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

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

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.

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

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

Growing Information for March

General Tasks

Continue digging, cover bare grounds with compost or cardboard.
Mulch around the base soft-fruit using compost or dried materials.
Cover all brassicas and spinach plants with suitable netting (to protect from wood-pigeons)

Sow/Plant

Broadbeans, Beetroot, Onion Sets, Parsnips, Pea, Radish, Turnip, Spinach, Oriental Salad, Raspberries, Strawberries and First Early Potato (after mid-March depending on weather)

Harvest

Chard, Kale, parsnips, leek, Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens.

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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

Tish

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Pumpkin Day 2015 at Marlpit

Mahesh with a barrow-load of pumpkins

Mahesh with a barrow-load of pumpkins

Pumpkin day on 31st October at Marlpit Community Garden was celebrated by children’s activities based around Halloween and a delicious meal made from our own seasonal produce.

Mahesh was at the garden early to harvest pumpkins, potatoes and squashes.

Pumpkins and "messy play"

Jana Hrusovska organised activities for children including messy pumpkin play, potato cut printing, making outsize spiders, face painting and a nature trail.

A pumpkin and our Nature Trail game

Jana’s Nature Trail game

A number of children with their parents dropped in during the morning and had a great time trying out the different games. Click here to see more photos.

Some visitors explored the garden and watched our bees busily bringing home nectar and pollen from the late flowering ivy.

 

Pumpkin curry - made by Mahesh and Rochelle

Pumpkin curry – made by Mahesh and Rochelle

It was a short walk to the Marlpit Community Centre to sample the pumpkin curry, rice and chips that Mahesh and Rochelle had cooked from our own home grown produce.

Tish
Pumpkin home for spiders

“Pumpkin à l’araignée “

Growing Information for October

General Tasks

Clear all plots without any outstanding crops and prepare the soil for overwintering crops.
Draw up soil around brassica (kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli) plants to provide support to the plant; mulch around the plant base using compost or dried materials.
Cover all brassicas and spinach plants with suitable netting (to protect from wood-pigeons)
Cover empty plot (plot without any overwintering crop) with layers of cardboard or black polythene sheet (not carpet).

Sow/Plant

Garlic, onion-sets, broadbean.

Harvest

French Beans, Runner Beans, Beetroot, Carrots, Courgettes, Cucumber, Lettuce, Marrow, Radish, Rocket, Chard, Potato, Sweetcorn, Swisschard, Turnips, Kale.
Fruit – Raspberries.

 

First Sunday Food Share

As always, we’re sharing the bounty of the allotments on Sunday 2nd August 2015
Check what you have that’s ready – there does seem to be plenty.
If you look in the communal areas you may see fruit or vegetables which are ripe for harvest and sharing.
This morning I went and looked, and found over a kilo of ripe red gooseberries and quite a lot of currants. Most of the first-crop raspberries had gone, and the blackberries are not yet ready, but will be very soon.

Apples and other fruit need thinning – we have work to do! RHS have good advice.
I took photos of what was there and then went home to make a Summer Pudding for Sunday.

I looked at some ideas online first and then started.

Clockwise from top : Redcurrants, Whitecurrants, Raspberries, Red Gooseberries, Green Gooseberries and Gooseberry thorns

Clockwise from top : Redcurrants, Whitecurrants, Raspberries, Red Gooseberries, Green Gooseberries and Gooseberry thorns

It took over an hour topping and tailing the fruit and picking out leaves and thorns.
Cooking was very quick and we’ll taste the results soon!
Click on links to see what I saw and what I did with the fruit, which looks amazing…

Summer Pudding after turning out

Summer Pudding after turning out

Jim (for the Food Team)

Training at Marlpit Community Garden and our new office at Marlpit Community Centre.

Next Training Day on the second Saturday in August (the 8th) is titled “Harvesting and preserving fruit and vegetables

2014-10-06 14.44

We’ll be making jams and chutneys in the kitchen at the new office, above you can see what we made last year to raise funds.

2015-Saturday-Practicals-Aug
If you’d like to join in, make a booking on the website – click here.

On your plot this month:

October

image001

There’s still plenty of produce to pick before the weather turns cold.

Harvest:

Vegetables: calabrese (broccoli), Chinese and summer cabbage, kohl-rabi; roots – beetroot, carrots, Florence fennel, parsnip, radish, swede, turnip; squash family: pumpkins, squashes (last chance before the frosts!); green leaves – spinach, oriental and regular salad leaves; chilli peppers; leeks. (Wait till the frosts before picking your kale.)

Fruit: autumn fruiting raspberries. There’s also fruit on the community trees: apples and pears.

Seeds: This month we have white onion sets (red onion sets in spring, as they aren’t winter hardy) and garlic. There’s just time to sow spinach. Mid-month we’ll have broad beans, but not before – we don’t want them to grow too vigorously and then get flattened by frost.

Plants: This month we have a few kale plants (it’s getting late to plant those out) and some winter salads.

Next month: In November we’ll have broad beans for late autumn sowing.

The Seeds and Plants Team

On your plot this month: September

image001
This is the month for bumper harvests and getting ready for winter crops.

Harvest:

In season now: beans; brassicas – broccoli, Chinese and summer cabbage, cauliflower, kohl-rabi; roots – beetroot, carrots, Florence fennel, radish, turnip; squash family: courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, squashes; green leaves – spinach, salad leaves; chilli peppers; sweet corn; tomatoes; herbs; maincrop potatoes.
There’s also fruit on the community trees: late season plums, maincrop apples and pears.

Seeds:

This month we have green manure seeds – phacella, Hungarian rye and winter tares. Sow them now and dig the plants in next spring, to give your plot a good over-winter feed.

Plants:

This month we have kale plants and winter salads.

Next month:

In October we’ll have onion sets; and in November we’ll have broad beans for late autumn sowing.

The Seeds and Plants Team seedsatsigngrow-our-own.co.uk