August Newsletter

Notices, and information about forthcoming events.

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 also 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

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.

Tuesday 22nd August, 10 am to 3 pm.
Norwich Union (Aviva) team coming to Marlpit to help with the conservation work.  Any help from our members will be appreciated. Members will get free lunch.

Sunday 3rd September, 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. At the last volunteering day on 6th August, hardly anyone came but there were over 20 people at food-sharing lunch!

Amy from the Food Team says, 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.

Sunday 10th September, 12-30 to 3:30 pm, Vintage cycle rally at Marlpit Pub, Hellesdon Road.
SLI will have a stall at the event and will be selling  vegetarian food, cakes, jams and honey.  If you could help in cooking or running  stall, please let Mahesh know:

Tuesday 12th September,  10 am to 3 pm.
Norwich Union (Aviva) team coming to Marlpit to help with the conservation work.  Any help from our members will be appreciated. Members will get free lunch.

Sunday 1st October, 11am to 3pm: GO2 Open Day, Bluebell South allotments

Time to renew your annual membership, apple pressing, stalls, refreshments, bring friends and family! There will be plots available. Please contact Christine if you can help:

Sunday 15th October, 10 am – 1pm: Basic gardening techniques and strimmer demo at GO2
This session is a must for new growers!
Basic gardening techniques and important things to know how to get the best out of your plots. Also for those interested: how to use the power tools such as petrol strimmer. Please book your place by emailing to:

Saturday 21st October, 10am to 1pm: Cooking and preserving, Marlpit Community Centre
Cooking using seasonal produce. Please inform Mahesh in advance if you want to go:

Sunday 5th November, 12 to 3pm: SLI AGM at Marlpit Community Centre
What next for SLI? It’s your say about SLI. Refreshments available.  Details later.
NB – no food-sharing at Bluebell this day


Late summer seeds and plants at Bluebell
There’s still time to sow a few seeds.  If sown now, Swiss chard and red
mustard frills will both grow during the autumn and winter months and
provide you with cut-and-come-again leaves to add to soup or a stir fry.

It’s also time to get the soil ready for autumn sowings of broad beans,
garlic and overwintering onions.  Once the summer crops have been gathered, think about sowing a green manure.  If sown now the plants will germinate quickly and grow fast to protect the bare soil.  When dug in they add organic matter to the soil.  Digging in can be in a couple of months, ready for autumn sowing, or in early spring as the soil warms up.  There are packets of buckwheat and phacelia seeds on the table at the back of the shed.

There will be a few spring cabbage plants outside the greenhouse at the end of August and overwintering lettuce plants in early September.  Both will need protection, the first with netting to stop the pigeons, the second with fleece during the cold winter months.
Bridget, for Seed and Plant Team at GO2 Bluebell

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

We’re in Citizen – Autumn 2016

Sustainable Living Initiative in "Norwich Citizen" - Autumn 2016

Sustainable Living Initiative in “Norwich Citizen” – Autumn 2016

SLI was featured in the latest edition of The Citizen, Norwich City Council’s quarterly magazine.

“The Sustainable Living Initiative hosted successful networking events over the past two summers for those involved in looking after their local open spaces, woods and parks …”
the article said.

“Held at Marlpit Community Garden – a really special site which has allotments, bees, wildflowers, fruit trees, sheep and more – it provided a chance for people to meet over refreshments”, it continued.

Sustainable Living Initiative in "Norwich Citizen" - Autumn 2016

Photo of MCG in “Norwich Citizen” – Autumn 2016



The Citizen is delivered to households across Norwich.


See our publicity pages for earlier “mentions”.

Early Years at MCG

Marlpit Community Garden was a lively place to be on Tuesday.
Regular volunteers were joined by children from the Earlham Early Years Children’s Centre and their parents. Some of the parents spent time weeding the garden as well as helping their children to plant and water flowers and herbs in a special plot. They will be coming along for four Tuesdays during August.
2016-07-21 10.51.43Two older girls took a break from working their after-school and holiday plot to don protective suits and join a group that Tish took up to the bee sanctuary to view inside one of our hives.

A substantial lunch cooked by Amy and Mahesh was much appreciated by visitors and volunteers.


