunday 2 April, and I’d be grateful to anyone who could spare me a couple of hours of their time. The more the merrier and hopefully we can get things sorted in one go.
Look forward to seeing you!

Phil Young (the composting team), compost@grow-our-own.co.uk

Saturday 15 April: Making rhubarb jam and Cooking with beans and lentils at Marlpit Community Centre, 10 –1 pm.
The session is free to all SLI members; a donation of £10 is required for non-members. Booking essential.
Contact Mahesh at: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk ; Tel: 01603 920570

Notices

GO2 Bluebell Admin Team
We’d like to hear from people who could help with the rota of members in the shed on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Please let Christine know if you’re interested. It’s a great way of finding out what’s going on and meeting other growers. Email admin@grow-our-own.co.uk

Kids’ Club at GO2 Bluebell
Every Wednesday 3-5 pm: help to growers with young children. Please let Sophie know if you’re interested: schollet@yahoo.co.uk

Skill-sharing session at GO2 Bluebell
Saturday 25 March, 11 to 1 pm: what and how to sow this month, with a special talk on how to tackle couchgrass and other weeds.
Please contact Sophie at: schollet@yahoo.co.uk

Welcome to the 2017 growing season!

Let’s hope it is a productive year. Do make the most of the advice and information on offer to ensure that your plot has good yields.

What’s on?

Sunday 5 February – welcome to new members and food-sharing lunch at 1 pm. So the usual – bring a dish to share.

Sunday 5 March – we’ll start the growing season officially and lots of things will happen. Please come to GO2 Bluebell South and:

– help with tools check and tidy-up jobs, starting 10.30 am with refreshments mid morning
– discuss your planting plans and find out what seeds and plants will be available
– meet other growers
– bring a dish (savoury or sweet) to the food-share lunch at 1 pm

From 5 March the Bluebell South GO2 shed will be open again regularly on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. Rita will soon be inviting people to sign up for the rota. If you haven’t done so, do consider doing a stint as it makes it easier to have a strong pool of members to call on, you find out what’s going on and you get to meet other growers and new people. Email admin@grow-our-own.co.uk if you can help.

Also, at Marlpit Community Centre,  the first of Mahesh’s courses on essential gardening skills on pruning. I cannot recommend this course too highly. Jon Darby from Easton and Otley College is the tutor. Here are the details again –

Growing fruit, vegetables and herbs: a practical training course

SESSION 1: GROWING AND PRUNING SOFT FRUIT AND TREE FRUIT, SATURDAY 25th FEBRUARY, 2017, from 10 am to 1 pm.

Outline of the session

  1. Pruning – why, when and how
  2. Tools required for pruning and the correct use of tools
  3. Practical (participants to work in a group of two)
  4. Lunch and discussion 1.00-1:30

Free to all SLI members, booking essential. Please contact Mahesh at the address below.
Mahesh Pant
Sustainable Living Initiative
Marlpit Community Centre
Hellesdon Road, Norwich NR6 5EG
Tel: 01603 920570; Mob: 07969996646
e-mail: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Sunday 12 March at 11am at GO2 Bluebell South: skill-sharing session with Sophie. A good opportunity for beginners to get help and advice from more experienced growers, along with tea and cake. We’ll be talking about the tasks of the month and practicing soft fruit bushes pruning.

And…
Have you read the SLI 2015/16 annual report: it’s here: http://grow-our-own.co.uk/home/documents/annual-reports/annual-report-2015-16/#main

Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Christine

Bluebell Grow Our Own

Shed Opening Hours

The centre shed is now not officially open on Wednesday and Sunday mornings until mid February, although some of us will probably be up there on those days. You can go in the shed with a key of course, but please remember to put the keys back in their place!

Strawberry plants:
We’ve been given a lot of strawberry plants. If you want some, they are outside the polytunnel. Help yourself!

Tools and sheds day in early November:
This seems to have been very good and thanks to all who turned up to help.

Vacant plots:
We still have some vacant plots. Please tell your friends and show anyone interested around. To be allocated a plot, please email admin@grow-our-own.co.uk or ring 920570 or 07969 996646.


PS

More news soon…

Honey Harvest 2016

Honey harvest 2016

Honey harvest 2016

Our honey harvest for 2016 is complete bringing in a grand total of 90lbs of honey.
We extracted the honey from the combs using our new tangential honey extractor.
First the wax cappings were removed from the cells. The frames of honey were put in the extractor and spun round flinging the drops of honey outwards by centrifugal force. The honey ran down the sides of the cylinder and was strained into a bucket.

