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Mablethorpe’s Winning Masters!

Mablethorpe’s Winning Masters!

Mablethorpe Community Garden had an open day recently on the 12th July which saw local people enter a sunflower competition, an East Lindsey District Council cooking demonstration (with very tasty results!) and two of the local Master Gardeners receive their national Masters award for the work they have done in Mablethorpe.

Shirley D’Oyley and Sue Newcombe have been awarded the Master Gardener Group Achievement Award beating competition from around the country.

This award is given to a group of Master Gardeners that have shown how the whole can be more than the sum of its parts by forming an effective and cohesive group, which has helped to either improve the efficiency of a scheme or had a particularly significant impact locally.

Lincolnshire Co-ordinator Rick Aron nominated the two for their hard work and determination in establishing the community food growing space in Mablethorpe. The following is from the nomination form he submitted:

Mablethorpe Community Garden is the largest and most remote community garden in the Heath and Well-being programme in Lincolnshire. The size of a football pitch and with no access to running water, Master Gardeners Sue and Shirley demonstrate how powerful Master Gardeners can be to the success of a community garden.

Households enter the Sunflower growing competition

The lovely and calming Mablethorpe Community Garden

The result of nearly 3 months continual rain on a sea level vegetable plot. Master Gardener James does a stirling job in drainage!

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Lincolnshire Show 2012

Lincolnshire Show 2012

Lincolnshire Master Gardeners were lucky enough to be invited to be in the Lincolnshire County Council/NHS marquee for the Lincolnshire Show.

The weather was 50/50 – glorious one day and wet and dreadful the next, representing the weather this year in a nutshell!

We had lots of interest from children making paper pots to grow seeds to gardeners wanting advice and help with issues, conversations with farmers about the future of food production and talks with non-growers about the health aspects of growing and eating your own. Two days much enjoyed by our visitors and volunteers!

Were you there? Did you find us? Let us know below!

Sarah Glendinning and Master Gardener Jodi help the children discover growing

Master Gardener Jodi in the thick of it

Glastonbury or the Lincolnshire Show 2012?!

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Garden Organic thanks volunteers at National Masters Conference

Garden Organic thanks volunteers at National Masters Conference

Garden Organic welcomed over 160 enthusiastic volunteers to the National Masters Conference at Ryton Gardens on the 30 June 2012.

Master Gardeners, Master Composters, and other wonderful champions came from across the UK to celebrate the ways they help people grow their own food and get composting.

Garden Organic’s Chief Executive Myles Bremner thanked every volunteer for their energetic and innovative outreach supporting people in their community.

We’re already thinking about next year’s conference on the 21st September 2013! Please click here to get in touch with your ideas. In the meantime, this is what delegates said:

Very good choice of workshops. Too many good ones to pick!

Very efficient organisation. Lovely happy atmosphere.

Impressive control of weather!

Boosted my self-esteem in the role. Really inspirational

Thank you for the most brilliant and supportive day of education, resources and camaraderie.

Our huge thank to everyone involved in putting together this busy day – all the speakers, sponsors, technicians, workshop guides, organisers, and of course – volunteers from Garden Organic programmes and beyond.

Polly has her new book signed by BBC Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins

Preserving tips - every volunteer with a jar of long-lasting courgettes...

Garden Organic's Chief Executive Myles Bremner thanks the volunteers


Sun during outdoor fruit pruning workshop

Rain during our tea break!

Our official conference cakes! Olympic themed

Volunteers celebrate their graduation.

Please click here to see more conference photos (links to our Flickr set)

Story by Philip Turvil

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Hosepipe ban lifted in Lincolnshire

Hosepipe ban lifted in Lincolnshire

June the 16th sees the end of the hosepipe ban put in place in April. As it turns out April was the wettest in over 100 years with three times the amount usually falling. Good news for vegetable growers then, except we don’t really need to use them at the moment!

As good news as this is, it is always good to think about how to conserve water use whilst growing vegetables. One such way is by using a mulch – by adding a 5 – 6 inch layer of mulch (such as leaf mold, compost, straw or even cardboard), you are able to protect your soil, prevent or hamper weed growth and help control water loss from the soil.

Source: The Lincolnite

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Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Some vegetables are too eager. They race for maturity, but deteriorate if not picked, leaving you to eat a season’s quota of your favourite crop in one go.

Just too many radish.

The trick is staggering harvest times by sowing seeds little and often in ‘succession’.

You can keep your plate evenly full by growing young plants to replace those that have just vanished into the kitchen.

Crops suited to succession sowing:

Busy sowing

Impatient crops that have an ideal maturity and don’t store well. These chaps will sulk if not harvested, usually producing seeds or losing tenderness, so are best sown regularly.

For example (links open Garden Organic PDFs): Annual Spinach, Broad Bean, Leaf Beet, Calabrese, Carrot, Cabbage, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Turnip, Swede, Summer Salads, and Seed Sprouts.

Crops less is need of succession sowing:

Generous crops that can’t resist yielding for long periods, such as tomatoes and runner beans. These crops are best sown once. Likewise crops that like to culminate their season at about the same time every year, such as pumpkins and squashes.

