The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ May 2018

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

Patrick Harry, a very good friend of The East London Garden Society, has created wonders in Malawi with a forest garden in which mainly women have become empowered.

Patrick believes that having produced a forest garden he is preventing the ground from being poisoned with toxic compounds. He believes that when the ground is poisoned, we ourselves will eventually be poisoned.

This is one of the many reasons why such ideas should not be denied. If we care about our future, we must ensure that our gardens are looking after our environment.

London’s Loss of Trees

Line of trees

As the number of trees felled in London increases, one entrepreneur calls for vigilance and says technology can help map London’s green giants amid hopes that smartphones will help urbanites better appreciate nature.

Trees are being chopped down at an alarming rate in Britain’s green and pleasant capital city, with over 10,000 specimens removed by council chainsaws last year alone.

Figures obtained, suggest there has been a spike in tree felling in London in recent years, with at least twenty per cent more trees cut down by the City’s thirty-three councils in the last five years compared with the period 2003 to 2007. Read the full article. Back to top

Ban Glyphosate Based Herbicides

It is debateable as to whether you should spray the earth with a toxic substance which may prove detrimental to society but we are now at the stage where evidence suggests that the use of Glyphosate must not be used, until proven safe. There have even been suggestions that Glyphosate can cause cancer, which is a concern to most people.

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. Please note that only people who are resident or work in Tower Hamlets are allowed to sign this petition. If you live or work in another borough, why not set up your own petition? Back to top

Bethnal Green Nature Reserve

The Bethnal Green Nature Reserve is a rare and extraordinary place. Originally a bombsite, that has gone back to nature, it has been nurtured and preserved over time by local people who have seen it not as waste ground, but as an urban haven for biodiversity amid an extensive social housing estate.

It has been a resource for educational groups, for environmentalists, and over the past two years, the base for the ‘Phytology’ medicinal field, enhancing the biodiversity of this extensive site.

The site is situated in Middleton Street, E2 9RR and will be open to the public from May to September 2018 on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Come and experience it for yourself. Back to top

The Organic Challenge

Organic gardening is the general term applied to gardening without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. However, organic gardening is much more than simply replacing manmade chemicals with those derived from natural sources since it is a philosophy of gardening that supports the health of the whole system. In an organically managed garden, the emphasis is on cultivating an ecosystem that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects rather than simply making plants grow.

Creating this ecosystem begins with improving the soil. Adding organic matter by mixing compost into the soil, increases its capacity to retain water and nutrients and supports beneficial microbes. Another way to add organic matter to the soil is to grow cover crops and turn them into the soil just as they begin to flower.

In addition to compost, organic gardeners must provide fertilizers derived from natural sources such as animal manures, natural deposits such as rock phosphate, plant products such as seaweed, wood ash, worm and comfrey tea. Organic gardeners have realistic expectations when it comes to insects and diseases. They seek to keep them below damaging levels, by encouraging thriving populations of beneficial insects and pest predators.

Practicing good sanitation is another method of organic pest control by removing disease infected leaves or plants, rotating crops so as not to grow the same type in the same spot year after year. Whilst most herbs and landscape plants can easily be cared for organically, some fruits and vegetables cannot. Growing organically is always a fine balance between nature and humanity. Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Alfalfa

Possibly the first known super food from the hippie era is Alfalfa. The plant has become synonymous with healthy eating. Alfalfa sprouts are thought to be a good source of dietary fibre with each 33‐gram serving providing one gram of fibre, or three percent of an average adult’s necessary intake. For this reason, Alfalfa sprouts may be a suitable food for people suffering from chronic constipation, diverticulitis or other digestive upsets.

Every serving of Alfalfa sprouts provides 1 gram of plant‐based protein. Unlike most other vegan protein sources, such as beans and peas, Alfalfa sprouts are edible and palatable without any exposure to heat. Alfalfa sprouts are a good protein source for people eating raw and vegan diets.

Alfalfa sprouts are also a good source of several micronutrients or vitamins and contain B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. They also provide roughly 13 percent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin K.

Alfalfa sprouts contain only 8 calories per serving, making this crunchy food an ideal choice for people who are trying to lose weight since it is low in calories, sugar, fat and saturated fat. According to the National Institutes of Health, compounds in Alfalfa may help prevent atherosclerosis, a serious cardiovascular disease associated with cholesterol plaque in the arteries of the heart. The NIH acknowledges limited scientific evidence of this health benefit but notes that no large‐scale human studies have conclusively demonstrated its effects. Additionally, the NIH reports that Alfalfa can reduce both total and low‐density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol. LDL is also called ‘bad’ cholesterol because it blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease. Back to top



Previous issues of The Voice