RHS Level 5 Outstanding! and Autumn tasks

HUGE Congratulations to all our hard working volunteers and staff for gaining an outstanding level 5 (89/100)score  for the RHS London It’s Your Neighbourhood 2019 award.  The judge said BPCG is: “a wonderful place …that gives many people much pleasure…The volunteers are working on improving the second greenhouse that will be a great asset… Their work is excellent. It will have good ventilation, shelving and rain water collection…Environmentally the site is excellent as it has a passive greenhouse and well-ordered compost bins.”  THANK YOU AND HURRAH!

At the AGM on Sunday members elected 6 trustees: Liz Day, Antonia Gross, Derek Hoare, Alice Noakes,  Josh Piercey and David Roy. Members also elected Sarah Wales as Secretary, Andrew Oxley as Treasurer and Chris Smith as Chair. These 9 members form the executive committee for the coming year.  Thank you to all who came and for some gorgeous cakes! For those who couldn’t make it and would like to revisit the year 2018-19 do have a read of the Annual Report.

This week in the garden, we are really moving into Autumn now with the shortening days and cooler temperatures so it is time for us to take down the shade netting in the upper greenhouse. No high temperatures to protect the plants from now!

Harvesting this week includes: french beans, tomatoes, leeks, chard and kale.

The radish we sowed a couple of weeks ago have germinated. We should get a last harvest from them before the colder weather arrives.

This autumn we will be focussing on improving our composting. When clearing vegetable beds at the end of the season, we need to cut up material heading for the compost into lengths no bigger than 10 cm.  Smaller pieces speeds up the composting process, and makes the compost heaps easier to turn. We turn the heaps because this ensures that all the layers of compost get a good oxygen supply which is needed by the aerobic bacteria to break down the plant material into a lovely rich humus, the best quality of compost we can make.  This is what we then put back onto the garden to feed the soil.

It will not be long before the leaves start to fall from the trees. We will make separate leafmould compost from these. Once fully decayed, leaves make a great soil conditioner. The best quality leafmould is produced from the leaves of oak, beech or hornbeam.

How to make leaf mould: Make a square frame from chicken wire supported at the corners with stakes or bamboo canes. Ideally this should be in a sheltered part of the garden to ensure that the leaves are not blown away. Make your leaf heap as large as possible to hasten decay, and moisten it periodically if it becomes dry. Most leaves take about two years to break down.

There are a number of uses for leafmould. Good quality, well-rotted leafmould (more than two years old) can be used as seed-sowing compost, or mixed equally with sharp sand, garden compost and good quality soil for use as potting compost.

Leafmould that is less than two years old can be used as mulch, soil improver, autumn top-dressing for lawns, or winter covering for bare soil.

If you are interested in developing your understanding and skills in making your own compost you should come to Andy’s monthly composting workshops  The first one is on Sunday October 20th, then Sunday 17th November and Sunday 15th December. All from 11am to 1pm.

We are running low on paper bags for putting our sold fresh produce and plants in. So if you have any paper bags that need recycling why not bring them along for use!

Don’t forget that Sally Ramsden is still running her slow flow Yoga Classes at BPCG. If warm and dry enough, these will be on the decking. If not, we will move into the Lower Greenhouse.  They are on 5th October and 12th October 11 to 12.30. Book here

Also there are two free places on Melinda’s Discover the Medicinal Herbs of Brockwell Park. If you are interested in joining this, please contact Kate and she can link you up with Melinda. The walk starts at 10.30am but does not start at BPCG – it ends at BPCG!

Finally…..there is a Blues Duo Danzon playing at BPCG for the Herne Hill Music Festival on Sunday 6th October 4pm to 5.45pm. Highly recommended. Booking is here    Or if you are able to help out with setting up for the gig and serving refreshments from 2.30pm onwards, you get in for free. Let Kate know!

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