This week in the garden, we are now just over a week away from the summer solstice, (officially 21st June) the point in the year when the hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere reach their longest, before beginning their gradual decline through to mid-winter when we are in the reverse position with the longest night and the shortest daylight hours.
Many gardeners are aware of how the increased amount of daylight affects plant growth and more particularly flowering. However more intriguing still is the fact that many plants notice this change in day length too. They use a photoreceptor protein, (such as phytochrome or cryptochrome,) to sense seasonal changes in night length, and this is a way of setting their biological clocks enabling them to know when to flower. This mechanism is called photoperiodism.
There are three sorts of photoperiodism, short-day plants, day-neutral and long-day plants. A ‘short-day’ plant requires a long period of darkness to form flowers and will only flower when day length is less than about 12 hours. Many spring and autumn flowering plants are short day-plants, including chrysanthemums, poinsettias and Christmas cactus. A day-neutral plant is one that flowers regardless of the varying day length it is exposed to. Rice, corn, and cucumbers are all day-neutral plants. A long-day plant flowers only after being exposed to light periods longer than a certain critical length. Summer spinach, lettuce, and some varieties of wheat are long-day plants.
Jobs in the garden, we will be tidying the upper greenhouses, taking away and storing the propagators and setting up nets and plant supports for the cucumbers and melons which we are growing there.
There is Swiss chard, and spinach ready for harvesting in the upper four crop. Volunteers please eat your greens!
We will sow more fast growing salad crops such as lettuce and radishes in the lower four crop beds. Watering and weeding around the garden is needed as usual.
In other BPCG news,
On this Sunday 17th June, 6pm to 9.30pm, there’s a Gig in the Greenhouses by Ewan Mclennan and the Norfolk Broads. Book yourself a ticket here
And do check out the other great gigs coming up with Iyatraquartet on 1st July and Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith on 8th July
On this Saturday June 16th 11.30 to 1.15pm, there are still tickets left for Jar and Fern’s Demijohn Terrarium workshop at the Greenhouses. Book here
On Sunday June 24th 11am to 12.30pm, you can learn how to take semi-ripe cuttings with Cat. This is a free and fantastically useful workshop. Highly recommended. Book here
On Sunday June 24th 12.45 to 2.30pm, don’t forget that we have our end of the month £3 pizzas. Book here
On Saturday June 30th 11am to 2pm, Diane Sullock and Penny Walsh are running a Natural Dye workshop when they will teach you environmentally sound methods of the preparation and use of plant dyes on a variety of small fabric and yarn samples. There are still a few tickets left for this fascinating session. Book here