This August in your and the Community Garden

Throughout July, we have been taking semi-ripe cuttings. People often find it confusing to remember which kind of cuttings we take and when. Short answer – from spring to mid summer we take soft wood cuttings, from midsummer until mid autumn we take semi-ripe cuttings, and after mid autumn (when the wood hardens), we take hard wood cuttings. 

Mid July to mid September is the time for taking semi-ripe cuttings which are selected from this season’s growth. The base of the cutting should be hard, while the tip is still soft. It is important to select undamaged, healthy shoots without flowers, and wherever possible to choose shoots with short internodes (the spaces between the leaves). Cuttings should be taken early in the morning and kept cool and in water until being made into cuttings as soon as possible.

We made cuttings from the red grape in the herb garden, as well as Coronilla, and winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima. Coronilla is a member of the Legume or Fabaceae family. It’s an evergreen winter flowering shrub which likes to grow in sunny locations, is drought tolerant and flowers from December through to April. It has sweetly scented, yellow flowers and provides food for bees in the winter when many other plants are not in flower. Coronilla can grow to around 90 cm tall with a 90cm spread.

In July and August, many plants in our meadow and elsewhere in the garden are reaching great heights, and some need the assistance of plant supports so as not to topple over!  Recent heavy rain has presented a challenge to keeping some of the plants upright. For the meadow plants we have been using some of the willow rods left over from last year’s willow weaving because these make naturalist looking stakes for our meadow plants. In the woodland we have been using bamboo canes to support our Logan berry plants. We will need to do more staking of the Logan berries this week as they are again flopping over and obstructing the pathways. 

Our raspberries are ready for their first harvest. You can tell that a raspberry is ripe because ripe raspberries easily pull off the plant. If the raspberry is reluctant to be removed then it is still under ripe and should be left on the plant for longer.

We’ve also been steadily working our way through our cabbage crop. The original wild ancestors of cabbages were bred to produce varieties that mature at different times of the year, so that you can have all year round cabbages. Perhaps this is the reason why cabbages are defined by when they will be ready to harvest: spring, summer, and winter cabbages.

In preparation for next year we will start sowing our spring cabbages which will be ready to harvest in the spring. A common misconception about spring cabbages is that they should be sown in spring. Actually, they’re one of the slowest maturing types of cabbage, being sown in late summer for a harvest early next year. They put on a growth spurt as the weather warms up in spring, providing an early crop of tender greens when not much else is available in the vegetable garden. Spring cabbages are usually pointed varieties such as ‘ Greyhound’, Spring Hero’, Durham Early, and you will often find them referred to as spring greens or collard greens. 

Up coming events

We are hoping for a clear August night for our BPCG volunteer and supporter party on Saturday 14th August 7pm to 11pm. But whatever the weather, we really hope you can come as it’s going to be a great evening with plenty of food, music, drink and chat.

For music, we are delighted that we have the fabulous musician Aerside as our DJ for the evening playing a mix of mellow & mellifluous sounds.

For food and drink, it’s a pot luck bring a dish +/ a bottle – and we are also going to enjoy Pale Ale from Brockley Brewery. For your food offering, please be sure to label it saying what it is and what ingredients are in it, and if it is meat/ vegan/vegetarian. Thanks!

For chat, well that’s down to us all! It will be lovely for us all to get a chance to catch up.

This is a free event but please do book a place with a ticket below so we know how many people we’re expecting. Booking is here: https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/2021-volunteer-party/

In August both at the Greenhouses and in your own greenspace:

  • Watering! August is normally the hottest month of the year. Water as much as you can, paying especial care to containers and new plants. Try to recycle grey and rainwater as much as possible. If you have ponds make sure to keep them topped up. If you have a pump-system water feature consider only filling it when you really want it running, and then recycling that water to the rest of your garden. 
  • If you have a wisteria, prune the green whips in August to train, de-bushify and encourage more flowering.
  • Collect the seeds of your flowering plants as they ripen, to use next year. Remember to remove any spent annual plants if you don’t want them to self-seed.
  • Deadhead perennials like dahlias to keep them flowering well into the season.
  • Start thinking about next year – sow your hardy annual seeds in places with good sun, and they’ll flower in Spring.
  • Start thinking about your Autumn bulbs for pots and borders.

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