Harvest time in the garden is upon us. Last week we began to harvest chard leaves, and this week we will harvest our onions and garlics which we planted in the same vegetable bed in rows next to each other. It is easy to tell the difference between onions and garlic by their leaves. Onion leaves are round and hollow, while garlic leaves are flat.
Onions are ready to harvest when the bulbs are big and their tops begin to fall over and turn yellow. The onions were planted in the autumn in the lower vegetable bed nearest to the cob oven. There are three varieties of onions, Snowball (white), Electric (purple), Radar (yellow). We will be pulling these up carefully, shaking off the soil and laying them out to cure for a week or two in a warm, dry, well ventilated space. Generally we find the back of the upper greenhouse is a good place to do this. As the onions ‘cure’ their roots shrivel up and the necks of the bulbs dry slowly. This is a natural process that seals the top of the bulb, which in turn helps prevent the onions from rotting. Once the onions have dried it is easy to remove any soil still attached to them without taking off their papery skins. Then they are ready to be stored in a cool dry place to store.
In Autumn, we planted three varieties of garlic, Provence White, Caulk White and Elephant Garlic and they are ready to harvest from the end of June. (Garlic planted in the Spring is ready to harvest in July, August and September.) Ours are all Autumn garlic varieties. Very similar to onions, garlic should be harvested when its leaves start to turn yellow. We will ‘cure’ the bulbs for two weeks.
As for successional plantings, we aim to keep our vegetables beds in use for two plantings per year. So once the onions and garlics have been harvested it is time for us to prepare the bed ready to directly sow Moolis (a root veg that grew very well for us last year.) Mooli (Raphanus sativus) is a mild-flavoured winter radish characterised by fast-growing leaves and a long, white root. It’s a favourite of fermenters and Jelena Belgrave who runs our Fermentation workshops at BPCG will certainly be pouncing on the Moolis once they are ready. (Jelena’s next workshop is on July 10th – for more info and to book go here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/fermentation-workshop-3/)
We have also started off some leeks in pots which will later be planted out into this bed once they have grown to about pencil thickness.
Other garden jobs for this week include putting in the large wooden stakes to support the cordon tomatoes which are growing rapidly and in urgent need of extra support.
In other BPCG news, Sarah our Secretary to the board of trustees, will be retiring at the next AGM in September 2021 after three years in the role and we are looking for a candidate to replace her. If you’re interested in this role, you can read a description of it here
In other news, there’s a second chance to see the excellent exhibition ‘From Where I’m Standing’ a photography and audio account of health workers’ and others’ record of life during the pandemic. It’s open at Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, London, SE5 7SB from 1st July to 18th August.
Compliments of the House (CoTH) a registered charity that collects fresh, surplus food and gives it to people in need, for free are conducting research on food waste potentially being caused by confusion around date labelling. They have requested us to take part in this survey which asks 5 simple questions: https://sjte5tdw6d1.typeform.