Edible Landscapes Leaves II

Following on from our salad bag idea, we put in an application to the Haringey Council 40:20 fund to test our leaves and soil - and we were successful! Our application said, "We plan on launching 'Edible Landscapes Leaves' salad bags in Spring 2016 for the local organic veg supplier, Crop Drop. These would be a more sustainable salad bag than those currently on offer, because the leaves will be from perennial plants. Growing perennial varieties avoids annual tillage, provides edible leaves all year round and brings a whole host of ecological benefits. However, before we start supplying salad bags, we need to ensure our produce is safe to eat.

We want to test plants (washed and unwashed) at three sites in Finsbury Park: the existing ELL location, the Manor House Lodge site and near the centre of the park. This will help inform our decision about where we should plant and harvest leaves. We want to take 5 plant samples (washed and unwashed) from each site and test them for trace metals and major cations, as well as carrying out some soil tests."

Taking the Samples

Jo Homan, Richard Vials, Vicky Lewis, Mo Barry and Patrick Maher collected leaf and soil samples on Friday 29th January. A spreadsheet listing all the soil and leaf samples we took is pictured here and attached below.

Plants We chose plants that were known to take up and accumulate different minerals and tried to make things comparable between the sites. We managed to find examples of rose plants on all three sites. Lilies were located at the rosebed and Manor House lodge. At ELL we grow Sorrel and Three Cornered Leek. These can be compared to the Dock and Chinese Chives found at Manor House Lodge.  We also wanted to wash some of the samples to see if there was any difference in what was deposits may be left on the leaves. In the end we collected 14 different plants and sent unwashed samples of nine of these. Each plant sample weighed 20g and was stored in a fridge bag, labelled with permanent marker.

Soil We took six soil samples to find out the main pollutants. This will inform our choice of soil remediating plant. Soil samples weighed 200g and were taken from below the mulch level, approximately 10cm below the true surface of the soil.

Pictured below are Vicky taking leaves from the showcase bed at ELL, Mo and Patrick taking a soil sample from Manor House Lodge, a close up of a soil sample being taken and Vicky, Patrick and Richard taking samples from the rosebed in Finsbury Park.

The samples will be sent off to Forest Research.