Sandgate Community Garden: Update 6 September 2020

Very excited this week to be picking our hops for the great Hythe Hops weigh in.  The first of the ripe hops had to be picked on the same day and taken to a collection point.  The next hop picking day for any hop plants in the scheme that were not ready, are to be picked in two weeks.  We started late morning once the hops were dry from any morning dew, and it took three of us two hours to collect all the cones.  We seriously underestimated quite how many there were and how long it would take to pick them.  There were 2.120kgs which does not seem like very much until you remember that hops are just paper thin and very light.  The hops or cones were sticky, which is quite normal when ripe, and they had an amazing smell.

It has turned dry again in our Sandgate micro climate, where the rain clouds seem to bypass us and pour down elsewhere!  The greenhouse tragedy and lost plants has left us with a lull in the planting until, we hope, the new sowings can get going.  It is already starting to feel quite autumnal, and our thoughts are turning to the final plantings of 2020 in October, before the winter sets in.  We are keeping an eye on the long term weather forecast with a view to getting together as a group for an end of season outdoor picnic to reflect on how the year has gone and consider what changes we would like to make for next year, what to grow more of and perhaps less of something else not so popular.  The most beneficial thing we can do for the garden during the winter months is to take time to put down all the compost we have been making and collecting, currently piled up in every available space.  The woodchip paths will also be put down fresh again.

The leaf compost pile has been partially emptied.  Just made from collected fallen leaves last autumn, they have turned into the most amazing rich dark compost; perfect raspberry bed mulch.  So barrow after barrow was turned out onto our raspberry beds, and being woodland plants, they will just love it! The rest of the leaf compost is to be mixed with the other composts, leaving the leaf  cage empty, ready and waiting to be filled again with this year’s leaf fall in the park.

What’s next?

  • Finish emptying the leaf cage, ready to start collecting newly fallen leaves.
  • Still a few more onion seeds to be sown
  • Keep an eye on the brassicas as they have been liberated from the mesh and may be attacked by cabbage whites.
  • What is attacking some of the Chinese cabbages?
  • Pick some sea buckthorn berries?