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Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Gardening - Michael Ellis, London

IWANTED to share the work and pas­sion put into trans­form­ing some aban­doned land and turn­ing it into a won­der­fully pro­duc­tive vegetable patch in the East End of London.

Last year the own­ers of Phoenix gym asked if any­one was in­ter­ested in turn­ing the aban­doned steps around the gym into a gar­den as the own­ers were con­sid­er­ing con­cret­ing them over. This piece of land is ter­raced be­tween a se­ries of steps go­ing up­wards like an am­phithe­atre. The steps are made of breeze blocks filled with earth and there are 50 across and 30 deep at the high­est and long­est point.

I jumped at the idea and did a lit­tle pilot study last year on a few of the breeze blocks. The ex­pe­ri­ence and re­sult was so good that this year I have taken over the en­tire area. Strips of land are planted with larger items such as pota­toes, to­ma­toes, beans, cauliflow­ers, peas and pump­kins with the breeze blocks be­ing filled with soil and used for onions, let­tuce, pep­pers, beet­root and herbs.

Har­vest­ing is in full swing now, un­der the watch­ful eye of the many aero­planes from the City Air­port that fly past the gar­den a few hun­dred yards away.

It just goes to show that any old piece of de­serted in­ner-city land can be taken on and turned into a beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity gar­den with a lit­tle plan­ning, hard work and love for gar­den­ing. Our herb gar­den on the bot­tom row is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for gym mem­bers who also con­trib­ute to the project. And pro­ceeds are split be­tween the lo­cal hospice in Beck­ton and funds for new seeds and equip­ment.

Wendy says:

What an am­bi­tious project, Michael, and it looks like all your hard work has paid off.

Michael and his fan­tas­tic vegetable plot in the East End

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