Then it was poured into jars and labelled.
Next came the sticky job of clearing up. honey_label
The empty frames were returned to the bees to clean and add the remaining honey to their winter stores.
The honey is delicious! We are selling it for £5.50 a jar to members or £6 to non members with 50p deposit included on the jar.

Tish

Click any of the photos below to see them in as slides. Click here to see what happened after the bees had cleaned-up – they went looking for the missing honey! (Jim)

1. Capped honey ready waiting to be extracted

1. Capped honey ready waiting to be extracted

2. Capped honey in comb

2. Capped honey in comb

3. Uncapped honey in comb

3. Uncapped honey in comb

4. Honey frames in extractor

4. Honey frames in extractor

5. Extracting the honey

5. Extracting the honey

6. Draining the extractor

6. Draining the extractor

7. Straining the honey

7. Straining the honey

8. Honey in bucket

8. Honey in bucket

Honey harvest 2016

Honey harvest 2016

Early Years at MCG

Marlpit Community Garden was a lively place to be on Tuesday.
Regular volunteers were joined by children from the Earlham Early Years Children’s Centre and their parents. Some of the parents spent time weeding the garden as well as helping their children to plant and water flowers and herbs in a special plot. They will be coming along for four Tuesdays during August.
2016-07-21 10.51.43Two older girls took a break from working their after-school and holiday plot to don protective suits and join a group that Tish took up to the bee sanctuary to view inside one of our hives.

A substantial lunch cooked by Amy and Mahesh was much appreciated by visitors and volunteers.
Tuesday_at_Marlpit

Tish

Honey

honey extractorWe extracted 16lbs of gorgeous honey from our bees on 24th June. This was much less than I had anticipated. When I checked three weeks earlier the bees appeared to have plenty of honey to spare. However, because of the cold, wet weather they have been drawing heavily on their stores to feed their young. Honey bees can’t go out foraging in poor weather.

In fact the National Bee Unit has since issued warnings to beekeepers to check their bees in case of starvation, and to feed them if necessary. I have been checking, and although the hives where I took honey still have sufficient, I have had to feed the other two colonies with syrup (that is sugar dissolved in water) to tide them over.

The bees collect honey for food and convert it to honey to store it. They also collect pollen to feed their young, and in the process pollinate our crops and flowers. So, of course, honey is first and foremost for the bees. Having said that, if we have a good summer I hope that they will have more surplus honey that we can harvest later in the year.

Tish (Beekeeper)

Last year’s Honey Day

Training Feedback – 2016

A Practical Training session was held on 18 June.
The morning course, titled “Looking after your plants“, was led by Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant, who explained Successional sowing, Intercropping, Catch-crops, Watering, Mulching, Feeding, Thinning, Plant support, Earthing up, Protecting from birds, animals and frost.
Click here to read about it in full.
In addition, there is a useful guide to some of the many weeds we find on our plots.

Various common weeds

Various common weeds

 

Water supply at GO2 Bluebell South

Some of the water tanks around the site (the ones which do not have a tap on them) are filled from the very large black drums behind the big green shed.
If the drums are not kept topped up, the smaller ones do not automatically refill.
tap_at_water_tankIt would help to maintain a constant supply of water in the tanks, if, when you pass the tap by the rockery on the right of the car park, you check our hosepipe is connected and switched on, as shown in the photo.
If someone else is using the tap, check later to make sure ours is connected and the tanks are being refilled. You can leave the tap switched on when you leave the site as it shuts off automatically when the tanks are full.

Thank you.

Plants for Marlpit growers to use

A lot of plants are now available; please come and see us on Tuesday from 10 to 3, or look out for plants left outside the greenhouse. Please do not take plants from inside the greenhouse without asking us.
Last chance to sow potatoes! We still have a lot of potato seed available – both early as well as main crop, but time is running out. If you need more space to grow potatoes, please let me know, I will find an extra plot free of charge.

Mahesh

Training at Marlpit – 21st May 2016

A very informative morning with Jon Darby who had lots of hints and tips for growing vegetables from seed.
The main topWP_20160521_12_24_09_Proics covered were

Types of seed
Seed sowing
Pricking out
Hardening off
Final destination for plants
Spacing
Sowing seed directly into the ground
Modular sowing

Other topics covered were,

F1 Hybrid seeds,
Where to obtain good seeds.
Types of pre-prepared seeds, i.e. cells, strips, foil packets.
Soil temperature.

WP_20160521_12_24_18_ProThe group then worked on a roughly dug strip – digging-over, treading-down and raking. Then we prepared drills for carrots spinach and wide drills for peas.
Mahesh gave a demonstration planting courgettes – he also reiterated the importance of after-care of plants, watering and checking at least every two days.
A discussion regarding SLUGS and pest control in an organic environment ensued, a new nematode called Nemaslug is available. Other ideas were discussed with most of the group agreeing that quite a few don’t work!! Jon did warn that because of the mild winters there are lots of slugs about and said if you look in the ground lots of eggs can be found. They look like white opaque little balls and should be squished (a popular word during the slug discussion).
After we had finished we had a very nice lunch provided by Amy.
Thank you to Jon and Mahesh for organizing the morning.

