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.

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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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Making the streets of Hackney flourish

Pop up Gardens

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.

Five Jubilee weekend garden buys

The Jubilee weekend is almost a month away and soon we’ll be sipping G&Ts and eating coronation chicken sandwiches in our gardens while enjoying the (hopefully) sunny weather.

But how can you make your garden party stand out from the rest? We’ve put together a list of five garden party buys.

1. Bunting

Bunting is a must to brighten up your garden. This Talking Tables bunting from Selfridges features a range of twee, iconic British designs and is a snip for 5metres at £15.

2. Strawberries

They won’t grow in time to pop into a pint of cream to serve up at your party but what better way to celebrate than taking some time out to plant the iconic British fruit in your garden? Seeds from £2.00 at Chiltern Seeds. You can also buy a starter pot at onceinalifetime.co.uk for £12.00.

3. Throw

A stylish throw is a multi-purpose item. During the day you can use it as a picnic blanket, then later on you can be warm as well as patriotic by wrapping it round you when the sun goes down. eBay has a selection here.

4. Solar-powered Queen

Pay tribute to Her Maj in an environmentally-friendly way with this solar-powered Queen figurine. Stick her on a garden table as a quirky talking-piece and watch her wave as the sun’s rays shine onto the solar panel on her handbag. £14.99 from glow.co.uk.

5. Garden statue

Give your garden the royal treatment with this crown ornament. Jazz it up by covering it in fairy lights. From Caught my Fancy and eBay, starting from £15.

By Natasha Wynarczyk.  Top image by Cuprinol showing their “Peckingham Palace”, a luxurious bird box built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. Tweet them @PeckinghamTweet

Book review: The Urban Kitchen Gardener

Mouse melons: a tiny alternative to cucumbers

Like many urban gardeners with limited space, I want as much as I can get out of my plants. It’s not enough for my pots to be pretty, they need to do something too. As a result, you’re more likely to find herbs than hydrangeas on my windowsill.

But beyond supermarket-bought basil and a couple of chillies, I’ve been stumped for how to grow edible plants in the pots and boxes I can fit in my flat and tiny garden. Most growing guides are for people with allotments and vegetable patches.

So I was thrilled at the release of The Urban Kitchen Gardener, a new book by urban agriculture advocate Tom Moggach.

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Places to buy plants and flowers in East London

It can be difficult to find the best places to buy plants, flowers and gardening tools in East London – often the best places aren’t on the radar. However, to assist you we’ve come up with a handy map showing our favourites markets, shops and nurseries in the area.

Click here to view full map and zoom in.

By Natasha Wynarczyk