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Seasonal changes on our rooftop garden

In celebration of Urban Food Fortnight, we are exploring what the changing seasons means for life on our rooftop garden.

We were on the rooftop garden this week catching up with our gardener to see what’s new and interesting.

The temperature of the garden plays a key factor in the plants’ pattern of behavior but the biggest factor is actually the amount of daylight that it receives. As winter is fast approaching we are losing a few minutes of daylight each and every day. It is during this transition that our garden must be prepped for the change in seasons.

All of the annual plants such as quinoa and wild rocket are being removed to make way for some more seasonal plants including endive, red Russian kale and winter purslane, which is the perfect rooftop vegetable and tastes really sweet and succulent.

Interesting fact: When Wild Rocket starts to produce flowers, the energy used in this process makes the leaves begin to deplete and taste bitter which indicates that it is time for the plant to be removed!

Our beautiful Heartsease flowers (viola tricolor) are usually an annual plant but due to them being positioned next to the warm extractor fans on our rooftop they have survived this year due to the extra heat.

Wild garlic, the wild sister of chives, has also been planted and will start sprouting around January or February. All of the perennial plants (those that live for more than 2 years), such as the fennel, lavender and lemon verbena, are being trimmed and pruned to encourage plentiful growth in the spring.

The rosemary is currently in bloom again, and with it being positioned right next to the beehive, the bees have been foraging the nectar from its flowers. This means that when we receive the honey that the bees produced on our rooftop, it should have a really floral taste, possibly even a rosemary flavour.

Interesting fact: Varroa mites are the biggest threat to beehives. The mites suck the blood from the adults and their developing brood, making the adult bee weak and the brood emerge deformed. Thyme is a natural pesticide as it contains thymol so we use it on our organic rooftop garden to deter varroa mites instead of using harsh, unnatural chemicals.

We will head back to the garden again in a few weeks to see what winter plants have arrived, and to try a sample of our beautiful floral honey!

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