cannas, supports, pizzas, better fridays and gigs

You can see all the garden jobs we are going to be doing over the month of April here. We put out our month’s job list at the beginning of every month so by the year end we should have a really good description of all the work we have done in the garden and of many of the plants that we have grown in 2019.

This week, at Thursday’s propagation workshop on 11 April we going to be potting on the next 120 Cannas. These have germinated in modules of 100% vermiculite at 28 degrees C. They are going to be gorgeous plants and are always really popular.  We love ‘em!  We’ll also be feeding both the Cannas and the Sunflowers with dilute seaweed extract. And we’ll be thinning celery seedlings – with a pair of tweezers!  With more sunflowers to sow (and keep off them this time you naughty mice!) and some other potting on there’s plenty to do, and plenty to learn about. All are welcome!

On Sunday 14 April Chris will be continuing the Kitchen Garden workshop with volunteers who are doing a fab job of transforming the borders around our seating circle into a lovely kitchen garden. We’ll be harvesting quite a lot of winter salad, weeding the seed rows and planting out spinach and edible flowers as well as a black currant.  Do come along if you are interested at 10.00am.

This week we are also going to be doing quite a bit with supporting our plants. Some vegetable plants are sturdy and can support themselves un-aided. Think of rhubarb with its thick stems, or kale with its woody stems. However, there are other vegetables which always need support, peas being a typical example. Pea plants have rather brittle stems which easily snap, and the taller varieties easily fall over leaving their pods on the ground to get muddy or attacked by passing slugs and snails. This week we will be making plant supports for our peas. Pea plants are not very heavy, and they have tendrils that will wrap around any support we offer them, so creating a net ‘wall’ using netting attached between stakes usually works well to support our pea plants.

Broad beans are sturdier but they do not have tendrils, so it is a question of staking each bean or row of beans. Being without tendrils, the bean plants themselves will not latch onto the stakes so we will have to secure them carefully with string.

We planted our broad beans in the autumn and now they are flowering. As soon as the young beans begin to form towards the base of the plant it’s time to ‘pinch out’ the growing tips at the top. To do this we look at the very top of the plant and remove the tip with two leaves attached. This ensures that the plant puts its energies into producing beans rather than growing more leaves. We can compost the bean tips or steam them as an edible leaf vegetable.

We will need more plant supports in May when we plant our climbing beans, pole beans and runner beans which all regularly grow to a height of 8 foot or more. To support these, we will need to construct much taller and stronger plant supports. The same is true for our cordon or vine tomato plants. These can be grown to five foot or so. Cat is running a Willow Weaving workshop on Sunday May 12th 1.30pm to 4pm when you can learn to make plant supports (and other things) from willow.

Last Sunday we did a lot of seed sowing in the upper four crop beds. To ensure good germination we will keep these seedbeds well-watered. We sowed pink striped Chioggi beetroot, two varieties of chard, Bright Lights  (rainbow coloured stems) and Charlotte (bright red stems ), salads, Mustard red frills and lettuce Moonred, Pea ‘Shiraz’ (Mangetout) and planted Red Arrow Onion sets. We have put wire mesh or horticultural fleece over these to protect them from possible damage by birds, and squirrels.

There is a little more work to be done on painting the inside of our new tool container. It is already looking much brighter with a coat of white paint on the inside walls. All we need to do now is paint the ceiling and then it is ready for us to start to organise tool storage in this space.

In other BPCG news

There are still a few pizza tickets left for Sunday’s pizza session on 14th April.  Book your £4 ticket now here

We had a fantastic first season Gig in the Greenhouse last Sunday with Faith i Branko.  Have a look and listen here and here.  And we are massively looking forward to our next Gig in the Greenhouse on Sunday 28th April with Doolally Tap 5pm to 8pm.  Book your tickets for this here.

On Friday April 26th, we are starting our Better Fridays Therapeutic Gardening group up again. It starts at  1pm when we will have a bring and share lunch, then we will do gentle gardening until 3.30pm and our tea break. If you or anyone you know would like to take part in this, please join Cathy on Friday afternoons. There is no need to book but you can find more details here.

 

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