We had an excellent illustrated talk by Joshua on 8th March at the Phoenix Community Centre. Joshua was inspired to develop his raised bed veggie garden for his son with Down’s syndrome. The soil was covered with cardboard, straw, manure, compost in a 2” deep layer, replenished every year, growing fab veg. Worms and micro-organisms do hate to be disturbed; mulching with whatever is available is great for soil structure, preventing weeds, evaporation and keeping roots happy.
If anyone would like to take on the challenge of testing out their own ‘no-dig’ system, we’d be really interested in hearing about your experience. We’d especially be keen to have a mini write up and pictures documenting your trial. Let us know by email: email@example.com.
Review by Ruth.
Spring in the Air: Sowing and Growing Talk with Ruth Urbanowicz. Thursday 19th April, 7.30-9pm
Urban Organic Gardening Course: Transplanting Seedlings. Saturday 21st April, 2-4pm
For more details check out our What’s On page.
Kate Harrison’s talk on Growing, Gluts and Generosity posed some interesting questions around what we as gardeners can do to take responsibility for our own food production. We discussed sowing less, sowing successively, thinning out more boldly, choosing varieties with longer harvest seasons, or growing multiple varieties to stagger production. But despite these ideas, we will still be likely to have gluts during the year. Solutions to this could be inventive recipes, food fermentation (see Kate’s fermenting article from last month), gifting to friends & family or even composting.
There were some shocking figures around food waste, yet 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal (source: Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).
Fortunately, many charities and organisations are working to ensure that the food waste meets the needs of those most vulnerable people struggling to afford to eat. FareShare (a national organisation) manages just 4% of the edible surplus food available, distributing food donated by supermarkets and food producers to frontline charities and community groups. Last year they provided enough food for nearly 25.8 million meals!
FareShare Sussex is based in Fairway Business Centre, Westergate Road in Moulsecoomb and is very happy to receive food donations from individuals. This means for those months when you’re grown too much there is another option: you can bag it up and drop it off to the warehouse where volunteers and staff will be genuinely glad to see you. Our community allotment volunteers delivered over a ton of apples to Fareshare in 2017.
To ensure your surplus stock is put to the best possible use, please contact:
Rachel Carless, FareShare Sussex Development Manager
Tel: 01273 671 111
Review by Jenni, and special thanks to Kate Harrison for use of her FareShare slides.
AGM & Talk: Growing, Gluts & Generosity
NOTE CHANGE OF DATE: Thursday 22nd February, 7.30pm at the Phoenix Community Centre.
Ever wondered what to do about a glut of fruit or vegetables from your plot? Are you concerned about the growing problem of food waste while people still go hungry?
FareShare Sussex is a Brighton-based charity working across the county to connect food that would normally go to waste with the people that need it. Learn more about how FareShare works, and find out ways you can help to reduce food waste while helping provide healthy food to those who need it.
Our speaker Kate Harrison is a BHOGG member and has gardened on the Weald allotment for 17 years. She is a member of the FareShare Sussex steering committee and is passionate about reducing food waste and helping more people eat healthy and nutritious food.
Come for the AGM, stay for the talk!
No dig gardening, talk by Joshua the Gardener, March 8th, 730-9pm. Phoenix Community Centre. Free to Bhogg members, non-members £5
Joshua the gardener was very popular at Seedy Sunday, with a huge line of people waiting to ask him questions after his talk. We are delighted to have him come talk to us at the Phoenix Community centre in a few weeks.
His talk is based around growing vegetables without the need to cultivate the soil so, no digging, forking or tilling. The no dig gardening method was made popular by Charles Dowding and having featured on gardeners world a few weeks back it is going through a rapid rise in popularity. It’s a process of adding organic matter in layers and growing almost immediately. Healthier plants, healthier soil and bigger yields.
The talk covers all aspects of how to get started, sowing and harvesting as well as design points. The talk currently is around 60 minutes with plenty of time for Q&A at the end.
There is a wonderful line-up of speakers, with a great range of talks including practical gardening advice from Joshua the Gardener and Pennard Plants, to a panel discussion about policy and legislation around selling seeds. The full speaker programme is available here.
There is also a fantastic range of exhibitors and stall holders this year: Along with familiar favourites, we are welcoming some newcomers, such as the Old Tree Brewery, Native Hands, FareShare Sussex and the Woodland Trust.
There’ll be some great children’s activities, including making vegetable print bunting, decorating seed envelopes, and the chance to have a go on a flour grinding bicyle!
Click here for the full Seedy Sunday 2018 Programme
telling you what’s on and where. Paper copies will also be available at the event.
Seedy Sunday will also be hosting the BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time again, with a panel of the best brains in horticulture: Eric Robson, James Wong, Bob Flowerdew and Anne Swithinbank. Tickets are available to Seedy Sunday visitors from 10.30am on the day – first come, first served. The price will be £4 to cover the cost of hiring the main hall at BHASVIC; this is in addition to the £3 Seedy Sunday entrance fee. Recording will start at 3.30pm.
Seedy Sunday is February 4th, and runs from 10.30 to 4pm. It’s at BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG. See the map here. Please note there is NO parking for the public on site. Visit www.seedysunday.org for information on public transport.
