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.

 

To all members.
We need your help for our annual Open Day at Bluebell on Sunday 1st October between 11am and 3pm.
Please contribute cakes, savouries and nibbles for voluntary contributions. All food should be labelled for ingredients. Please put your name on plates and containers so that they can be returned later. I will be there from 10 am.
Phil will be in charge of the apple press and will need some help with fruit picking and pressing.
Tea and coffee will also be available.
We need helpers to look after the stalls, so if you can help or make a contribution you can phone me on 01603 440444 or text 07855 911331 to leave a message.
There will be no Foodshare lunch on that day but the admin team will be signing up members for new plots. Let’s hope for a fine day like last Sunday. See you there.
Moira (and the food 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.

GO2 Open Day 2017

Sunday 1ST October from 11 to 3 at 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

Poster

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

Growing fruit, vegetables and herbs: a practical training course

SESSION 2: ALL ABOUT SOIL, SATURDAY 18TH MARCH, 2017, from 10 am to 1 pm.

Outline of the session

  1. Soil basics – soil types, Ph test
  2. Identifying garden weeds- annuals and perennials
  3. Soil preparation – Plot clearing and digging
  4. Adding manure/compost /phosphate– when/how much
  5. Making your own compost
  6. Digging or no digging
  7. Plot planning, layout of the plot – bed or no bed

Lunch and discussion 1.00-1:30

Free to all SLI members, booking essential. Please contact me 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

What’s on?

From now on, the Bluebell South GO2 shed will be open again regularly on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. To make sure we have members there ready to help, Rita is inviting people to sign up for the volunteers-rota. It’s a good way to find out what’s going on and meet other growers and new people. Email admin@grow-our-own.co.uk if you can help.


At Marlpit Community Centre,  Mahesh’s courses on essential gardening skills has begun with tutor Jon Darby from Easton and Otley College.
Growing fruit, vegetables and herbs: a practical training course
SESSION 2: All about soil and soil preparation for growing vegetables, Saturday 18 March, 2017, from 10 am to 1 pm.
Free to all SLI members, booking essential. Please see the web page for the Course – click here..


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  pruning soft fruit bushes.

This Sunday, 5 March – Grow-Our-Own re-opens officially for the 2017 growing season!

Spring is in the air and the growing season is upon us once more! Please come on Sunday and help get the growing season under way.

We’ll start at 10.30 with the twice-yearly tools check and there are a few tidying-up jobs. You can discuss your planting plans for the year and find out what seeds and plants will be available and when. It’s a great time to meet other growers and welcome new members.

There’ll be refreshments mid morning and the food-sharing lunch will be at 1 pm, so bring a dish (savoury or sweet) to share and join this popular occasion.

Christine

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

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Changes at Bluebell.
I hope you had a good year on the allotment. Thanks for all your help over the year. I thought you’d be interested to see a summary of the last meeting of team leaders. There are a few changes. Peter Medhurst is now Land and Water team leader as Mark will be travelling. Roberta sent round a short survey.
Sustainable Living Initiative is registered as a charity and improvements to the organisational structure continue to be made. GO2 numbers at Bluebell have dropped to about 70 – how to get more people involved?
A new leaflet is being prepared. Jim said that Paul Lievens has offered to help redesign the website.
Plot 57A is going back to the Council at the end of this year. I’ve written to the four people still on that plot to offer them replacement plots as from spring 2017.
We will reinstate ‘volunteer’ morning on the first Sunday of the month, followed by food-sharing lunch. We will draw up the tasks to be done. How to advertise and organise and ask people sign up? Decided so far: 5th March – tools and recruitment (Jane); 2nd April – compost (Phil); 7th May – maintenance (Peter); 4th June – improve central path (Mahesh)
The rota: we will have one person on Wednesdays and two on Sundays. The notice re opening hours on the door has been changed to say that access is by key at any time to members.
A big thank you to Mark for all the work he has put into GO2. We all wish him and Joanna well for their travels.

I wish everyone a happy and productive new year!
Christine


You might be interested in a talk called “The History of the Bluebell Allotment” with Victoria Manthorpe, at Earlham Library Thursday 9th February 5.45pm – 7pm. Please let people know about it. Roberta


Rita wrote: Happy Christmas one and all, and best wishes for the coming year.  If you have time, check out today’s EDP (online) for “The farmer who buried his underpants”!


Many thanks Mark for your big contribution and Bon Voyage – and thanks to you Christine and GO2 team leaders for your hard work. Happy Christmas to you all, Roger


Food Share at Bluebell is on 1st January 2017, please come and help warm up the GO2 big shed. Moira

A tree decoration at the SLI Christmas meal at Marlpit Community Centre

A tree decoration at the SLI Christmas meal at Marlpit Community Centre

To see photos of the Christmas meal we shared on 10th December look at the SLI blog.

