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Poisonous carrot cousins and wild hogweed ‘asparagus’: Fri 16 May, 1-4pm

Posted: May 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , | No Comments »

Foraging at Grow Heathrow

April was a loads of fun; 30 of us came down and learnt how to identify the mustard family (brassicaceae), which has no poisonous plants, as well as the springtime linden (tilia spp.) leaves that are offering massive free salads all over London. We also spent some time considering the risks of foraging, codes of conduct and the law. A big thank you to everyone who came, all inspiringly enthusiastic, and also to our favourite photographer Jonathan Goldberg for these kickass snaps.

Now it’s May, the first few hogweed (heracleum sphondylium) flowers are just beginning to bud. Our site is covered in hogweed, having been derelict and neglected for so long, which means we’re able to steam pots full of dozens of hogweed flower buds every day in summer. Like an abundant wild asparagus, it’s gobbled up. And even if we didn’t live in a sea of it, it’s handy that each plant will live an extra year if all of its flowers are harvested.

But hogweed is part of the carrot family (apiaceae), which contains deadly poisonous species. Many people have heard of one cousin of the carrot, toxic giant hogweed (heracleum mantegazzianum),  for the extreme sunburn rashes it causes when touched. The rashes can become scars that last years, and there’s plenty of giant hogweed growing along Cranford Lane as well as the Grand Union canal west of West Drayton.

We’ll start the workshop off with some very civilised nibbles – hogweed stems with hummus: they’re like a refreshing, slightly citrussy celery. We’ll learn how to tell the difference between toxic giant hogweed and edible common hogweed, as well as how to look for warning signs that wild plants may be in the dangerous carrot family. There’ll be some fun activities in pairs and groups to recap the day as well as handouts to take home. All that brain strain will be rewarded with a hike round the site harvesting, and then steaming the goods.

You’ll need to book in advance to be able to take part as this Month the workshop will have a cap of 12 foragers to be able to move quickly and fit all of our activities in. The suggested donation for the workshop is £8 for people on high or average wages and £3 for low waged and unwaged people. All donations go 100% to Grow Heathrow, paying for bike workshop tools, rice and bog roll. If money’s not ideal, you can donate your time washing up :D

 Book by leaving a comment here with your first name, which should take 10 seconds.  If you don’t have internet access then just let a resident know your name face to face or on the phone. You can also check out our travel info and videos about the site.

I’ve been enjoying a couple of foragers’ web pages a lot recently, Chester-based Eden Wild Food and London-based Ipso-phyto. They’ve got fantastic seasonal photos of local wild food, so check them out if you like the sound of that. They also both offer guided walks and workshops.


Grow Heathrows Herbs in the Post Office

Posted: April 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Growing Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

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Parsley, Sage and Chives, fresh from the Grow Heathrow meadow, given in away in the local post office on a donations basis.

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Introduction to Gardening – course at Grow Heathrow

Posted: February 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Gardening Club, Growing Group, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

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Come and learn how to grow abundant and healthy fruit and vegetables in an organic way at the Community Market Garden GrowHeathrow this spring!

What? This course is for those who want to gain basic horticultural skills, build knowledge and confidence of organic foodgrowing within a community garden context or at home in your garden. Designed to build basic and technical skills through a combination of practical training within the Grow Heathrow growing space along side supported theory sessions on these methods of growing.
When? Running through 5 sessions from March – July 2014;      10am-4pm Lunch provided. One Sunday a month confirmed dates;
  • 16th March
  • 20th April
  • 18th May
  • 15th June
  • 20th July
Where? Grow Heathrow site with potential trips to local allotment and growing sites. Site address; Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH

Course Content that will be covered over the 5 sessions:

  • 1. Planning a Growing Space; Organic vegetable garden design techniques including site and location, crop rotation and companion planting.
  • 2. Soil Care; study of different soils, and soil cultivation techniques; a look at composting, mulching and green manures for soil care.
  • 3. Propagation; Indoor seed sowing techniques, and how to prepare ground for sowing and planting. seedling aftercare
  • 4. Seasonal garden maintenance; specific techniques for vegetable and fruit production. organic weed management, home made organic fertilisers, appropriate tool -use    and ongoing care.
  • 5. Inviting Wildlife; enhance biodiversity in the garden to help with pest and disease management. Basic plant identification

Suggested donation for the full 5 sessions £30 for food and printing costs (open to sliding scale donations according to what people can afford, contact for more information)

Each session will build on the previous ones  so commitment and attendance for the full course is required. Drop-in gardeners are welcome at our Growing Sundays, the ‘Introduction to Gardening’ course is for people who can attend all sessions.

Spaces are limited, please send confirmation by the 9th March. We’d especially like to hear from people living in the local area and who’ve been involved with GH in the past, but all are welcome. Get in touch with any questions or come to Grow Heathrow’s 4th Birthday on Saturday 1st March, you can speak to someone in the Growing Space and have a look around the site.

We’re really excited to be able to offer this course, we look forward to hearing from you!

Contact: Aimee Lormand, 07592945249 aglormand@gmail.com or info@transitionheathrow.com


Sun 18: How to grow organic with companion planting

Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Energy, Gardening Club | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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3 Sisters Companion Planting Skill Share Sunday 18th May! 

The Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash – are 3 great plants that grow and thrive together. Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. The beans take nitrogen to the corns roots, improving the fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen for the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants against the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry summers. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans.

The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the beans are rich in protein and squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.

Last year the 3 sisters shared an vibrant and full bed in the front meadow. This year, to give them more space, we’re going to be venturing to the newly mulched sunny plot in the back.