Outdoor Project Network Event

Here is an excerpt from the invitation sent out to projects by Louise Curtis, Community enabling officer – West, Local Neighbourhood Services, Norwich City Council

cat-image001 Hello,
We would like to invite you to the third Outdoor Project Network Event which is being hosted by the Sustainable Living Initiative on Tuesday 12th July 6.30 – 8.30pm at Marlpit Community Garden on Marlpit Lane, Norwich, NR5 8XN.
I hope you are able to join us, it will be an opportunity to visit and learn about the Community Garden, which has allotments, bees, wildflowers, fruit trees, sheep and more (including the cat), and a chance for people to chat over refreshments and share ideas and experiences in a lovely setting.
Please let me know by Friday 1st July if you would like to attend so we know how many people to cater for, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards

Volunteers Day at Marlpit Community Garden

P1220830P1220782On Friday 27th May, we were helped by over 90 volunteers from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Norwich.
We provided refreshments, prepared tea and coffee and led the volunteers building compost-bins; weeding the herb-path; fencing the grazing area; weeding and repairing guards around orchard trees; fixing anti-bird netting over the soft-fruit area and re-covering the polytunnel with new polythene.
Here are some photos of the event – click for more.P1220818

This is the second time the volunteers from JLL came to our Marlpit Community Garden.
The weather turned out to be perfect and we managed to do so much in a day. I would like to thank the volunteers from JLL, Sue from Employee Volunteering who along with her husband Tony worked so hard to make the day a success, Amy for making delicious refreshments, SLI members George, John, Alex, David, Jim and our regular volunteers for their tireless work.

fencingimproving tree guardsoff to workrelaxingshifting compoststakes for tree guardsweeding soft fruitweeding the herb gardenconstructing the compost bins

Planting Snowdrops

On Tuesday 5th April we planted 1000 native snowdrops at Marlpit Community Garden with the help of four young volunteers from Earlham Academy and C.N.S. school. The youngsters worked hard to prepare the ground which was thick with nettles and couch grass.
We chose sites behind the bugs hotel, round young apple trees near the container and under trees in the forest garden for the snowdrops.
As well as giving us a wonderful display to enjoy, the flowers will provide a rich source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators on mild days in late winter and early spring – the time of year when flowers are scarce and food may be hard to find.

preparing the groundplanting snowdropsclearing couch grass

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Thank you

Container emptied, ready to make a tool-rack

Container emptied, ready to make a tool-rack

A big thank you to David from plot holders and volunteers at Marlpit Community Garden for sorting out a system for hanging up the gardening tools!

David, measuring-up

David, measuring-up

We have been struggling to move in the container, let alone to find the tools we need.
These photos, taken on Tuesday, 22nd March, show the transformation he has made, using a couple of trestle tables as a makeshift work bench.

David, fixing hooks for hanging tools

David, fixing hooks for hanging tools

What a great job!The completed tool-rack

The completed tool-rack

The completed tool-rack

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RHS Secondary School Garden Club

An RHS Secondary School Garden Club project is to be based in our area.
They hope to work with 5 secondary schools.
As you are probably aware there is a national shortage of young people going into horticulture.
Primary schools often have gardening as a club after school, or do some growing as part of the science curriculum,
but then within secondary schools gardening disappears from the timetable!
skilled horticultural volunteer flierWe want to address this by helping secondary schools run gardening clubs at school.
We are seeking enthusiastic experienced gardeners who would like to share their knowledge with the next generation!
Please read the flier and get in touch or share it with people you know who could help.
I would like to meet with potential volunteers in January to get ready for the spring season ahead.

Many thanks
And Happy Christmas to you all –
Health Happiness and Horticulture!

Alison Findlay

Bluebell GO2 Great Big End of Year Shed and Tool Day.

Sunday November 1st 10:00-12:00

Happy secateurs!

  • Sheds cleaned
  • Tools inventoried
  • Tools inspected
  • Cutting tools sharpened
  • Minor repairs as needed

All new growers welcome as we will have a short “meet & greet” afterwards.
Everyone who has put their name down for Shed and Tools, please try to come.
Coffee, tea and cake will be served – maybe scones and jam!

Look forward to seeing you all.