Jane

21st May – Learn about gardening at Marlpit Community Garden

Morning session 10am to 1pm – Growing vegetables and herbs from seed with Jon and Mahesh.
Afternoon session with Alex – 1 to 4pm SPRING FLOWERS, LEAVES and BARK: Hawthorn leaves and flowers, limeflowers, birch, harvesting cramp bark and willow bark.

Click below to book this month’s training.Training at MCG - May 2016

Water supply at GO2 Bluebell South

GO2_WATER_SYSTEMTo allotment holders at Bluebell.

 We ran out of water over the weekend as no one checked that the tanks were being refilled, and since last year you may have forgotten about filling of the tanks. Here’s a reminder – click the picture.

Tessa – Bluebell Seeds Team

It’s growing fast.

Tall weeds

Allotmenteers who haven’t attended their strips over the last fortnight will see the need to cut grass and invasive weeds now making seed heads. Please cut or pull the weeds before seed matures.

Mark –
Land and water team at Bluebell

Rhubarb Jam Saturday 7th May 2016

On a sunny Saturday morning, 6 people set out to make rhubarb jam. This is what they did and what you can do, too!

Rhubarb jam recipe:
image002
You need
Rhubarb ( obviously)
Sugar
½ Lemon
sterilised jars
(optional: add ginger)
plate(s)

Preparation:

-Mix 1:1 Rhubarb & sugar and leave overnight in a container (maybe even in your saucepan already). Next day, you will see that out of nowhere (=the rhubarb) a lot of water has appeard in your container. This is the only liquid you use in the jam-making process.

Jam making:
image004
-In a saucepan, heat the watery rhubarb/sugar mixture.
-Keep stirring to avoid the sugar going to the bottom and burning.
-No phones, No answering the door, while making jam!!
-stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles like a magic potion, has changed colour (reddish) and has passed the “old man’s test”.

Old man’s test:
image006
In order to see whether the setting point has been reached you can either use a thermometer – it is set when the temperature is about 104°C OR do the old man’s test!

If you suspect your jam has the characteristics described above, put a spoonful of the jam onto a clean plate. Let it sit a bit and then use your finger to “scrape” through the jam ( see picture). Should the jam make little wrinkles (like an old man has) in front of your finger, it is ready to be filled into jars. Should it part smoothly in front of your finger, when going through, you have to keep stirring and wait for a bit longer.
-The test can be repeated several times
-Don’t waste the trial jam – you can lick it off the plate while stirring (:

We made two batches of rhubarb jam. One is pure rhubarb, and the other one contains sweet sugared ginger bits. If you add this kind of ginger, you could use a bit less sugar.
Whatever quantity of rhubarb jam you make, add the ginger depending on your taste. The amounts vary a lot in different online recipes. You can reduce the sugar accordingly.
Alternatively, you can also use a big ginger root, peel it and scratch the surface. Then wrap it into a muslin cloth and add into the jam. Take it out once you fill the jam into the jars.

Followed by this jam making, we had delicious lunch prepared for us by Mahesh, with a delicious crumble made by Amy for dessert.

Annemarie

Hello Members,

We have a lot of surplus rhubarb which we need to cook.
Mahesh will be cooking rhubarb jam at Marlpit Community Centre on Saturday 7th May between 10 and 1 pm. If you can help or would like to learn how to make jam then come along but places are limited so please book your place by phoning me on 01603 440444 or e-mail food@grow-our-own.co.uk
Happy gardening,

Moira (Food team)

rhubarb-growing-cut

Skillshare Sunday

On Sunday 24th April 2016 Sophie ran a skillshare session on Soils, Soil Prep and Manure, with a guest appearance from Composting Phil. Hail and the lure of cake and tea increased attendance to a total of six lucky, cake-filled individuals in our GO2 shed in Bluebell site.

Sophie talked about soil preparation, talking about soil structure and properties here at the Bluebell site.

 Click here to read a full report…

Bluebell skillshare 1 240416 Bluebell skillshare 2 240416 Bluebell skillshare 3 240416 Bluebell-skillshare-4-240416
Natasha’s plot … Phil’s plot … Vicky’s plot … Demo plot …
Natasha

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Nemasys

leatherjacket-285x300I have some Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer sent to me in error, which I don’t need, and would love to give to anyone who has a problem with them in their lawn.

Tessa