Trust initiative turns window ledges into veggie patches

Amidst high food prices and concern about sustainable food, it’s the perfect time to grow your own delicious, cheap and local ‘window food’. Even with just two window boxes you can grow your own meal.

Gizzi Erskine, chef and food writer is supporting the campaign from her East London flat by undertaking an experiment to create mouth-watering recipes from ingredients grown on her window sills. She is growing radishes, beetroots, rainbow chard, spinach, various lettuces, new potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, cabbages and a variety of herbs.

She says:

‘I’m on a mission to dispel the myth that cooking is difficult and time consuming – and I now want to do the same for growing your own vegetables and herbs.

‘I love cooking with fresh ingredients – it makes all the difference to the taste of food and you can’t get fresher than picking straight from your own windowsill.

‘Living in a flat, I never thought I could grow so much without a garden but my windowsills look pretty and are really productive. Hopefully I’ll never find a soggy supermarket bag of leftover lettuce at the bottom of my fridge again – everyone should give window food a go!’

Gizzi’s top tips for the best window food

– Pick the windowsills which get the most sun during the day for your window boxes
– Watching your vegetables grow every day is really fun, but be careful not to water them too much
– Plant pretty rainbow chard and lovely smelly herbs for the most beautiful, fragrant windows
– Start with the vegetables you eat the most like tomatoes (the tumbling kind for window boxes) and lettuce and you’ll notice the difference in taste straight away
– Root vegetables like beetroot and chard and really easy to grow and don’t need much attention. Plus it’s so easy to tell when they are ready as the pink or purple bulbs pop out of the soil

Top five vegetables to grow in window boxes

– Lettuce – Cut and Come Again varieties can be harvested over and over again straight from your kitchen window to your plate throughout the summer
– Radishes – some of the easiest vegetables to look after, these take just five weeks to grow into crisp and peppery mouthfuls
– Beetroot – hardy and reliable, deep pink beetroot not only looks pretty on a summer plate but its leaves and young shoots in salads are deliciously sweet
– Rainbow chard – this plant is beautiful, delicious and versatile – the multicoloured stalks can be used to brighten up salads along with the young, tender leaves. Mature chard makes a tasty steamed green similar to spinach
– Creeping rosemary – a fragrant herb that goes really well with Mediterranean flavours. It’s especially pretty when the flowers are blooming and its long curling branches spill over the edges of your window box. Add a handful of sprigs to burning coal for an aromatic barbeque.

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