Jane G

Tools and Sheds Team Leader

New Tool-shed

Building is due to commence at Bluebell GO2 to erect a secure tool and machinery shed.shed
It is hoped to get the 2m x 3m x 2.5m high structure built as soon as deliveries arrive and helping hands identified.
If you can help with any of these tasks

  • clearing and levelling
  • marking out
  • frame construction (wood )
  • working with corrugated sheet cladding and internal fixing

please contact Mark for information and offers of help at

Mark Newman – Land and Water Team Leader at Bluebell GO2

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



UEA Volunteers

Wednesday 24th June 2015

Students from the UEA studying science and engineering swapped their their scientific instruments for spades and forks to take up carpet lifting, to improve our footpaths.

UEA Engineering student volunteers at Grow Our Own, Bluebell South, Norwich

UEA Engineering student volunteers at Grow Our Own, Bluebell South, Norwich

It was Ramadan,a period of fasting between dawn and dusk, and the task of lifting and removing carpet from the main paths was achieved.

Job done and many thanks to UEA Volunteers.

Sunday 7th June at 1pm is Food Share time again!

Please come and join in for a shared lunch in the big shed; hopefully it’ll stay sunny/hot & we can eat outside. If it is your first time then you’d be most welcome; please bring a dish and/or drink.

As this is also Volunteering Day, if you could spare a few minutes to help on community projects, we would all appreciate it.
Juyna is on duty this Sunday and would appreciate a hand with bringing the rockery under control! Please spare any time you have; even 10mins would make a difference. Many thanks.



If anyone over by the yellow shed is able to help on Sunday, our composting area is in chaos and urgently needs attention.
I will be there so if you have a plot in that distant part of the scheme please come and join me.


I have taken on the task of tidying up the area on the far side (north) of the raised beds. There are fruit bushes and other plants swamped by tall grass. We owe it to other growers not to allow grasses to spread seed, and we do not want to give up on this communal plot.
A bit of help on Volunteering Sunday will mean a share in a harvest of blackcurrants, gooseberries, blackberries, and other fruit later this year.


Urgent! To everyone whose plot borders a Council plot-holder –

We’ve been asked by Council plot-holders to cut the grass where it is spreading onto their plots and likely to scatter seeds everywhere. This applies to all four plots near the red sheds. As a matter of urgency, please could you check the end of your plots to make sure that grass is not causing annoyance to your neighbours. Long grass is going to seed everywhere shortly and it shelters those dreaded slugs and snails. There are shears in the small cupboard at the back of the main shed. Or you can dig it out…

The AGM is a month away

Please let us know if you’re coming and if you want lunch so we can cater for you! There will be no lunch at the allotment that day.
Sunday 5th July at 11 am with lunch at 1ish
Marlpit Community Centre, Hellesdon Road (there is parking) – follow this link to our events page for more info and maps.

Only three weeks away is Marlpit Community Garden Open Day on June 27th

Please come and see our new project in Marlpit. You can either come and help make the refreshments at the Marlpit Community Centre at 10 am on the day or bring a some home-cooked food to share.

Any help in organising the event would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mahesh e-mail:

see link for more.MCG-Open-Day-2015-thumbnail

Marlpit Volunteering Day, Tuesday 9th June,

from 10 am to 1 pm followed by lunch.

Following my recent injury, I need extra help to keep the garden going.  If you could spare a couple of hours on next Tuesday or any Tuesdays after that, please let me know.

Thanks, Mahesh, e-mail:



Last Volunteering and Foodshare Day we tidied the baths!

Sunday 3 May

Next Sunday is a work morning followed by Food-sharing lunch. Please come from 10 o’clock and help with some necessary tasks, especially if you haven’t yet given any time to GO2 this year.

Welcome to new members: Ian and Karen, Felipe and Kathleen and daughter, Sharon who is going to share plots with Tracy for a herb project, and to Sandra Smith and a group from TogetherUK. They are taking two of the boxes. Please say hello if you see any of them. You can see who your neighbours are on the chart in the Centre shed.

We have a patch of fruit bushes which urgently need weeding. If you can help, and possibly even do some weeding regularly, you will be able to have some of the fruit when it’s ready.

The Plant Team would like some help constructing their new raised bed, the old one is completely rotten and about to fall to bits!

Everybody welcome – starting about 10.

