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

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

Saturday 16th July 2016: Gardening Training at Marlpit Community Garden

1. “All about pests and diseases“, with Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant, from 10 am to 1 pm
2. “MORE FLOWERS – Lavender, Chamomile, Calendula, Meadowsweet, Mullein, St Johns Wort“, with Alex Hobbs, from 1 pm to 4 pm

Remember, there are two free spaces each for Bluebell and Marlpit Team Leaders/Regular Volunteers!
For further information and to book your place, please contacts us at the address below.

Sustainable Living Initiative
Marlpit Community Centre
Hellesdon Road
Norwich NR6 5EG.
Tel: 01603 920570; Mob: 07969996646
e-mail: sustainable@grow-our-own.co.uk

Honey

honey extractorWe extracted 16lbs of gorgeous honey from our bees on 24th June. This was much less than I had anticipated. When I checked three weeks earlier the bees appeared to have plenty of honey to spare. However, because of the cold, wet weather they have been drawing heavily on their stores to feed their young. Honey bees can’t go out foraging in poor weather.

In fact the National Bee Unit has since issued warnings to beekeepers to check their bees in case of starvation, and to feed them if necessary. I have been checking, and although the hives where I took honey still have sufficient, I have had to feed the other two colonies with syrup (that is sugar dissolved in water) to tide them over.

The bees collect honey for food and convert it to honey to store it. They also collect pollen to feed their young, and in the process pollinate our crops and flowers. So, of course, honey is first and foremost for the bees. Having said that, if we have a good summer I hope that they will have more surplus honey that we can harvest later in the year.

Tish (Beekeeper)

Last year’s Honey Day

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.
Thanks,

Moira

Monthly training sessions in June

These are run for the public, but all SLI members will receive a discount and there are two free places available each for Bluebell and Marlpit Team Leaders or regular volunteers – see booking-form.

These sessions are an excellent way of learning more about gardening.
“The morning session, titled ‘Looking after plants’ is run by Mahesh with Jon Darby from Easton and Otley College, and the afternoon one is about ‘Midsummer flowers – Elderflower cordial, Rose aromatic water using alembic still” by Medical Herbalist, Alex Hobbs.”
Both courses include lunch.
Astonishingly, this year hardly anyone has taken up this exceptional opportunity to broaden their gardening knowledge. As with all public events, you can find out what is planned and how to book” on our website at www.grow-our-own.co.uk/home/events

Christine

Sustainable Living Initiative (SLI),

Annual Members’ Meeting

Sunday 3RD July 2016

at 11:30 am followed by lunch at 1pm


All GO2 Bluebell and Marlpit Community Garden members, Grow-at-Home members and regular volunteers and ordinary members of SLI are invited to attend the meeting at the Marlpit Community Centre, Hellesdon Road, NR6 5EG


Lunch will be provided, so it is important you let us know if you are staying for lunch.

Click here to read about last year’s meeting.

21st May – Learn about gardening at Marlpit Community Garden

Morning session 10am to 1pm – Growing vegetables and herbs from seed with Jon and Mahesh.
Afternoon session with Alex – 1 to 4pm SPRING FLOWERS, LEAVES and BARK: Hawthorn leaves and flowers, limeflowers, birch, harvesting cramp bark and willow bark.

Click below to book this month’s training.Training at MCG - May 2016

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:
image002
You need
Rhubarb ( obviously)
Sugar
½ Lemon
sterilised jars
(optional: add ginger)
plate(s)

Preparation:

-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:
image004
-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:
image006
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.

Annemarie

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 food@grow-our-own.co.uk
Happy gardening,

Moira (Food team)

rhubarb-growing-cut

Growing and Using Herbs – April 2016

Spring Tonics, the third of the ‘Growing and Using Herbs’ Practical Training Courses,  was held at the Marlpit Community Garden on Saturday, April 16th.

Once again, there were excellent  handouts providing descriptions of the plants that we would use and a recipe for Nettle Soup (a warming sample of which was also provided).

We were then instructed in the preparation of tinctures – extraction of essences by alcohol – which was followed by a practical session – a trip to the Garden to collect our own sample using Nettles, Chickweed, and Goose Grass to create our own  Spring Tonic.

We discovered that these humble plants are , in fact, “superfoods” in their own right, containing many necessary vitamins and trace chemicals.

The preparation of Chickweed Vinegar was demonstrated, and its uses described. (Both culinary and medicinal!).

We were shown how those herbal essences that cannot  be extracted by alcohol may be obtained by decoction – simmering in water.

spring tonic preparationcutting up dandelionchopping nettles and dandelionschopped chickweed

 

Teresa

Teresa and Claire

 

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Recent improvements togo2glehave made it possible to see the great progress we’ve made at Bluebell South and Marlpit Community Garden – here are some screen-shots

Grow Our Own at Bluebell South Allotments: the raised beds in centre foreground, looking towards UEA

Grow Our Own at Bluebell South Allotments: the raised beds in centre foreground, looking towards UEA

Grow Our Own at Bluebell South Allotments, looking North

Grow Our Own at Bluebell South Allotments, looking North

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the picture below and see more on OneDrive

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view from the west

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view from the west

The “Streetview” feature allows us to see before and after here too.

MCG-gate-2015

The Gate to Marlpit Community Garden – 2015

MCG-gate-2008

The Gate to Marlpit Community Garden – 2011

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, with north at the top.

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, with north at the top.

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, with east at the top.

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, with east at the top.

Marlpit Community Garden's conservation meadow - horses grazing on left, pond on right

Marlpit Community Garden’s conservation meadow – horses grazing on left, pond on right

Marlpit Community Garden aerial view from the west

Marlpit Community Garden aerial view from the west

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view looking west

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view looking west

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, looking north from Hellesdon Road

Marlpit Community Garden, aerial view, looking north from Hellesdon Road

Marlpit Community Garden (A), Marlpit Community Centre (B)

Marlpit Community Garden (A), Marlpit Community Centre (B)