This week in the garden,

As the colder weather arrives and we experience the first frosts it is time to harvest our Oca (Oxalis tuberosa ). This is a vegetable that originated in the Andes, South America. The plant was traditionally cultivated for its tubers, which are used as a root vegetable. The tubers are long and round with ‘eyes’ like potato tubers and they come in a range of colours including yellow, orange, pink, and red.

We have been growing Oca just inside our entrance gate. It has an attractive leaf that is made up of three heart shaped lobes that join in the centre, a bit like a clover leaf. In the growing season Oca makes a good ground cover plant. In autumn the Oca tubers grow most rapidly because their job is to store up energy for the plant to be used in next year’s growth. This is why we wait as long as possible before harvesting the Oca tubers, ideally after the first light frost. The tubers are very near the soil’s surface and are easy to dig up. After harvesting the tubers, we will keep a few back and overwinter these in the greenhouses in large pots of dryish compost ready to plant out in the spring for next year’s crop.

What can you do with Oca? Oca tubers have a consistency similar to water chestnuts, slightly crunchy and they have a lightly citric favour. There are very tasty eaten raw in salads of baked in the oven. See here for more ideas on exciting recipes using Oca.

There is a second South America vegetable that we will be harvesting this week. It is Yacon and is a distant relatives of sunflowers, with very attractive arrow head shaped leaves. Yacon produces large edible tubers that can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. The tubers look like sweet potatoes.  If you are interested in growing and cooking Yacon check out this link.

Other jobs in the garden this week are: planting in pots a selection of different varieties of dwarf Narcissi in the hope that we will be able to get them to flower by Christmas.

Via Lara from Lambeth, we have been donated some rather splendid, very comfortable wooden garden chairs. We will be sanding them down and applying teak oil to help preserve them.

We are renewing, repairing and replacing many of our garden signs as well as making new ones. If you enjoy ‘sign writing / calligraphy’ then your skills could come in useful to assist us with making our garden signs look really good for the coming year.

This Sunday November 4th from 11am – 12.30pm we have the second in our new series of Edible Garden workshops. This week Cat will be looking at winter soil preparation for your garden and how to choose a fruit tree. Some factors that are important to consider in your choice of fruit trees include, different rootstocks and the qualities they bestow upon the trees, and how to maintain your trees through-out the year so they produce good fruits year after year. There are still 6 free tickets left. So do book on the website

In other BPCG news

On Friday November 9th  7pm to 10pm, the Nest Collective are putting on a Gig at the Greenhouses with Germa Adan and Merlyn Driver.  This will be fabulous music. Please find out more and book here

Note that now that the clocks have gone back, Thursday to Sunday we will be closing at 4pm, not 5pm.

Trustees will be meeting on Wednesday 14th November. Board papers will be circulated on 7th November so if anyone wants to attend could they let Chris know before then.

Looking forward to seeing you all in the gardens soon.