Vertical veg


We’re building something like this on Sunday. If you want to help it’s 2-4pm at the community flat, 10 Detmold rd, Jack Watts estate E5 9NN. Everyone is welcome


Meet Gerard, Ruth and Colin!

If you read the last post you’ll know that we have been looking for more folk to help out with E5 Roots since we were selected as an Edible East site. The monthly work sessions (second Sunday of each month) are going well, but with two sites to look after now we need help planning and making decisions about what to grow, and where, as well as with the gardening itself. 

So, you can imagine how pleased we were to hear from Gerard. Gerard lives nearby and luckily for E5 Roots he answered our call for volunteers. Even more luckily for us, he is an expert lettuce-harvester and was able to guide us in picking some lettuce leaves at the playground last weekend which a few E5 Roots kids sampled then and there. I think there must have been some very tasty salads on the dining tables of the Jack Watts estate last week. This blogger’s lunchtime salad al desko was definitely improved by crunchy radishes and peppery E5 rocket. Free food – just one of the perks of being an E5 Roots volunteer!

Well, even more people will be able to taste ultra-local E5 produce, as the group has got another two people helping us out.  Colin and Ruth are from an organisation called Groundwork and will be helping us grow more veg, fruit and flowers in the Southwold Road Playground  containers as part of the Edible East programme. We met with Ruth and Colin tonight to show them around and are looking forward to working with them over the next six months to transform the playground and do lots of fun gardening and wildlife activities. Who knows, we may even find other sites to transform E5 Roots style ..these guys can dream big!

If you want to come and meet all these great new people, or if you’re just curious what all this E5 Roots business is about, come for tea at the Community Flat this Saturday (22nd June) to say hi, see how the garden has grown, and help make decisions about where we should expand next.

Come along any time between 2pm and 5pm. Everyone is welcome and there will be free refresments.  There is even a rumour that Ellen will bake… Full info here: e5 roots flyer

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E5 Roots chosen to be part of ‘Edible East’ – your help needed

We’re celebrating here at E5 Roots as we’ve been selected to be part of the ‘Edible East’ programme. Run by Groundwork with London Wildlife Trust and other partners, the six-month funding and support programme helps community gardening groups in east London transform disused spaces and grow food.
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Now that we are part of Edible East, it’s a great time to get involved with E5 Roots –  even if you haven’t before.  
We’d love to welcome more volunteers to help us make the most of this great opportunity, by helping us with planning and organising E5 Roots activities. You will need to have a bit of free time and be enthusiastic about growing food on the Jack Watts estate alongside other residents. Comment below or on our Facebook page, or email Danielle, Ellen or Zee at  to find out more.

Soon E5 Roots will be assigned a community gardener who will help us run gardening workshops, sustainability events and celebrations. In particular, he or she will be supporting us to complete the transformation of the planters in the Southwold Rd playground, started earlier this year.

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We’re already trying to schedule a fun event for June or July – so watch this space! At that event we’ll be choosing four workshops to hold on the estate over the next few months. The workshops will be free and open to all, and can be on anything to do with environmental sustainability and food growing. Some ideas so far are: building a composter, making elderflower cordial, waste and recycling…comment here or on our facebook page if you have more ideas – we’d love to hear them.
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Why I’m planting a tree for Wangari Maathai

This weekend we’re going to be planting four trees around the estate. Jack Watts estate has quite a lot of green space but most of it is lawn save for the odd box hedge with an inevitable plastic bag fluttering from its spiky branches.

