In the garden the leaves are falling thick and fast, so a good way to keep warm now that the cooler weather has arrived is to rake up leaves!

With all these leaves on the ground, the question arises as to what to do with them? In the past we used one of our compost bays solely for composting tree leaves to make into leaf mould. The disadvantage of doing this is that some tree leaves can be very slow to breakdown needing as much as two years to fully decompose. As we only have limited composting space, this year we have decided to be mix quick-to-break down tree leaves into our compost. These are the leaves that have a lower  lignin level and are higher in calcium and nitrogen and include those from the following trees; ash, maple, fruit tree leaves, elder, willow and common walnut. These leaves will typically break down in about a year, and hopefully faster if we regularly turn our compost.

The leaves we will not put in our compost bays are the ones that have higher levels of lignin and are lower in nitrogen and calcium. These leaves include beech, oak, holly, sycamore, plane and sweet chestnut. We are working out a good place to compost these slow-to-break down leaves separately from our compost, and allow them the time they need to break down and become leaf mould for use as a mulch or soil conditioner two or three years down the line. Leafmould can also be used as a low nutrient potting mix or seed compost.  Chopping slow-to-break down leaves also speeds up their composting process.

With a view to keep our composting on course we will be making more signs for each of the many compost bays, so it is easier to follow exactly which stage the composting process has reached in each bay.

We have already cleaned the staging in the upper greenhouse but the lower greenhouse is having something of a snail and slug problem, so this week we will be giving it a good end of season clean.

We will continue with the brick laying that should improve the structure of our raised beds between the bee hives and the raspberry bed.

In other BPCG news, Our Zoom November Volunteer meeting this Thursday 25th November is being held at the revised slightly later time of 7pm.  The agenda is:  1. Interactive BPCG Map – short presentation and consultation by Clare Price https://aridelessordinary.co.uk/maps/BPCG/BPCG.html  2.Christmas party – when, what? 3. Saturday volunteering. 4. AOB.  The Zoom link for the meeting is here https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84757130809

Does anyone have a food processor, an electric nut grinder or a stick blender that you no longer need? If so, please let us know by replying to kate@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk!  We will put them to good use in our kitchen!

A call out from volunteer Clare Price who has made a BPCG interactive map to be presented at the Volunteer Meeting:  Calling any website designers or programmers out there!  As part of our ‘Windows to Nature’ project we are in the process of creating an interactive webmap using ‘Leaflet’, which is an opensource Java script library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. In order for it to go live it needs to be incorporated into the BPCG website (which is a WordPress template). It currently resides on my local drive as .html, .css & .js file.  I have loaded a simple version of the page onto https://aridelessordinary.co.uk/maps/BPCG/BPCG.html  If anybody has the requisite skills and would like to offer their help with this, please get in touch.

Workshops coming up – Jelena’s next Fermentation Workshop is on this Saturday November 27th 2pm to 4.30pm.  You’ll be fermenting seasonal ingredients including Water Kefir grains and can look forward to some fantastic flavours in the tasting sessions and from your own fermenting at the workshop. There are just a few places left.  Bookings are here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/fermentation-workshop-for-november-2/

Our Wreath and Xmas Decoration Making Workshops are now bookable on the website here. https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2021-11-16&tribe-bar-search=wreath
They are on the weekends of December 4th and 5th and on December 11th and 12th 11am to 3pm.  We have got some gorgeous foliage, seedheads and flowers for the workshops but if you come across any more natural ‘bounty’ like this over the next 4 weeks, that you think we could collect and use at the workshops, do let us know! Thank you!

In other news, there are a series of great sounding Lambeth based wellbeing workshops available to community sector volunteers. They are listed here  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-to-life-wellbeing-workshops-for-vcs-colleagues-in-brixton-tickets-205495401277

Loughborough Farm is seeking a manager. This community food growing project on Loughborough road is seeking a Manager to work alongside farm co-ordinator Emily Myers, on a 12 month contract.  Full details are on the LJAG website, at https://loughboroughjunction.org and the closing date for applications is 15 December, with interviews expected in early January.

Repowering London are seeking a Community Champion for Lambeth Community Solar, 2 days a week. This is a 12-month contract, starting in January and home-based.  The closing date for applications is 12 December, and for more details contact
https://www.repowering.org.uk/lambeth-community-solar-is-looking-for-a-community-champion/

Pines and Needles are back in Brockwell Park with their kilt wearing jolly staff and their Christmas trees grown on their own plantations in Scotland.  Do go down to their pop up Christmas tree store which is near the Herne Hill Gate from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 8am to 9pm on weekends if you want to get a Christmas Tree. Pines and Needles are kindly providing BPCG with offcuts from their trees for us to include in our Christmas  decorations and Wreaths.