The Hub Huddle: Growing and Gardening

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

16th May 2020

Firstly, an appeal for your support to save Lordship Hub!
Lordship Hub has started a crowdfunding appeal in order to survive the long period of shutdown with no income and no state funding or insurance payout. We would like to ask you if you could donate towards our survival fund and share the link with friends and family. Many thanks, from all at Lordship Hub. Our target is £30,000 so please help us get there. Every little helps!!
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-lordship-hub

GARDENING AND SUPPORTING OUR ENVIRONMENT

We are so lucky in Lordship Rec to have access to such a variety of wildlife habitats. The Friends of Lordship Rec, with the support of TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) and other volunteers like Trees for Cities and Good Gym have helped to manage all the different areas of the Rec, organising volunteer work days in the Woodland, the meadows, the lake area, the river and the orchard and spinney. We would not be able to enjoy any of this without intervention from volunteers, the parks dept and contractors. Nature would have taken over completely!

Thriving meadow in the Rec with oxeye daisies

Gardening must rank as one of the most rewarding, enjoyable and healthiest pastimes you can have. It brings so many positives to your life. For some, gardening is a way of life, an escape from the pressures of life in their own space. It is a way of bringing colour and beauty into our lives and the lives of others. For others, who grow fruit, vegetables and herbs, it is a way of knowing that what you are eating is fresh and free from damaging chemicals. Gardening is also beneficial to wildlife, offering habitats and nutrition. If you don’t have a garden, you can use space in your home in pots and containers on window sills or balconies that can be just as rewarding or you can take part in community volunteering projects or, if you are lucky, get an allotment. To enquire about allotments see: www.haringey.gov.uk/libraries-sport-and-leisure/parks-and-open-spaces/allotments

The advantages of gardening are many. Although it can be hard physical work, it helps to keep you fit and active. Gardening also exercises your creativity, in designing your garden and choosing plants and pots. It connects you to Nature,  bringing you closer to the creatures that share your garden, attracted by the wildlife friendly plants and features you have designed into your space. Its good to be outside and to get exposure to sunlight as that helps the body naturally to produce Vitamin D which is vital for a healthy immune system and strong bones.

WILDFLOWERS IN THE REC

Just a few of the many wildflowers growing in the Rec

The importance of wildflowers
Wildflower gardens serve many purposes. They feed our pollinators – bees etc. People need these pollinators to fertilise the vegetables, fruits and flowers in their gardens when they are ready but the bees need to feed before and after that time so a variety of seasonal wildflowers are important for them.

Another reason for preserving our native wildflowers is that they are our natural heritage. There are very many of them and they have thrived in these islands for thousands of years despite the fact that man has built over so much of their natural habitat. They are very beautiful and an important part of our intricate ecosystem.

MAKING YOUR OWN WILD FLOWER GARDEN
There are several different ways of starting your own wildflower garden. You can either weed out the invasive plants from an existing patch or start a new one. Don’t use fertiliser. Most wildflowers have adapted to medium to poor soils. You can buy wildflowers (responsibly sourced) as plugs or seeds or you can leave the soil open and wait for seeds to arrive through natural methods . You can transplant wildflowers if they are in danger of being dug out and thrown away from other sites.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to weed out the following plants because they are too invasive: Brambles, Couch grass, Bindweed, Creeping Thistles and Docks. The first four of these make many horizontal roots under the ground which travel over large areas and take over, so your wildflowers will not get a chance to thrive. The Docks have very deep roots which are hard to get out and also they drop thousands of seeds and take over that way. You could have one area for tall plants and one for small ones.

The point is to get as wide a variety of wildflowers as possible. Therefore if one species is taking up too much space, take some of it out. Wildflower gardens change naturally over time and afford much pleasure. I enthusiastically recommend making as many of them as possible even if it’s just a little corner of your garden or balcony. You will really enjoy watching the bees, hover flies and butterflies visiting your flowers.

Ruth, from Harmony Gardens and the Friends created these gardens. The one on the right Is outside the front of the Hub and the others (left) are in Harmony Gardens.

Bees – help them survive!
Without bees, humans would not have much to eat! We can all do our bit to provide the right habitat for bees by growing suitable plants and not using pesticides. Climate change, habitat loss, pollution and disease threaten their very existence but we can help change that.

There are community beekeeping projects in Tottenham. One of them is run at Living Under One Sun, a community project in Tottenham Hale. The other is with The Friends of Tottenham Marshes. They may not be open to the public right now but hopefully will be back in action soon. See: www.tottenhammarshes.org/contact
See: www.livingunderonesun.co.uk/portfolo-item/introduction-to-beekeeping/

Watch this fascinating video about a bees life.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE-8QuBDkkw

HARMONY GARDENS

A view of Harmony Gardens with a lovely crop of broad beans in the foreground

Until the 1930s the land on which Harmony Gardens sits was still a farm and it formed part of the vanishing belt of market gardens and farms around inner London. Because it was a flood plain, it was one of the last to be built over until BWF estate opened in 1967.

The Garden was created in 2006 by a Charity called Back2Earth with volunteers from the local area. Funded by the People’s Lottery, it was reclaimed from a rubble-filled wasteland next to the Broadwater Farm Community Centre and Lordship Rec. The rubble was used to make the gabion walls of the garden. These recycled walls have plants growing in and on them. An intricately woven willow screen, made by a local willow artist, and some native hedging mark the boundary of the garden.

Most of the growing is done in raised beds made from recycled scaffold boards. At different times of year a variety of crops can be seen, from broad beans and beetroot to carrots and brightly coloured chard, and lovely smelling garlic, leeks, onions, and herbs – all mixed in with wild and cultivated flowers and fruit trees and bushes. There is a lovely curved walk lined with apple trees and roses trained up over metal hoops.

