Bumper harvests and a need for more volunteers
We hope everyone has been enjoying the warm weather! It’s certainly been roasting on the roof many days recently…so we’ve been quite relieved to get a little rain this weekend…even if it’s spoilt the long weekend enjoyment for some.
We currently need a bit more help from volunteers on Fridays. Specifically to help with harvest! Extra hands are necessary from 9am-1pm to support our large harvests! It’s a nice job to get involved with, and for the next 4 weeks we’re offering a free bag of our wonderful mixed salad to Friday harvest volunteers!
Over the past few weeks we’ve been watching our wildflowers gradually begin to bloom, and now they are in full force…we’ve been busy watching the bees plunge themselves into pollen-rich flowers.
Along with the wildflowers, we’re gearing up towards summer with our vegetable production as well. Our tomatoes are settling into their new home in the greenhouse, our french beans are starting to wind their way up the fences and our courgettes have just been planted out in the raised beds. We’ve also got some new plants for sale: French beans, Calendula, Borage and Kale…here are some great reasons to get these plants in your garden, and some tips on how to care for them…
Fantastic for bees with tasty edible petals, Calendula plants really do brighten up the garden. They’re very low maintenance and once established in your garden, they will self-seed. Rich soil and full sun will keep the calendula blooming, and don’t be afraid to harvest the flowers, as this will certainly encourage more budding.
A very useful annual herb, Borage is possibly one of the most useful plants to have in the garden. You can eat the leaves as well as the flowers. The former being similar in flavour to cucumber and both are a great compliment to salads. Borage is an amazing source of nectar for bees and other insects. It is also an effective green manure as it’s long taproot brings up nutrients from the subsoil that remain in the leaves! It does self seed like mad, so to stop borage spreading all over your garden, harvest the seeds yourself to sow the following year. The seeds are easy to pick and are ready when the flowers begin to fade. Once the flowers have turned brown the seeds should be ready.
French Beans like a rich soil that has plenty of organic material in it, so choose a good quality compost to plant in, or mix in some manure. They can be very tender while in the seedling stage, so planting out at this time of year now that the last frost is behind us is perfect. Climbing varieties of French Bean can grow as tall as 1.8m high, and even dwarf varieties may need some support – so either plant them beside a fence, with rope support wrapped around the small plants, or erect a wigwam type structure for them to grow up. Requirements of French beans are simple – water and weeding, possibly some feeding – tomato plant feed being their favourite. Your French Beans will be ready for harvesting in July and should continue producing until October. Harvest frequently to encourage maxmimum production. Look at texture of the beans to tell when they are ready for picking – pick before the skin is coarse textured and the beans inside begin to show through.
Always with vegetable production it’s about planning ahead. So now is a good time to plant your Kale for harvesting in Autumn. A location in full sun is best for Kale, but it will manage with part-shade as well. Transplant 45cm apart when putting into their final position. Kale is generally a very hardy plant, and therefore won’t need much care, but they are sometimes prone to aphid attacks – a good way to get rid of them without using chemical pesticides is to spray the plants daily with soapy water until the insects are gone. We use washing up liquid diluted with water. Harvest the young leaves only that are at the top of the plant when they are about 10cm long.
Happening this week at FOOD from the SKY:
Wednesday – volunteers work day with Sarah…10am-1pm. Please bring comfortable clothes, strong shoes and most importantly SUNSCREEN and a hat!
Friday – harvest and work day with Jack…9am-4pm. Please bring the same as above! More hands are needed for harvest, so if you can get there early that would be great. For the next 4 weeks, we’re offering a FREE bag of salad for harvest volunteers (required to come from 9am-1pm) Otherwise, we welcome volunteers anytime during the day – no obligation to stay for the whole day.
Saturday – visit us at the London Green Fair…at Regents park. We’ll be part of the Permaculture Zone, next to the Capital Growth stall…come meet the team, and buy some plants from us