In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, we are so pleased that we can share with you a ray of sunshine and good news!  The GLA have agreed to support our Raise the Barn project with a £160,000 grant.  This is a huge vote of confidence in the charity and our plans to build our teaching kitchen and classroom ‘Barn’ extension to the Upper Greenhouse. We are absolutely delighted and sincerely thank all who took part in putting this bid together not least the contributors to this little film which Josh made. To learn more about Raise the Barn, do read our planning application here. We are expecting to hear from Lambeth Planning Dept by the end of March.

This week in the garden, we will be sowing our second round of bush tomatoes, the Lemon Sherbert (yellow fruiting) and the Garden Pearl (pink fruiting.)

We will continue to sow our ornamental annuals including Cosmos Tetra Versailles Dark Rose which grows to 90-120cm and has a red flower and Cosmos Psyche which grows to a height of 30 cm and has a white flower. Cosmos are long flowering, and if you regularly remove faded and dead flowerheads this prolongs flowering so you can have flowers from June until October. Cosmos are good plants for attractive border displays and their flowers attract butterflies and bees as well as beneficial insects like lacewings. Cosmos flower also make good cut flowers. 

This is the time of year when we start growing our herb selection.  We will begin with three varieties of Basil, an attractive Purple leafed Basil, Thai Basil and Sweet Basil or Genovese Basil. 

Our Numex Twilight Chilli seedlings have grown very well in the heated propagators. We have moved them gradually from temperatures of 28 degrees down to around 16 degrees in preparation for taking them out of the heated propagators and potting them up this week. This process of allowing seedlings to adjust to lower temperatures and lower humidity is called hardening off.  Once potted up, the chillies will be given an organic feed of liquid seaweed to support their healthy growth.

On Friday we will sow the hybrid seed mix ‘Magic Carpet’ on the lower third of our meadow. It includes Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Evening Primrose ( Oenothera biennis), Sweet Wiliam, and Campion (Silene armenia) and has a carefully balanced combination of annuals, biennals, and perennials. It should grow happily in most soil types but like most meadow schemes prefers an open sunny site. 

In other news
The residential home for elderly people in Herne Hill Abbeyfield is looking for back up cooks  (paid or voluntary) to support their staff and elderly during this difficult period.  If you are a proficient cook and interested in this paid or voluntary activity, please visit this link

Ann Bodkin of the Brixton Beer Co. who encourage local growers to grow and harvest hops for a delicious Autumn Brixton Green Hop brew says: if you or friends would like to be part of the collective, grow hops and drink beer in the autumn (yes we can do it ! ) let her know on And if you would like her to order in a Hop Rhizome or two to grow let her know by the end of this week please!  The PRIMA DONNA hop rhizhome + coir pack is £12.50.

With all best wishes to all of you in these very difficult times