In the garden last week, we started off our 2021 chillies and tomatoes by sowing three hundred tomato seeds and two hundred and forty chilli seeds which are now tucked up in our heated propagators. The seeds should take around 10 – 14 days to germinate when we will see the first tiny leaves pushing up through the seed compost in which they are sown. These first leaves are called Cotyledons, or seed leaves. They are part of the seed embryo and the plant’s first two leaves. Cotyledons store food for the developing plant before true leaves appear and photosynthesis begins. As true leaves grow, cotyledons gradually die and drop off as their work is over.
We also sowed 50 multiseed pots of flat leaved parsley to start off our 2021 herb collection. Parsley likes to be kept cool to germinate so these are not in the heated propagators.
We will be keeping a watchful eye on our seedlings to ensure that they get the right amount of watering in the heated propagator. When they are large enough, we will move them out of the enclosed heated propagators and onto a heated bench gradually acclimatising the seedlings to cooler temperatures and lower humidity. This should be in 3 or 4 weeks.
The heated bench has a 10cm base of horticultural grit with an electrical cable running through it which provides bottom heat to encourage good root growth.
Once the tomato and chilli seedlings are on the heated bench, we will sow more seeds and fill the heated propagator once again.
Last week we took down the shed that houses the bee keepers equipment and gear for our community events. We will be moving it this week to a new spot in the green woodworking area. The pieces of the shed are very heavy and so moving and reconstructing it is likely to be a big job! Wish us luck!
For BPCG at Home last week, Carolyn Steel gave a really interesting and wide ranging talk about her book ‘Sitopia – How Food Can Save the World.’ Her beautifully illustrated talk explored the relationship between land, food production and civilizations right from the early communities of hunter gatherers through the city states of Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, 18th and 19th C industrialisation to today’s cities. It is jam packed with fascinating insights and highly recommended. Do have a listen here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/sitopia-how-food-can-save-the-world-an-online-talk-by-carolyn-steel/
Our next BPCG at Home talk will be from Sue Stuart Smith on her book ‘The Well-Gardened Mind – Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World’. Sue’s inspirational and authoritative book investigates the remarkable effects of nature on our health and wellbeing and teaches us how vital gardening can be, both as an escape for the brain and to help our minds through movement as well as thought. Using case studies of people struggling with stress, depression, trauma and addiction, as well as her own grandfather’s return from World War I, she explores the many ways in which gardening can help transform people’s lives. Book a ticket either for free or if you can, with a donation to BPCG here, https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/the-well-gardened-mind-an-online-talk-by-sue-stuart-smith/
If you’d like to hear from some successful community composting projects in and outside of Lambeth and to get inspired to start composting yourself, do join on Tuesday January 26th 6.30pm to 7.30pm Incredible Edible Lambeth’s Zoom session on Community Composting. Book here. https://www.incredibleediblelambeth.org/event/lambeth-food-stories-make-soil-the-case-for-community-composting/
One other note, if you’d enjoy a good novel about plants and botanists, I recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘The Signature of All Things’. It’s the fictional story of Alma Whittaker an American woman botanist with a fascination for mosses. The book will take you right away from today’s London into the mossy expanses of 19th Century Philadelphia, the orchids of South America and much beyond. Gilbert also makes great sketches of characters like Joseph Banks who built up Kew Gardens’ plant collections in the late 18th and early 19th century and is credited with bringing over 30,000 plant specimens to the UK from overseas.