Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Energy, Gardening Club | Tags: food, garden, growing, organic, permaculture | No Comments »
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: April 2nd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events | Tags: garden, sustainability | No Comments »
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 email@example.com, and you can find this event on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/events/431333796953033/
Hope to see you there!
Posted: March 26th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: community, food, garden, growing | No Comments »
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, West Drayton, UB7 0JG.
Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: food, garden, growing | No Comments »
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.
Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Growing Group | Tags: access to land, community, food, garden, growing | No Comments »
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
Posted: October 22nd, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: food, garden, scrumping, wild food | 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 email@example.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
Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: food, garden, growing | No Comments »
We finished our ‘Square Foot Garden’ today and have sown Chicory, Sorrel, Lemon Balm, Beetroot, Calendula, Thyme, Black Spanish Long Radish, Savoy Cabbage, Marigold, and even some Basil seeds from the PEDAL seedbank picked up in Turkey- all in 4ft by 4ft!
We also put in some tomato and chilli plants that we sowed seeds for back in April- so there’s alot going on.
We built a simple raised bed from scaffolding boards 4ft by 4ft with string running across at 1ft intervals making a criss-cross of 16 square foot plots.
The idea behind Square Foot Gardening is that because many different varieties of plants are so close together diseases will not spread so easily and natural insect repellant methods will work well in a tight space- meaning there is less need to use pesticides.
One such method is companion planting where plants are placed close together as they support each other in getting nutrients, controlling pests, and pollination. So we planted Marigolds next to the Tomato plants in the Square Foot Garden today as its strong musky smell deters common insect pests.
The dense spacing for the plants mean that they become a living ‘mulch’ which enriches the soil, prevents erosion and holds water in the ground.
Square Foot Gardening is also a great way to use constricted space- especially in the city!
We used different ways to sow seeds; in drills, in clusters, or broadcasting.
For example we sowed the Chicory in drills which are rows of seeds. Using a finger we created a line half an inch deep in the soil, before watering the small trench.
After sowing the seeds we covered the seeds with dry soil, as gnats will lay larvae on damp soil.
We broadcast sowed the Basil so we can harvest from a large clump of it! The same steps were followed as before except that the whole 1ft x 1ft plot was watered using a rose on the end of the watering can before sprinkling the seeds lightly over the whole space, and then covering with dry soil.
We thought we’d try sowing the Black Spanish Long Radish in clusters - so in each of the six half-inch-deep holes spaced evenly in a 1ft x 1ft space we placed three radish seeds.
We’ll see how the experiment goes and post a blog when the seeds start coming up!
We’ve also had our first strawberries come out and harvested a few today.
We’ve been using Comfrey feed which encourages the plants to fruit- its very potassium rich. You can make your own at home instead of having to buy it from the shops.
You can learn how to make comfrey feed here.
Right- time to feed the Tomatoes!
Posted: May 21st, 2012 | Author: Amay | Filed under: Foraging, Gardening Club | Tags: food, garden, sustainability, wild food | No Comments »
The first ‘Foraging Friday’ last week was an overwhelming success. What a brilliant day! Dandelions galore. Just in case ya missed it…check out the pictures… and make the recipes your self.
Pickled Dandelion Buds
-Thinly sliced onion. Minced fresh ginger root. Dandelion flower buds (tightly closed – before they have opened). Vinegar (apple ciders nicest). Light soya sauce. Pinch of sugar. Pickling spices (mustard seed, coriander seed etc).
Pack them all into a jar and pour over vinegar and soya sauce, as salty as you like. Leave for 2 weeks minimum; eat in salads, sandwiches, sauces, on pizzas as caper alternative…
Dandelion Flower Syrup
-As many dandelion flower heads as you can manage to gather – more hands make faster foraging! Sugar. Lemon. Water
Add sparkling or still water to drink as a cold cordial; add to a variety of alcoholic / non alcoholic cocktails, deserts, tea…For the best results pick the petals off in to a large cooking pot, add a whole lemon, halved and squeezed (organic! Unwaxed!) pour boiling water over, cover and let sit for a good few hours (we left it over night!) strain the petals and add lots of sugar (more than you think) boil down to a thin syrup, this make take a good hour or so.
Join us in the coming Fridays for…
- Nettle and Cleaves – Natures Spring clean for the body!
- Elderflower Cordial and Champagin
- Medicinal Herbal Forage; Tinctures and Teas.
So, it seems 10am was a little too early for our foraging frolics, so from now on we are going to start with lunch at 1:00pm and head off at 2pm join us for both!
Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: Amay | Filed under: Foraging, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: food, foraging, garden, herbal medicine, scrumping, sipson, skill share, sustainability, wild food | 1 Comment »
Wild Flower and Leaf Salad
A Dandelion you weed out of your lawn. Nettles growing tall out of a crack in the paving. An Elder tree you always notice walking down the road…There’s too much growing wild for us not to explore and harvest!
Here in Sipson we have a whole backland which has exploded in a most beautiful spring green, over the coming seasons every week, we will be exploring, learning, gathering, cooking, preserving, drying, brewing, drinking, eating Celebrating natures wild abundance at our Foraging Friday sessions at or around the Grow Heathrow site.
- Gathering at 1pm fo lunch.
- 2pm we will head out to the hedgerows, fields and forests surrounding the Heathrow villages, from the beautiful Cranford Park to Harmondsworth Lake – bring your foraging bags, notebooks and wild food knowledge.
- Each week we will pick 1-2 plants to concentrate on learning where they grow, when to harvest, what to make with them, their medicinal properties, folklore and myth of these magical plants many people call weeds.
- Returning to the Grow Heathrow site in the later part of the afternoon we will create something with what we have foraged; maybe an evening meal, a herbal Tincture, a pickle or preserve, syrups, wines, beers, teas….anything we want. Finishing at 5:30pm we will all take away a wealth of knowledge and a jar of something delicious to share with community, family and friends.
The common Dandelion we will discover this Friday
Starting this Friday 11th May at 10am we will start with a spring herbal tonic and a quick introduction to some ideas around wild food foraging. At 2pm we will leave Grow Heathrow and discover the well know Dandelion with fresh eyes.
Taraxacum officinale, a common weed every child knows for its right happy yellow flowers and ‘clock’ seed heads which we can mainly find in grassy areas through out spring and summer. Did you know their flower buds make a punchy pickle very similar to capers and a their yellow petals make a lovely refreshing spring cordial? Well come and join us in making these treats and also learn of its abundant medicinal properties… a nettle and thyme soup for lunch?
With this knowledge we can all tap into the lives of our ancestors for who gathering wild foods and medicine was central to their lives, communities and respect for the wilderness. In our city lives we’ve lost connection with what’s growing all around us, no longer will we ignore and be frustrated with the ‘weeds’ we find in our garden – we will use them, appreciate their benefits, always for free.
To the hedgerows we go! Spread the word!
Remember to bring waterproofs and good shoes if raining. Also glass jars are always useful.