All bar two of our plots are now taken! We will be starting a waiting list.



There are plugs of various salad leaves, and the last of the brassicas available for planting now. If you can’t see them, ask.

Sunday 7th September, from 10am

Compost Day

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 arrears on the site.
See Phil when you arrive – he might bring biscuits.

Pumpkins, gourds and marrows
Please take any produce left out in the picnic area. It is for us all to share.

Recipe ideas

What can we do with all these beans? P1020662
Click here to find out

Effective use of water – this Sunday’s training session

Come and find out how to water your plot more effectively, and how to retain the rain that does fall. Carolyn Batch has grown fruit and veg in Greece so she knows a trick or two about efficient use of water. She’ll be sharing her knowledge with us on Sunday, June 8th from 11am to 12pm and will include a tour of her full size allotments.


Also this Sunday

Help with compost and possible muck collection please from 10.00. See Phil.

On your plot this month

This is another busy month on your plot. You’ll be sowing and planting out tender things, ideally at fortnightly intervals to make sure you don’t have gluts of courgettes, beans and so on.
Harvest: If you sowed peas and broad beans in the autumn you’ll be picking them now (these were sown in November last year). There’s also radish,lettuce and baby turnips; spring greens, spinach, Swiss chard. Herbs: chives, mint, parsley.
Seeds: We’ll have lots of seeds: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Calabrese, Runner Bean, French Bean, Beetroot, Carrot, Courgette, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Pumpkin, Peas, Radish, Romanesco (calabrese), spring onions.
Plants: Courgettes, pumpkin/squash, beans (French climbing, French dwarf and runner beans), sweet corn (we’ll be sowing more of these for you if you’ve missed out or have room for planting at fortnightly intervals).Some brassicas (cabbage family). Also some basil plants ready to be potted up and grown inside on a warm windowsill.

Next month

We’ll be getting ready for the autumn/winter crops – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, fennel, winter cabbage, kale.

Are you a jam-maker? Or would you like to learn?

On Saturday 21st June there will be a jam-making workshop, from 10am until 1pm. We’ll use gooseberries from the bushes near the polytunnel to make jam to raise funds for GO2. Email us to book your place; they are limited.

Jars needed
We need jam jars, with lids, clean and labels removed, for jam and chutney made from allotment produce. 300ml (1lb)size is the most useful, nothing larger, please. Leave in the big shed.

AGM Sunday 6th July 10.00 – 2pm

All growers are invited! Come and have your say on present management and future developments, as well as some great food to enjoy and an opportunity to meet more growers. We’ll start the meeting promptly at 10.30 followed by lunch (provided). Please note that there is no food-sharing lunch at the allotment that day.

There are some hot topics up for discussion including:
• Why we love GO2 and what we can do better next year. Are we the right size, should we be smaller or bigger?
• Why contributing to GO2 is essential and how to deal with growers who do not contribute.
• How to ensure plots are kept in a good condition.
• Running the Grow-at-Home scheme from Marlpit and no longer including growers with council allotments.

We’ll meet at West Earlham Community Centre, 10 Wilberforce Road, Norwich NR5 8NE. Directions: take Watton Road out of town and turn right at UEA Village along Wilberforce Road. Centre is on the corner of Taylor Road.

west-earlham-community-centre Click for Google map

Please note that there is no food-sharing lunch at the allotment that day.

Other Dates for Diariescalendar

Saturday 21st June
10am to 1pm – Jam making with Bridget.
6pm – Come & help us celebrate the summer solstice at the allotments with our annual evening gathering. It’ll be just like the 1st Sunday food share but it’ll be in the evening from 6pm onwards! We’re also fundraising then so any kitchen utensils/cookery books you’ve to spare would be gratefully received. Please bring to the big shed & leave under the long table to your right as you come into the shed. Many thanks.

Sunday 22nd June 11am Herb walk with Bridget.

Saturday 28th June 12-4pm Marlpit Community Garden OPEN DAY.
Marlpit Community Garden has completed its first year and it is time to celebrate!
Any offer of help would be appreciated, please contact: Mahesh at

Saturday 27th September 12-4pm GO2 Open Day and 10th anniversary

If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to


Work and Food Share Sunday this weekend, June 1st.

