OCTOBER unseasonal squash & other oddities
Two tiny banana yellow, slime-slicked squashes are slowly swelling in one corner of the rooftop. Bunches of green tomatoes are hanging heavy on bending vines. Together with various vigorous winter salads, my tiny garden is looking strangely jungle-like for this time of year. A collection of unripe summer vegetables lit by a low-angled autumn sun, and hung about with mist every morning.
My new window box project is going well… I have hot green leaves growing on the bathroom ledge and a pretty mix of grass, hebe and cyclamen delicately suspended from the rooftop fence. My next blog for the Guardian will be online in early November. In the meantime, read my October entry here.
I spent the morning helping out at a new community garden on an estate close to Dalston Junction. A tiny patch of land has been reclaimed from weeds, tamed and sheet mulched ready for future growing endeavours. It was like a magnet this morning, tempting people to take a sneaky peak. Robin, Alex and I shovelled soil and pruned a cherry tree, while the other Alex painted a glossy new sign, Lorn made tea and the local kids joyfully wrapped themselves up in an enormous bit of cardboard.
I’ve just about finished editing the winter issue of Wild London magazine – it will go to print later this week. Checking through the proofs this afternoon, some stark facts stood out that made me appreciate the community garden on the Dalston estate even more.
- 60% of London is green space. Despite this, nationally, Londoners are the least likely to spend time in the outdoors.
- The quality of open space has a profound impact on people’s health and well-being, and can provide a focal point for social interaction.
- The area of social housing green space in London is not currently known, but in some neighbourhoods it exceeds the amount of public parks.
- In deprived, inner-city areas, people have access to five times less public parks and good quality green space than people in affluent areas.
- Residents living in social housing are more likely to live in areas of public open space deficiency and poor environmental quality.
- CCTV and alienating fortifications have been proved to be less effective than community gardens at improving security.