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The Newsletter of Leicestershire Organic Group
This is published 4 times each year, and printed copies are sent to all members.
Text of the March 2010 issue is given below, or to View as an Acrobat pdf, with all its pictures (1.3Mb) click here.
The Newsletter of Leicestershire Organic Group
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS
Winter events take place at the Knighton Parish Hall, Brinsmead Road,
on the second (*) Friday of each month from September to April. During
the summer months a programme of visits, walks, etc., is arranged. You
are always welcome to bring friends along to winter meetings at a cost
of 1, or better still, encourage them to join. Meetings are on the second
Friday of each month from September to April.
*Friday, March 19th* Home produced event. This will include a seed
exchange organised by Tony and Barbara Clarke.
* Please note the change of date from the usual second Friday of the
month, due to a clash of bookings at the Hall.
Friday, April 9th Talk on home preserves by LOG member Robin
Stevenson or a member of Transitions Leicester.
Saturday, June 19th at 3pm. Visit to Brentingby Meadows, near
Melton Mowbray, the subject of our November 2009 talk. See inside for
map and details.
Friday, July 9th, 7.15 Evening Walk starting at Thornton Reservoir.
See inside for map and details.
Saturday, August 7th at 2pm Visit to LOG member Sue Johnson’s
Co-operative Garden Plots at Botcheston. See inside for map and details.
Friday, September 10th Annual General Meeting.
Friday, October 8th Wholefood Supper
May 22nd HDRA AGM
June 27th Leicester Botanical Gardens Open Day (LOG has a stand)
April 3rd Oakham open day, Victoria Hall, Oakham.
The Newsletter is prepared using Serif PagePlus X4 software. Articles and
other items may be submitted as word processor files, preferably MS-Word,
in RTF format if you use another word processor, or as .pdf files if layout is
to be preserved, on CD-R, or by e-mail to david.bozon(at)ntlworld.com.
Photographs or illustrations may be sent as JPEGs or any other popular format,
but high-resolution files are not necessary for the printing processes used. If
you don’t have the technology, items on good old-fashioned paper are just as
If you would like to do your bit for the environment, and help LOG to
save postal and printing costs, by opting to receive an electronic Newletter
by email, instead of a printed one, please contact the editor.
NEWS FROM THE RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society
recently invited gardeners to pledge to join the RHS Grow Your
Own campaign. The first 10,000 people to sign up received a starter
pack, and all receive a free newsletter full of ideas, advice,
offers and competitions. Participants can also join the on-line
Grow-Your-Own Forum to compare notes and exchange ideas.
According to RHS, the Government is encouraging gardeners
and the horticultural industry to switch to peat-free compost. The
target is to phase out the use of peat in growing media completely
by 2020. DEFRA is working with commercial growers to make the
change as soon as possible.
After the loss of most elm trees by Dutch Elm Disease in the 1960’s,
a handful of trees around the country were found to be resistant. Saplings
from these trees were propagated, and are being distributes
among about 250 schools as part of the Conservation
Foundation’s drive to restore these familiar trees to our landscape.
The Foundation’s president is David Bellamy
The continued invasion of our country by Japanese Knotweed
is to be attacked by biological control. The Government have given
the go-ahead for the use of a sapsucking insect, also from Japan.
The psyllid, Aphalara itadori, is a jumping insect just a couple of
millimetres long. It will be introduced in selected areas.
More on these and other stories can be found at www.rhs.org.uk
21st CENTURY SUPER-FOODS
by David Bozon
SPROUTED PULSES, nuts and
grains are probably the most underestimated
foods available to us today
and the best example of how we can,
with very little expenditure or effort,
improve our diet beyond measure.
Sprouts - sprouted seeds, not the
small green brassicas disliked by so
many - are among the most nutritious
foods available, are very easy to produce,
need little or no cooking, yet are
rarely a significant part of our western
Whole seeds are generally difficult
to digest, often containing enzyme
inhibitors which interfere with our digestions,
and are usually ground,
cooked and otherwise processed to
make them more palatable and digestible
The sprouting process rapidly
converts them into readily and easily
digestible forms, and the plant enzymes
which do this are themselves
beneficial to us. To sprout a seed is to
let nature convert it into a perfect food,
the enzymes changing the inert proteins,
starches and fats into amino
acids, essential fatty acids and simple
sugars suitable for the developing
plant, and highly nutritious for us.
A healthy diet is one which includes
a high proportion on uncooked foods,
especially plant-derived foods. As well
as the readily available nutrients released
by the plant enzyme and the
enzymes themselves, the chlorophyll
present in all green plants has many
beneficial effects on the body, including
helping the liver, pancreas and
skin. It activates enzymes which produce
vitamins. It is anti-bacterial, protects
against carcinogens, toxins and
radiation. It helps hormonal systems,
and even restores greying hair! There
are suggestions that it can be converted
to haemoglobin by replacing the
magnesium with iron.
Among the most popular sprouting
seeds, which are easily obtainable
from health food shops, and are easy
to grow, are alfalfa, almonds, chick
peas, fenugreek, lentils, mung, quinoa,
sunflower and wheat. Of these,
mung beans are perhaps the most
familiar, being used widely in Chinese
food. Quinoa merits particular mention
because is is so quick growing, taking
only hours rather than the usual days.
Growing essentially involves soaking
in water to initiate growths, draining
off the surplus water and leaving
partially covered in a sunny place for
a few day, with periodic washing. Special
equipment is obtainable, but one
can improvise with simple glass jars
and muslin covers. The majority are
ready to harvest in 2-5 days.