This weekend we will be planting native species of tree, including some fruit trees, that will make our environment nicer. Not just for us, but for insects birds and maybe even animals. This weekend I will be dedicating a tree to Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement charity in Kenya. I find her story inspirational. On returning to her home region of Kenya after years elsewhere she was horrified by the degraded quality of the soil and the resulting degradation of people’s quality of life. This was particularly true for women, who were having to walk further to find firewood and work harder to feed their families. Wangari Maathai could have gone back to the city and thanked goodness she’d been educated and was able to escape that life of poverty. But instead she went through many ups and downs to found the Green Belt Movement. The idea was simple: grow trees to reforest the ravaged Kenyan landscape. Maathai enlisted women to make the plan reality. By establishing tree nurseries in rural areas she not only helped restore the environment, she also restored women’s livelihoods through tree nurseries run by poor, rural women, allowing them to generate income and independence in the process. The Green Belt Movement brought people together and helped them to overcome the divisions that scarcity of resources had partially been responsible for in fighting for their right to a clean,  healthy environment.

In 2004 Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story reminds me that looking after the environment is also looking after people and peace, and that is why I will be dedicating a tree to Wangari Maathai on Sunday.


E5 Roots are planting trees on the Jack Watts Estate, E5,  on Sunday 14th April 2-4pm

Lots of new photos!

Check out the photo gallery page for some pics of the Big Dig session on 16th March. We had a great time as you can see, despite it being a little damp. We prepared all the planters outside the community flat and started on a couple in the playground in Southwold Road. Thanks to everyone who came and helped out – we definitely did a lot of digging! Thank goodness for all the tasty cake…

You can also see some photos on our Facebook page (see link at the bottom of this page) and Facebook group. Don’t forget to ‘like’ E5 Roots on Facebook

Community flat

Community flat

Check it out – we’re taking over!

Big Dig

Hi everyone sorry for the quiet times on the blog. If you’ve been wondering what we’re up to check out our facebook page for heaps more info and photos.

Well after a winter of planning and birdbox-making (if you don’t believe us then check out the big planners on the walls of the community flat!) we’ve got a big weekend coming up this Saturday. We’re getting ready for spring by taking part in the Capital Growth Big Dig and we need your help!

We want to develop a new area of the estate ready for growing, and require many hands to help us transport gravel and soil to new raised beds, ready for the vegetables. We will also be making signs for the plots. The area we have in mind is the planters in the kids’ playground on Southwold Road. You may have noticed that there are 7 or 8 big green plastic planters which are growing nothing but a couple of weeds at the moment. We would like to empty the soil from them, fill them with some gravel to help them drain better and prevent them flooding, and then put some lovely compost on top so they’re ready to grow some veg. To get us in the mood we even planted a few little lettuce and tomato seeds last weekend, so now we’re under pressure to prepare a home for them when they’ve germinated.

The volunteer session on Saturday is from 2-5pm, everyone is welcome whatever your age and ability. No experience necessary! Feel free to come for as long or as little as you like. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Ellen, Zee and Danielle will be there to show volunteers the ropes.

If you can’t make it, why not come to our next volunteer day on Sunday 14th April from 2-4pm? All our sessions meet at the Community Flat, 10 Detmold Rd (opposite the school)


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Exciting plans afoot

First beetroot and carrot harvest of 2012!

Wildflower garden, bird and bat boxes, biodiversity garden, vertical veg….

So many ideas! Come on Sunday 14th Oct from 2-4pm to meet new friends, have a chat, help decide what to grow next and plan what the future of E5 Roots should be.

Ellen and Zee will be there with seed catalogues, tools and a few jobs that need doing to tidy the planters up for winter. 10 Detmold Rd – all welcome, just turn up. Bring your family, friends and neighbours.

Harvest time!

That’s right it’s our next gardening session this Sunday 9th September from 2-4pm and a lot of the veg is ready to harvest. Come join Danielle and Ellen at the Community Flat, 10 Detmold Rd to pull up some beetroot, carrots and maybe even parsnip to take home. There’ll also be planting, watering and weeding to do, and we can update you on some exciting plans afoot to make much more space to grow food on the estate.

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E5ROOTS makes the papers

Check out this article in the Hackney Gazette:

Thanks Kriss for coming along and taking that absolutely magnificent photo of Cllr Ian Rathbone!


There are more photos of the fun day on Kriss’s facebook page here (you need to sign in to view it):



PS next workday Sunday 12th August…everybody welcome. Be there or be a crazy carrot…