In the garden, last week we planted out our cordon tomatoes in the raised beds below the lower greenhouse. In all we have planted around 90 tomato plants and they include a variety of different coloured tomatoes ranging through red, orange, indigo, yellow, green stripy, and red with orange stripes with the splendid names of Indigo Cherry Drops, Moonglow, Golden Crown, Shirley, Sungold, Green Zebra, Gardener’s Delight, Tigerella, and Marmalade.
One of the classifications you will often see on seed packets of cordon tomatoes is ‘indeterminate’, which refers to their growth habit and means that they will grow to an indeterminate height, ie tall. Tall can be up to 200cm or more depending on when you pinch out the leading shoot. We pinch out the leading shoots after the plants have produced 5 to 6 good fruiting trusses. In this way we can encourage the plants to focus their energy on producing fewer good sized fruits rather than a lot of very small fruit, some of which may not have time to ripen before the cooler autumn weather arrives.
Cordon tomato plants can become very heavy when laden with fruit. We have put in temporary bamboo stakes to support each plant for the time being. However this week we will be making much sturdier wooden stakes which will be needed to support the plants when they are laden with fruit.
The opposite of the indeterminate type is the determinate type which is also referred to as either bush or dwarf tomatoes, and these are of a shorter ‘determinate’ height. We are growing two varieties of bush tomatoes in these beds – First in the Field and Golden Grape. Bush tomatoes are easier to care for than cordons because they do not need to have any side shoots removed and also no action needs to be taken to determine their eventual height which is usually 50cm or less.
Our tomatoes will need weekly feeding with an organic seaweed feed which is high in potassium. High Potassium feeds support flowering and fruiting plants. The cordon tomatoes will also need regular side shoot removal which must be done carefully to ensure that the plants’ stems are not damaged.
This week will be moving our aubergines from the upper greenhouse to their new home in the passive greenhouse. This is the smallest of our greenhouses, which is sited against the heritage wall so it gets lovely and warm in the summer. Aubergines enjoy heat so the passive greenhouse should be ideal for them as long as we set up a suitable automated watering system to ensure they have sufficient water. We will be testing out this watering / misting system this week.
In the upper greenhouse our squash plants are developing nicely. In about three weeks time when they are nice sturdy plants we will plant them out into the squash bed. In the meantime the squash bed (which is next to the wildflower meadow,) has been prepared and the green field beans which we grew there as a winter cover crop have been cut down, chopped up and dug into the bed to make the soil high in the nutrients needed for health plant growth.
We will be sowing more herbs in pots in order to keep our shop supplied with a delicious continuous stock of herbs. These include parsley, three types of basil and dill.
We still need more bags and boxes so please save and bring in to BPCG any spare carrier bags (plastic or strong paper ones) or flatpacked small to medium sized cardboard boxes. We need them for people to take plants and produce home from the shop. Thank you!
As part of our Windows to Nature project – where we’ve added cameras to bird-boxes and wildlife runs across the site – we are looking for BPCG volunteers who are interested in nature/wildlife photography and film and would like to help us share our access to urban wildlife with our community.
We’re running a 2-session workshop steered by Lead Volunteer Joshua to talk about the kind of digital skills we need, how to spot and snap wildlife at the Greenhouses and in the wider world, and the very basics of video editing and project work. We still have a few spaces on both days if you wish to sign up via the spreadsheet here (if you’re yet to have a BPCG induction, please note it on the spreadsheet): https://docs.google.com/
In other BPCG news, don’t miss Yoga with Sally on the decking every Saturday (except the last Saturday of the month). 11am to 12.30 and 2 to 3.30pm. For more details go here
And we are happy to have Jelena Oblutak back running her brilliant Fermentation workshops again. Her first one is on Saturday May 29th 2.30 to 5pm and you’ll be learning to make Sauerkraut and Rhubarb Hot Sauce which is truly delicious. For more details and to book, go here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/fermentation-workshop-for-may/ If you can’t make this one, the next will be on Saturday 26th June 2.30 to 5pm. Booking is here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/fermentation-workshop-in-june/
Our children’s activities are taking off again with primary schools, groups of toddlers, nurseries and home schoolers all visiting weekly. We are also running half term workshops again and our Wednesday one on June 2nd – ‘Into the Wild’ for 5 to 8 year old children – still has a few tickets. For more details and to book go here There are also a few tickets left for our June outdoor Story Stompers sessions for under 3s which happen every Tuesdays at 9.30 to 10.30am. To book go here
In other news, Streatham Community Gardens are recruiting a gardener to run their Sunday sessions. For more details go here https://www.environmentjob.co.uk/jobs/80921-community-gardener
The Garden Museum are launching a new project exploring the history of the gardening cultures and traditions that Caribbean people carried with them when they moved to the UK after WWII. This intergenerational project will bring together 6th form students and Windrush generation gardeners from South London through interviews and photography. The resulting oral histories will form the basis of a free exhibition, events program, and an inaugural archive of Caribbean gardening heritage at the Garden Museum. The Museum are recruiting 6th form students or young people between the ages of 16-18 from schools and youth organizations across the borough of Lambeth and Southwark and are particularly keen to engage with students who have an interest in media, art, and history. If you would like to be involved or know of others who would be, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com