Patchwork news: plants, pests & people
Tuesday, 26th May 2020 by Sophie Verhagen

It's been another warm, dry week here in Hackney. While the sunshine has been lovely, the continued dryness has brought aphids to our plants. Strong, mature plants can withstand them but newly planted seedlings struggle, so we are spraying them with a soapy solution as often as possible to try and repel the pests.  

Crafty ventilation

In order to keep the glasshouse temperature from soaring above 40 degrees, our old Patchworker, Damon, kindly came and made us two screens to place in the entrances of the glasshouse, which prevent foxes, rodents, etc from coming in but allow for ventilation. He is a wonderful craftsman, making them entirely from bits and pieces on site within a matter of hours. I am so very grateful!



Plants and people

The plants on the sites are inextricably associated with people, most of them reminding me of people who have worked on the sites at one time or another. The amazing poppies (papaver) in the polytunnel remind me of two trainees, Maddie and Kim, who could never bring themselves to pull out the poppies and so we have since been blessed by poppies every year. Some that are really in the way get pulled out, but wherever possible we leave them in.  

The sage (top photo) which is tidied every year at Springfield is now bountifully taking up all of its bed and most of the pathway again. It makes me think of Joanne and Stephen who often harvest it in the autumn, and of Michael who taught me to not be scared of cutting it back really hard.  

The nigella (small blue flower) comes up in abundance at the ends of our two first salad beds at Springfield and brings to mind Sue, who volunteered for 13 years before moving out of London when she retired. Sue also helped to plant the thyme which was humming with bees when I took a photo of it with its white flowers. Thyme is notoriously difficult to grow on our London clay soils, so we mixed a healthy amount of sand into the compost underneath it and it has flourished ever since.

Author name: 
Sophie Verhagen