Red Veg, Green Toms, Home Schooling

This week in the garden

We will be harvesting our outdoors tomatoes and clearing the bed for the autumn. Despite the hot summer there remain a lot of tomatoes that have still not ripened on the vine. We may use these to make a batch of green tomato chutney, but we will also try an experiment to see if we can ripen the tomatoes by other means. We will trick the tomatoes into thinking that it is time to ripen by using a naturally occurring plant hormone ethylene. Ethylene is produced by plants to regulate the opening of flowers, and stimulate the ripening of fruit. This is the gas that is used commercially with tomatoes and other fruits that are picked green before shipping and then ripened for sale. Although this all sounds very artificial and often leads to rather bland-tasting produce, ethylene is actually naturally released by ripening fruits such as bananas, apples and tomatoes. So by placing a ripe banana or apple in a paper bag with some green tomatoes (in an enclosed space to prevent the ethylene gas from escaping) this should help speed up the ripening process as the tomatoes ‘read’ the ripening chemical signal from the ripe apple or banana and decide to ripen. Let’s see what happens!

You may have noticed that the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. If you have a pond or a mini pond which is near deciduous trees, this is the time to remove any fallen leaves from the pond, or in our case put a net over the pond to prevent a large quantity of leaves falling into the water. Generally the water in ponds stays fresher if it does not have a lot of decaying organic matter in it.  We will be stretching a net over our pond to prevent the leaves from the overhanging oak  and other trees from falling into the pond. Then once the trees have lost their leaves we can remove the net.

This is a good time of the year to plant bulbs for the spring. Generally you need to be careful with bulbs as they are prone to rotting if the soil conditions are too damp and not well enough drained. This is why bulbs often like to grow near the base of trees. These are well drained soils often known by gardeners as ‘dry shade’.

We will be planting anemones in the woodland in areas that are only lightly shady. Hopefully in time they will naturalise like the ones we planted previously near the woodland mulberry tree.

It is time to plan ahead for the next growing year.  The plan for the ‘upper four crop’, is to grow ‘Red Veg’.

Below are some ideas of what we could grow.  In the Brassica bed: Red kale, red cabbages and radicchio – a cultivated form of leaf chicory with white-veined red leaves. In the Roots bed: Red onions varieties, red kohlrabi, red beetroot, and red Desire potatoes and the red salad potato ‘pink fir apple’ in pots in this area.  In the Salads bed: Spinach equivalents of red orach and red amaranth, and there are a number of attractive varies of red lettuce, Red chard. Red lettuce varieties. Legumes: we are looking for some red varieties of peas and beans.

If you have ideas about other Red Veg we could grow please let Cat know on garden@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk or in person!

This Sunday will be the first of Cat’s workshop series ‘the Edible Garden’ where we look at what you should be doing at this time of the month to make your Garden Edible, 12 months of the year and using organic gardening methods. Do come and join us, 11am to 12.30pm. Feel free to stay on afterwards of course! Free but book here

In other BPCG news

Sunday 14th October, 5pm to 8pm, we are delighted to have Idumea Quartet playing for us.  Appalachian, Minimalist, Experimental, and really, really good.   There’s going to be Appalachian food and a Botanical Bar.
For more information, book here

October 31st, 10am to 12midday, Helen is doing a first session for home schoolers.  Read all about it here and if you know home schoolers who might be interested in this session and more in the future please get in touch with Helen on education@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk

This year Chris’ Border Workshop is going to remake the beds round the seating circle into an annual-based kitchen garden. This is intended to be a quick, cheap and easy garden to develop and we’ll be doing a planter and window boxes as well. There are very few places left here. This new kitchen garden will complement our perennial vegetable bed just above it.

Just behind this new kitchen garden our old tool shed is about to be converted into an office. This week or next you’ll notice holes being cut for windows.

We had an absolutely lovely report from the Mystery Shopper Judge at the Green Flag Awards. Do read!

His/her conclusion is fantastic!: ‘This is an absolutely delightful site and I was extremely impressed. It is a very successful community project and it obvious to see that all involved are very committed. If I lived in the area I would certainly want to be involved in this project. This was the highlight of my time in London judging green sites. Congratulations to everyone involved.’

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