There is also a beautiful secluded children’s garden on the other side of the community centre with a wildlife pond, fruit trees and bushes and flowers and a lovely willow arbour. School children come to the garden to experience nature.

Back2Earth was wound up in 2018 and some of the existing volunteers started the Friends of Harmony Gardens who run the garden in partnership with other organisations like Edible London who are doing a great job right now growing, collecting and distributing food for people in need due to the Covid-19 crisis.

If you want to know more about volunteering in Harmony Gardens please contact: rutharooot@blueyonder.co.uk

Harmony gardens video
vimeo.com/user115149761

LORDSHIP REC ORCHARD

Since it was first planted in 2012 the Orchard has grown in every sense. There are now 89 trees in total, both very tiny young ones, and much older quite big ones. There are 21 different varieties of fruit and nut altogether.

The following varieties of fruit and nut trees and soft fruits are all growing in the Orchard:
Apple (many different varieties including Heritage Varieties), Apricot, Almond, Blackcurrant, Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Cherry (several different varieties), Damson, Goji Berry, Gooseberry, Greengage, Jostaberry, Hazel (Turkish and English Hazels), Medlar, Mulberry, Pear (several varieties), Quince, Sweet Chestnut, Sea Buckthorn, Walnut, Wild Service Tree.

Additional trees were planted by local volunteers in the Spring of 2017 and 2018, along with a strip of soft fruit bushes along the eastern fence at Freedom Road. Yet more ‘baby’ fruit trees that had been grafted at a Friends of Lordship Rec workshop in the Spring of 2019 were planted out by local families on our very first Apple Day in October 2019.

Together with Park Staff the Orchard is cared for by a small core of volunteers. They prune, mulch, water, weed, scythe and much more, as the seasons roll on. The Orchard is in a challenging site. It turns into a bog in winter, and the clay soil turns to rock hard concrete in summer.

Nevertheless most of the trees and bushes are doing well, and with plans to develop the Orchard as more of a ‘Forest Garden’, in order to increase its biodiversity and resilience to climate change, there is plenty of work to do. No experience is needed and volunteers are welcomed. We hope to re-start monthly tree-care sessions later in the year, as well as our hands-on skills workshops, such as pruning, planting, grafting, coppicing, rustic fence making, basket weaving etc.

A number of successful Orchard linked Celebrations have been held, such as the Wassail in early January, and Apple Day in October, and we hope to continue with these.

As well as the Orchard many (over 100!) young trees were planted by local people and school children in the Spring and Autumn of 2017 in the 3 fenced areas to the south west of the big main field. This was in order to increase the bio-diversity of the Rec. A range of mostly native species trees, such as Oak, Elm, Wild Service Tree, Alder and Purging Buckthorn, and Hawthorn have already provided habitat for creatures such as the beautiful yellow Brimstone Butterfly, whose only food source is Alder and Purging Buckthorn, and the extraordinary Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

To get more information or to find out how you can get involved contact :

shaywill@fastmail.co.uk

There are other fantastic projects in Tottenham and Haringey:

Growing In Haringey is an informal network for community gardens & anyone promoting sustainable food growing & gardening in Haringey and Sustainable Haringey is an independent informal network for everybody wanting to make Haringey more environmentally sustainable. You will be able to find out about lots of community growing opportunities around the borough on this site:
sustainableharingey.wordpress.com/growing-in-haringey/

Priory Common orchard:  sites.google.com/view/pcorchard/about

See this video about Crop drop , an organisation sourcing and delivering local, organic produce and delivering it to you.  vimeo.com/306426596

THE LAKE

TCV volunteers working with the Friends to prepare containers for new plants to grow in the lake as wildlife habitat.

The Friends have done a few projects to improve the lake as a habitat for wildlife. The most recent project was to add further planting in the north west corner of the lake and to add 2 more planted floating islands.

See friends website:

www.lordshiprec.org.uk

TOTTENHAM FLOWER AND PRODUCE SHOW

Every year for many years, the Friends of Lordship Rec, with other growers, have organised the Tottenham Flower and Produce Show. Hundreds of local people, young and old have entered their prize veg, flower arrangements, cakes and bread, jams and pickles, drinks and crafts and taken part in gardening and plant related workshops .

It is uncertain what can happen this year but we will be back as soon as we can or do an alternative appropriate activity!

A delicious foraging recipe – Nettle soup

Young nettles are rich in minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and zinc. Because of their high protein content they are a good addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 150g mushrooms if you like them (any edible type) chopped or 1 carrot chopped if preferred
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock (you can make a batch of that the day before. Onions, carrots, celery and leeks are good for stock, but no seasoning)
  • 1 colander of fresh nettle tops
  • salt and pepper

SERVES 4

Chop the garlic. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and add the onion and cook gently until softened and translucent, but not browned.

Add the mushrooms if you are using them and continue to cook until a little soft. Add the chopped potatoes (and carrot if you are using that) and simmer for a few minutes before adding the hot stock to cover. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Add the nettle tops and chopped garlic and continue to simmer gently for a few minutes until the nettles have wilted. Use a hand blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and serve with crusty bread. You could use a dash of coconut milk to make it taste creamy.

Note: Wear gloves to collect your nettles. Do not taste, eat or use any plant unless you are 100% certain it is correctly identified. If there is any doubt, do not use it.

Coronavirus  community support:

Check out this fantastic local organisation, North London Community Consortium that is doing so much to support our community. www.northlondoncommunityconsortium.co.uk/