Best wishes, Jim

 

Welcome

A very warm welcome to both the existing and recently joined members of Sustainable Living Initiative (SLI). You’re now a member of a community gardening scheme which was started 12 years ago. We hope you will enjoy being part of it.
SLI membership is a forum for discussion, sharing ideas and skills and initiating and managing practical action projects related to organic food growing and nature conservation. 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.
All SLI members get a 10% discount on our training sessions as well as on our produce for sale. As SLI members, you can join our Sustainable Living Cooperative Group where you can buy Suma products at wholesale price.
Because SLI is run by volunteers, the long-term sustainability of the organisation depends on your cooperation and active participation. Please do let us know if you would like to help in any way.
Our regular fortnightly Newsletter has been suspended for a while. We would like to hear from you what is the best way of communicating about our activities and events for example, members’ page on our website, face book, Newsletter, …?
Call for new trustees of Sustainable Living Initiative
We currently have two Trustees vacancies. If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please e-mail me on sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk, along with a copy of your CV.

SLI Evaluation
We need to know what difference our work has made to our members. Such information is important for us to know what we have done well and how can we further improve our services.

SLI Trustees have appointed Roberta Manners as an external evaluator for this purpose. She will be contacting you all by e-mail within a week. If you for some reason do not wish to be contacted, please let me know (sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk) by Sunday 27th November.

Thank you once again for joining SLI and I look forward to working with you all in the days to come.

Mahesh Pant

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…

GO2 News

After years of labouring away at the fortnightly newsletter, Jim needs a break! But he has kindly agreed to email all GO2 members with a short notice about GO2 matters. This will go out once a month only! If you want to know what’s going on at Bluebell, you will need to read it! We found that a lot of people never even opened the previous fortnightly newsletter which is partly why it was decided to stop doing it. You can of course use the Facebook page.

Welcome to new members: Mo and Julia and baby Florence, Laura, Serena, Sheila, Javier and Diana. Some people have moved from two outlying plots to be more central so we gave two plots back to the Council. We now have 12 Council plots in all.

What to sow on your plot – October/November

Now is the time to clear your plot ready for planting. Broad beans, garlic and onions are ready to plant and can be found in the main shed. If you haven’t grown them before, instructions for planting are either on the cards in the window or in the planting manual in the shed or on the website. If you are unsure about planting, come and see us on Wednesday morning and Sunday morning from 10 – 1 when some of us will be there to ask.

Sunday 6 November:

All hands required for Jane’s Tools and Sheds day, 10 – 1 pm followed by food-sharing lunch. This is a check on all our tools. Please come!

Vacancies

Our Land and Water team coordinator, Mark Newman, is taking a gap year to go travelling with his partner and therefore this very important role is vacant. Anyone interested is invited to contact Mahesh or Christine at sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk for further information. You would be part of the 7-person management team, which has ad hoc and sometimes unruly meetings but which works very well together in keeping going your scheme, Grow-Our-Own at Bluebell South. Christine says: we are absolutely indebted to Mark for the amount of work he has done in setting up the watering system, strimming and tidying up everywhere including re-aligning paths between plots, and erecting, with some help, the new metal shed. A hallmark of Mark’s legacy round our site are the prehistoric-looking burial mounds but you won’t find even a mislaid root vegetable in them! We will miss Mark’s artistry, skills and great sense of humour and wish him happy adventures abroad!

New!

Tools: recent purchases of petrol grass and strimming/brush-cutting tools have been made. To use the equipment growers will need to demonstrate competency in using it. If you have petrol strimmer experience or would like to gain knowledge and experience of using 2-stroke strimmers, come on Sunday 6 November or contact Mahesh Plant on 07969 996646, email sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Shed: the new metal shed, which replaces the one burnt down 10 years ago! will keep shears, strimmers etc and will be accessible by key only on request to Christine, Mahesh and Jane.

Christine

Grass cutting at GO2 Bluebell South

Italian made - Emak Efcao LR 44PK Comfort Plus LawnmowerWe’ve recently purchased petrol-powered grass and brush cutting tools for GO2 Bluebell South.
Users of the equipment will need to demonstrate competence. If you have petrol strimmer experience or would like to gain knowledge and experience of using two-stroke strimmers contact Mahesh Pant on 07969 996646 or sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

 

Welcome (once more) to GO2

 
We haven’t made membership cards this year: last year was just an experiment.
Remember “First Sunday Food” is on 6th November at 1pm
After the “Big Shed Tidy” finishes at noon, the other team leaders will take a few minutes to explain what their team does, before the Food Team start to set up for the 1pm food-sharing lunch. We hope you’ll stay, and if you can, please bring a dish to share.
Even if you cannot be there all morning, it would be useful to be there at 12 and it would certainly be nice to come to lunch and meet other members. If it rains we’ll eat inside.