Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Edible Estates breaking ground in London

May 26, 2007

Elliott obscured by what will soon be a giant butternut squash plant
Butternut squash and nasturtiums about to go vertical

Looking to get your hands dirty in London this weekend? Edible estate agent Fritz Haeg will be breaking ground on his 4th edible estate, this time in collaboration with the Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) and commissioned by the Tate Modern. Haeg will work with the families in an inner city London housing block converting the public lawn in front of their building into a productive landscape of vegetables, fruits, herbs and grains.

Considering how the Brits love their lawns, this is truly groundbreaking. Haeg has been been raising awareness in the US about the footprint the suburban lawn, and with this project he’ll be tackling the nature of this public urban space in London.

Butternut squash growing in Debra Solomon's indoor kitchen garden
Calabash and nasturtiums in a domestic setting

The planting will take place this weekend (May 25-27) and you can either email Fritz (fritz at or simply show up at the corner of Lancaster St. & Webber St. in Southwark, near the Borough, Southwark & Waterloo tube stations if you want to participate. I’m imagining it will be an all-hands-on deck sort of thing and probably Madonna and family will be there, but I’m not completely sure. What is certain is that the champions of productive urban landscapes, AndrĂ© Viljoen, Katrin Bohn cum sui (Bohn & Viljoen Architects) will all be rolling up their shirtsleeves on Sunday. Guess there’s no time like the present to rub elbows with the elbow greasers.

In solidarity of the Edible Estate planting, I’ll be spending the weekend encouraging my own indoor kitchen garden squash to grow upwards and going ’round the neighbourhood stealing ladybugs to gift to my windowsill sunflowers. The sunflowers have been blighted by a herd of aphids and the organic soap I used as a pesticide had absolutely no effect in stemming the scourge.

Because this is my first time growing plants in containers, I’ve completely underestimated the amount of real estate needed by each plant. Now that the squash are starting to take off it’s really obvious, a phenomenon that is camouflaged in an outdoor garden. I’m now training the plants (all of which are enthusiastic climbers) to grow upwards and I expect that within a month’s time I’ll have ‘grown’ some privacy for my steady stream of houseguests languishing on the couch slash guestroom.

Butternut squash growing in Debra Solomon's indoor kitchen garden
Flower buds are already forming!

debra at 12:43 | | post to

1 Comment »

  1. Those pots are quite huge but, beautiful. I wish I was not so plant challenged. I am really bad a growing things. I think that I am personally responsible for the slow torcherous death of many plants. I am mad jealous of anyone who has a green thumb!

    Comment by Samantha — May 28, 2007 @ 17:09

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