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.

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

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

Our new plot at Marlpit Community Garden – October 2015

Just wanted to say a big “Thank you for having us!”
We had so much fun on our new plot!

Before the Beaman family started on their new plot

Before we started on our new plot

After the Beaman family had dug their new plot

After the Beaman family had dug their new plot

We spent few hours with the children couple of weeks ago (when we first got it) – we dug it all up and planted out blueberry bush at the end .
And now it is all ready for planting!

The Beamans
Beamans-201510-3Beamans-201510-5Beamans-201510-4

Help with weeding!

One of GO2 members, Diane, needs help with weeding her plot. Could you give an hand please?

If you have 15min spare (or more) , come to the allotment this Saturday 4th July at 2pm. We’ll work as a group on Diane’s plot while discussing the best ways to prevent couch grass growth.

Please let Sophie know if you can come on 07528 292643

Weed & chat

We all have a life, and circumstances sometimes leave us little time to come to the allotment. However, weeds will take over your plot if you are not diligent.

Do you need a hand with weeding? Or do you have some time to help others? Come on Sunday 14th June for a skill-sharing session on weeding. We will work as a group on each other’s plot. Weeding is much less of a chore when we do it together! We’ll also share tips on composting, with Phil, the Compost Team-leader.

If you intend to come, please email Sophie at training@grow-our-own.co.uk


May Training Day

Training Day in May

Sophie’s ‘Protecting Crops’ Workshop was on Sunday 3rd May 2015 – Mark Newman sent us his “reflections”. Thirteen growers plus two babies came to GO2 Bluebell Sunday 3rd May. It was real inter-cultural and generation-share exploring … (Click to read more)

Sunday 7th June at 1pm is Food Share time again!

Please come and join in for a shared lunch in the big shed; hopefully it’ll stay sunny/hot & we can eat outside. If it is your first time then you’d be most welcome; please bring a dish and/or drink.

As this is also Volunteering Day, if you could spare a few minutes to help on community projects, we would all appreciate it.
Juyna is on duty this Sunday and would appreciate a hand with bringing the rockery under control! Please spare any time you have; even 10mins would make a difference. Many thanks.

Juyna

Composting

If anyone over by the yellow shed is able to help on Sunday, our composting area is in chaos and urgently needs attention.
I will be there so if you have a plot in that distant part of the scheme please come and join me.

Ian

P1110277
I have taken on the task of tidying up the area on the far side (north) of the raised beds. There are fruit bushes and other plants swamped by tall grass. We owe it to other growers not to allow grasses to spread seed, and we do not want to give up on this communal plot.
A bit of help on Volunteering Sunday will mean a share in a harvest of blackcurrants, gooseberries, blackberries, and other fruit later this year.

Jim

Urgent! To everyone whose plot borders a Council plot-holder –

We’ve been asked by Council plot-holders to cut the grass where it is spreading onto their plots and likely to scatter seeds everywhere. This applies to all four plots near the red sheds. As a matter of urgency, please could you check the end of your plots to make sure that grass is not causing annoyance to your neighbours. Long grass is going to seed everywhere shortly and it shelters those dreaded slugs and snails. There are shears in the small cupboard at the back of the main shed. Or you can dig it out…


The AGM is a month away

Please let us know if you’re coming and if you want lunch so we can cater for you! There will be no lunch at the allotment that day.
Sunday 5th July at 11 am with lunch at 1ish
Marlpit Community Centre, Hellesdon Road (there is parking) – follow this link to our events page for more info and maps.


Only three weeks away is Marlpit Community Garden Open Day on June 27th

Please come and see our new project in Marlpit. You can either come and help make the refreshments at the Marlpit Community Centre at 10 am on the day or bring a some home-cooked food to share.

Any help in organising the event would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mahesh e-mail: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

see link for more.MCG-Open-Day-2015-thumbnail

Marlpit Volunteering Day, Tuesday 9th June,

from 10 am to 1 pm followed by lunch.

Following my recent injury, I need extra help to keep the garden going.  If you could spare a couple of hours on next Tuesday or any Tuesdays after that, please let me know.

Thanks, Mahesh, e-mail: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

2015-05-14 19.33.03We recently acquired these plastic tubs for all to use. They are especially useful for those who find it difficult to use a wheelbarrow.


2015-05-10 13.14.27Weeding

Tracy’s partner, Ian, recently brought his strimmer along and used it to cut the grass and weeds in the communal areas. He was very popular that day! Many thanks to Ian for all his hard work. He has also been growing champion leeks.

Juyna

Sunday March 22nd 2015

SAM_0581SAM_0583SAM_0586 SAM_0588

I was on duty today & what a productive time we all had. Charles was busy painting the Big Shed, William was busy with the herb sinks, Peter was busy digging the communal plots, Verna (& David, her partner) were busy tidying the rockery & Mark was busy marking! Also, Mahesh was teaching a group how to sow, plant etc.

It was a cold day but it felt good to see so many work well together so ‘thank you’ to all concerned. Finally, a few did manage to have a look at their own plots!

Juyna

SAM_0590 SAM_0594 SAM_0584

The Answer Lies in the Soil …

Close-up mid section of woman holding soilWe are in‘2015 Year of the Soil’’ and there is plenty on-line for anyone interested in the subject. For example, I was reminded that it is the first 7cms of our soil that is so very important, which also means we should think before we dig. By turning over this top-soil regularly we are burying millions of micro-organisms each time we do it.

At GO2 Bluebell our soil is very sandy and alkaline. It needs TLC and its humus building up regularly. This way water will not run through the topsoil so quickly, the micro-organisms can do their various jobs, more worms will be attracted, and crops will be healthier. Having got my plot clear of couch grass, by using a fork, I don’t dig any more. I try to keep the hoe going through the topsoil regularly and just ‘riffle’ in any compostable material I can get into the surface.

Happy riffling!

Peter A

Food Share Sunday

The next Food Share is on Sunday 7th December at 1pm in the big shed.
You may like to wrap up!
We are organising a mini raffle for our Festive Gathering on Saturday 20th December and we are looking for donations of small gifts. Could you please bring any items to the lunch on the 7th? Many thanks.
There’s also a large cardboard box in the shed marked ‘donations’ if you are not able to make the lunchtime gathering.
I am not able to be there this time but most of the Food Team will be there to welcome you on the 7th. Hope you all have a good meal.

Juyna

Weeds or wildflowers?

A friend and fellow-gardener in South London sent me this info about weeds on the plot – a useful indicator of the health of the soil:

  • Nettles are a good indicator of soil rich in phosphates;
  • Chickweed is the primary nitrogen indicator;
  • Lots of clover and hop-trefoil indicates dry, hungry alkaline soil;
  • Creeping buttercup – poor drainage;
  • Young nettles make a mean lasagne;
  • Fat hen is under-rated as an edible weed and is better than spinach!
  • Weeds with deep roots (eg bindweed, ground elder) should be used. They bring up nutrients from far down – soak to extract (until it smells) and then dilute to the colour of weak tea and use;
  • Marestail is rich in silica and when applied (soak etc as above) to living tissue it discourages fungal spores and that’s why it’s used by biodynamic growers to discourage potato blight (needs to be sprayed every 10 days or so to keep the protective silica layer intact).
Best regards
Jane C.

Apologies

This week’s newsletter is a bit plain I am afraid – I’ve been having difficulties with GO2’s internet service provider, so you may not be able to “see” our website from time to time. Other links I have included were working at the time.
(Note also that opinions expressed here are personal – particularly regarding the taste of Fat Hen or nettles!)

Jim