Sandgate Community Garden: Update 7 June 2020

No more procrastinating this week, and glad to report that jobs like repairing the flat wheelbarrow tyre and finishing the post wiring is under way and getting done, always satisfying to complete tasks that nag at you to get them finished.

At last the weather has broken and the much welcome rain will do wonders to loosen up the soil and bring long awaited relief to plants that we choose not to water, in preference to those that really do need it.

The new signs seem to be working well for us, and Saga has added their own just by the first gate, and very smart it is too.

Our experiment to find out if any of the horse manure added to the compost bins is affected by Aminopyralid (a herbicide which remains active) seems to be going well, and happily nothing seems to have happened to the tomato plants or cucumber planted into it.  If Aminopyralid was present, the leaves of the plants would curl up, and they would fail to thrive – so far so good.

Just to add to the mix of wildlife evident on site, a mole has decided to come over and rummage around too.  The best dining place for our friend seems to be the compost bins where there are always juicy worms, and mole hills have appeared all around the composting area.  Our constant companion never afraid to show themselves is a very friendly robin.  Always there singing loudly just as soon as we start any work, they dive into the cloches as soon as they are opened and quickly pick up anything they can find to eat.  We had a blackbird caught in the strawberry netting which was most upsetting.  Luckily we are on site every day and the bird was quickly released and was happily uninjured.  With the strawberries proving irresistible to all the wildlife, maybe we should just consider removing the netting and leaving them to it, or filling the entire plot with strawberries in the hope of getting a few to eat ourselves!

The warmer weather and rapid new plant growth has brought the arrival of aphids, the predators that feed on them are slower to appear, and so we have had to use a mild soap solution to deter the pests until, we hope, the cavalry arrives to help us out.  Luckily we are just starting to see a few ladybirds and their larvae around.

Most striking this week has to be the fragrance that wafts around the garden from all the flowers currently on show, just delightful.  Sheer pleasure is to take some time out, sit on the bench, and take it all in…….sea view, flowers, wildlife; a little piece of heaven right here in Sandgate.

Bee news – Ray and Chris have reported that the new Buckfast bees have really been busy and now have a ‘super’ added to their hive for them to move into.  They are probably enjoying the flowers just as much as we are.

What’s next?

  • If more of the onions have started to topple over, they are ready to be lifted and dried.
  • Check to see if any of the first early potatoes are swelling
  • Tie in plants as they grow
  • Pinch out tomato plant side shoots
  • Re-pot mint