Category Archives: Urban agriculture

Spitalfields City Farm: Behind the Scenes

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

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VIDEO I The world of beekeeping

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

Urban herb garden inspiration

Via Janaina Vaughn on Pinterest

My love affair with herbs continues. I’ve been trawling Pinterest for quirky ideas for space-saving herb gardens. Turns out you can plant in anything from shoe storage to old tin cans. Click through our slideshow for inspiration…

By Hannah Bass.

All the allotments, farms and community gardens in east London – now mapped!

If you’ve grown out of your windowsill herb garden and you’re keen to get your hands dirty in a big allotment, check out this map. We’ve collated all the community gardens, urban farms and allotments in and around our neck of the woods. We’ve also made sure that each of these places either run gardening workshops or are happy to accept gardening volunteers. Some, like Hackney City Farm, even have special ones for kids – have a look.

It’s not definitive, by any means – email us to let us know if we’ve missed anything out. For your visual reference, the green markers indicate allotments, red for farms and blue for gardens. All information about allotments was obtained from Hackney Council.

By Zing Tsjeng

A herb for every corner: what to grow where

After reviewing  The Urban Kitchen Gardener I’ve gone herb-crazy. The wonderful thing about herbs – besides the flavours – is that they’re usually small, hardy plants that easy for gardeners with even the smallest space and resources to grow. And growing herbs not only provides you with beautiful greenery, it saves you money – a pack of fresh herbs is pushing a pound in most supermarkets.

The good news is, there’s a herb for every spot in your flat. Just check out our handy location guide and get growing…

Via Katlyn Marchbanks, Sharon Dion and Arin F on Pinterest

Kitchen windowsill:

Basil and coriander can be grown in the same pot (and they taste good together, too!) on your kitchen windowsill. They like lots of light and are very, very thirsty so keep them well watered from the kitchen tap.

Via Anneli Saks and Linds with an e on Pinterest

Dark corners:

Conversely, parsley barely needs any direct light at all. Use it to add a little green to the gloomier corners of your flat.

Via Monika Ambre and Sonet Providence on Pinterest

Bedroom window:

Chilli plants need lots of light and warmth, so keep them on a window sill in a room that’s often heated, such as your bedroom. Water them well to bring a little horticultural heat to the boudoir.

Via Softness and Eric Crumley on Pinterest

Shady balcony:

Most balconies, believe it or not, are full of shady spots. Luckily these are perfect for mint which doesn’t like direct sunlight. Mint can also withstand the wind and loves the rain so it will flourish even if your balcony is taking a battering in these storms. And lastly, mint is one of those plants which actually works best in a pot – it grows as rampantly as a weed otherwise.

Via Noel Dandes and Ivy Chippendale on Pinterest

Sunny wall:

A mediterrenean herb like rosemary doesn’t need too much water and can grow in pretty tough conditions. It does, however, like a bit of sun and warmth so plant it in a pot up against a wall that gets lots of light – the wall will continue to release heat even after the sun’s gone down.

Via Barb Alton and Rosa Yan on Pinterest

Balcony, wall or garden fence:

If you’re super short of space, why not grow vertically? Taller herbs like dill grow upright and using just a bit of wire or some bamboo sticks you can train them to trail up your balcony or garden fence

By Hannah Bass.

East end freelance gardener

Hackney-based gardener Lucy Conochie runs her own business, Peachy Gardening services. In this post Lucy tells us her story and offers some buds of wisdom for fellow inner-city gardeners.

I started out with a fork, spade and some secateurs offering my gardening services to friends and built up the business from there. I set up in 2006, working on both my art and gardening part-time, and the company has sustained itself.

Most of Lucy’s clients have terrace house gardens

Being based in east London, most clients have terrace house back gardens all of a similar size. My advice to people with a small space is, don’t try and have everything in a small garden. It’s much better to choose a plant that you would like to see repeated then try and have one of everything in your garden. Also, always plant things in odd numbers because odd numbers are organic. Planting in threes and fives is the general rule of thumb.

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DIY VIDEO | How to make a seed bomb

Do you hate the sight of a disused plot of land, or a vacant lot by the side of the road? Always wanted to try guerilla gardening, but scared of the public attention that comes with planting flowers by the pavement? Try seed bombing. It’s easy, cheap and exercises your throwing arm.

You can buy pre-made bombs, but where’s the fun in that? With a little bit of clay, compost, seeds and a sprinkling of water, you can make your own seed bombs. Chuck them into abandoned, unloved plots of land and make this city a little greener.

Check out our handy seed bomb primer here:

Read more for our six rules of responsible seed bombing…

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