This week in the garden, we will be taking more semi-ripe cuttings from various plants around the garden including the passion flower in the lower greenhouse, (which is an exotic evergreen climber with very ornate and beautiful flowers), the lemon verbena bushes in the herb garden, an attractive Jasmine in the sensory bed, and some Abelia x grandiflora. By making these cuttings, we hope to build up a range of more unusual plants for sale in our shop next year.

Sadly, last week we had to pull up all our tomato plants and harvest all the unripe tomatoes they were carrying as this is the only way to stop the tomato blight from spreading. The unripe tomatoes have been put in the lower greenhouse to ripen.

Tomato blight (Phytophthora infestans) can kill a plant within a week. It’s the same fungus that causes potato blight, so if you find blight on your tomatoes, it’s extremely likely it will appear on your potatoes. Phytophthora infestans is the fungus that blighted the potatotes during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-49.

Tomato blight and potato blight are both spread by airborne spores that can be carried over 30 miles on the wind. It is most prevalent when conditions are warm, wet and windy, which is exactly the weather we have been having! Outdoor tomatoes are more susceptible to blight than those growing in a greenhouse and so far all our greenhouse tomatoes – and other tomatoes around the garden –  seem fine. Fingers crossed.

When affected by blight, tomato plants develop brown sunken spots on their leaves and if you do not take action fast these can quickly spread to stems and fruits and the crop is quickly ruined. If you harvest the tomatoes early as green tomatoes, you may be able to save some of your crop.

There are loads of ways to eat green tomatoes.  We have recently fermented them in a salt brine with BPCG garlic, horseradish, sage and thyme. They are delicious and on sale at the BPCG shop!

It has been very windy during the past week so there are windfall apples to collect from the orchard floor. There are also plenty of raspberries to pick.

We are hoping for a clear August night for our BPCG volunteer and supporter party on Saturday 14th August 7pm to 11pm. But whatever the weather, we really hope you can come as it’s going to be a great evening with plenty of food, music, drink and chat.

For music, we are delighted that we have the fabulous musician Aerside as our DJ for the evening playing a mix of mellow & mellifluous sounds. For food and drink, it’s a pot luck bring a dish +/ a bottle – and we are also going to enjoy Pale Ale from Brockley Brewery. For your food offering, please be sure to label it saying what it is and what ingredients are in it, and if it is meat/ vegan/vegetarian. Thanks! For chat, well that’s down to us all! It will be lovely for us all to get a chance to catch up.

This is a free event but please do book a place with a ticket below so we know how many people we’re expecting. Booking is here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/2021-volunteer-party/

The following evening on Sunday 15th August it’s another Mambista Gig at the Community Greenhouses with wonderful Brazilian group, Alvorado.  If you are free and able to volunteer for some time between 5pm and 11pm, please get in touch with Kate on director@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk  You could help with setting up for the gig, mixing and / selling drinks, checking off people at the gate, clearing up at the end of the evening.  Your help would be most welcome – no need to stay for the whole thing – just let Kate know what you could do.  

On Saturday 21st August from 5.30pm, the Young Propagators Society are holding an evening of talks and discussion with creative urban activist and community gardener Carole Wright (founder of Blak Outside) and writer, natural historian and Kew-trained horticulturalist Richard Choksey.  Book here to come https://www.youngpropsoc.com/event-details/roots-radicles-1  
We could also do with volunteers to help set up from 4.30pm, during and after the event. If you can help, please email Steph on stephanieprior@live.co.uk