We’ve been lucky at Limborough Community Food Hub and garden to have the very knowledgeable Katalin from MAD LEAP running a series of gardening workshops and also helping in the garden here for the past few months. It’s been great to have so many local residents join these fun and informative sessions.
The workshops have included: how to manage pests, how to care for your tools, wildflowers and pollinators and in July we will be learning about rainwater collection. Here we share the amazing resources shared with us and some of our key learnings, along with some photos taken at the workshops.
WILD FLOWERS & POLLINATORS – 21st June 2023
Last week, we learnt about wildflowers and pollinators. Though the time has now passed to sow wildflower seeds this season, we do have a small raised bed planted with wildflower seeds in May so we are just waiting for flowers to appear. We also have many that have self-seeded around the Limborough Garden over the years and the pollinators are really enjoying them!
After the workshop, we all went out into the garden to see what was growing and had another cucumber harvest! We’re really happy to see the cucumbers thriving in the greenhouse as we’ve been hit by slugs and snails in the raised beds up until now
And we had the added bonus of sampling them – really delicious!
To attract pollinators we have to create an inviting environment in our garden to provide shelter and food. Here’s some tips:
- Grow pollinator-friendly plants in your garden or on your windowsill, it’s easy to grow wildflowers in a planter pot and pollinators will love them.
- Let your lawn grow a little wilder. Not only will providing additional areas where wildflowers can grow help to feed your local pollinators, but the caterpillars of many butterflies and moths rely on native grasses and plants generally considered weeds
- Take care of pollinators by placing some dead trees, tree trunks, bark, branches, herbaceous stems in the garden
How to care for pollinators:
- Wild bees seek out small cavities dug into trees, stems or rocks.
- Bumble bees prefer underground in a hollow.
- Hover flies winter under mulch, on the edge of an old wall, under bark or hidden among the foliage of evergreens.
- The larvae of wasps are born on the ground in stumps, stems or dead roots and develop in decaying wood.
- Although many adult butterflies live for only a few weeks, some winter (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) are hidden in vegetation, in the ground, rock, pile of wood. Alternatively you can buy or build a bug hotel
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR GARDEN TOOLS – 14th June 2023
Earlier this month we learnt how to care for our garden tools, to make sure that they not only work well but that they last.
After a good sort out of the tool shed we cleaned the tools with soapy water, to get rid of any pests or diseases. We then learned how to oil the tools using linseed oil.
Here’s some tips:
How to clean hand tools
- Use a stiff scrubbing brush to remove any soil from the blade and shaft.
- Extremely muddy tools may need a wash down with a hose before drying with an old towel
- Drying prevents wooden handles from absorbing water and swelling and metal from rusting
- Traditionally after cleaning, tools were oiled with a thin protective film of general-purpose oil, to help prevent rusting. It is fine to do it once a year in spring and occasionally if a handle seems to be dry
What Oil is Best for Garden Tools
Linseed oil is the best choice for gardening tools. It’s nice and light, won’t become sticky and provides a protective barrier on both the metal and wooden parts as it prevents moisture and dirt from penetrating the material.
Humidity can damage metal making it rusty and wood causing it to break down, get mildew, splinter etc. Oil will also prevent the wood from drying out. You should clean the wood handles first then the metal part then you can coat them with linseed oil. If you already have rust on your gardening tools, you can use vegetable oil to wipe them. This should lift the rust off the metal and prevent it from forming again.
HOW TO MANAGE PESTS – 17th May
More information to follow
Here’s some tips:
General tips to Control Plant Fungus and Diseases
- Build a well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter prior to planting.
- Raise the beds if necessary and fill the beds with a commercial potting mix that drains well.
- Soils that hold too much water can cause rotting.
- Hand water at the root zone or use a soaker hose.
- Fertilize as necessary to keep plants in peak condition.
- Choose resistant varieties whenever possible.
- Remove any infected debris to keep the disease from spreading. Remove and place in the trash (not in the compost bin) severely infected plants.
- Water during early morning hours so the plants can dry out and avoid getting water on the leaves.
- Disinfect pruners after cutting diseased plant parts.
Limborough Community Food Hub is located on a housing estate in Poplar, East London and is owned by Poplar HARCA housing association. It includes an ornamental Chelsea Flower Show garden, designed by Chris Beardsley, a small fruit tree orchard and raised beds for communal growing. It also comprises a community training kitchen, a food pantry and a workshop space. This unique site provides a year round programme of cooking and growing workshops.
Find out more about Limborough in our Limborough Hub Roundup series
MEET THE LIMBOROUGH HUB TEAM
Rebecca has a Fine Arts background and has worked in Production and Education. She loves living in Tower Hamlets and enjoying all the pockets of green amongst the city.
Shaheda trained as an Early Years Teacher, then later as a community gardener at a local city urban farm. Happiest when working with nature, growing food, centered around well-being and positive living.