This week in the garden, we will be summer pruning our apple and pears trees and looking at how summer pruning can be used to promote the development of more flower buds, which in turn leads to an increased yield of fruit the following year. This is possible because fruit tree buds can be either leaf buds or fruit buds, and there is some flexibility as to which way they develop, depending on their position on the tree, and on the tree’s responses to our pruning techniques.

To begin with it is important to understand the difference between summer pruning and winter pruning as they have different effects on the growth of the tree.

Apple and pear trees are deciduous which means that they drop their leaves in winter. This leaf fall is accompanied by other physiological changes in the tree, such as the sap sinking into the roots. The sap, (the sugary substance trees make through the process of photosynthesis) is where the tree’s energy is stored. During the winter, deciduous trees store their energy in their roots, as they wait for the harsher winter weather to pass, before allowing their sap to rise in the spring ready for the new season’s growth. Once spring arrives, and the tree bursts into leaf, most of the tree’s energy is to be found in the leafy canopy.

When we summer prune, we are removing parts of the leafy canopy, (the source of the tree’s energy) and as a result the tree goes into insurance mode and starts to convert leaf buds into flower buds. As a general rule, when plants become stressed they respond by preparing for future generations and this is done through producing flowers and fruit which contain seeds. This is why, if we want to have more fruit on our trees we summer prune them, and pruning at this time of the year stimulates the tree to produce a larger proportion of flower to leaf buds.

Conversely winter pruning does not effect the amount of energy / sugars stored in the tree’s roots. However it does mean that this same amount of energy has fewer woody trunks to support in spring which results in the tree putting on a big growth spurt in response to winter pruning. The harder you winter prune a tree the more vigorous new growth you get. This is why winter pruning can be used to stimulate a tree into producing new branches.

We will be cutting back strong shoots this summer in order to produce new fruiting wood.

Other garden jobs this week include harvesting our raspberries, beetroots and carrots as well as watering, feeding and weeding our other garden plants.

In other BPCG news, do come to our Harvest Fete on Sunday September 12th 12.30pm to 5pm- and tell your friends about it too! There’s going to be great food, folk dance and music, traditional crafting and games. More information and booking is here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/harvest-fete/

If you’re interested in helping to cook in the cob oven for this event please contact Chris by replying to this email. If you’re not so much of a cook but would like to help with other activities on the day, contact Kate on kate@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk

The new term for our Thursday plant propagation and Friday site maintenance teams starts next week. If you can commit to 6 weeks of volunteering at the same time each week and are interested to join please contact Chris by replying to this email.

As part of our Windows to Nature project, join Joshua for a workshop on Saturday 16th October 11am to 3pm (with lunchbreak) on how to use BPCG as a resource for your own digital projects focusing on the environment. You’ll discuss technology and gear (or the lack of it), the best way to shoot plants and animals and hopefully find inspiration for your own projects or collaborations with other volunteers. Sign up here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_01og-7HR2Pp91PSF5GXEeLTUO1yBG_oeTjBkLzzCgU/edit?usp=sharing

In other news, there are 2 spaces now available on our resident yoga teacher’s Greek island retreat. Sun, sea and yoga with Sally on Zakynthos this September 18th – 25th September.  Top ratings on bookings.com
Great rates for BPCG people! Contact sallyconnecting@gmail.com    07973 689362

Last but not least, if you are interested in getting gardening work locally, contact local gardener, Paul Lupton (Garden Services) Paulalupton@aol.com  on 07833117241.  Paul says you should have your own basic equipment/tools, PPE and relevant gardening experience. Work would be flexible, mostly all year round and under instruction. The majority of work is for private clients, aiming for continuous garden improvement & project work. Renumeration rates will be dependent on relevant experience and qualifications.