We have reached the time of year when keeping our plants watered is a high priority. In order to keep up with this we have installed a number of different watering systems, some automated, and others manual. If you are not sure about how any of these work ask Cat, Dafydd or Chris about them.

We have three automated watering systems at work around the garden. It is important that these are NOT turned off, so please do not alter the tap, valve or controller on these systems. The automated systems are to be found:-

1. At the back of the upper greenhouse, (for the greenhouses misting system)

2. Attached to the stand pipe near the upper four crop veg beds (near the entrance gate.) This feeds the under ground leaky hose system.

3. On the west outer wall of the lower greenhouses. This is used to water the lower four crop beds with an under ground leaky hose system.

We still do need to water manually in parts of the gardens. The watering rota for May and June is on the notice board in the kitchen.

In the garden this week we will be harvesting Swiss chard and salad greens.

We will also be preparing the courgette bed in the upper four crop and planting out our two varieties of courgettes,  ‘All Green Bush’ and a dwarf variety ‘Midnight’. The dwarf variety ‘Midnight’ is dwarf in that the plant is compact but the courgettes are the same size as ordinary courgettes. It is ideal for planting if you only have limited space or wish to grow courgettes in a planter.

Likewise our squash plants which we started off in the greenhouse are now large enough to be planted outside in the squash bed. The varieties we are growing this year are Thelma Sanders Acorn Squash, Waltham Butternut squash, and Hubbard Anna Squartz.

We have sown slightly more plants than we need and once the beds are planted up, the excess plants will be put on our sales stand, so if you are interested in growing courgettes or squash yourself, look out for these!

There is some weeding to do in the upper four crop bed, and planting out more kales from the brassica seed bed into the netted brassica bed.

A note on Companion planting. It’s a method of growing two or more different plants together for the beneficial effect they have on the crop you wish to nurture. Companion planting is mainly carried out in the vegetable garden to control pests.

We have started off some tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum) in the greenhouse and will be using them to plant amongst our brassicas as companion plants to act as deterrents to the common brassica pest, the cabbage white butterfly.

In a similar vein, we will be planting Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) in our legumes beds to detract black flies. Summer savory is also a really delicious herb commonly used in French cooking as one of the Herbes de Provence but it’s also used all over the continent to flavour dishes.

Help Needed! This Sunday 19th May we are hosting the Herne Hill Free Film Festival at the Greenhouses. We need help serving drinks and refreshments please and getting the place set up to receive up to 100 guests.  We will need help from 5.30pm til 11pm. If you can’t come for the whole time, don’t worry, you will still be useful. Just let Kate know what times you can do by replying to this email.

The Festival are showing ‘Silent Running’, a classic cult science fiction film from the 1970s with Bruce Dern as a botanist trying to save the Earth’s plants from destruction. The showing is free but donations are welcomed on the night for the Maudsley Charity which support South London and Maudsley Hospital and mental health research and education. The actual film shows at 9pm but the gates will be open from 7pm.

The May Fete last weekend was great fun and if you couldn’t make it, you might like to have a look at some pictures and videos from it on Instagram here.   Many many thanks to everyone who helped out on the day – it was a tremendous effort!

Fermentation Workshop – Next week on Sunday May 26th,11.30am to 2.00pm, there are still a few tickets available for Jelena’s Fermentation workshop. Book here There’s also one free space left for a BPCG volunteer. Reply to this email if you can help out and take part from 10.45am to 2.30pm.

Finally, a quick shout out too for some recycled materials we need: if you have any spare old plastic bags or sturdy-ish paper bags which people can use to carry away plants, please do bring them into BPCG.  We also need any large glass jars (450ml and above please – think large Hellmans Jars).  Thanks!