Weather can ruin the best laid horticultural plans

A hot or cold spell can excite or depress crops sown at different times, letting them catch up with one another. So, a couple of useful tips to help buffer the effects of surprise weather:

  • Rather than follow a rigid sowing schedule – with new carrots every third Sunday, wait for the earlier sowing to grow merrily before sowing again.
  • Pick crops early, munching young plants as ‘thinnings’, leaving alternate plants to grow larger.
  • Speed up slower specimens by covering with a cloche or horticultural fleece for a couple of weeks. This will get them growing!

Going further

Succession sowing can continue for several months depending on the crop and, more and more, clever new varieties. Have a look at the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

Don’t feel obliged to grow young plants next to old so they compete in rows, or entertain large bare spaces with the promise of late season sowings… So long as there are crops of different age around your growing space, then local tableware will be pleased.

Just after the thrill of eating own-grown produce, is experimenting with different veg at different harvest times. I find succession sowing, with the many caveats, one of most exciting of all horticultural delights.

Did you know that Garden Organic publishes a wondrous array of growing tips?

Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

What to do in the garden in June and July

Lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

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Mablethorpe Community Garden

Mablethorpe Community Garden

Mablethorpe Community Garden is the largest and most remote community garden in the Heath and Well-being programme. Roughly the size of a football pitch and with no access to running water, Master Gardeners Sue and Shirley demonstrate how powerful Master Gardeners can be to the success of a community garden.

Against the odds, with a somewhat difficult community to engage with (a residents own comment!), the two have worked wonders with little infrastructure. They have successfully encouraged numerous families into growing on the site, including two children from the travelling community. Community Payback have helped to dig the turf and have been wonderfully creative in bed designs – something that only a visit can enlighten!

Through hard work, networking and visible success they have been awarded a sum of money to help improve the site with a water butt, bench and various tools. They have been an inspiration and have between them clocked up over 100 volunteering hours in 12 months.

A panoramic view of Mablethorpe Community Garden - 2012

They have both constantly done over and above what I have asked or expected of my lovely Master Gardeners. Without these two wonderful personalities I doubt this site would have survived its first season.

Now is the time to start planting so expect to see a lot of activity down there. Feel free to pop down to the site on Enterprise Industrial Estate, Golf Road, any-time, however Master Gardeners Sue and Shirley are there most Thursday mornings between 10am and 12pm. If you live in or around Mablethorpe and would like 12 months free support and advice in growing food in your own garden, yard or balcony then contact us!

If you would like to know more about Mablethorpe Community Garden or would like to get involved contact Sue, Shirley, James or Rick here – contact us alternatively contact East Lindsey District Council

Mablethorpe Community Gardeners

Mablethorpe Community Garden - 2011

Master Gardener Sue with a few residentgardeners at Mablethorpe Community Garden - 2012

A delighted Mablethorpe resident in May 2011 at the start!

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1st April In-service Training – no joke!

1st April In-service Training – no joke!

Perhaps the last sunny day of April saw 18 Master Gardeners make their way to Hill Holt Wood in North Kesteven to be hosted in the delightful surroundings of a 38 acre ancient wood. The venue itself was a splendid eco-building complete with composting toilets. Garden Organics’ Dr Anton Rosenfeld didn’t disappoint with his exciting session on soil care, teaching even the most experienced Master Gardeners a thing or two!

These in-service days are very important for volunteers who often work in relative isolation and are a fantastic means to share best practice as well as seasonal gardening tips and seed-swaps. Households were invited to come and have lunch with the Master Gardeners in the afternoon and we were joined by 8 lovely people who were utilising the 12 months free support and advice that the programme offers.

There were certificates to be given to Master Gardeners who had completed 12 months, including Master Gardener Jo on
her birthday! (Hence the hat made by her children).

The households were able to join in on a mini Gardeners question time and experience demonstrations on building ladybird hotels, what to compost and different ways to build pea supports. It was a delightful day for all ages and the households enjoyed meeting more Master Gardeners and seeing how the programme operated across the county.

Master Gardener Ian talk vegetables to two householders

Can it, Can't it - Ricks' new composting game!

The Master Gardeners of the Round Table

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New Spring Recruits! 16 Extra Master Gardeners

New Spring Recruits! 16 Extra Master Gardeners

This weekend saw the fourth induction of Lincolnshire Master Gardeners. 16 keen volunteers spent a sun filled spring weekend at the welcoming Woodlands organic farm in Kirton, near Boston.

The two days saw sessions developed to help train and support a Master Gardener in their role in helping advise and support households and community gardens. The induction welcomed the first South Holland Lincolnshire Master Gardeners, who were joined by new North Kesteven, Boston, East and West Lindsey volunteers.

North Kesteven Master Gardener Graham came and gave a talk about his experience as a Master Gardener since October and Anton Rosenfeld came across from Ryton to give a session on organic gardening practices and approaches. The lovely new recruits had a sun-kissed tour of the farm led by BBC Radio 4 Farmer of the Year 2009, Andrew Dennis, meeting the organically raised Lincolnshire Curly Coat pigs, the largest flock of Lincolnshire Buff chickens and the Woodland Farm turkeys.

