Today we spent a sunny afternoon helping out with some planting at Hub67 – a new community space in Hackney Wick built out of recycled cabins from the Olympic Park. There was a nice assortment of herbs including a medley of mints with chocolate, apple and basil. During a planting break we brewed up a mix of mint (Mentha × piperita), lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) which went down very nicely with an assortment of cakes. We’ll be back during half-term to experiment with the herbs and show you how to make your own herbal tea bags.
Although the focus of our project this year is to grow lots of herbs it is important to remember that we can also forage for herbal goodies from the environment around us. Nature is also very clever at giving us what we need at the right time of year. So, on Tuesday we went for a herbal foraging walk around Hackney Marsh. At this time there is an abundance of young stinging nettles – Urtica dioica – which are rich in vitamin C and iron. Nettles rob the soil of its nutrients, making its edible leaves highly nutritious for us! Another springtime gem is cleavers – Galium Aparine – (goose grass, sticky willy) which is so keen to help us, that it sticks itself to you, impossible to ignore during a walk along the Lea River. It is a great detoxing herb and helps to stimulate our lymphatic system. We combined nettle and cleavers to make a potent ‘spring clean’ blend to refresh our bodies and get us ready for the busy spring season ahead.