The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ August 2018

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

Most gardeners should now be taking a sabbatical before reaping the rewards of their endeavours. However, the dry season dictates that the ground needs watering regularly, although we must all bear in mind future climatic problems that could affect us and future generations.

Pollution, whether airborne or from pesticides/herbicides, can be contained provided we do our utmost to make our voices heard above the objections from commercial organisations. Let us all believe in a better urban environment.

Join Cordwainers Grow for their series of Natural Dye Workshops which celebrate the colour we grow in the garden ‐ August to November 2018.

Ban Glyphosate Based Herbicides

Please help us have Glyphosate banned, not only in Tower Hamlets but in London generally. If you care about the environment, we urge you to sign the Petition now.

Avaaz, the global campaign network, is on the point of beating Monsanto, crumbling the cornerstone of its billion‐dollar empire! Europe has tried on six occasions to get Monsanto’s toxic mega‐killer glyphosate relicensed. Six times Avaaz has blocked it and now opposition is so strong they could win a total ban.

See here for further details. Back to top

Fly Tipping

Last month a man in Newham paid £20 for a man with a van to dispose of white goods, including a fridge and a freezer. He was found guilty of failing in his duty of care to make sure the waste was disposed of legally and ordered to pay a total of £1,690.

This is a recurring problem. We must all care for our environment in a positive way. Dumping waste of any kind in our sparse greenery in East London has never been an effective way of managing our urban green spaces. Newham is not the only borough to have this problem; we all do, so act now and stop it. Back to top

Chernobyl Thrives

Thirty years after nuclear disaster, wildlife thrives in Chernobyl. It’s now thriving with a complex and diverse rich eco‐system indicated by the top apex predators that are present. The carbon cycling of such systems is locking up the toxicity in the most efficient way possible ‐ naturally.

It’s a beautiful example of what our natural systems are capable of doing, which is repairing and flourishing with or without us. See here for further details. Back to top


Capers are the small unopened buds of the Mediterranean bush, Capparis spinosa which belongs to the family Capparidaceae. They are closely related to the cabbage family although the plant is more reminiscent of a rose bush. Capers are usually pickled in vinegar and used whole or coarsely chopped in recipes or as a garnish.

Some believe Capers are native to the Mediterranean basin, probably originating from the arid regions in western and central Asia. They’ve been used for thousands of years with mention of them for an ingredient in the Gilgamesh, found on ancient Sumarian clay tablets dating back to c. 2700 B.C. They were mentioned by Apicus, a Roman who is said to have written the very first cookery book in the 1st Century. The ancient Greeks not only used Capers as an ingredient in cooking but also used the roots and leaves of the plant for medicinal purposes.

Capers are found growing wild all over Mediterranean and North West Africa and are also cultivated in many countries including France, Spain and Italy. Plants last 20 to 30 years but a full yield can only be expected in three to four years. Pruning is essential to achieve high production since the flower buds only develop on one-year old branches.

Harvesting must be carried out regularly throughout the growing season. In Italy, they are handpicked every eight to twelve days. Each bud is picked in the early morning before it can open, after which they are sun-dried before processing. Fresh capers have no real appeal for culinary purposes, as the taste is very bland, but after pickling in vinegar they have a strong piquant flavour. Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Courgette Salad

Sufficient for four servings.

  • ½ Green Capsicum, (sweet pepper) finely chopped
  • 4 Tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Capers finely chopped
  • ½ Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly chopped Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly chopped Basil
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ tbsp Wine Vinegar
  • 8 Courgettes, about 10 cm long
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove finely chopped
  • 120 ml Vinaigrette
  • 1 Lettuce

1. Trim the ends of the courgettes, then cook them whole in simmering salted water for about eight minutes. Drain, then cut in half lengthways. Carefully scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Lay the courgettes, cut side up, in a shallow dish.

2. Mix the onion with the garlic and sprinkle over the courgettes together with the vinaigrette. Cover the dish with foil, place in the refrigerator and leave to marinate for at least four hours.

3. For the filling ‐ combine the finely chopped tomatoes, capsicum, onion, capers, parsley, basil, olive oil and vinegar, in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix well.

4. To serve ‐ line the base of large serving dish with lettuce leaves. Scrape the onion and garlic mixture from the courgettes with a spoon and drain off the marinade. Arrange the courgettes on the bed of lettuce and fill the hollows with the prepared tomato mixture. Back to top



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