Brockwell Barn is now complete. We’re so pleased and proud. This project has been 5 years in the planning and fundraising and 8 months building and is a spectacular achievement for a charity of our size. Thanks so much to everyone who has made it possible.
We’re already inhabiting the Barn with Jelena’s Fermentation workshop last Saturday and Eleni’s Natural Dyeing workshop on Saturday this week and Kathi’s Lino workshop the week after. Meanwhile we have a private birthday party for old greenhouse friends on Friday. The Barn is going to make so much difference to the charity.
We still need your help, though. We’ve paid for the building but we still need to pay for the fit out which is happening now. Please be as generous as you can and donate here.
In the garden this week most of our garden jobs this week will be watering, feeding and harvesting our fruit and vegetables.
Learning different harvesting techniques.
In the coming months much of our time will be spent in practicing different harvesting techniques. The most straight forward are the different berries that we harvest. Our boysenberries, gooseberries, raspberries, red and black currants are all being harvested as they become ripe. The easiest way to tell if a berry is ripe is first to feel if it is soft and secondly to give it a taste test. Is it sweet? If it is both then harvest it! If not, leave it to ripen further before harvesting. Most of these berries we will be using to make jams later in the year.
Cut and come again harvesting techniques.
We have a number of vegetables that can be harvested over a longer period of time using a technique called ‘cut and come again’. We use this for our kale plants, (including the popular Cavalo Nero), for chard and for broccoli.
When harvesting kale and chard we cut off the outer or lowest leaves of the plant. These are the oldest, largest leaves and importantly we leave the growing centre so the plant continues to grow and replaces the leaves we have removed. With this harvesting method it is important not to over harvest as this can kill the plant. A little and often is the way to go.
With broccoli the technique is slightly different as we are removing the flowering heads before the flowers open. This is more like the deadheading technique you would used to prolong flowering, say when you deadhead your roses, sweet peas or cosmos. If we remove the main developing flower head of the broccoli, the plant will respond by producing more smaller flower heads, and once these have grown larger we will harvest these too.
Then with our cauliflowers you see how we harvest the whole flower head, which is the cauliflower and this is a one off harvest, cut and not come again!
Other harvesting that we will be doing this month include harvesting the beetroots, kohlrabi and carrots where we pull the whole plant up when we harvest. This kind of harvesting will clear spaces in the vegetable beds creating space for various crops including fast growing radishes, and salads, slower growing chicory, and later still in the season autumn sown broad beans, onion sets, garlic and green manures.
As you can see from our meadow, many plants are in full flower now which makes July is a good time to start collecting the gone over flowers heads for our Christmas wreath making workshops.
These flowerheads will be cut, then hung up to dry out in order to preserve them for winter use. This is also the time of year when we can seriously start to think about seed saving.