Sandgate Community Garden: Update 2 August 2020

The problem with covering up the brassicas with mesh is that you become complacent and think to yourself that no harm will come to those plants nestled in there, until you take a look one day and discover that they were placed inside the covering with butterfly eggs already hiding on them, and not carefully checked so that all the leaves on several plants had disappeared, and the caterpillars are marching with speed towards the rest of the plants!  There was some serious peering at close hand to find the minibeasts and remove them before any more damage was done.  Another lesson learnt and marvel at how clever the caterpillars are to lie along the main vein of a leaf so as to be practically invisible.

Most of this week was about picking and watering, the recent rain had really helped, but never enough for very thirsty sweet peas, beans, salad leaves and courgettes that put on so much growth in just a few days.  Pak choi, chervil, dill and mustard salads got sown; the rainbow chard got planted.

As we are involved with the Hythe Hop scheme, growing four hop plants against the wall, we are sent regular information about how our plants should be doing and news about the expected harvest time.  It is anticipated that the hops will be ready for collecting in mid-September when all the hops in the scheme will be picked at the same time and sent off to be made into a local brew.  It seems our plants are on target as the flowers are now there, and the general growth of the plants is good as shown on the pictures below.

Bee news

One of our gardeners had a swarm of honey bees turn up in her garden this week, but luckily we have a couple of bee keepers in our garden community, and one of them was on hand to catch them.  Unfortunately they decided they were not going to hang around and had other ideas.  Apparently there is a saying ‘a swarm in July isn’t worth a fly’, and such swarms are to be avoided.

Fremantle Park and Golden Valley planters

The Fremantle park planters have now been planted up and signs erected.  Our hope is to help any interested locals to expand the growing area, and plant more in the way of edibles. 

The Golden Valley shop planters have now been weeded and tidied.  Some of the planters have been adopted by the shopkeepers, and they have had an input as to what they would like to grow there, to include an olive tree, various herbs, fruit trees, soft fruit bushes and vegetables.  We have had lots of encouragement and praise from visiting locals, pleased to see the changes being made, and we hope the planters will flourish and be admired. 

What’s next?

  • One more check on the netted brassicas just in case!
  • Keep picking and watering
  • Plant out the endives and lettuces