SLI April Newsletter

First of all, a big welcome to all our new members!

Don’t miss next week’s workshops on:
Scything – Tuesday 24th – 10am-2pm (Marlpit)
Shitake Mushroom Growing – Thursday 26th – 10am-1pm (Marlpit)

MARLPIT

I’m sure most of you will be aware that Marlpit suffered a break-in over the Easter weekend leaving us without power tools and much of the equipment we need. After speaking to local businesses, and raising awareness through social media, we have received approximately £300 through donations which will help us replace some of what was taken.
For more info, see the article written by the EDP

Vacant Plots
We still have many vacant plots at Marlpit so if you know of anyone who would like to get involved then please put them in touch with Mahesh or Hannah.
Sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk
Hannah@grow-our-own.co.uk
Jam and Honey
We have now sold the final jar of delicious honey from last year but there are still plenty of jams available to buy for just £2.50 a jar.
Speak to Hannah or Mahesh
Training: Growing Vegetables Organically
with Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant

SATURDAY 12TH MAY 2018 (10am-1pm) – MARLPIT COMMUNITY GARDEN

FREE for all SLI members with refreshments provided.

Learn about:
– Growing vegetables from seed
– Plant family and crop rotation
– Types of Seed
– Seed sowing techniques
– Seed sowing in modules
– Indoor sowing
– Sowing Seed Directly in the Ground
– Looking after plants: watering, mulching and plant protection
– Seed saving

BOOKING ESSENTIAL
sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

BLUEBELL

Shed Painting
One of the tasks for a volunteering Sunday this year is to paint the big
shed, toilet shed and blue shed. However, this needs dry weather so it’s hard to predict when we’ll do this. Please take a look at the weather forecast if you’re coming to a volunteering Sunday from now on, and if dry, wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint splashes on! Extra paint brushes and trays would also come in handy, so please bring these if you have them available. We’ll be using a non-toxic water based paint so it should wash out of brushes.
Vacant plots at Bluebell
There are a couple of plots remaining from last year which are somewhat overgrown so are now available at half price (£10) for the rest of the year. The area down from the greenhouse (which used to be communal soft fruit) has also been marked out for normal plots. However, these plots are in a rather poor condition – very overgrown, in dire need of a *lot* of compost, uneven paths around them. They are therefore available free of charge this year for any member who wishes to tackle the work required to bring them into condition.
Please speak to Gillian or Christine if you’re interested.

Spring at last?
At last, fingers crossed, spring seem to have arrived, and there is plenty to go into the soil as it warms. If you haven’t done so already, clear the ground of weeds and rake in a layer of compost. There’s a heap alongside the path near to the Red shed. Broad beans, carrots, turnips, beetroot, parsnip, spinach, spring onions and peas of all kinds can be sown now. Seeds for these are in jars and small packets at the back of the big shed.

There are early potatoes, also in the shed, ready to go in the ground. You could even risk sowing a few dwarf French beans. However, for both potatoes and beans, once they show above the ground, be prepared to cover with fleece or similar if overnight frost is forecast.

There will be a few lettuce plants ready soon, with more to come in the next couple of weeks. Outside the greenhouse, there are strawberry plants ready for planting. These should produce fruit this year.
– Bridget

Annual Report
SLI’s Annual Report for 2016-17 has now been published.

It’s lovely to look back on all that has been achieved at both Bluebell and Marlpit and it allows us to see just how much we have grown.

Click the picture on the left to read.

EVENTS

April
General Volunteering – Every Tues. (10am-2pm) – Marlpit
Forest Gardening – Every Thurs. (10am-1pm) – Marlpit
Workshop: Scything – Tues. 24th (10am-2pm) – Marlpit
Workshop: Shitake Mushroom Growing – Thurs. 26th (10am-1pm) – Marlpit

May
General Volunteering – Every Tues. (10am-2pm) – Marlpit
Forest Gardening – Every Thurs. (10am-1pm) – Marlpit
Volunteer Day and Food-share – Sun. 6th (10am-1pm) – Bluebell
Training: Growing Veg Organically – Sat. 12th (10am-1pm) – Marlpit
– Note change of date from previous newsletter

June
General Volunteering – Every Tues. (10am-2pm) – Marlpit
Forest Gardening – Every Thurs. (10am-1pm) – Marlpit
Volunteer Day and Food-share – Sun. 1st (10am-1pm) – Bluebell
Training: Rhubarb Jam Making – Sat. 16th (from 10am) – Marlpit Community Centre
Open Day: MCG Open Day – Sat. 23rd (11am-4pm) – Marlpit

 

March Newsletter – Sent Fri, March 16th to 145 recipients

Dear members,

As always, welcome to our new members, it’s always great to have new people who share our passion join and support us.

As many of you will remember from February’s newsletter, Hannah Thompson has joined us as Deputy Programme Manager to assist Mahesh – if you need to contact her for anything she now has an SLI email address: Hannah@grow-our-own.co.uk

A reminder about our recently created Facebook groups, for idea sharing, communication and work planning. Please do join and share the public page to promote what we do in the local community.
Marlpit Members: www.facebook.com/groups/SLI.Marlpit/
Bluebell Members: www.facebook.com/groups/GO2Bluebell/
Public page: www.facebook.com/SLI.Norwich

We still have plots available so if you know anybody who might be interested, please do put them in contact with us.