We’re going to continue clearing and sorting the compost areas and weed the herb beds.
Please see Phil and Juyna anytime between 10.00 and 12.30.weeding-thI0WH9XYB
Afterwards, our usual feast. Please bring some food and/or drink to share.


We’re providing plants for 120 growers this season. To ensure that every grower has a chance to get their plants out in good time, we need to allocate them. So, if you have one strip, you can have two courgettes, six beans and so on. If you have two strips, you can have twice that number, etc, etc – but not all at the same time. Take your first lot and then come back a few days later for the next batch. We’re doing it this way so that everyone gets their choice of plants and we can keep up with demand. Planting in succession, means you’ll avoid the summer glut and ensure a steady supply of veg for a longer time. If you’ve got a special request (eg you’d like a yellow courgette) do let the Seeds and Plants team know by pinning a note to the notice board at the back of the shed or having a quick chat with Tessa and her team.
Tomatoes We’ll have some spare heritage tomato plants available this weekend, on a first-come, first-served basis. Do be aware that we can’t guarantee success with tomatoes on the allotment because of the prevalence of blight, so you might prefer to take them home to grow in a pot.
We’ll have herbs ready for planting out over the next few weeks. There’s parsley now but also some less usual herbs along with several varieties of basil. Salad burnet, garlic chives, dill and summer savory are the first to be ready to plant.
There will be enough parsley and basil for everyone to have one or two plants. However, there’s just one tray of each of the more unusual herbs. Some of the plants will go into the baths and containers in the family picnic area, and in the bed alongside. Once they are producing plenty of leaves anyone can pick them; they’re available for all to try. If you would like to try to grow a particular herb on your own plot the remaining plants will go outside the polytunnel for you to take one or two.

Herb Walk

And if you want to know more about herbs, join Bridget for a herb walk on Sunday June 22. We have at least twenty different types of herbs scattered around the allotment. We’ll take a map of the site and attempt to plot them all, identifying those that anyone can take, and discussing their uses in cooking. Meet at the shed at 11am for about an hour’s tour.


This might sound like sarcasm, but our next training session will be on how to water your plot more effectively. Just wait until the summer gets here! Carolyn Batch has grown fruit and veg in Greece so she knows a trick or two about efficient use of water. She’ll be sharing her knowledge with us on Sunday, June 8th from 11am to 12pm and will include a tour of her full size allotment.Watering_Can

Dates for diaries

Sunday 8th June 11-12 Training on targeted watering. Meet at the shed.
Saturday 21st June 6pm Summer begins so please come & help us celebrate at the allotments with our annual evening gathering. It’ll be just like the 1st Sunday food share but it’ll be in the evening from 6pm onwards! We’re also fundraising then so any kitchen utensils/cookery books you’ve to spare would be gratefully received. Please bring to the big shed & leave under the long table to your right as you come into the shed. Many thanks.
Sunday 22nd June 11am Herb walk with Bridget.
Saturday 28th June 12-4pm Marlpit Community Garden OPEN DAY. Marlpit Community Garden has completed its first year and it is time to celebrate!
Any offer of help would be appreciated, please contact: Mahesh at
Sunday 6 July 10am-2pm GO2 AGM and food-sharing at the Wilberforce Road Community Centre instead of the allotment.
Saturday 27 September 12-4pm 2 Open Day and 10th anniversary

If you have anything you’d like to submit to 2 News, please send it to

Clive’s Tips for April

  • As the soil warms weeds will grow more vigorously. Hoe and hand weed regularly to keep them in check. If you use cloches or fleece to protect your seedlings, check underneath for weeds and slugs!
  • If you’ve just taken on a new plot and can’t cultivate all of it, cover the unused ground with cardboard. Soak the cardboard with water and weigh it down with bricks or other heavy objects to stop it from blowing away in the wind. This will stop weeds growing until you have time to dig them out. “Volunteer” potatoes that have grown from previous years should be removed and composted because they carry the risk of spreading disease.
  • If you have planted your potatoes already, keep track of the weather forecast, and be prepared to cover any emerging shoots with soil, leaves, grass cuttings or fleece if there is any risk of frost. In any case you will want to earth up potatoes once their stems begin to emerge from the ground.
  • Green manure that has overwintered should be dug into the soil three to four weeks before you plan to plant your crops.
  • Aphids flourish during warm weather, so check fruit bushes and remove them by hand or by spraying water (not washing up liquid solutions which will harm beneficial insects too). Gooseberry bushes will need to be inspected for gooseberry sawfly caterpillars. They too may be removed by hand, or by shaking the bush. If you pruned your gooseberry bushes during the winter and created an open structure, this will encourage birds to eat the pests.
  • Continue to weed and mulch around trees, bushes and canes. A small amount of well-rotted manure, compost or grass cuttings will all be useful. Ensure that the mulch does not make contact with the stems of plants because this may encourage fungal diseases.

