November is almost half gone already and the gardens are beginning to yield their bounty.
Sweet eating peas are ready for picking as are the fragrant sweet peas. The Cavolo Nero is looking spectacular and is also ready to eat. It makes a great dip. Mix natural yoghurt, tahini, just cooked peas, a sprig of mint and the cavolo nero with the centre part of the leaf removed and run through the blender.
We are planting tomatoes, potatoes (at our site in St Martins) carrots and pumpkins. We will be planting for succession crops right through until February. It is also time to start thinking about what to sow in the Autumn for Winter yield, with an eye to crop rotation. Usually the brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli) go in then.
Show weekend is the traditional time when all danger of frost has passed and we will wait until then before putting in French Beans. It’s also now too warm for Bok Choy as it tends to bolt in the warmer temperatures.
The starlings nesting in the kitchen extractor fan have successfully hatched their eggs and are now extremely busy bringing food to the chicks. It wont be long before they are fledged and then we can use the fan again.
Elderflowers are out and Christine is busy making elderflower cordial. If you haven’t tried it grab a bottle at one of our market days or call in to Strickland St. It’s delicious with ice on a hot day.
We will be at the St Mary’s Fair in Church Square Addington on the 25th November. It’s a lovely old church and the fair is always fun, so come along and have a look around.
Our Big Spring Market Day is on Saturday 14th October from 10.00am until 2.00pm, rain or shine. All the usual plants, produce and preserves will be available as well as hot soup, sausages and delicious baking.
The soil temperature is still a little low for our tomatoes, cucubits and pumpkins so they will stay in the warmth of the glasshouse a while longer. We shall be preparing the ground for these with lots of good rich compost.
Our Lemon Tree has some black mildew on it so it will be sprayed with our wormwood based spray which we make at the gardens. A little bit of baking soda is added and it is very effective. Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) is a herb which has long been used for its medicinal properties. Our fruit trees will also get a blast of spray after the fruit has set.
Plenty of rain, good soil temperatures and warmer air temperatures have produced good growth in the crops we already have in the ground and unless we have a late frost or hailstorm (like we had in December last year) everything should be going great guns this month.
Our Carrots will be going when the soil temperature reaches 15 oC (hopefully later this month). Normally these are preceded by a crop of mustard which is usually sufficient to keep away carrot fly when they are on the wing.
Both the glass house and shade house are full of seedlings ready to be pricked out, so that will be ongoing work this month, allowing us to be ready for the usual upswing in demand from the community which occurs in spring.
Little Spring Market Day. This is on Saturday 2nd September, 10.00am to 1.00pm, and preparations are complete. As usual there will be plants, produce and delicious baking for sale. We are hoping the weather will be fine and lots of people come along to sample what the Gardens have to offer.
Our Tomato seedlings are doing well in the glasshouse, but there is still the danger of frost so we will be taking great care with them.
Christine measured the soil temperature at 8 degrees C this week which is warm enough for radishes of all kinds and also beetroot, so these will be going in this month. Still too early for carrots though.
The New Raised Yam Bed is well underway using the recycled concrete fire hydrants. The bed will be ready but there will be no planting this month as it’s still a bit early.
Asian Greens will be planted in September as they respond well in the cooler temperatures of early Spring.
Spring brassicas will also be going in this month but it’s still a bit early for frost tender varieties.
Ongoing work in September will include weeding – the warming temperatures are spurring rapid weed growth – transplanting seedlings and preparing beds.
We have 3 more Market Days before the end of the year so keep an eye on our Facebook page and this site for advance notice.
Tomato seedlings: These are now out in the glasshouse to get a bit of sun. At night they are wrapped up in frost cloth for protection. Hopefully, with lots of TLC they will be strong and healthy by the time Spring arrives.
Mulch Donation: City Care dropped off a truckload of chipped / shredded branches and bark. This will be spread on the Burns St corner. One of our volunteers has already started on this, ably assisted by his 4 year old son. Thanks again City Care.
The Blue Cedar trees at the rear of the garden have now been given a haircut by the arborists at City Care and are looking much more balanced. They did the job on one of those horrible cold and wet days we had last month but managed to avoid hypothermia. Great job.
Fruit Trees. Our fruit tree expert has sprayed them all with Conqueror Oil to combat mites and other bugs. Apparently it stops them settling on the plants. It’s a low toxicity product with no withholding period, so we are comfortable with using it in the Gardens.
The first Broad Beans and Peas are up and sowing for succession will be continued this month.
Preparation for our Little Spring Market Day on Sept 2nd is underway. We will have our usual array of plants, pickles and preserves for sale. We are experimenting with no leafletting for this event in order to assess the effectiveness of letter box drops. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and also the Neighbourly website.
Intern: A student from the Health Sciences Dept at UC will be joining us for August. She is working on a Health Education paper and will be developing a Garden Fitness programme and also some promotional material to complement it.