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NOVEMBER food folly, sea warrior & bats

November 17, 2011

I have a small box of winter salad growing on my bathroom window ledge.  Peppery leaves like mustard, mizuna and land cress that offer heat.   When I got home last night the frosted glass was wet with condensation but, despite the double fog, I could still tell that something was amiss.  Soil sprayed up the window, odd angled plants.  It was the chilliest it had been since last winter and a squirrel had attacked.

This week I’ve harvested and eaten the smallest squash I have ever grown.  My only squash this year.  A tiny thing, banana curved and banana yellow, good in pasta sauce.  I’ve also picked a more impressive crop of green tomatoes.  I’m not the chutney making type – more the type in need of hearty and economical things for lunch – so I made green tomato soup.

I fried the unripe fruit in a slab of  salty butter  with potato, carrot, onion and garlic (roof garlic!), added lots of herbs (roof herbs!), bubbled it all in stock, then blended it.  The rooftop tomatoes made four big bowls of beige soup.  Beige, but delicious.  Fueled by buttery, garlicky tomato feed, I planted five Holloway grown garlic cloves  in a pot, which will turn into five whole new bulbs by late spring.

Last week I discovered a rooftop greenhouse hidden behind a town house folly.  In the rafters of a fake house, in a room with a glass roof and as many windows as possible, rampant vines of cherry tomatoes (red ones) and chillies are growing out of special sewage pipes.  Hackney hydroponics – providing food and heat for an eccentric building.

I also went onboard Rainbow Warrior III last week – the third incarnation of Greenpeace’s powerful ship of dreams.   She’s a beautiful boat, with extra sails and an electric engine, as well as an oil one for quick getaways.  The Warrior was moored in the Docklands for the weekend.  Her first major trip will be to South America to investigate deforestation.  We cycled home along the Regent’s Canal after darkness had dropped, with feeding bats zipping alongside us all the way to the pub.

Some news…  I’m involved in a couple of events during the first weekend in December – a craft fair and a tree day celebration.  I’m also selling signed copies of my first book through this website now – visit my shop!  My first article for the Guardian Weekend magazine was published on Nov 5th – it’s on their website too.   And my book has been nominated for an Horticultural Channel Award – you can vote here.

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