There will be warmer weather this week possibly getting up to 16 degrees outside, and so it is time to consider how to manage the build up of heat inside our greenhouses. This can be done using various methods, including ventilation. The passive greenhouse has air vents, and the other greenhouses have rows of windows along both sides which we can open. In addition to this we will install shade netting which is another effective method gardeners use to assist in regulating the temperatures inside greenhouses in spring and summer. One other thing we can do is use our misting systems which not only waters the plants, but also fills the air with a fine mist of water which brings down the temperature. This week we will be putting up our shade netting.
We will be sowing the seeds of the plants that like warmer temperatures such a squash, gherkins, courgettes and cucamelons. With the exceptions of the cucamelons, these are quite big plants and as we do not have much space for them in the greenhouse we aim to sow these seeds about four to six weeks before they will be ready to be planted outside, after the risk of frost has passed.
We will be sowing a Cucumber variety called Dar. It is a green pickling cucumber type for outdoor production with shortish vines of around 45cm in length.
And a note on Pumpkins and Squash….The terms ‘pumpkin’ and ‘squash’ are rather loose but both refer to annual plants which usually have a trailing habit. They are divided into ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ types, depending on when they are harvested. Generally speaking, summer squashes are harvested and eaten, usually fried or boiled, while still young, whereas winter squashes and pumpkins tend to be baked or stored cool and dry for future use. Summer squashes such as courgettes and patty pan are normally white-fleshed, while pumpkins have orange flesh.
The squash varieties we will be growing are the Winter Squashes: Butternut Squash Walnut and Pumpkin Crown Prince. The summer Squash we will be growing are Patty Pan Custard White, and courgette Green Bush.
We will be sowing the seeds individually in small pots of moist seed compost about 2cm deep. Then they will go into our heated wooden propagator at around 15-18°C until they have germinated. After that they will be grown on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun and they will be gradually acclimatised to outside temperatures for 2-3 weeks before being planting out into the garden.
Outside in the garden we will be working on weeding and improving the soil in the herb garden by adding a 5cm layer of sieved compost to each of the herb beds.
We will continue our work on the fern bank, adding new logs to enhance the front edging of this bed, checking the irrigation system is working and moving a few more ferns to more spacious locations further up the bank.
The BPCG shop selling all our lovely plants and produce is now open on Thursdays and Fridays as well as at weekends! The shop raises much needed income for the charity and we need volunteers to help run it so if you can help out, do sign up on the spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t1JrVIEP3_Vl7HjIbbI_wfgKh5jgNUyJGK6PZRlqO98/edit?usp=sharing We will be sure to train you up about the plants and produce that we are offering every week and you’ll find it’s great fun ‘playing shop’!
In other BPCG news, iyatraQuartet are performing a livestream concert of original material this Saturday 24th April at 7.30pm. They are celebrating the anniversary of their second album release, Break the Dawn and will be featuring new pieces inspired by new growth and Spring. Tickets with Zoom link are available from their website: www.iyatraquartet.com NB with current Covid restrictions, be aware that we can’t host an audience for this Greenhouse concert, this is only avail able as livestream. Live music gigs you can attend to come later in the summer, all being well!