Next Sunday 19th May every one is welcome to come and join in the preparing of the beds and planting of the vegetables. Growing Sundays will be starting at the usual time of 2pm and ending at dusk, but feel free to drop in whenever you like. I’m not an expert on this, in fact I’ve never done it before, so hopefully every one can share what they know and work on it together and we’ll all come away knowing a little bit more.

If you have any questions please give us a call on 07890751568 or email info@transitionheathrow.com


Join us at Abundance London’s Herbal High Road, 18 May

Posted: May 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events, Foraging, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

 

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Chicken work week!

Posted: April 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

Chickens!

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the chicken space working week has been delayed one week and will now be from the 16th-19th April. Sorry for the change of date, we hope that you can all still come and get involved in making this project happen, and we hope to see you all then. 

From the 16-19th April we’ll be holding a working week to prepare a comfortable and safe space for the chickens to come and live with us. We’d love you to come and spend the week with us and get involved in clearing the space and making it beautiful as well as being part of the Grow Heathrow family and getting to know us and the site.

The main tasks to be done are: Tatting materials to build a fence with Erecting a fence around the site Making a gate Beautifying the space Coppicing hazel and creating a polytunnel

We’ve got plenty of bedding and sleeping space in our communal guest cabin but if you want you own space you can bring a tent as there is loads of camping space. If it’s cold it’s advised you bring your sleeping bag if you’ve got one. Food and drinks will be provided but it’s nice if you can chip in a couple of quid towards this and general running costs of the site. If you happen to have any battery powered drills or general tools you’d like to bring that would be great but we’ve also got a lot here.

We’re off grid in terms of energy and rely on our 2 wind turbines and solar panels, so it’s an excuse to turn your phone off and spend some time outside. Hopefully we’ll have some Spring sunshine to see us through.

Please let us know you’re coming by email at info@transitionheathrow.com, and you can find this event on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/events/431333796953033/

Hope to see you there!


Spring into action with Grow Heathrow!

Posted: March 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Spring into action

It might be cold and grey, but spring IS on its way and it’s time to start preparing for our biggest and best growing season yet!

Join us from 1pm on Sunday 31 March to welcome the sun and keep Heathrow growing!

We’ll start the afternoon by sharing food – feel free to bring a dish – then we’ll get down to sowing seeds, mulching beds and weeding, as well as exploring the site and washing it all down with a cuppa!

There’ll also be a wild food walk led by Sam, our resident forager. He’ll be finding:

  • wild chervil, anthriscus sylvestris - posh up your soups
  • three-cornered garlic, allium triquetrum - stir fry magic
  • hogweed, heracleum sphondylium  - nature’s free spring asparagus
  • coltsfoot, tussilago farfara - put some flowers in your spring salads (thanks Lou!)
  • sorrel, rumex acetosa - lemony zing for your April larder
  • chickweed, stellaria media - year round salads from one of London’s most widely found plants
  • hairy bittercress, cardamine hirsuta - spicy cress, their weeds are our lunch

To find out more, email us at info@transitionheathrow.com.

Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, West Drayton, UB7 0JG.


Growing Sundays: spring into action

Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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The Growing Season has begun! After an amazing weekend the sun has been shining and the birds singing, yes the spring has arrived, therefore there are lots of jobs to do in the garden, in preparation for a beautiful organic growing season.

So come join us at Grow Heathrow, this Sunday at 2pm for a full day’s graft of compost, seed sowing, mulching and more.

GROWING SUNDAYS ARE BACK - Many hands make light work, so the more the merrier!! Meet and jobs for the day from 2pm till dusk There will be growing tasks followed by an evening of discussion and planning, for a forest garden design in the coppice.


Looking for land to grow food?

Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Growing Group | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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Land and Liberty: How we found our patch of land

Are you looking for land to grow food in London, or interested in the history and practice of land rights?

Come along to Pogo Cafe on the 4th of February to share stories and ask questions about accessing land for food growing in London. Member organisations from the Community Food Growers Network will be joined by Rebecca Marshall of the Community Land Advisory Service to share their insights and experiences on various ways to access land in urban areas, and the trials and tribulations of the different models.

The event will include some background to the issues and a look at the future of accessing land for community based horticulture projects, as well as a participatory open space where you can ask questions and seek advice.

Food will be available by donation. Event will be 7pm – 10pm on the 4th February at Pogo’s Cafe, 76 Clarence Road, Hackney, E5 8HB


Wild Mondays for free foraging fun

Posted: October 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

As we tuck into rosehip syrup to ward off the winter colds, and experiment by pickling green elderberries with lemon verbena, we have to say that the Harvest Heathrow fortnight of free wild food workshops has been an massive success.

Even the guelder rose marmalade was wonderful; the lemon zest completely masked the nutritious guelder rose berries’ telltale stench of wet dog. That said, until we added the lemon zest everyone who came through the kitchen had their own theory explaining the cheesy aroma. Two people headed straight to the sink to see if it was blocked, one person’s eyes darted to the floor to check there was no cat vomit, and one poor soul even asked aloud if it was them that needed a shower.

Foraging Fridays are becoming Foraging Funday Mondays, or at least they will once we think of a name that doesn’t sound like it’s been taken from a prime time CBeebies show. Which autumn and winter wild foods would you like to learn about? Lacto-fermented horseradish leaves? Chewy fruit leathers? Pickled nasturtium seeds? Send us an email at info@transitionheathrow.com and we’ll do our best to scout out the local parks for ingredients and run a Foraging Funday Monday on your chosen plant. Sam & Amay