The Voice ‐ June 2017
Comment by Geoff
As we are all aware, there is a general election on 8 June. However, there’s been little mention of the environment and how to combat the challenges we face.
There has been mention of air pollution, including a charge on diesel engines for entering London, but there has been no engagement with us gardeners who are the guardians of the urban environment. Or, how we can work together to bring the urban environment closer to the residents and working public in London.
Other world cities are working towards this aim; so why not London?
How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings
Did you know that a new tomato plant can be grown from just a snip off a mature tomato plant? The cells within the stems of tomato plants are capable of developing roots.
This is exciting news for tomato lovers who’ve wanted to make a plant produce even more. It’s also good news for the frugal gardeners who’d like to purchase one plant and enjoy a double harvest in the same season.
While starting a new tomato plant from seed can take a month or more, a new start from a cutting can be ready to transplant to the garden in fourteen days. To start a new plant, begin in early summer; May or June is the best time to begin so your plant has plenty of time to grow, mature and produce fruit before the end of the growing season. See How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings for the full article. Back to top
Bell peppers and chilli peppers are common staples that add flavour and colour to meals, and they're also easy to grow. There are many different types of peppers, from sweet to flaming hot, making more than one variety useful in a single dish and adding complexity to the flavours. Sweet and mild-tasting bell peppers can be sautéed with onions or diced into salads, soups and casseroles, stuffed, grilled, placed on sandwiches, or eaten raw for a fresh snack.
With usage and cultivation spanning three civilisations, you wonder how lettuce (Lactuca sativa) has stood the test of time. A vegetable native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western parts of Asia, romaine lettuce is known for its versatility in many cuisines and is the most nutrient‐rich of all lettuce varieties.
The darker colour not only indicates its richness in flavour, but in nutrients, too. It has deep green and long leaves with a crisp texture and distinct taste. It’s one of four popular lettuce varieties, alongside crisp head, butter head and leaf lettuce.
St Marys Secret Garden
St Mary’s Secret Garden is a horticultural project in Hackney, London. This small secret garden is often described as a peaceful oasis in the middle of a very busy area of the capital.
It is approximately 0.7 of an acre in size and has been developed to create a diverse green space. There are four interlinking areas ‐ a natural woodland, a food growing area (including vegetable beds and assorted fruit trees), a herb and sensory garden and an area of herbaceous borders. There is also a fully accessible classroom and a large greenhouse.
Organic principles are used in maintaining the site and to encourage wildlife and biodiversity within the garden. The garden is a resource for the whole community to enjoy where events are held which provide a diversity of projects including accredited horticultural education, therapeutic sessions, volunteering, an annual flower show and work experience for students and school children. It’s also open for plant sales from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.
It is a must‐see garden in which to relax or otherwise enjoy the quietness of a lovely urban garden so do come along ‐ 50 Pearson Street, London, E2 Back to top
Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Avocado & Apple Salad
This receipe is for two portions and is by courtesy of Roving Café London, Nomadic Community Gardens, Shoreditch
- 2 ripe medium avocados, sliced
- 2 apples, thinly sliced cucumber
- 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
- 1 small aubergine, thinly sliced
- 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- Olive oil
- 2 challah rolls, or crusty white bread
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Grain mustard
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice & zest
Lightly grease a frying pan, or a roasting tray if using an oven (preheat to 180 degrees). Place the aubergine, tomatoes and lemon slices into the frying pan (or roasting tray). Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, turning every so often, until roasted and then remove.
Toast the bread slices, add a small handful of spinach leaves to both and spoon on the roasted vegetables.
Place the sliced avocado and apple slices on top, sprinkle over some feta cheese (optional). In a sealed jug, mix the mustard, olive oil and lemon juice and then drizzle over the salad before serving.
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