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

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, 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 (

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 (


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

December Newsletter 2017

Dear SLI Members

This is your last Newsletter of this year and the next Newsletter will come in February. If you would like to know about training, workshops and events planned for next year, please follow this link: (click here.)

I hope you had a good year on our community gardens. I would like to see you all in the New Year with renewed enthusiasm in growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs and in helping our ‘growing community’ to prosper and sustain.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your help.

Wishing you all a 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mahesh Pant

Founder member and Programme Manager

November Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your help.
 Phil, Composting Team

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

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

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

Some help will be needed to set out tables and chairs and to prepare food. Suggested donation £5 to cover the cost of food and hall hire. If you wish to come please let Moira know by phoning 07855911331 or email as soon as possible.
Last year was good fun and great chance to meet up. (


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

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

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

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

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

Bridget for Seeds and Plants team


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)

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 ( .

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 ( 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 (

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!

Seeds and plants Team at GO2 Bluebell


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.

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

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.

Dear SLI Members

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

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

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

Forthcoming events

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

Phil Young (the composting team),

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


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

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

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

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.


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 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


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

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.

Have you read the SLI 2015/16 annual report: it’s here:

Look forward to seeing you all 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!


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 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!


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

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.


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


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.


Mark steps down

The shed that Mark built.

Mark, the Land and Water Team leader is taking a gap year from “Grow Our Own” at Bluebell to go travelling with his partner. I’m sure we’d all like to thank Mark for all his efforts. He almost single-handedly built the new tool shed. and has given a fine example to anyone who follows. We’ll miss him and hope to see him again soon.
I would hope that someone, possibly a member of Mark’s team, will now come forward and take over the role. Read Mark’s report from the last AGM to find out what’s involved, and please talk to other members and especially other team leaders and let us know by emailing

Annual Members Meeting 2016

SLI_AGM_3-7-2016Twenty-one members attended the AGM at Marlpit Community Centre on Sunday 3rd July, followed by a delicious lunch prepared by the food team.
SLI_AGM_3-7-2016_2Follow this link to read Christine’s minutes in the Members Area of our website.

Indian cookery with Jo and Mahesh Nair

Jo and Mahesh have agreed to demonstrate how to cook Indian food. This will be at Marlpit Community Centre on Saturday 25th June between 10am and 2pm.
The Marlpit Open Day does not finish ’til 4pm, so you could drop in there afterwards.
If you would like to come along, then please book your place by e-mailing or phone Moira on 01603 440444 as places are limited.


Skill-sharing session on Sunday 26th of June, 11-12am,
at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments.

Symphytum_officinale-Common_ComfreyUrtica_dioica-NettleLearn how to make and use your own organic plant feed, also known as comfrey and nettle tea ; share your tips and advice of the month.




Reminder for All SLI Members

AGM – Sunday 3 July, 11.30 followed by lunch (RSVP), at Marlpit Community Centre, Hellesdon Road.

It’s your chance to find out what’s been happening with Sustainable Living Initiative and what future developments might be.
Please let Mahesh know if you’re staying to lunch –


GO2 at Bluebell Allotments South

Some important notices from Bluebell

Car parking – please note that we do not provide car parking at Bluebell for anyone other than Blue Badge holders of whom there are several in GO2. If you have to come by car, please therefore leave it outside the allotment site, on neighbouring George Borrow Road, for example, and walk the few steps to GO2.
It is annoying for our Blue Badge holders if they arrive and cannot park as designated, and embarrassing for those of us who have to find car owners who do not require such parking and ask them to move!

Vacant plots – there are several vacant strips at the moment, although they need digging over. If you want to have a bit more growing-space from now until the end of September, free of charge, please write to Mahesh or myself ( and it will be arranged. There are still potatoes in the shed which are at the moment going to waste so perhaps someone would like to plant them.

Main gate key – if you leave GO2, please return the main gate key for which you paid a £5 deposit. I would rather spend my time on my plots than go to Timpson to get keys cut – twice recently. We will refund the £5 if you return the key within one month of leaving, otherwise the deposit is forfeited.

Path tidying – some may have noticed that thanks to strimming by Philip and Mark, the paths are looking very tidy (for a week!).
However, it is the business of every grower to tidy the paths on all sides of their plots, especially where it will annoy neighbours if the grass seeds everywhere!
Please keep your paths trimmed. There are shears in the cupboard at the back of the main shed.


Notes about Watering, and Plants and Seeds
What’s on for Bluebell members – No Food Share Sunday in July (see above)
Recent Bluebell events – Food Share Sunday – 5 June 2016, Skills Sharing – 29 May 2016

Community plots at Bluebell.

We have several shared beds at Bluebell just outside the polytunnels. These have been planted with squashes, courgettes and potatoes but we need to continue planting with peas and beans before it is too late. If anyone can help with this, I shall be at Bluebell on Sunday morning.
Also, we need to keep them watered if you are passing and see them looking thirsty.


Important message for SLI Bluebell growers.

05-courgettes 13-runner-bean

Courgettes, Beans and Squash plants are hardening off behind the greenhouse, and will be ready for planting-out on your plot at the end of the week. Please plant according to guidelines, so that the plants have enough space and so there will be enough for all.


Water supply at GO2 Bluebell South

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

Thank you.

Water supply at GO2 Bluebell South

GO2_WATER_SYSTEMTo allotment holders at Bluebell.

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

Tessa – Bluebell Seeds Team

It’s growing fast.

Tall weeds

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

Mark –
Land and water team at Bluebell

Rhubarb Jam Saturday 7th May 2016

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


A Timely Intervention

A delivery of Chainsaw Chipping’s, tree ‘limbs’ and assorted material were being tipped on GO2 Bluebell’s disability parking area. It was lucky I was on site with Christine to stop the tip. The driver surprised by my intervention said it was a requested delivery by a GO2 member. He was unable to give a name nor a description. Returning to the shed we noted an entry in the day book re the delivery.

Bye the bye…..

Allotmenteers of Bluebell who wish to use wood chipping need to resource from known sources clean from pests and diseases. Be available to take delivery and transport to their strip/s
Keep the good practice of noting deliveries in the day book. Identify firm or company delivering.
And please be there to take delivery. What was being delivered looked like a garden clear.

Section 11 of NNC Allotment Rules specify what is not to be brought onto allotments.
Wood chip is not as yet included.

Mark Newman
Land and Water

Hello Members,

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

Moira (Food team)