Toms, Beans and Quite a bit more

This week at the BPCG online shop, we have flowering bush tomatoesdwarf beans, various flowering annuals and perennials, some herbs, Brockwell jams and honeys and a few fruit bushes.  Visit our online shop here and then come collect at your pre-booked time Thurs/Fri/Sat.

Catch up on our Garden news below – or for live updates and lively gardening debates, join our Zoom BPCG Gardeners Question Time this Saturdays at 2pm to 3pm.  Join here.  If you can’t make that time, have a look at all our episodes on Youtube here.  Any questions you’d like to put to the panel, reply to this email, or put your question direct to the panel on the day.  New photos of our gardens and greenhouses are also going up every week here. 

Last week we planted out our cordon tomatoes in the beds next to the apiary. This week, now that the risk of frost has passed in London, we will be planting out our Dwarf french beans and climbing beans in the legumes bed in the lower garden. All beans, except for broad beans, are not frost hardy so after starting them off in the greenhouse it is important to wait until the night time temperatures stop dropping to zero or below before planting them out into the garden.  For a great little film on understanding how to prevent frost damage, learn from Charles Dowding

As for our broad beans which are really hardy plants, (we planted them outside in November,) some of the bean pods are almost ready to harvest. We need to check them regularly from now onwards and also pinch out the growing tips of the plants to encourage the plants to focus their energy into producing tasty beans for us to eat! We can tell when the beans are ready to harvest when the shape of the beans are visibly bulging through the pod.  Any black fly on your broad beans?  Spray water with a very little washing up liquid on the infected areas and then get stuck in and remove the black flies manually.  A sharp jet of water from a hose is also useful at disloding the ****ers.

We have also been harvesting some of our lettuce in the Kitchen garden and replacing them with more salad plants that we started off a number of weeks ago in the greenhouse. This is what is called successional planting. 

By moving our vegetable plants outside, (cordon tomatoes and beans,) we are freeing up space in the upper greenhouse, space which we will use for sowing more salad leaves, herbs and for our next wave of bush tomatoes which are ready to be taken out of the heated propagators and potted up into larger pots. 

In the greenhouse everything is growing very quickly now. At this time, it is important to keep an eye out for pests such as aphids which also have a habit of spreading fast in the lovely warm greenhouse conditions. Last week we spotted our first patch of aphids on a couple of tomato plants. Signs of aphids can be little white bits rather like mini dandruff which comes from the aphids shedding their skins! Aphids shed their skins (exoskeletons) as they grow and these white casts can be found sticking to leaves. Keep an eye out for such signs, then get a clean spray bottle, fill it with water and a few drops of washing up liquid and spray this on the affected plants.

Our squash, courgette, gherkin and cucamelon plants are developing well and should be ready to plant outside in a couple of weeks time. 

We have now started to use the lower greenhouse as the overflow growing on space for our tender plants. We have moved our Numex Twilight chillies to the new staging in the middle of the lower greenhouse where we can grow them under the dryer conditions that they like. 

Do join our other online activities if you fancy trying out some Zoom singing with Emma (weekly on Wednesdays at 4pm), some Zoom yoga with Sally (four times a week Tues, Thurs, Fri and Sat), or some Zoom fermenting with Jelena (fortnightly on Sats 11am to 1pm).  All details are here.

Other news and requests: Lambeth Tech-Aid ask Do you have a computer you no longer need? A tablet sitting at the bottom of your cupboard? A mobile – especially a smart phone – gathering dust? If so, please consider donating it here

At the moment, there are hundreds of people stuck at home without a suitable device to access the internet – to communicate with friends & family, access educational resources and essential online services, or even to get some basic entertainment.

Lambeth TechAid (being trialled first in Streatham and parts of Brixton) is a group of volunteers who are collecting any unwanted devices and delivering them to people who really need them, to help combat social isolation and make life a bit easier during this extended traumatic period.

If you have a device to donate, please just fill in this form.  The organisers will be in touch about collection within 7 days. They’ll clean any data from the device before it is donated and will work with local schools and charities to ensure it goes to someone who needs it. 

They have already had requests for equipment from local primary and secondary schools, two local refugee charities and another working with young women care-leavers.

We hope you are keeping well and we send you our very best wishes from the Greenhouses.

p.s. if you are having a tidy up and have spare paper or plastic bags, or small cardboard boxes, please bring them along to the greenhouses on your daily walk.  You can drop them in over the gates Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun 10am to 5pm.  Thank you!  (We will quarantine them before re-use to pack up plants and produce.)

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