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

Compost at GO2 Bluebell SouthGO2-button-logo-icon-32x24

We are having a general tidy up of the composting areas from 10am on Sunday 15th November. Please feel free to lend a hand even if you are not in the composting team. If you could spare an hour or two it would be much appreciated.

Weed & chat

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

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

If you intend to come, please email Sophie at

May Training Day

Training Day in May

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

Muck and Compost

horse-manureThere is now a large pile of horse manure at the crossroads – follow the path down from the greenhouse.
Please use only as much as you need.

We also have a HUGE amount of garden compost available which is ready for use. – You may wish to sieve this, sieves are available in the blue shed.

The compost ready for use is located in three bays:

  1. Next to the horse manure and newer compost bay at the crossroads.
  2. Next to the red shed.
  3. At the top of our site, between the leaves and the newer compost bay.

(Newer compost bays are those still being added to – the material in these is not yet ready to be used as it has yet to rot down) .

A reminder please, when adding garden waste to the newer compost bays, please shake off as much soil as possible and also cut down into bits / break up any larger brown material – basically we don’t want large items such as sweetcorn and brussel sprouts stalks going in whole – they would take forever to break down.


PS. If you’re unsure, ask other growers, rather than just guessing what to use – if you use compost which is unready, you may introduce weeds to your plot.

The Answer Lies in the Soil …

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

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

Happy riffling!

Peter A

Compost Day is this Sundaycompost-bins

Anyone who is available for an hour or two from 10am on Sunday 7th September, please come along to help sort out the various composting areas on the site.
See Phil when you arrive – he might bring biscuits.


Open Day approaches.GO2-Bluebell-Open-Day-2014-small

Open Day is only 3 weeks away, so please have a look in your book shelves and cupboards for any cookery books and items you no longer need. We’re hoping to have a fundraising sale on the big day – Sat 27th September, 12 – 4. The Lord Mayor is coming at 1.30 to cut the birthday cake. We hope to see lots of growers and would appreciate offers of help in showing people round. Could anyone organise a stall to sell produce?

Thanks. Christine,

Monster tomatoes.

We’ve been tidying up the tomato plants in the polytunnel. This pic is of a single monster-sized plant. Hoping for a bumper display for Open Day, so we’ll have to resist the temptation to pick the tomatoes before they’re properly ripe! Fingers crossed that the blight holds off…
tomatoes_in_polytunnel All best wishes