The fourth weekend in our fortnightly series of workshops on growing your own local food was fun and successful. We’re half way through the run of 8 workshops at each of the sites.
The Balham-Tooting-Wandsworth structure is stimulating as there are differences and common ground in the settings and interests – plus there’s healthy cross-pollination between locations and local partners

Have a look at the Fourth Growing Tooting Handout by clicking here – all welcome to download and use to help your own garden choices. Collect the set! (And any feedback welcomed, of course).

Do you know your Rooster from your Vivaldi?
One theme in the Handout is building awareness of varieties of vegetables and fruit. What’s the benefit of there being so many?

So, here is a ‘Brown Turkey’ variety fig being planted at the Balham class site, St Mark’s URC

TTT recently won a prize draw from The Conservation Foundation (see last item below). Our reward was a diverse bundle of 3 varieties of potatoes: ‘Sherine’, ‘Rooster’ and ‘Vivaldi‘. Each has different characteristics and cropping times…the result of plant breeding over the past 400 years. Thank you! – we have some to give away.
Plus there’s ‘Centurion‘ onions and ‘Red Sun’ shallots which we’ve planted.

More news from the classes: Here’s Donna from Balham’s mighty mangetout, with lots of pods set already. You get a sense of gardener’s pride from the tape measure draped alongside. Donna has now planted this out in the polytunnel at Doddington and Rollo Community Roof Garden, with lots of supporting sticks. To complete the synergy, the seeds came from Tamworth Farm Allotment Society….see below for their plant sale next weekend.

Another theme in the fourth Growing Tooting Handout is watching the weather…and after a May weekend of hotter-than-Ibiza weather, staying aware of frost is probably going to be replaced by hoping for heavy rain (preferably at night). We’ll cover more in the future about growing successfully with low or unpredictable rainfall.

Two interesting notices looking ahead:
1 On 14 & 15 May, Tamworth Farm Allotment Society plant sale runs on their site opposite Figge’s Marsh.  A great way to buy plants cheaply and get tips from the gardeners who grew them!

2 Tools for Change (click on link for details): through this project from The Conservation Foundation, from 9 May to 9 June anyone can donate spare, unloved or broken garden tools at any Wyevale Garden Centre (there’s one in Morden). You’ll receive a 10% discount on new hand tool purchases. There is give and gain in the project: the tools are then repaired at Tools Shed workshops in prisons including HMP Wandsworth, and donated to community groups and schools. Local groups who wish to receive garden tools in spring 2017 can get in touch here.

In Tooting Community Garden we’ve received tools from this innovative scheme.      
We’re proud that our outdoor learning project with Gatton School has benefited. See these young gardeners with some dramatic cultivators!

Tools for Change reduces waste, helps community groups build participation and save their limited cash and has a positive social impact.