The weekend sees the number of Lincolnshire Master Gardeners rise to 67 from Gainsborough to Stamford, to Spalding, to Boston, to Louth and most places in between! If you would like 12 months free advice and support in growing vegetables in your garden, yard or balcony then contact your local Master Gardener

Our thanks to our hosts Woodlands Farm, Kirton House, Kirton, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE20 1JD • Tel 01205 724778 • Email

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Become a Local Leader with London 2012

Become a Local Leader with London 2012

Garden Organic is inviting Lincolnshire Master Gardeners to become ‘Local Leaders’ for the Games.

As the UK’s leading organic growing charity, we use innovation and inspiration to get more people growing in the most sustainable way.

We’re engaging 1,000 of our local Master Gardeners and Composters to celebrate the Games with their community. Some of our volunteers mentor a street’s worth of neighbours, while others transform landscapes in schools, shared gardens and housing estates.

Master Gardener project manager, Philip Turvil, has signed up as a Local Leader: “I’m excited by communities growing and sharing their tasty veg to celebrate the Games. From snug windowsills to shared gardens and allotments, there’s a space for London 2012 coloured veg to harvest for family events and communal feasts.”

Get involved today

  1. Tell local co-ordinator Rick about your idea for tempting your community
  2. Sign up here to become a ‘Local Leader’ with Garden for the Games
    Free email registration with top-tips and updates from
  3. Get in touch to share your photo stories from households and shared food growing

Read Local Leader case studies
Already signed up? Tell Tom at London 2012! He’s waiting to hear your stories…

Tips for Local Leaders on how they might ‘Garden for the Games’

Grow edible golden marigolds
Perfect for when the Olympic Torch Relay comes to your street or town
Add yellow chard, golden lettuce, or tasty pot marigolds (links open PDFs)

Grow a champions’ feast for a London 2012 party
Swap seeds and plants with friends, family and communities to grow and share varieties with just the right colours…

Grow flowers!
Plant in team colours to support your athletes or teams training in your area. Plant your own Olympic Rings or Paralympic Agitos in your garden

Grow a colourful wildflower meadow
Small strip in your garden or a large patch in a community area – which doubles as a haven for bees and other wildlife, like the golden meadows around the Olympic Stadium

Share moments
Support a communal event or invite your mentored households for a cup of tea, salad, or BBQ!
How about a carrot-relay or ‘onion and spoon race’…
18 May – 27 July: line the streets as the flame is coming to a town near you
27 July: show-time with the opening ceremony
4 August: record breaking weekend with ‘Super Saturday’
9 September: celebrate the summer with the last day of the games.

The Master Gardener and Master Composter programmes are grant funded managed by Garden Organic. Participation for all involved is free. Please click here to contact Philip Turvil with questions.

The ‘Local Leaders’ programme invites people across the UK to create their own Games celebrations. Please visit for details and the Local Leader charter.
Local Leaders imagery on this webpage courtesy of London 2012. All rights reserved.

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A visit to Woodlands Organic Farm

A visit to Woodlands Organic Farm

A perfect clear sky greeted 20 Master Gardeners for their second in-service training this weekend (3rd December), the first since all five districts started. The day was spent at Woodlands Organic Farm near Boston and there didn’t seem to be enough time in the day to cover all the interesting activities, but isn’t that always the way?

After a morning coffee to help people get over the infamous fen road system the day kicked off with a fascinating and informative talk by Andrew Dennis, owner of Woodland Farm and Radio 4 Farmer of the Year 2009. Andrew covered all aspects of the farm, its history and his decisions to go organic and introduce livestock (all traditional Lincolnshire breeds). A question and answer session showed the depth of interest that the Master Gardeners had for such a large organic operation (1,700 acres).

Following the introduction to the farm, the Master Gardeners were then given a demonstration and talk about trimming fruit trees and bushes by Woodland Farm head gardener, Simon. The group were shown the 30 acre Market Garden and were both shown and helped trim back existing fruit bushes.

Radio 4 Farmer of the Year talks to Master Gardeners

A windswept tour of the farm preceded lunch, with Master Gardeners getting to see everything from the packaging and storing facility through a flock of (well fattened!) turkeys, to the Lincolnshire Curly Coated pigs and on to the Lincoln Red cattle. Master Gardeners certainly got the idea that organic farming on a large scale was most certainly viable and achievable.

A fine organic meal was feasted upon for lunch with all ingredients from the farm – one of the lowest food miles meals I ever had (certainly considering that it contained beef!). After which it was time to settle down to do some more learning, this time it was an introduction to the origin and ethics of permaculture. This session was masterfully delivered by one of our own Master Gardeners, Nick Vowles, whose own small-holding is an established permaculture garden. The session certainly kept Master Gardeners on their toes and made them think about how they garden, opening up another approach to a subject they love, growing food.

The day ended with a quick catchup of all things Master Gardener-y, including some exciting news – something we will be announcing soon!

Maggie and Heidi do teamwork!

Master Gardeners learn the art of fruit tree pruning

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