Sat. 17th March (10am-1pm)
‘All About Soil’ Training
Marlpit Community Garden
FREE for members.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible, the session will be perfect preparation for growing season.It’s imperative you tell Mahesh (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk) if you would like to participate.
For those who have already signed up – Mahesh will meet you in the Marlpit garden for a 10am start.Click here further details
SLI Co-operative Group

SLI members, including GOBluebell and Marlpit members, are eligible to  join the Sustainable Living Co-operative Group where you can buy Suma products at wholesale price.If you are interested in joining the Group, please email Mahesh.
sustainable@grow-our-own.co.ukYou can see SUMA’s entire range of organic, fair-traded, and vegan products here:
www.sumawholesale.com

GO2 Bluebell
Spring Welcome event at GO2 Bluebell. Sunday 1st April.
Our usual volunteering Sunday and foodshare lunch, with the volunteering focused on helping new members get started with growing.  (‘New’ members includes those who joined in the autumn.)  Existing members, please come along to meet the new members, chat about crops that work for you, lend a hand with their spring digging and planting, etc.  There will be a short talk/Q&A for new members at 10.30am to discuss how things work at GO2, repeated at 11.30am. Foodshare lunch at 1pm as usual.
March Sun and Snow
The sun may be shining today but, with a forecast of near freezing temperatures and snow in the next week, the soil is likely to be too cold for sowing any seeds yet.  However, there are signs of good things to come.  Early rhubarb has started sending up shoots, purple sprouting broccoli is sprouting and the early potatoes, Orla, are chitting in the big shed ready to be planted once the soil has warmed up.  There are broad bean, parsnip and early pea seeds in the shed too but again, wait till the cold spell passes before sowing.
In the greenhouse, the lettuce, Brussel sprouts and next spring’s purple sprouting broccoli seeds sown last week have germinated.  If all goes well there will be lettuce plants ready in mid April.
– Bridget, Seeds and Plants
Upcoming Events

March
Training: All About Soil – Saturday 17th (10am – 1pm) – MARLPIT
General Volunteering – Every Tuesday (10am – 2 pm) – MARLPIT
Forest Garden work – Every Thursday – (10am – 1pm – MARLPIT

April
General Volunteering – Every Tuesday (10am – 2 pm) – MARLPIT
Forest Garden work – Every Thursday – (10am – 1pm – MARLPIT
Spring Welcome Event – Sunday 1st April – (From 10am) – BLUEBELL
Training: Scything – Tuesday 24th (10am – 2pm) – MARLPIT

Newsletter February 2018

Dear SLI Members,
This is your first Newsletter of the year 2018 with notices, and information about forthcoming events. From now on, all SLI members including the Grow-Our-Own (GO2) Bluebell and Marlpit Community Garden members will receive our newsletter once a month around the third week of each month. For information about training and other social events planned and handy gardening tips, please visit members’ page on our website or contact us at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

If you have a plot in 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.

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.

Forthcoming events

Sunday 4th March, 2018, 10 am 1 pm. The first volunteering Sunday of this year followed by food-share lunch.
The first volunteering Sunday will be on 4th March, starting at 10am, with a focus on tools and sheds.  Jane’s special sausage rolls available for all volunteers!  Afterwards there will be the usual food-sharing lunch at 1pm.

Saturday 17 March, 2018: Training on all about soil: digging, mulching, composting and more, by Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant at Marlpit Community Garden, from 10 am to 1 pm.
This training is free of charge to SLI member and a fee of £10.0 for non-members. All tools, handouts and refreshments provided. Booking essential. To book you place, please email to sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk, subject – Training.

Sunday 1st April, 2018, 10 am to 1 pm. Spring welcome followed by food share lunch at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments.

All welcome! Please bring plenty of food and drinks, preferably homemade, to share and invite your friends and families.

Tuesday 24th April, 2018, 10 am 1pm. Scything training at Marlpit Community Garden.
This training is only for SLI members; anyone interested, please contact Mahesh (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk).

Thursday 26th April, 2018, 10 am 1 pm. Shiitake mushroom log inoculation workshop,at Marlpit Community Garden.

This workshop is only for SLI members. If interested, please contact Tish Kerkham (tishker@yahoo.co.uk).

Notices

February sun
When the wind drops, the sun comes out and there’s a promise of spring in the air, there are jobs that can be done on your plot.  A few raspberry canes planted now will produce fruit from August this year.  A small crown of rhubarb will take longer, a couple of years before it can be picked, but worth the wait.  Both are available, ready for planting, outside the greenhouse.  There are very few seeds that like being sown in cold ground, the ground won’t be warm enough until mid March or April.  But broad beans seeds can cope and a row sown now will produce pods in May or June.  There are seeds available in the big shed.
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

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

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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News from the Seeds and Plants Team at Bluebell South.

