The office balcony at Londonist Towers has had a greenover. Our lofty lookout now homes three planters stuffed with baby salad leaf plants, tomatoes and runner beans. A couple of neglected old pots previously attracting fag butts and crud have been cleaned up, dug over and made home to fragrant herbs and a lavender plant. In a few weeks we'll be snipping off salad leaves to enhance our lunchboxes and can't wait for the first fruit off our four tomato plants. We reckon Toby - it's essential to name your tomato plants - will produce first.
So how did we create a mini garden from scratch? Well, we're on the third floor, there's no lift, nobody has a car and we're all busy people so it was essential to be cunning with logistics. Ideally we would have scavenged Shoreditch streets for containers, begged, borrowed and swapped seeds and seedlings and got a job lot of very cheap, genuine north London made compost. But it was easiest for us to start with a delivery from Rocket Gardens. A pack of 3 bag planters and a 'Summer Window Box Garden' delivered free to the office was an amazing investment. The baby plants came packed in a cardboard box, damply nestled in straw and ready to plant. We nipped out to N1 Garden Centre and taxied back a couple of 60L bags of organic, peat free compost and a lavender plant - which smelled amazing.
We were fortunate to have Helen Babbs' expertise - and photography - to call on but planting was, in fact, very easy and it only took us a couple of hours to set up our balcony garden from scratch. The herbs are ready to go - chives, sage and thyme - and it will only be a few weeks before we can start taking lettuce, chard, spinach and rocket from the planters. We must remember to water the plants daily but apart from that, it's sit back, admire and wait for the question of 'will slugs make it to the third floor?' to be answered.
Photography by Helen Babbs. Main image: the view over Shoreditch from our roof.