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
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
Steve Wheen, better known as The Pothole Gardener, has been creating little pop-up gardens all over London since last year. His blog chronicles his guerilla gardening adventures and gets hundreds of thousands of hits from all over the world.
You could say gardening’s in Steve’s blood – his granddad was the first to breed red trumpeted daffodils, all the way over in Australia! We caught up with Steve at Columbia Road Flower Market, where we helped Steve with a little garden (read his blogpost about it). Here are our pics from our little adventure, plus Steve’s top tips for wannabe pothole gardeners:
Firstly, have a clear vision of what you’re creating, and picture the little garden in your mind. Plan your garden out and choose the right plants accordingly. Are you going to feature one flower, like a daffodil or a Gerber?
Steve considering a potential pothole garden
Layer your little garden in levels. You want the smaller plants towards the front, and larger plants at the back. Perhaps you might choose some grass to cover the soil? Think about where you want to draw your audiences eye in the garden. Also, try to not plant things which are too tall, especially if you’re planting in a pothole!
Use a variety of plants with different colours for maximum impact!
Choose plants for the right time of year, think about what’s colourful and in season. My favourites are bulbs in little gardens, but there are so many options available, make sure you do your research.
Who doesn't love getting Christmas cards in the mail?
If you’re going to add some props, make sure you leave some room for them and try to ensure they’re to scale. There’s no point in having giant props and tiny plants- or the other way around.
Make sure you take your camera with your gardening, and of course, watch out for cars!
The final product, on an East London side street near you!
Thanks for a great Sunday afternoon, Steve!
By Zing Tsjeng