On almost every level surface in Nicky's conservatory there are seed trays containing a cornucopia of edible delights including Musselburgh Leeks and Borecole a form of Kale. Borecole tolerates cold better than most brassicas and is less vulnerable to birds and doesn't get clubroot or cabbage root fly. We are planing this to extend the harvest well into the winter months and may provide a healthy and tasty addition to Christmas dinners.
Because we don't use any chemicals in St George's Park or any LEAP site we have sown 'Flyaway' carrots this year to beat that enemy of the carrot grower - carrot fly. This hardy British bred hybrid is resistant to this destructive pest and makes a perfect companion to the leeks sown this afternoon. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
In Nicky's heated propagators there are three tomato varieties (Alicante, Tumbling Tom and Black Russian) and Jalapeno chilli peppers.
Like other peppers, jalapenos are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps prevent damage from free radicals, rogue molecules that can cause cell damage in your body. Jalapenos also contain a good dose of vitamin A, which supports skin and eye health; one pepper gives us around 17 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 22 percent for women. Jalapenos are an excellent source of the B-vitamin complex, such as folate or folic acid. The hotness of Jalapenos is due to a natural plant compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin has a wide variety of health benefits. It is for example an anti-inflammatory and is also good for our circulation. All these benefits and next to no calories too, Jalapenos spice up our meals and help our bodies fight disease. Chillies will again this year (all being well) be available to share in the raised beds as they were last year and in other LEAP sites, look out for more info about this on the website.
Although LEAP is in the final semester of its original People's Health Trust funding, the sowing and planting plan for this year works to a different, more natural timetable. Sustainability is about organising on a generational scale, our trees for example will produce fruit increasingly as time goes on. We have all we need in the shape of local resources, although more volunteers are always very welcome and adequate funds, which are not massive but are sufficient to keep LEAP moving forward with new partnerships and ever deeper community sector collaborations.
We're looking forward to developing our new projects for 2016/17 - eating our increasingly edible environment and sharing it with you. All are welcome to join us.
Let's Eat the Park!