As the weather continues to be wintry the soil temperature is still too cold for sowing any seeds as they are unlikely to germinate.
Later in the month when hopefully the weather is more spring-like, the soil temperature should be warm enough to start sowing hardy vegetables like Beetroot, Broad Beans, Parsnips, late Garlic, Radish and Turnips. The seeds will be made available at the back of the Green Shed.
It is still a good time to plant soft fruit bushes – Gooseberries, red and black currants and autumn-fruiting Raspberries – see our Encyclopedia.

Tessa

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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.

 

Bluebell GO2 Skills-sharing session, Sunday 18th October 2015, 11 to 12am

conundrumOur skill-sharing sessions are informal and friendly meetings where we exchange tips and advice. This time we’ll talk about what to plant this autumn and how to prepare the ground for next season. It will also be an opportunity to review our successes and failures of this summer, taking good note of them for next year.
Tea and cakes provided!calendars-page
You can’t make this date? Don’t worry, come to our shared lunch on Sunday 1st November. Many people will be there, able to answer your questions.

Sophie

Winter planting

Now is the time to plant overwintering crops  - any uncultivated areas can be sown with green manure, which might be part of your crop rotation plan).At Marlpit garlic, onions and broad beans are available in the container along with sowing information. At GO2, Bluebell South, garlic, onions and broad beans are available in the Big Green Shed at the back with sowing information. and the Planting Manual. Click here for more information on our website about planting. We have three types of green manure this year, packets are on the plastic hanger at the back of the Shed – ask if in doubt.

Tessa

Wildflower offer

2015-05-14 18.30Peter Anderson with some of the free wild flower seed kits he has received from Grow Wild UK, after having applied for them with Grow Our Own in mind.
The kits arrived belatedly for Spring sowing but they may still be sown in the Autumn for anyone interested in having some seeds.

logo-growwilduk-comThe idea is to transform spaces into attractive wildlife havens. Grow Wild UK have sent out packs which contain a guide to getting started, five packets of UK native wild flower seeds from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, site labels and a small DIY bee home.

The project is Lottery funded.2015-05-30 19.42

The kits have five packets of seeds for use in England and each packet will cover 2m2. These packets contain the following: corn chamomile, corn marigold, corn poppy, cornflower, hedge bedstraw, lady’s bedstraw, lesser knapweed, meadow buttercup, meadowsweet, oxeye daisy, red campion and ribwort plantain.

logo_KewPeter was hoping to have sown seeds on one GO2 plot in time for Spring and has a few kits available for Autumn sowing. If anyone is interested please let him know personally or making a note in the project day book in the big shed.

The Grow Wild contact is: growwilduk.com

 Plant news

All the potatoes can be planted now. Mound up the soil over them to protect them from late frosts.

Dwarf french beans can also be planted this month as well as the April list.

When your peas come up you need to put in some support for them to grow up, sticks are available behind the shed.

When planting out the small plants outside the polytunnel remember they grow into much larger plants, check the correct distance appart to plant tnem, details on the green shed window as well as in the plant manual.

As always the list of seeds and plants suitable for planting is on the back wall of the green shed along with the seeds.

Tessa

The beginning of March

As the weather warms up a bit it is time to think about sowing Peas, Turnip, Beetroot, Radish, Parsnip and spring sown Broad Beans, do remember to label where you have sown everything, they do take time to germinate and it is very easy to forget where you put them!

Look at our handy guide to planting…(Click here)

Tessa – Seeds Team

A Time to Read…

The Tenth Anniversary Annual Report is published – click here →pdf (or here for a summary)


… and a Time to Sow

Now is the time to sow beetroot, Radish, Parsnip, Spring Garlic and Broad Beans, if you missed out last Autumn, and don’t forget to mark each row of seeds! The seeds are in The Centre (the green shed) at the back. It is important to try and rotate your crops, there are charts to explain this on the Seed and Plant notice board (and here on our website).

Tessa

________________________________________
Keys

The keys to the shed and loo are missing from the pot with the blue lid. Have you taken them away by mistake? If so, please bring them back as it is quite expensive to keep having keys cut.

Official re-opening!

On Sunday 15 February we open again from 10 – 1 pm for the new growing season.
Please come and see us. Phil, Rita and Christine will be there. We would like to see familiar faces and meet people who’ve joined recently.

Newsflash

We seem to have run out of garlic for planting, if anyone has unknowingly planted whole bulbs of garlic instead of separating the individual cloves, could they please bring back any cloves they don’t require.garlic_5

I will put a list for people to sign if they have missed out on supplies and we will get some more for spring planting.

It is not too late to get broad beans planted, or if you have already planted some earlier, another sowing now will bring a second crop in the early summer.

There are also winter lettuce plants ready for planting that will bring you early lettuces in the spring.

Tessa

Stir-up Sunday Approaches

Why not try making Eliza Acton’s Christmas pudding from 1845 Eliza-Acton-Christmas-pudding 

Traditionally you should make this on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday in November

To see our other seasonal recipes, click here.

 

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