This week in the garden,

If you enjoy garlic, then planting cloves of autumn garlic is an exciting thing to do at this time of the year. These are hardy varieties that don’t mind the winter’s cold. They will grow more slowly in the cooler temperatures of winter and because of the shorter winter days it is important to plant them where they will receive as much light as possible. We will be planting four different varieties in our Roots beds. They are Solent Wight, Provence Wight, Caulk Wight and Early Purple Wight. We will be planting the garlic cloves  3 to 4cm below the surface, root end down (pointy end up) with 15cm between plants. We will also be planting some garlic in pots as this is something you can do even when you only have a small garden. These garlics should be ready to harvest from mid-May onwards.

Garlic is also known as a companion plant. The practice of companion planting is used by organic gardeners because it is a low maintenance, easy way to improve the health and flavour of the garden. It also makes your garden look more attractive by introducing mixed planting. Companion planting uses the tendency of some plants to repel certain pests and we will be doing more of this in 2019. Here are some pairings you can make when you plan your garden such as tomatoes and borage, strawberries and Love-in-the -Mist, cauliflowers and Zinnias, brassicas and Nicotiana, and garlic and spinach. Garlic is a particularly useful companion plant because it takes up very little space and can grow in most conditions, as long as it has full sun. As a result, it will thrive near plenty of other plants that may have more specific growing needs and can benefit from its proximity. Tasty, pungent pest controller and economical with space – what’s not to like about garlic?

Other garden jobs this week include, sowing green manure, ‘winter tares’, on the old tomato bed. Planting the autumn shallot ‘Jermor’ and autumn onion sets of ‘Radar’ in the Roots bed. Weeding the front borders and the area along the fence boundary with the park in preparation for transplanting the Persicaria plants we lifted last week. This should make an attractive boundary between our garden and the rest of the park and these plants will add a touch of late autumn colour with their red flowers. Lastly for those of you who enjoy a work out in the garden there is still half a load of manure that needs to be moved into our compost bays!

And…. Can you help out with our last Pizza Day this Sunday 21st October? From 11am to 3pm.  If you can only spare an hour or two in that time slot, that’s still helpful!  It will involve dough weighing and rolling, pizza topping and serving and clearing up afterwards.  And you are guaranteed a delicious sour dough pizza yourself too of course and lots of chat and fun!  Please email if you can help. Many thanks.

In BPCG Kids’ News

Half term starts on 22nd October and Helen and Cathy are offering a great range of children’s workshops. There are still a few places left for Fermenting Fun, Autumn Explorers, Nuts about Seeds and Sensory Explorers. To book, go here

On October 31st, 10am to 12midday, Helen is doing a first session for home schoolers.  Read all about it here and if you know home schoolers who might be interested in this session and more in the future please get in touch with Helen on

And Helen and Cathy are looking for volunteers to help on their kids’ programme so if you think you – or you know of another – who would enjoy engaging with youngsters as they go on exciting and creative green adventures at BPCG, please do get in touch with Helen on   Volunteering in our kids’ programme is a great way of starting a career in outdoors education or primary school teaching. It’s also lovely for the older generation who maybe missing contact with small ones!  Normal days are Mon, Tues and Wed and alternate Sat mornings.