This week in the garden now that the autumn has begun you may have noticed beyond our (cut back) perennial meadow the large vegetable bed which was a jungle of squash leaves only a month ago. Now the leaves are dying back to reveal the ‘fruit’ that has been hidden underneath. These are winter squashes and a fruit not a vegetable. From a botanist’s perspective, this kind of fruit is called a ‘pepo’ a type of hard-walled berry. Cucumbers, melons, and marrows are all also ‘pepo’. This berry has many seeds contained in a single central chamber. When scooping out the fruit you may consider seed saving and drying the seeds for use next year, or roasting the seeds to make delicious snacks.

If on the other hand you want to save your squash seed for growing next year it is important to allow a few extra weeks after picking the fruit for the seeds to mature inside the fruit, to plump up and ripen fully. Squashes are very attractive to pollinating insects and are easily cross pollinated. (If you do not want your plants to cross pollinate you may need to pollinate them yourself by hand.)

See how many different kinds of squashes you can see in our gardens! There are dark green and creamy white ‘Acorn’ squashes plus other varieties too. It is sometimes tricky to know when a squashes or pumpkin is ready to harvest. One good test that shows if a squash is ripe and ready to harvest is if the rind is hard and is scratched but not easily punctured by poking at it with your fingernail. The colour of the squash should also look even and no longer shiny.

We will also be saving our squashes for our Squash Roast Up that is coming up on 29th September at 1pm. Book your £3 ticket here

In the meantime just to whet your appetites you can try out this squash recipe or this one.

Elsewhere in the garden there are apples to harvest, as well as chard, salad greens, radishes, and the grapes in the greenhouse are almost ready too!  We will finish tidying the area beside the bee hives ready for putting up the bee and butterfly mural.

We will be finishing the preparation of the meadow by weeding out the worst of the perennial weeds, then sowing yellow rattle to suppress the Couch grass. The damaged top third of the meadow we will re-sow in spring with a seed mix containing Rudbeckia hirta, Buphthalmum salicifolium, Echium vulgare, Achillea millefolium, Anthemis tinctoria, and Erygium planum.

This Sunday as part of our routine tidy up for the end of the community gardening week we will be cleaning and tidying the kitchen.

In other BPCG News,

On Wednesday 12th September at 6.30pm, there will be a trustee meeting. Trustee meetings are open to all and if you’d like to attend please reply to this email.

On Saturday 15th September at 10.30am to 12pm, there’s a September Scramble for kids. Come and join us as we search for the first signs of autumn looking at sage, seeds and sunflowers!  Make a herb posie and leaf print in clay!  Book here.

On Sunday 16th September at 11.30 there is a herbalism workshop with artist and founder of the community foraging project Collective Plant, Zsófia Szonja Illés. If you would like to go to it, please book here

Zsofi will explain how to dry, store, blend and brew herbs for teas. Experiment with different combinations in the workshop (there will be blends for cold and flue and for relaxation), taste as you go and then take your very own herbal tea blend home to enjoy. The Herbalism Workshop is part of Brixton Design Trail’s creative community events.

Also on the 16th September, at 6pm Gig@the greenhouses presents Raka who play traditional music from the Balkans. The name comes from a traditional Bulgarian dance the ‘Raka,’ full of leg kicks, clicking heels and hands held high, the unmistakable groove of a ‘Raka‘ which brings everyone to their feet. The music has a strong focus in the folk traditions of Bulgaria and Macedonia, as well as the Romani music that span far and wide across the Balkans. Get your dancing boots on and book here. Drinks and snacks will be available.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in the garden soon.