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The Voice - June 2024

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

The time is drawing nearer when all local authorities must have a plan for food waste recycling.

The East London Garden Society has always wished that gardeners could obtain a readily available source of compost for their passion, so we are working with others on an aerobic way of turning food waste into a biomass for this purpose.

We hope to organise a pilot project to understand the needs of all those involved, working with communities to reduce carbon emissions, as well as achieving cost reductions for residents involved in the processes.

More details will be coming soon.

If you value having someone campaign on your behalf to protect the environment and having access to useful articles about gardening and local environmental matters, please make a donation to help us with the cost of maintaining The East London Garden Society.

The Venus Flytrap

Venus Flytrap

The Venus flytrap is a flowering plant best known for its carnivorous eating habits. The ‘trap’ is made of two hinged lobes at the end of each leaf. 

On the inner surfaces of the lobes are hair-like projections called trichomes that cause the lobes to snap shut when prey comes in contact with them. This type of movement is called thigmonasty, a non-directional plant response to being touched.

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A Celebration of Community Gardening

Community gardening

Some of you will remember the Chelsea Fringe, which ran alongside the Chelsea Flower Show for twelve years, supporting many fantastic community projects.

In Walthamstow, for three years, guided walks were offered around street gardens created by local residents, with gardeners in attendance to talk about the challenges of theft, vehicles driving over the gardens, rubbish and dog mess etc, but also to bask in the appreciative comments from our walking groups.

The walks always ended up at St Mary’s churchyard and after Covid it was decided to give the walks a rest and focus on an event based at the churchyard. Some of you will know that Head Gardener, Tim Hewitt, has done wonders there and is trialling all sorts of things, including a very successful dry bed around a group of gravestones.

It has been decided to continue what has become a very successful event for all ages.

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A Butterfly Yard

Butterfly yard

We can all do our bit to assist nature throughout its life to attract butterflies. Make a simple butterfly fruit feeder to bring these beautiful creatures to your yard. Here’s how:

  1. Take a piece of grapevine wood, leaving a few twigs on for natural fruit holders.
  2. Use heavy gauge copper wire to create hooks on the wood, spaced about six inches apart.
  3. Cut the fruits into pieces and hang them from the hooks.
  4. Overripe fruits work best for attracting butterflies.

Staple 'Crisis Crops' to Plant in Your Vegetable Garden

Small garden big harvest

During times of crisis, staple foods and plants you know will grow well are ideal; it’s not the time to be trying out experimental varieties.

Choose vegetables that can be canned, fermented or pickled so you can eat them at your leisure, or those that can be stored for months without the need for refrigeration. 

Top foods to plant in troubled times include potatoes, green beans, heirloom onions, carrots, winter squash and okra.

In addition to providing you with fresh vegetables without a trip to the grocery store, gardening is a simple way to reduce stress which is another important benefit during times of crisis.

The idea of being as self-reliant as possible is suddenly becoming more appealing to many, and some are taking an interest in gardening for the first time.

In late March 2020, Oregon State University waived the fee for its online vegetable gardening course and had 15,000 people sign up in the next week. Normally, they would have had two to five people register in that time period. Meanwhile, seed companies have reported an unprecedented surge of orders while plant nurseries are seeing an uptake in business.

Such foods not only exist but can be quite easy to grow right in your own backyard. If you're among those looking to test out your green thumb, whether for stress-relief purposes, sustenance or both, having a go is not harmful, plus it can be purposeful.

Storing Potatoes


When potatoes are chilled, an enzyme breaks down the sucrose (aka sugar) they contain and turns it into fructose and glucose, which combines with the amino acid asparagine to form acrylamide, a carcinogenic substance, when heated.

To most, it would seem as if storing certain veggies in a cool place, such as the garage, back porch or even the refrigerator, would be a good idea. It might keep them cooler and help them last longer, right?

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Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Summer Floral & Greens Salad

Floral greens salad

This salad of mixed greens and edible flowers bursts with flavour. 

A bed of fresh spring greens is accompanied by lemony micro marigold blooms, peppery nasturtium blossoms, colourful pansies, tart dianthus and begonia blooms.

Fresh blueberries, plums and watermelon radishes add crispness and texture to the salad, while mustard flower amplifies the gorgeous presentation.

Ingredients (6 servings)

Finally ...

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