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

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.

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!

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.

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

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

Welcome once more to GO2

If you haven’t been given a membership card, there is one waiting in the Bluebell Shed. Just ask when you are next at the allotments, or at Marlpit Community Garden.

Remember “First Sunday Food” is on 1st 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.
You don’t have to be there all morning, but 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.

Best wishes,

Christine – Admin Team

“Virtual GO2 – an introduction to our website.

A mnemonic image for you

Some pages of are for public information – others are for members only, and are protected by one password for all.  One such page is our “Members Area” blog, which has a front page showing all current news items (“posts”) shown much like the newsletter.

Alongside the blog is a menu leading to over 100 members pages; a table summarising the 8 most recent posts and a list of categories for searching the website.

When you follow a link in the newsletter or elsewhere, it may take you to the Members Area and your computer can “remember” the password for you for some weeks, so you may not be aware that you are reading a Members page. You’ll find links everywhere to everything, and Google can help you find your way round it.

The website has 216 pages, 243 posts and 1200 other media items – pictures and documents – please investigate – and let me know what you think. If you have ideas you would like to share or (better still) the skills to help manage this, do let me know. We use WordPresswordpress-login for the website and MailChimpmailchimp-loginfor the newsletter – both of these are designed to be easy to learn, and free to use.


Christine who leads the Admin Team at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments has been welcoming all new members by email with a new “Welcome” attachment document. If you wish to read it, it’s on the website along with many others.


A very warm welcome to both the existing and recently joined members of SLI. You’re now a member of a community gardening scheme which was started some 11 years ago. We hope you will enjoy being part of it. Our ethos is very much on sharing skills, knowledge and resources. Don’t hesitate to ask another grower for help or offer help to fellow growers. Because it is a community scheme run by volunteers, the long-term sustainability of the organisation depends on your cooperation and active participation.
From now on, you will receive a Newsletter every fortnight which will have all the information you need to know about your plot and the dates for upcoming events and training. If you do not get a copy of the Newsletter, please contact

Happy gardening!


Call for new trustees of Sustainable Living Initiative

We currently have four Trustees but there could be nine.

There are four meetings a year and the duties are not onerous. Laura who has a plot on GO2 Bluebell and is also a SLI trustee says – she enjoys having a strategic view and being a plot-holder; her role has enabled her to have a good insight into the organisation.

For information about the trustee’s role, please follow this link:…/the-essential-trustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please e-mail me, along with a copy of your CV.


Open Day 2015

GO2 Bluebell had a great Open Day on Sunday 4 October with lots of visitors and many new growers signing up. The weather was superb and the food excellent. We took over £100 in donations towards food and about £50 in money from selling jam and chutney. Many thanks to those who helped out with renewals in the shed, those who provided food, and those who helped generally. In eight years of open days, I would say it was the best.

... for tasting fresh juice of apple and pears

Tasting fresh juice of apple and pears

In addition some people helped with pressing apples and pears and those who sampled the juice must surely agree that it was delicious. Click here to see some FaceBook photos.

New members

Welcome to several new members to GO2: Tonia, David, Lucy and three children, Jenny H, Jeremy, Olivia, Natasha and her daughter, four members from Together UK with Sandra and Tammy as Peer Support Workers, Gavin, Jacqueline, Laraine, Maria, Philip, and William. We have recently returned two whole plots to the Council so we are now concentrated on 14 plots and we number about 90 growers at Bluebell.

GO2 is like John Lewis – it is owned by its members, so we hope to see as many people as possible, and new people in particular, on 1 November at Bluebell for the tool check from 10 – 12 noon and then for a few short introductions by team leaders of compost, seeds and plants, training and skill-sharing, land and water and food teams. The team leader of the team you put as your preferred choice on your form will be in touch. After all that, it’s Food-sharing Lunch so bring something to share for lunch. We still meet even if it rains!


NB: the training sessions at Marlpit Community Garden have already been arranged for 2016 so look out for the publicity. In addition Sophie will be arranging Skills-sharing sessions at Bluebell.

Membership cards

Everyone will now have a membership card and if you haven’t got yours, please ask when you’re next in the Bluebell Big Shed on Wednesday or Sunday mornings from 10 – 1 pm.


Please make sure and read the newsletter which is now going out fortnightly and will be for all SLI Members, including GO2 Bluebell and GO2 Marlpit. It will have announcements, events, calls to arms (tools!), and what seeds are available for planting out.

Shed closure for the winter

Please note that the Bluebell Big Shed will not be officially open from 15 November to 21 February although anyone who fancies can go there and open up. We’ll probably have a Food-sharing Lunch on the first Sunday in December, and possibly January too. These events will be in the newsletter so be sure and read your newsletter.


sweet potato oct2015A first for GO2

– a misshapen but very tasty sweet potato grown in the polytunnel at Bluebell.

We hope to have cuttings for sowing next year.

