Hackney Permaculture

Breakfast with foraged grapes

It is that time of the year where I cycle about dumbfounded at the amount of organic seasonal locally produced food going to waste.

If you live in Hackney get your arse down to Sandbrook Road, N16 (just off Church Street). At the north end there is a wall dripping with grapes which I have never seen anyone else harvest. The photo below is from Googlemaps… imagine that whole wall overflowing with the good stuff.


fruit trees for somerford grove

This winter I have been blessed with the opportunity of working with the residents of Somerford Grove, a council estate bordered to the north by my road, to plant thirty two fruit trees. This includes a mulberry tree, a few pear and plum trees as well as twenty six different varieties of apple tree.

I have no idea what competition there is but I would love to think that this may be one of the biggest and most varied orchards inside the M25 …and i still have the budget to plant another 30 trees next winter!

The first nine trees were planted as part of the ‘Making Space in Dalston’ project by J&L Gibbons with muf architecture/art for the London Development Authority. The London Orchard Project donated the trees.

The rest of the trees have been funded by the Play Pathfinder scheme actioned by The Learning Trust. Cllr Louisa Thompson has been a great source of support in helping this to happen.

The trees were all bought from Blackmoor nursery who have been excellent. Hedvig Murray from Get Growing has been working with me to make sure all the planting went off without a hitch.

The trees are mostly M27 very dwarfing rootstocks where near buildings (max height 2-3m) and M26 semi-dwarfing rootstock in the bigger patches of green (max height 3-4m).

I decided to not protect the trees with stakes or mesh, having faith that the residents will look after them having planted them. Also by not spending money on protection, I was able to plant quite a few more trees so if any do get damaged then nothing will have been lost overall.

Alex Collings, Anna Garforth and Helen Babbs all deserve a shout for pitching in to help too.

The first nine trees were planted as part of the ‘Making Space in Dalston’ project by J&L Gibbons with muf architecture/art for the LDA. The London Orchard Project donated the first nine trees.

Free compost in Hackney
September 9, 2009, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Collecting | Tags: , , , , , , ,
free compost in hackney marshes

free compost in hackney marshes

Okay, East London Community Recycling Partnership are gods – officially.

A few weeks back I helped Stepping Stones Farm in Stepney pick up a few tonnes of free compost from a depot on the south edge of hackney marshes – they have wood chip too, a LOT of woodchip… and a LOT of compost… did I mention that yet? LOADS OF IT.

The picture above gives you an idea of a small part of the depot which is officially open during the day on week days… but you could easily pop in at other times as much of it is not really fenced off.

Address is Hackney Parks Depot, E5 9PF- you can see it on via the map below – it is just at the top of the car park


A few days after I went and picked up the compost they called me up and asked me if I could take a few tonnes more… seriously get your arse down there and get growing!

There website mentions nothing about this – go figure – http://www.elcrp-recycling.com/

If you also need leaf mould try here – https://hackneypermaculture.org.uk/2008/09/22/free-compost-from-hackney-downs-park/

August 23, 2009, 10:37 am
Filed under: Collecting, Doing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Not exactly rocket science but picking apples in London does seem to be a fringe activity. So many trees dripping with fruit, most of which ends up getting swept up by the street cleaners. Not this year :-)

Buying a telescopic fruit picker was the first action – I got mine second hand from ebay, here is a new one that is similiar – http://garden4less.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=RGM

Now off to these two trees on St Jude Street –

We had so many apples from our scrump that I set up shop on my street and started giving them away to neighbours which then resulted in my being invited into various back gardens to pick more!

Time to make some chutney now i guess :-)

Farleigh Road Big Lunch 19th July 2009
July 23, 2009, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , , , , ,
Farleigh Road Big Lunch 1

Farleigh Road Big Lunch

Last week Farleigh Road held a street party as part of the national ‘Big Lunch’ campaign (http://www.thebiglunch.com/)

The road was shut, residents of all ages and nationalities pulled together to create a truly awesome feast and the street was transformed for a day.

I took the liberty of carrying furniture and plants from my front room into the street – happy days.

I am lucky to live on such an amazing street – full of diversity and life – a little positivity can go a long way.

Farleigh Road Big Lunch

Farleigh Road Big Lunch

Capital growth grant

A little while ago we filled in a form applying for a capital growth grant.

Capital Growth is a scheme to support the start up of 2012 new growing spaces in London by 2012, something to do with the major and some of those politicians no doubt.

After a few phone chats and a visit from the delightful Eloise, a lovely pack containing various goodies and a cheque arrived… and I didn’t even hear or need to use the word ‘legacy’ once.

I love that they just put ‘farleigh road’ on the certificate… I kinda feel obliged to garden the whole street now!

Capital growth welcome pack

Capital Growth welcome pack

Hurrah, a certificate...

Hurrah, a certificate...

... and a plaque!

... and a plaque!

Recycled Hessian Sacks

hessian sacks

A few weeks ago I got forwarded the lovely email below from a chap called Brian and in need of hessian sacks for the filtering bit of my grey-water recycling beds, I decided to invest.

I went for five bags of wood chip and five bags of compost, all delivered to my door for the bargain price of £27.50 – nice.


Subject: hessian sacks and compost

Forest Recycling Project has a supply of hessian sacks which can be used for all sorts of things in the garden and beyond (see above video clip for inspiration) they are 50p each with discounts for bulk orders (delivery may be possible for an extra charge). We are also able to supply the sacks half filled (about 75 litres) with soil improver compost from green waste (£2.50) or wood chip (£1.00). Please contact me to place an order or for more info. Feel free to forward on to anyone who may be interested



Head Office
2C Bakers Avenue, Walthamstow, E17 9AW
Company No: 2427258
VAT No: 548917400
Tel; 020 8539 3856
E-Mail: info@frponline.org.uk
Web Site: www.frponline.org.uk