potatoes, seeds, fire and gigs

This week, there is plenty to do on every volunteer day so do come along whenever suits you Thursday through to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Sunday April 7th  looks particularly busy!

11am to 1pm,  Cat is holding her Edible Garden Workshop.   This is a free workshop but please book so she knows you are coming. We will be sowing seeds of edible and ornamental annuals in modules.  We will also be pricking out and potting on seedlings.  Cat will help you get super brave and competent at doing this. Practice makes perfect!

10am to 2.30pm,  there is still a place to learn Cooking With Fire with Chris.  Learn how to manage the cob oven to get it up to temperature to cook fabulous pizzas and bread! If you are interested, please contact Chris on chair@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk

And finally on Sunday April 7th, if you can help set up, sell refreshments and/ or clear up after our sold out gig with Faith i Branko on Sunday 7th April that would be fantastic. Meet at 2pm.  Clear up by 9pm.

Our outdoor sowings now also begin in earnest. We have planted up a seed bed with brassicas, and it is important to make sure that these are regularly watered because small seedlings are vulnerable! Soon we will be sowing peas, planting onion sets and much more.

It is time to plant our seed potatoes. ‘Seed potatoes’ is a funny term, as they are actually tubers not seeds. Tubers are enlarged structures which some plants produce to use as storage organs for nutrients. Common plants with stem tubers include potatoes and yams.

Potatoes do in fact produce seeds, but we do not grow them from seed because they do not grow true. This means that we would not know the parentage of potatoes seeds, and the potatoes that grew from such seeds would have unknown characteristics and may or may not have good flavour!

Also, whilst it is theoretically possible to plant any old shop bought potato and grow plants from them, this is not recommended. Non-organic potatoes may be treated with a growth inhibitor to help them keep longer and prevent them from sprouting. This is not a quality we want for our seed potatoes! We want them to sprout.

We also want to be 100% sure that our seed potatoes are disease free and this rules out growing from shop bought potatoes and instead buying certified seed potatoes. Because potatoes are propagated vegetatively, any diseases from the previous year will be carried over in the potato tuber when it grows the following year – this should never happen with certified seed potatoes.

The seed potato varieties we will be planting this week are Apache, Anya, Pink Fir Apple and Purple Majesty.

Another job in the garden this week will be painting what will become our ‘new’ garden tool container. This shipping container is not new, it is in fact old and in need of a little preservation which is why we will be painting the inside to help preserve its fabric. Once this has been done, we will be keeping all the garden tools in this one place, and hopefully this will make it easier for you to find the tools you need!

In other news, we are very pleased to be working with Seonaid Royall of Sprout Up on her wonderful ‘Believe In Tomorrow’ RHS garden. As part of this project, local pupils will attend sessions at Brockwell Greenhouses, and plant seeds for the RHS show garden at Hampton Court Flower Show. You can find out more about this fantastic project here and donate to Seonaid’s crowdfunding campaign.

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