Paul Bradbury is Growing Communities' new grower and we asked him to tell us about what's going on at the sites right now. Given that it's January you might be expecting him to say " not much" but as you'll see below, there's more happening at the Urban Market Gardens than you'd expect. Over to Paul:
"Well, our gardens are resting under their winter fleeces, which I’m happy to say have so far survived the bouts of lashing wind and rain that we have had over the last few days. Storms aside though, the winter has been so mild that everything is still growing. As a result, we are harvesting a few bags of rocket which will be on sale at our Urban Farm Shop at the Old Fire Station next Wednesday. Also at the Farm Shop will be a rare chance to buy some Oca tubers. Also known as New Zealand Yam, Oca actually hails from the Andes and has a lemony flavour reminiscent of wood sorrel to which it is related. For that fresh crunchy taste, the tubers can be eaten raw but they can also be boiled, baked or fried like potatoes. In Mexico, they are traditionally eaten raw with salt, lemon and hot pepper. If all this wets your appetite, then be sure to pick up a bag at our Farm Shop – it may be the only time you see Oca on sale in London.
The downside of the mild temperatures is that aphids are still abroad. They are currently having a bit of a party in the Allens Gardens greenhouse, which I’m doing my best to break it up with my trusty nettle and garlic sprays. I think I’m making headway, although the greenhouse has taken on the aroma of an ancient piece of garlic bread! The gardens will be opening up again to volunteers at the beginning of February – an exciting time when we will begin planning and planting for the new season, so if you fancy coming along and getting involved, it would be great to see you."