Last Sunday

Thank you everyone who helped last week to install the extended water system. It was a lovely morning followed by fabulous food. We’ll be running the same type of event next month. Keep your eye on the newsletter for details.
One of the new water-cisterns

Last Wednesday we had a big clean-up


This Sunday: one to one advice

We still have some half-hour slots available between 10.30am to 12.00pm which you can book for a one-to-one consultation with Mahesh. He will come to your plot and advise you on anything you want to know. Booking is essential! Just hit the reply key and say which slot you’d like. First come, first served.

We still have several pairs of wellington boots: come and claim them.

If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to

GO2 needs YOU!

This Sunday, we need all hands on deck to dig a channel to run the water supply from our main tanks right along the path past the red shed, to the end of the row. The more help, the easier the task. Come between 10.00 and 12.30, even if you can only give half an hour. It all helps. You’ll get a chance to see how it all works and how to maintain it. p1460613
The work session will be followed by our regular food share at 1pm. Bring some muscle, and/or some food.

Shed duty.

We need to provide cover for two sessions; Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am to 1pm.

We aim to have at least two people for each shift. No expert knowledge required. All the information is provided.

These sessions are very sociable and help you to get to know more growers.

Please contact Christine Wilson at

One to one advice:

Next Sunday, April 13th, we have four half-hour slots available between 10.30am to 12.30pm which you can book for a one-to-one consultation with Mahesh. He will come to your plot and advise you on anything you want to know.
Booking is essential! Just hit the reply key and say which slot you’d like. First come, first served.

On your plot this month:

This is a busy month with lots to sow and plant! Early April is the ideal time to plant your chitted potatoes, if you haven’t already done so.
Harvest: Broccoli – purple sprouting, winter cauliflower, cabbage – spring greens, kale, leeks, parsnips, perpetual spinach, Swiss Chard; rhubarb. Herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme; mint is starting to appear too.
Seedsll have some flower seeds too.
Plants: Plant your maincrop potatoes now. spuds-to-sow

We’ve also got some lettuce plants, which will be outside the polytunnel for you to help yourselves.

We’re busy raising lots of plants for you to put out next month (courgettes etc) and they’ll be put outside when it’s safe for you to plant them (after the last frosts – usually mid-May).
Next month: May will be a busy time on the allotment, when you can plant out the tender plants. There will be plenty of vegetable and flower seeds for you too; also rare heritage varieties if you’d like to try those. Look at the planting guide on our website.

The Seeds and Plants Team

If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to


We still have 33 vacant plots, so could you please help us spread the word round.
Also, if you are an existing member and would like some extra space for potatoes and squashes, you can take one of the extra plots, free of charge until the end of September 2014; all we ask is that you donate some produce for our Open Day. If you are interested, please contact Mahesh(

Work days

We are reintroducing our monthly work day on the first Sunday of each month which will be just before the food-sharing. We would like everyone to come and give a hand even for half-an hour, anytime between 10 am and 12:30 pm. This will help you make up your contribution to the scheme and is good fun.

Apart from general maintenance tasks, we have planned a specific task for Sunday 6th April: to install an irrigation system for growers who have plots in either side of the Red-shed (plots 125, 125A and 146, 146A).

Once the system is installed, it will increase the supply of water in the area and we won’t need to compete with our neighbours for access to water.
Our friend Willy will be there to help us install the system and explain how it works. But before that, we need to dig the trench and bury the pipe. Every little bit of help counts, so please come if you can. It is important that you learn how to maintain the system in future.
Click here to see a slideshow which explains how it was installed two years ago.P1460621

February 21st 2014


You can feel Spring is in the air: the sound of the birds, the bulbs getting ready to burst forth, and tasks to be done around our community garden.