Most sprouts can be eaten raw,
which is the healthiest option, or can
be cooked, if preferred, in stir-fries,
soups or casseroles.
For more information on all aspects of
sprouts, I strongly recommend Edward
Cairney’s book “Sprouter Handbook”,
ISBN 1874640483, from which
the information in this article was obtained.3
GRAVEL SWEEPINGS RESTORES HAIR COLOUR
Submitted by Tony Clarke, from ‘The Guardian’.
Gravel dust, often available free
from silt ponds at gravel pits, and
rich in minerals and trace elements,
should be added to your
garden. So says the Soil Remineralization
movement, most active to
date in Austria, Germany, and the
In Austria, Robert Schindele discovered
the value of gravel dust by
accident, while building a 1.5 mile
long road through his forest property
near Melk. Where the dust
settled, within a few months all the
sick fir trees became healthy and
have grown very strongly since.
Don Weaver, author of The Survival
of Civilisation (Hymaker/Weaver
publications, California) found that
by adding gravel sweepings from
industrial pits east of San Francisco
bay to his average organic garden,
at rates of two to 4lb per
square foot, crop yields increased
between twice and four times and
tasted better too. "Pole beans
climbing out of prolific zucchini and
tomato beds went to 18ft before
being turned back by the weight of
heavy beans at the top." His mineralised
corn crop turned out to have
57 per cent more phosphorus, 90
per cent more potassium, 47 per
cent more calcium and 60 per cent
more magnesium than chemically
grown crops from the same seed.
On Lanzarotte in the Canary Islands,
vines have flourished in soil
rich in volcanic rock. And now in
the UK, experiments at Springhill
Farm near Aylesbury, in conjunction
with the Department of Chemistry
at Surrey University, are
getting interesting results from
wheat grown in soil to which granite
dust from a nearby quarry has
Joanna Campe, editor of the US
newsletter Soil Remineralization,
believes that remineralization will
help avert a new ice age by saving
dying forests in the temperate latitudes.
"Otherwise, as forests begin
to die off worldwide, giving off carbon
dioxide, the climate of the
earth is altered, triggering the transition
from the warm interglacial to
an ice age".
Robert Schindele even eats gravel
dust, two teaspoons a day, and
markets it in parts of Europe as a
"mineral dietary supplement", despite
heavy opposition from the
German and Austrian pharmaceutical
industry. "For years my hair
was as white as snow", he says,
"but since I have been taking gravel
dust, it is almost black again.
Chronic diseases, especially gout,
(Note: Leicestershire Organic Group
is not responsible for any consequences
arising should any Member
eat gravel, gravel dust or gravel
sweepings as a result of reading this
Evening Walk starts at the East end of Thornton Reservoir in the layby - Blue
Arrow (The main car park at the west end closes early). From Leicester take
the A50, then the A46 to Kirby Muxloe, Newtown Unthank, Botcheston. Continue
towards Markfield and turn left for Thornton. Layby is immediately before the
dam. (SK475072). Meet at 7.15pm
Botcheston is on the way to Thornton, as above. 3 Markfield Lane - Green
Arrow - is on the right. (SK481058). Meet at 2pm.
Brentingby Meadows is about 3 miles east of Melton Mowbray just off the
B676 Bourne Road in Brentingby village. Hall Farm is near the Church.
(SK783188). Meet at 3pm. Suitable outdoor footware advisable, depending on
Welcome to the Spring edition of the LOG Newsletter.
After the coldest winter
for years (that’s global warming for you!) it is nice to be able to get outside,
whether in the garden or the countryside, without freezing.
We have several programme events for the Summer season. As last year we
have a farm visit as a follow-up to one of our winter talks, this time to
Brentingby Meadows near Melton Mowbray. Also a visit to the Allotment
Co-operative project of LOG member Sue Johnson, who gave a talk a few
Sorry to keep on about it, but my invitation over the last few months for
members to have their Newsletter sent by email instead of by post has only
resulted in a luke-warm response - about a dozen members, including the
Committee, who had their arms twisted! The main benefit is the reduced
postal bill, one of LOG’s largest out-goings. Obviously not everyone has the
technology, but if you have, can I urge you to consider making the change. If
you are at the meeting when the new issue appears, you are still welcome to
take a paper copy. It is the postage that is the biggest problem. In this
connection, it is hoped that our web-site will soon be re-launched with its own
domain name. Present and past issues of the Newsletter, as well as other
information, will be available there.
As always, we desperately need more input from members for the Newsletter,
so that you have something better than my ramblings to read! For the first
time in years I had some feed-back from an item - the one about CO2
sequestration. Please see if you can contribute something, either a full article,
a letter of feed-back, or even a short news item or tip to share with other
David Bozon - Editor
Leicestershire Organic Group is a joint local group of
The Soil Association and The Henry Doubleday Research Association
LOG has two main aims:
To encourage the use of methods of gardening and farming that do not use artificial
fertilisers and pesticides.
To promote a fuller understanding of the vital relationship between soil, plants,
animals and mankind.
Our members include organic farmers, small-holders, allotment holders and window-box
gardeners, but most of our members are “every-day” gardeners who have found the value of
using organic methods.
We meet monthly from September to April at 7.30 on the second Friday of the month at
Knighton Parish Rooms, Brinsmead Road, off Welford Road, Knighton, Leicester. We
have a full and varied programme of speakers and events, plus visits and outdoor events in
the summer months.
Further details about the Leicestershire Organic Group can be obtained from the Secretary,
Dr Bob Haskins (Tel. 01509 842 449) or the Publicity Officer, Leon Marvell (Tel. 0116 269
For membership enquiries contact Robin Stevenson on 0116 2895648, or email