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The Roots is an exciting new project from Southwark Pensioners Centre. The project, which began this summer, tells the story of Walworth Road based G. Baldwin & Co and the customers who have frequented the shop over its long history. Art in the Park has been lucky to be a part of this project, and has run a series of projects to support The Roots.

We have run a series of Gardening Workshops, learning about plants and their uses and exploring the flora of Burgess Park.




And back in July, the Medical Herbalist and the Cuming Museum Youth Panel visited Art in the Park to share some herbal remedies and recipes with young people from Southwark.


We’ll be running another workshop on November 26th. To find out more about this great project, others events they are running and to see more photos from our work with them please visit www.therootsstory.co.uk.

“Sow the Seeds” is a 6-day course that Art in the Park is running as part of Morley College outreach programme, 3rd – 20th July. It is for young people ages 19-24 (with a bit of flexibility) not in employment or training, who might be interested in art, gardening or social care, or just curious to try them out. This project is linked with Waterside Care Home, in Sumner Road, where you will be putting skills that you learn into practice in a useful way.

A sunny afternoon at Art in the Park…

Friday 30th of March was a lovely warm, sunny day, with our spring bulbs in full bloom.

The Heart gardeners were busy planting seeds in their raised beds.

It was Chris’ last day with the Heart Garden as he now has a paid gardening job! We will miss him.

Back in the  studio, we mark the occasion with coffee and cake.

Perfect weather for artists to do some outdoor work: carving into bricks and sanding wood sculptures.

 

It’s a few months late, but here it is, the diary entry for the 28th of October in the Heart Garden. Enjoy!

October 28th

Another lovely sunny gardening day although a bit soggy underfoot – temperatures are still unseasonably warm but at least we’ve had some rain this week as the soil was turning into dust.

The wisteria in the front of the studio was looking decidedly crisp due to lack of water – it’s in a pot so we gave it a good drink and mulch – it also needs careful pruning at this time of year to promote flowering buds.
(Tip for the birds – as well as remembering to put out food for them they also need water to drink and bathe in and for nest building in the spring so a bird bath is a good investment)

Its garlic planting time again – we like French Thermidour – a pink variety, try to plant garlic from good stock – a garden centre or on-line as these will be virus free and suitable for our climate. Garlic needs a long growing season and a cold spell to make the cloves divide into heads – which is why last winter made such a good crop! Plant in rows 4”(10cm) apart and 1 “(3cm) deep  and cover with soil – we can expect to be harvesting these in May or June.

We also planted some red onions – Red Baron,sets not seeds (these are small onions which swell.)Plant these in a shallow drill with their tips just showing above the soil. If you like shallots these also divide– a bit like garlic –but above the ground -so you get about 5 shallots from 1 bulb and you need a bit more growing space. We netted both of these crops at soil level –to protect against cats,mice and birds !

That’s almost the last of our gardening tasks for the year – we still have a bit of pruning to do in the garden – the apple tree,grapevine and roses need a good trim to promote flowers and fruit. Still we will have plenty of winter veg to harvest – leeks,purple sprouting broccoli,curly kale and swiss chard – to keep us interested. In the meantime we can sow broad beans and sweet peas in toilet rolls in the greenhouse ready to get a headstart when we plant them out next spring.

21st October

It is a beautiful dry,  sunny and cold autumn day – perfect for gardening. Time to catch up with some seasonal tasks!

We admired our cayenne chillies and peppers in the greenhouse – keep picking, feeding and watering these so that they ripen before first frost.

Love your soil! – it’s where all good gardening starts. With our raised bed system we have to be constantly replenishing the nutrients in the soil as we are more or less intensively farming – so as well as using the bed rotation system (that’s growing different crops in succession – not the same one in same spot year after year) – we have to add lots of organic matter and now is the best time. First of all we picked the last of our lovely pumpkins which have now ripened and should be good for storing (if we don’t eat them straight away!). Sometimes we save the seed but pumpkins are ‘promiscuous’ with their cross pollinating and we won’t always get what we expect – still if you’d like a surprise give it a go as seed is very expensive. But if you know it was an F1 variety don’t bother – it will revert back to its wild state and be bitter.

We also harvested a huge crop of Jerusalem Artichokes (otherwise known as ‘fartichokes’ for obvious reasons!). Not to everyones’ taste but good in soups and mash.

We covered the empty beds with a good mulch of home-grown compost and some horse manure and then covered them up with some horticulture membrane – this will stop weeds growing and keep the local cats and foxes off. If you’re growing brassicas now is the time to do a ph soil test  – add lime if its too acidic and don’t add manure at the same time. Most veg likes slightly acidic soil.

It’s not only the plants that are getting ready for winter – Bryan found all sorts of invertebrates getting ready to hibernate under wooden boards – snails are now laying eggs so expose them for the birds to feed on .We found a leopard print slug (rumoured to be carnivorous and eat the common slugs), large wood-lice and lots of worms – all decomposers and signs of a healthy eco-system. Autumn is the season of death and decay!!

But we can look forward to new shoots next spring by planting our garlic, onions and broad beans  which we will do next week.