This is the start of our busy season and we need participation from all our members. If each of us gives just a few hours every month, we can keep this little bit of paradise going.
Actually, the taking part in community tasks is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our scheme. We have a lot of fun. Read on…

The great big spring tool and shed maintenance event.

On Sunday 9th March from 10.00 to 12.30 come and join us for a community task. We’ll be repairing, sharpening and colour coding all the tools, and cleaning and tidying the sheds.
All members are welcome to help with the tasks, to meet the Maintenance Team and to enjoy free coffee, tea and cake.
Jane Graham, Team Leader, will be running the event. Meet at the big shed.


Would you like some manure for your plot?

Yes? Well, we have unlimited supplies of horse manure, but we need to move it from the stables to our site. And for that, we need some help.
A team at the loading end, at Dereham Road, and another team at GO2 end for unloading.

It’s happening this Sunday the 23rd, if anyone is available for a 9am start at the GO2 end, please call or text Phil, the Compost Team Leader, on 07884 391472.

Potatoes and shallots

We’ve got potatoes for chitting: Charlotte (salad – second earlies) and Lady Balfour (main crop).
There are also shallots, ready for you to plant out from now until mid-March. Shallots have a lovely sweet mild flavour, rather like a red onion. Plant them so their tips are just poking through, 5cm apart and 25cm between rows.


Heritage seeds

We’ll be growing rare varieties of heritage vegetables for seed again this year: French beans Bird’s Egg, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Eastern Butterwax (love those names!); Pilot pea; tomato Maghreb (from Morocco) and a melon Green Nutmeg, which will be grown in the polytunnel.
We’ve built up a small collection of heritage seeds to share, if you would like to try something unusual this year. All we ask is for you to save some of the crop for seed, to return to our collection. We’ll be putting a list up on the Seeds and Plants noticeboard soon.

Dwarf and/or fast growing varieties

Peter A will be trialling a selection of vegetable varieties that are smaller than usual and/or faster to mature than usual.
This demonstration plot will be near the polytunnel, so you’ll be able to see how this selection progresses.
They’ll include broad beans, French beans, baby beetroot, carrot and turnip, mini calabrese, a blue sweetcorn called Baby Fingers Blue and a very fast maturing yellow outdoor cucumber.

Seeds and Plants Team

Pests and Diseases

Two of us had a problem with our Autumn sown broad beans. They looked like this:

So GO2 wrote to Garden Organic, of which we are members, and we received the following reply:
‘It looks as though your young broad bean plants are being ‘nipped’ off at the base – possibly by mice, or the culprits could be cutworm or leatherjacket larvae. (Cutworms are caterpillars of the turnip moth and leatherjackets are larvae of crane flies, often called ‘daddy long legs’). The larvae live in the soil and are green/grey-brown in colour. They are usually responsible for severing the stems of beans at soil level. Hoeing around the plants will help expose them to predators such as birds, or they can be physically removed by hand. The only other thing I think it could be is foot rot (Fusarium) but as there is no visible evidence of white fungal growth at the base of the stems where they have been severed, I think it far more likely to be mice or the larvae mentioned above.’
We will store this advice, and others like it, on the website, and in the shed with the plant by plant guide.

Bone Meal Offer

We are offering bone-meal to our growers for the first time. If you have fruit bushes or trees on your plot, remove weeds thoroughly at the base of the plant and apply a hand-full of bone-meal. Remember not to overuse it – you may kill the plant! It is good practice to apply bone-meal after pruning.
If you have fruit bushes on your plot and would like to get some bone-meal, please see our team members during the opening hours (Sunday and Wednesday from 10am until 1pm)

If you have anything you’d like to submit to GO2 News, please send it to

This Sunday at GO2

Eddie was inspired by the fennel growing in the borders beside the main path to post the recipe below. If you want to try it, all the herbs can be found in the communal areas of the allotment. Feel free to take what you need; ask whoever is on duty if you’re not sure where a particular herb is.

