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!

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.


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.


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.


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)


Marmalade Workshop

6th February from 10am until 2pm.
jimjam-jarsBridget will be running a workshop at her home, sharing her marmalade methods.

Could you find clean jars and help us by bringing them to Bluebell or Marlpit. Every time we raise money by selling preserves we need to acquire more jars.
Kitchen space is limited, so if you already know all about making marmalade, give a novice a chance to learn, otherwise if you want to join in contact the Food Team,

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First Sunday Food

2016-01-03 13.05.33About twenty of us turned up at Bluebell South for the Grow Our Own First Sunday Food-Sharing Lunch.
The Food Team arrived early and helped set up tables in the Big Shed.
It was quite cosy for January and we had three different hot soups, nut roast and curried vegetables, lots of nibbles, some very tasty puddings and a little fizz to celebrate the new 2016.

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We’ve had a few new enquiries for plots and we are now running short – but if you know people who would like to join the scheme by all means show them round. Word is getting round what a good scheme it is and people are also taking just membership. Which reminds me, if you haven’t got your membership card, they are in a little wallet pinned to the admin noticeboard.
If you’d like to join the shed duty rota on Wednesday or Sunday mornings, please contact Rita via

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SLI Christmas Meal 2015

P1200520bThe food team did us proud with our Christmas lunch at Marlpit Community Centre on 19th December. The hall was looking festive with paper chains round the walls, branches hung with baubles as a centre piece on a floor patterned with snowflakes and decorations on the tables.

Forty two people sat down to a delicious vegetable soup and an impressive array of dishes produced by the team. This was followed by an imaginative selection of desserts and cakes brought along by the members along with wine and soft drinks.

The hall was abuzz with conversation and the time passed quickly. We all heartily supported the thanks expressed to everybody who contributed to making the event an success. Finally many hands made light work of washing up and tidying the hall at the end of a very enjoyable celebration.

P1200507Click the picture to see more.

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Marlpit Arms Christmas Minimarket

The Marlpit Arms is still in the process of restoration but the Christmas Minimarket held on 12th December was a warm and cheerful occasion. Mulled wine was served in the marquee and we were among the local organisations entertained by a folk band. Among the other stallholders were the Friends of Train Wood and Alec Steele, a young Norwich blacksmith, who was demonstrating his craft.
We donated a giant pumpkin and freshly picked vegetables from Marlpit Community Garden which were ingredients in the delicious soup and stews served in the pub itself.
Our sales of nicely presented jams and chutneys made by the GO2 food group brought in £23 towards funds.
marlpit pub minimarket viewmarlpit pub minimarket stall, Teresa on the stallmarlpit pub minimarket jams and chutneys


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We seem to have run out of garlic for planting, if anyone has unknowingly planted whole bulbs of garlic instead of separating the individual cloves, could they please bring back any cloves they don’t require.garlic_5

I will put a list for people to sign if they have missed out on supplies and we will get some more for spring planting.

It is not too late to get broad beans planted, or if you have already planted some earlier, another sowing now will bring a second crop in the early summer.

There are also winter lettuce plants ready for planting that will bring you early lettuces in the spring.


Stir-up Sunday Approaches

Why not try making Eliza Acton’s Christmas pudding from 1845 Eliza-Acton-Christmas-pudding 

Traditionally you should make this on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday in November

To see our other seasonal recipes, click here.