Here at East End Gardener, we’re big fans of Spitalfields City Farm – they’ve been putting on the truly excellent Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race and they’re home to more animals than you can shake a stick at (and you can pet them, too).
To learn more about one of London’s best community farms, I interviewed Mhairi Weir, its manager. In this audio slideshow, she talks about the history of the farm, her job, and even her favourite animal.
Here’s some exclusive news courtesy of Mhairi: the farm’s just gotten funding for a community garden and they’ll be looking for volunteers in the next four weeks. Get in touch and you could be helping out on east London’s latest cooperative, growing everything from veggies to fruit.
To get involved with the farm, you can sign up here.
By Zing Tsjeng
Eastend Gardener delves further into the beekeeping world and meets Alessia Bolis, expert beekeeper who runs courses at Hackney City Farm.
We also attend one of the classes to see what the course is all about and find out some top bee facts from people who attended the course.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the class email Alessia at beecome[at]hotmail.com. The next Introduction to Beekeeping course starts on 9th May and runs every Wednesday till 4th July at 7pm at Hackney City Farm. The fee is £110 per person and concessions are available for residents of Hackney on benefits and people involved in full time study. To find out more information visit the Hackney City Farm website.
By Krystena Petrakas
Hackney Homes, in partnership with Hackney Council, have come up with an innovative new way to join people up to spruce up gardens in the borough.
If you are unable to look after your garden because of ill-health or other reasons, you can sign up to the scheme by downloading an application form and you’ll be matched up with somebody who wants to help.
If you don’t have a garden but want to start gardening, you can donate your time to help, either by growing fruit and vegetables or flowers and shrubs.
You can also get perks such as free gardening training and references as well as being able to take home some of what you’ve grown.
Have any of our readers taken part in the garden swap? We’d love to know and hear about your experiences – you could even do a guest post for us! Comment below or tweet us @eastendgardener.
By Natasha Wynarczyk. Photo by Anthony Lui under a CC licence
Miranda used compost and a Hackney garden waste bag to make a mini pop up garden
As a group of neighbours in Hackney, we have got together to create an explosion of pop up gardens to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show.
These gardens will go on show in 17 days. This is a community collaboration inspired by ‘The Chelsea Fringe Festival’ which we are part of.
After registering our project with them we set about getting our hands on, quite literally, tons of free compost and have gained permission from the council. This project has continued to grow and is open to anyone who wants to get involved.
We share advice and ideas and there is a real buzz about our project, which is currently at least 25 sites strong. These sites range from tree pits to container gardens, made in either recycling sacks or builders’ sand bags, either within housing estates or on streets.
You don’t need to be an experienced gardener to get involved, just either know a street that could do with some floral cheer or want to help somebody else with there idea; any kind of help is welcome. We will supply all the advice you need; all we ask for is some enthusiasm.
We’re still looking to get more people involved, so please contact us at dbg.chelseafringe[at]gmail.com and visit our website dbgchelseafringe.wordpress.com
Guest blog post by Miranda Janatka. Uploaded by Krystena Petrakas. Photo by dbgchelseafringe under a CC licence.
Today kicks off the start of National Gardening Week, not that we gardening enthusiasts need an excuse garden, but the Royal Horticultural Society has put on an abundance of events to keep our green fingers busy. You can find the full list of activities at nationalgardeningweek.org.uk
With a week of April showers forecast for London and the majority of the UK, I feel a boost of encouragement is needed to get all urbanites to dust off their shovels, get into their wellies and get your urban garden looking bright and blossoming for the summer months to come.
We want to encourage all urban gardeners who do join in with National Gardening Week to let us know what you get up to, whether you’re potting a plant, weeding the flowerbeds or mowing your lawn, it would be great to hear and see what you get up to this week. Feel free to contact us if you fancy writing a guest post for our blog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have any gardening queries just comment below this post and we’ll get back to you with our tips and advice. And for those who get a chance to go to the events the Royal Horticultural Society are putting on, we want to hear about that too, so please comment and let us know your thoughts.
Here are some photos from Pinterest to inspire you this week:
By Krystena Petrakas
Fancy getting exchanging some of your old seed packets for exciting new ones – for free? Seedy Sunday is a UK-wide community event that lets thrifty gardeners spring clean their seed stock and get some new seeds in exchange.
The London swap is part of a skill share day, with advice for new gardeners and gardening mags and books up for grabs. But if you’re not in London, don’t despair – the kick-off event for Seedy Sunday is in Brighton, and swaps are being held all over the country (see full list here). So grab your unloved seed packets and get stuck in!
London Seed Swap
6 February, 2-4pm
Tottenham Chances Club
399 High Road
By Zing Tsjeng. Photo by Duncan Creamer under a CC licence