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Vertical Gardens Project

Our offices in the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research look so much nicer since we started our vertical gardens! In June this year, we got a small grant from the Edible College London to buy pots, plants and compost.

The idea was to get herbs (mint, basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, lemon balm), lettuce and strawberries for people to pick and eat. To avoid any drilling, the plant would be hung next to windows with magnetic hooks. Here is our progress so far with this project.

Pots were ordered online but we got plants and compost from a garden centre. We transported them batch by batch to UCL via bicycle and they all survived!

A few of us spent an afternoon repotting the plants in self-watering pots. We hoped this would reduce the maintenance of the garden by allowing us to only water once a week. We soon realised that the weight of the soil and the water container were too heavy for the magnetic hooks. The pots were sliding down the wall! We had to rethink the location of the pots and resorted to drilling into the walls to fix them more solidly.

We are now a month into growing edible in offices. Some of the plants are really loving being with us. Basil, parsley, mint, lemon balm and tarragon are thriving. Sage and thyme have sadly already died. We suspect they did not like the self-watering system with constant moisture around their roots. We had mixed results with strawberries. The plants are surviving but we do not know if they are going to produce any flowers. We still have a few pots to fill in with cut-and-come-again lettuce and we will sow that as soon as people return from holiday.

We are glad to have been given the opportunity to brighten up our offices with edible plants and looking forward to years of home-made mint tea!

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