Gardening Organically – Back To Basics – Wednesday 24th January, 7-9pm
Come along to hear BHOGG’s very own resident RHS qualified teacher talk about getting back to the basics.
Ruth Urbanowicz will explain the importance of the What? Why? and How? of gardening organically, and look at the history, context, and putting it into practice.
Free to paid up BHOGG members; £10/£5 donation non-members.
Meet at the Phoenix Community Centre, 2 Phoenix Place, Brighton BN2 9ND
With less than a month to go here is a round-up of what’s happening on 4th February.
Venue: BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Rd, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG
Gardener’s Question Time Returns to Seedy Sunday
Once again, we are also hosting BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time with a panel of the best brains in horticulture. Bob Flowerdew, James Wong, Anne Swithinbank and Eric Robson. Tickets available from 10.30am on the day – first come, first served. Price £4.
A Host of Interesting Talks
We have a great line-up of speakers talking about no-dig gardening, butterflies and the biosphere, the Brighton and Hove citizen science pollinator project, potatoes and the latest in seed regulation and policy.
The Giant Seed Swap
At the heart of Seedy Sunday is the giant seed swap table. Bring seeds to swap that you have saved from last year’s crops. No seeds to swap? Simply make a donation at the seed table. Volunteer seed saving experts and gardeners will be on hand to offer all the advice you need to choose and grow your seeds.
A World of Discovery in the Market Place
Visit more than 50 stalls from growers, seed merchants, charities and community groups and more.
For more information visit seedysunday.org
Join us on the third Saturday of each month: 2-4pm. Phoenix Community Centre, 2 Phoenix Pl, Brighton BN2 9ND
2017 Dec 16 – What is Companion Planting all about? And gardening for wildlife
Jan 20 – Get to know your soil, plus composting & mulching
Feb 17 – Time to sow & grow; how to grow veg from seed
Free to Bhogg members and local residents. £3 donation non-members.
Our friends at Garden Organic have some great tips on seed saving.
Which seeds can I swop?
- Seeds from plants that do well in your garden, vegetable, flower, shrub, herbs… Ideally more unusual plants are sought after.
- Seeds from healthy plants. They should be collected when ripe, as mature seeds contain more food which ensures vigour and viability (potential for a high germination rate). The larger the seed, the better.
- Seeds that you have collected to preserve the genetic variety. It is best to save equal numbers of seeds from each healthy plant, rather than only saving seeds from the best plant. The latter is done if you want to develop your own varieties. Seedy Sunday is about preserving heirloom varieties .
How do I package the seeds?
- Free envelopes are available from Infinity Foods in Brighton, or from the Seed Table on the day.
- As a rough guideline, envelopes should contain enough seeds for a small crop, for example, a short row of peas, or beans, or a square metre of salads. We advise 5 to 10 seeds per pack for tomatoes, 5 seeds for squashes, 20 to 25 seeds for peas and beans.
- Labelling the pack should include name (common or Latin), variety (if applicable), year and place of collection. Example: Tomato – Rose de Berne – 2017 – Shoreham-by-sea.
What about F1 Hybrids?
- We aim to avoid F1 Hybrids, because seeds saved from those plants do not subsequently breed true to type, and it takes a long time to get a stable variety from F1 plants. Therefore we do not use them as our starter stock, nor do we wish to swap them. If you have some F1 seeds, you can experiment with producing your own varieties, but it is a complex and lengthy process.
I do not have any seeds to swop. What can I do?
- You can select any packets you want from the Seed Table, and give us a donation of 50p per pack instead. The money will be used to buy some fresh new starter stock for next year’s Seedy Sunday.
- Each year, we replenish our basic starter stock with open pollinated varieties from reputable suppliers, the main one being Moles Seeds. Some seeds are organic. We avoid treated seeds.
Do you have any tips for seed saving?
- Some seeds need to be fermented before being dried, for example tomatoes. This process ensure germination. Keep them in a jar of water for a few days. Rinse well and dry.
- All seeds to be dried should be thoroughly cleaned first, the chaff and the unviable seeds sieved or removed before proper drying. In the case of broad bean seeds, they should be visually inspected for holes, and later stored in a freezer in order to kill any possible insect infestation.
- During ripening and drying on the plant, the seeds prepare for dormancy by converting sugars to more stable fats and starch. After that they can be safely dried and stored
- Drying should be gradual and thorough, shady spot, airy, dry (20%-30% relative humidity), for a couple of weeks, and depends on the size of the seeds. One easy way is to place the seeds in a jar of dry rice for a fortnight. The rice will gradually dry up the seeds. Dry corn and beans will shatter when hit with a hammer.
- Storing should be in dry, constant temperature and moisture, in an insect-free environment. You can store them in the fridge, or even a freezer, but gradually bring them back to room temperature before sowing.
Any more questions?
- Some seeds can keep for several years, under favourable conditions, however, some, like parsnips, only keep for a year. So it is best to use seeds collected this year. Old seeds can always be used for a spot of guerilla gardening.
- Best not to swop squashes and pumpkin seeds (Cucurbits), unless the plants have been well isolated, as they cross-fertilize very easily, being a promiscuous lot! Use new stock of seeds instead
For more information about Seedy Sunday click here.