Workplace colleagues at London Borough of Lambeth are growing mini bush tomatoes on the fabulous sunny 30cm wide windowsills at their office at Blue Star House in Brixton, South London. L-R Afsheen, Mohammed, Xander, Fitz and Vivienne and a few of the plants (ten other colleagues all too shy or busy on a Tuesday afternoon).
Ciara, who inspects and supports food selling premises keeps an eye on ‘Red Robin’ variety nicknamed George. ‘How’s George, today?’, she asks. ‘Uncle’ Alan quips ‘going up the wall’, as George is slightly leaning.
Workers in Sustainability, Food Standards and Trading Standards are joining in. Each bay on the 5th floor has a pot and the plants are getting fruity, making us wonder if pollinators are required for tomatoes after all.
I had decided to sow mini bush tomatoes for pots as I was so disheartened with the blight that struck my crops last year. MG Mastoor had shared some of her ‘Red Robin’ seeds, and I’d got F1 varity ‘Minibel’. I had plants left over and brought them in for my new office mates who readily took them up. I also had some pepper seed from the time I visited MG Philip and his colleagues at other Lambeth offices in Shakespeare Road, Brixton. Olatz from the Basque country gave me the saved seed.
Watering tips, doses of SM3 seaweed extract and potting on have taken place. Concerns over discolouring of lower leaves (normal) , folding leaves (effect of fluctuating watering) and now sciarid fly (heart sinks, what to do except squish where possible?) are issues that have arisen.
Growing discussions have ensued (baby top fruit withering and falling off – June drop – the joys of SM3 and more) and more growing jokes – ‘even lettuces have a heart’ (Uncle Alan again). Mohammed brought in spicy, fresh and tasty radish pods to share, seeds he got from his brother in Manchester. Bernie’s taken the vegetable planner for his brother.
What fun – who’d have thought ‘Minibel’ could help you make friends so easily?