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We're part of a world-wide community movement in response to peak oil and climate change. This site gives you details of our up and coming events and meetings, as well as reports and related matters that are going on in Norwich and East Anglia.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Allotment

Securing reliable sources of local food is the most urgent of the Transition tasks, because most modern farming and food production is totally dependent on fossil fuel and chemicals, which can't be sustained even in the short term; and increasingly climate change will affect the reliability of intensively farmed crops. In Transition we're buying from our local growers, producers and sellers (organic wherever possible) to support our communities and build sustainable food practices for the future. And we're working as a group to grow our own seasonal and regional fruit and vegetables -we're learning new skills and rediscovering skills that have almost been lost. Along the way we are growing and eating really delicious food together at our community allotment.

The TN Allotment is a group plot on the Grow our Own community allotment scheme based at Bluebell Lane South in the west of the city, near the university. All the plots in this scheme are organic.

Our aim is to use this plot as a learning centre, with a mix of conventional allotment growing and permaculture techniques. We are keen to concentrate on delicious tasting fruit and veggies as well as exploring what grows best in our Norfolk climate!

Quite a lot is already happening on the allotment since we acquired it in October 2009. Vegetables: the broad beans have all come through (Sabberton Supreme beans are looking particularly good), the garlic and onion sets are starting to shoot; and the spring cabbages are bedding in nicely. Fruit: there are lots of little strawberry runners to plant later; and we have discovered that our mystery tree (a legacy from the previous owners) is a self-fertile Stella cherry. Our permaculture experts are putting aside some cuttings from pruning the allotment's fruit bushes.

We have made good progress on digging. There is more to be done when the weather improves - too cold at the moment. Over the winter we are planning to propagate some herb cuttings – any offers from people with interesting herbs?

Our outline planting plan will be developed in detail, starting before the spring rush in March and updated during the course of the year as new seeds and plants become available. We'll be using seeds and seedling plants that are available to us as members of the Grow Our Own scheme, which also provides us with all the tools we need (no need to bring your own), together with water, organic compost and manure - and lots of advice on tap from seasoned allotment-holders.

Events planned for 2010 include a Plant Swap in the city centre; a Taste the Difference session to compare different types of popular fruit and veg varieties (summer holidays); a Seedy Sunday to swop seeds (late autumn, to follow on the success of last year's event) and contribution to the Grow Our Own open day, which was a huge success last summer with apple and pear juice pressings, plant sales and delicious veggie dishes, cakes and puds for visitors to try, all made from allotment produce.

Members of the group so far are a mix of experienced gardeners and newcomers keen to learn how to grow great food for themselves and their friends and families. Meetings will be synchronised with Grow Our Own regular meetings to share a meal together (ideally made with produce from the allotments), on the last Sunday of each month.. Volunteering is on the last Sunday of the month; food-sharing on the first Sunday.. The Grow Our Own team are usually at the allotment site on Wednesday mornings and Sunday mornings; the allotments are open every day until dusk.

Contact: Jane Chittenden jane@janechittenden.co.uk