Sandgate Community Garden: Update 10 November 2019

Luck was on our side this week and the sun was shining at all the right times!  Hundreds of garlic cloves and onion sets have been planted by dedicated planters on their hands and knees…. Even more leaves collected, paths laid, compost heaps turned, and a smoke tree planted near the banana.

The elephant garlic planted by the nursery children has started to sprout.  Growing these will be an interesting experiment as the bulbs have been in suspended animation since last year, with nowhere at the time to grow; they should have been planted or eaten by this time last year, but spent the winter, spring and summer in the fridge to see if they would hang on until now to burst into life.  We shall see around June next year if they have succeeded with their mission!

This is such a good time of the year for things to establish themselves before the winter sets in, and we are awaiting a big delivery of hedge plants and raspberry plants.  Without warning they will arrive in bulk on the doorstep and it will be action stations to get them in the ground before they dry out, as they will arrive bare root, no pots, no soil, but dormant and cheaper!  Although the leaves are gone, the roots will get a chance to cosy down into the soil ready to explode into growth in the spring – that is the theory.

The autumn sunshine enables seeds to sprout, and they have to take their chances.  They are up against the frost, being stood on, or dislodged by the gardeners hoe.  Many seeds have come from the last season’s crops and flowers, they are a free bonus as they can be brought on and established for the next season.  The thing is being able to work out what is an unwanted pesky weed and what is not…. That is a skill, and so we shall have to see what will try to establish itself and if we can manage to, at times, refrain from hoeing everything in sight and allow them to come through!  Picture below shows just how many seedlings are popping through at any one time!

The woolly blankets have been made and drawn over the more tender established plants for winter cropping, and prevents the birds from taking an easy meal.  Protection can be down to minus five degrees, so let us hope we will not have to test that!

What’s next?

  • Set out exactly where that hedge is going to go
  • Keep collecting fallen leaves
  • Protect the sown pea shoots
  • Check for any dislodged onion or garlic sets as birds can pull them up
  • Check all covered crops for mildew – remove any rotting leaves and weeds.
  • Weed the weeds!