Physalis and a Wassailing Tune

In the greenhouse this week, we will be potting up the first batch of tomato seedlings that are now large enough to be moved from their wee modules into pots. Once potted up, we will keep the tomatoes in our cooler wooden propagator. It’s about 5C less hot than the germination progagator. 

All this potting up will create some space in the germination propagator so we can sow more seeds. Hurrah! This week it’s the turn of four different varieties of Physalis: Physalis ‘Mexican Green Husk’, Physalis peruviana or Cape gooseberry, Physalis ixocarpa or Purple tomatillo, and Physalis philadelphia or Tomatillo ‘Super Verde’. The seeds need to be sown at 20-25 degrees and like humid conditions to germinate.

Physalis belongs to the Solanaceae family, (as do tomatoes, potatoes aubergines and chilli peppers to name but a few family members,) and they will form part of this year’s Solanaceae exhibition in the Lower Garden.

Most species of Physalis are indigenous to the Americas. A notable feature of the species is its formation of a large, papery husk which partly encloses the small yellowy-orange fruit which is similar in size, shape, and structure to a small cherry tomato.  

Physalis go by many common names which can be a bit confusing!  Many species are called groundcherries. Physalis peruviana is sometimes known as the Inca berry, sometimes as Cape gooseberry (but don’t confuse it with gooseberries of the genus Ribes!) And then tomatillo is quite often used too – meaning “little tomato” in Spanish. But never mind the names, we will be looking forward to peeling back their pretty husks and sampling their gorgeous sharp, tangy sweetness around August / September!

In other BPCG news, it’s really cold to go out for long and you can definitely let yourself watch a little day time TV! So, if you haven’t already, or fancy some nostalgia, catch us on on BBC 1 at 15.45 today (Wednesday) or later on Iplayer, in the Farmer’s Country Showdown when you can see BPCG getting ready for the Lambeth Country Show in 2019.

Yesterday evening, Sue Stuart Smith gave a wonderful presentation on her book ‘The Well-Gardened Mind’.  If you missed it, and would like to catch up, the recording will soon be on www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/category/online-talk/ for a month. The book itself is widely available and you can find it here at bookshop.org an online outlet that supports independent bookshops. https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-well-gardened-mind-rediscovering-nature-in-the-modern-world/9780008100711

For those who’d prefer to listen than read, there is also an Audible edition of The Well Gardened Mind with Sue reading the whole book.

Normally, around this time of year, we would have wassailed our orchard fruit trees with the help of the fantastic Appleheads. Undaunted, The Appleheads thought our fruit trees might be missing them, so they have recorded this song for us to play in our orchard – or to any trees you fancy!  https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/appleheads-old-apple-tree/  

In other news Organic Lea are looking for 9 people to fill our trainee roles for 2021. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the Organiclea community and take on a specific area or learning and responsibility. For more details go here https://www.organiclea.org.uk/2021/02/trainee-roles-2021/

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