Roast Fish

What can we do with all those fennel stalks? Don’t throw them away as you can use them fresh, or dried for the winter. They can be used to flavour a variety of fish dishes. The photo shows a bed of herbs for roasting fish, all out of my patio garden or the allotment. The aroma of these herbs is wonderful when you are working with them.
Roasting bed -:

Fennel stalks
Rosemary, with flowers
2 star anise

A fish of your choice, preferably a firm fish such as halibut, tuna, hake or, if you are feeling flush, turbot. Lightly fry the fish on one side until it colours, then place it on the bed of herbs. Sprinkle over some olive oil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 1600 or gas mark 3.

Place on plate and serve with cooked fennel or summer vegetables, pouring over any liquid left in the roasting tin.



Butterfly Conservation Society in Eaton Park on Sunday 4th August

A report published this week on research by the European Environment Agency said that pesticides and intensive farming are blamed as butterfly numbers fall. Last winter probably didn’t help either. Butterfly populations are a leading indicator of the health of other insect species. The Butterfly Conservation Society is having a stand in Eaton Park on Sunday 4 August from 10 to 5, with information sheets. The stand will be near one of the entrances to the circular rose gardens and will be pleased to see you if you can make it.


Feedback on supply of seeds and plants wanted

Rochelle, Christine, Tessa and I, the ‘seed team’, would like feedback on the supply of seeds and plants this year, to help as we plan for next year. We’d like know what you think about the quality, number and timing of plants and about the provision of seeds. Our questions are:

  • Did you get the plants and seeds you wanted, and at the right time?
  • What do you think we could improve?
  • What other variety or type of seeds or plants would you have liked?
  • Do you have any other comments?

Please email your responses to

GO2 community working morning

This Sunday, as the last in July, is when all those jobs get done that are better carried out in company. There is plenty to do, including:

  • Picking red currants and gooseberries
  • Potting up lettuce and dill seedlings
  • Clearing overgrown plots
  • Clearing and planting the last bath in the family picnic area
  • Sorting compost
  • Levelling paths

Come along and join in; there will be cake and, depending on the weather, hot or cold drinks.

Lastly, there will be basil and various salad seedlings available on Sunday, on the benches outside the polytunnel. Take a look at the growers’ guides for July and August on the website to see what seeds can still be sown. The password for the members’ area is ‘garlic’.


(graphics and layout by Jim)

What to do on Volunteering Day

Communal activities

Grass cutting, planting in unused areas, grass cutting, weeding, grass cutting, compost bin construction, and did I mention grass cutting?

Vegetable activities

Squashes and courgettes to be planted on your plots. Remember that they are big plants so need lots of space. We have lettuces and other salad plants to fill in the gaps. And climbing beans, komatsuma, heritage kale (Theyer) and much more.

And seeds to be sown, such as chard, beetroot, carrot, radish, dwarf beans……..
If you have planted or are going to plant sweetcorn, green manure seeds can be sown in the gaps between the corn to help prevent weed growth.

Fruit activities

Check gooseberry leaves for sawfly caterpillars. They are a similar shade of green to gooseberry leaves, and tend to cling on to the underside of the higher leaves, eating their way from the edge to the centre.

They have voracious appetites, so plants will need to be examined every few days. Collect the caterpillars and take them several yards away from bushes. The soil around fruit trees and bushes can be mulched with cut grass and weeds to retain moisture.
Strawberry plants benefit from having straw placed under their leaves. This prevents the fruit from touching the mud, and helps to reflect heat back from the sun.

Historical find in the compost heap!

This is what Natasha found while sieving compost!Click to see bigger image
Peter Robins, at Norwich Castle Museum, identified it as a flint knife, long, narrow secondary flake with shallow retouch along much of the right edge and signs of use wear on the left edge. Probably Early Neolithic, 4,000-3,000 BC.

Worth a Visit

Audley End has a wonderful organic walled fruit and vegetable garden. It is accessible by public transport, the village being on the train line between Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Visit for details


with graphics and other exciting bits from Jim

Jane says …

Here’s a fab recipe to add to the seasonal collection – Spanakopita, which is a Greek spinach and feta cheese pie

23rd May 2013


Work has started at Marlpit Community Garden!

Plots will be available as soon as the construction work is complete.
Several volunteers have been planting trees, and very soon (Wednesday 15th May 2013) the plough starts!
Please see the MCG webpage for plans, a gallery, maps and travel information.