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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

March 2010


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

Other events:

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.



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



by David Bozon


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




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

been added.

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

years ago.

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




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