URGENT! Your plot renewal


Membership Form – September 2015

We have sent a personally-addressed renewal e-mail to all our growers. If you have not received the e-mail, please let us know as soon as possible.
Please remember, the deadline for paying by post / BACS is 30th September; and the last chance to pay in person was on Sunday 4th October, which was also our OPEN DAY.


Open Day, Sunday 4 October, 12 – 4 pm.

We need help with publicity, setting up (from 11 am), showing visitors round, and taking renewals and money from sales of jam etc. Let us know if you can do any of these things by emailing and do tell your friends and family or print and display the poster.In communal areas and sheds before the day – if you see anything untidy, please tidy it!


There are a few things that need to be done, and if you are attending the open day, I’d be happy to show you what these things are. Also, I’ll answer any queries you might have about making or using compost (as best I can!)

If you have any queries in the meantime,  please feel free to contact me on



Next year…is now!

Uploaded 08/09/2015
For 2015-16 all growers will need to have read the new Grower’s Agreement,

and to have signed the new Application Form when we renew our plot rental.

Organisation changes resulting from the AGM in July are described in a new document

SLI Leaflet 2-column A4 landscapeClick here to see the leaflet

Don’t forget…

Although our Members’ Newsletter is sent fortnightly, all our news is put on the website soon after it is sent to

Pictures from events which have already occurred are usually to be seen there too – click here.

SLI Annual General Meeting

was on Sunday 5 July 2015

at Marlpit Community Centre NR6 5EQ

Minutes of the meeting Minutes of the meeting GO2 AGM minutes 2015

To see our upcoming events page – click here

We are planning an Open Day on 4th October 2015

Can you spare some food?

If you haven’t seen this email from Bluebell North, do take a look. It’s such a worthwhile scheme running during late July and August and I’m sure lots of GO2 people would like to contribute. I’ll certainly be digging up some spuds for them.

Even very small amounts add up. All best wishes Jane (click below to read about it)

FISH  Food (and FunIn School Holidays

Allotment gardeners have been asked to support this initiative again this summer.  

SLI Annual General Meeting

Sunday 5 July 2015, 11 – 1 pm followed by lunch

Marlpit Community Centre – Hellesdon Road NR6 5EQ click here to see maps

AGM – agenda

Marlpit Community Centre

  1. Introduction
  2. Reports from teams:
  3. Admin, Compost, Food, Land and Water, Seeds, Tools and Maintenance, Training, Website
  4. Proposal for membership
  5. Call for more Trustees
  6. Any other business

Followed by lunch – if you want lunch, please let Mahesh know:

It is important for growers to attend, as there will be changes in the new year 2015/2016.

2015-03-28 11.04.15



SLI Annual General Meeting Sunday 5 July 2015, 11 – 1 pm followed by lunch at Marlpit Community Centre – NR6 5EQ see maps.
It is important for growers to attend, as there will be changes in the new year 2015/2016.

Look at the Events Page on the website, and also check-out the new pages on this website – most recently the Publicity Archive which goes back to 2006 – and if you have any interesting items for our Gallery or news for our blog, just email

Finance Officer

accounts-2012-2013Sustainable Living Initiative is looking for a Part-time Finance Officer (one-day a month). This is a paid position.
Main responsibilities include:
• Maintaining the account spreadsheet and payroll;
• Preparing budgets and financial reports for the management committee
• Preparing end of the year accounts for the Companies House and the Charity Commission.
Good knowledge of Excel essential.

Anyone interested, please contact Mahesh (


Broad beans and Courgettes – When to Harvest?



Keep in touch

conundrumIf you are not receiving the newsletter you may be reading this on our blog.
If you know of anyone who doesn’t get this newsletter, but wants to, tell them to look on our website at where they can sign-up or just read from the archive. Remember the password is “shallots”.

Care to give?

7-perennialsPeter A. is asking for anyone who can spare some perennial flowering plants – not shrubs – to bring them to the Bluebell GO2 Centre and or reply to this newsletter.
They are to be planted in the quadrangle at Nightingale Care Home, Welborne, near Dereham, which needs cheering up.

Here are 7 favourite perennials, Salvia, Foxglove, Euphorbia, Erysimum, Lupins, Verbena, Penstemon

Welcome to new members!

A number of new growers signed up recently and we welcome them to Grow-Our-Own.
Here is a link to some practical advice about what to do next. Click thisClick me.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
As one of the great assets of GO2 is the social and community side, we look forward to seeing you at our food-sharing lunches on the first Sunday of the month, and also at work days (also on the first Sunday of the month) and training sessions. Future activities are announced on an events page (click here).
If you have new neighbours, please look out for them and help them with any problems they may be experiencing.


Annual report

The annual report is under way. We would like to hear your experiences of GO2, whether you are a longstanding grower or have just joined.
Photos of your plot or produce may be included, if kept small. Please send to Christine at Thanks!

Upcoming events

The Big End Of Year Tool / Maintenance Clear Up.

Click here for details tool-rack in shed

Sunday 2nd November 10.30-12-30

Jane Graham – Team Leader Tools / Maintenance