Sandgate Community Garden: Update 4 October 2020

The Folkestone Docker Brewers, having made the ‘green’ brew from the Hythe scheme hops, thought to complete the hop cycle of life by bringing the spent hops back to the garden and putting them on one of our compost heaps.  When having aged appropriately, the compost will be applied back onto the garden, perhaps onto the hops themselves. 

This week we were able to work on the garden Wednesday morning, but Saturday was a complete wash out, with persistent rain, which although most welcome, put a halt to any proceedings!   We managed to get the sprouted onions (spring and bulb) planted.  The garlic, saved from the summer, was sown into modules, and will be planted up as soon as a space is ready and given a thick covering of compost.  The strong winds, apart from battering the raspberries, has turned our mini greenhouse over once again, although luckily the seedlings were quite far on, and could be easily rescued and put back into the modules with no harm done.  Not so lucky was our Folkestone Mayor who kindly grows some plants for the Incredible Edible projects, alongside her allotment plants.  Unfortunately her greenhouse was  tipped over, and the plants were sadly lost.  We certainly know how she feels.

Fortunately the Incredible Edible team has had good news this week, as a High Street Fund has been granted, for more planters to be planted up with edibles in Cheriton High Street.  Our Incredible Edible planter outside the ship in Sandgate has been cleared and planted up with some spinach and Onion seedlings.  Some kale may get planted at some point, but most of the kale has been ravaged by the cabbage white caterpillars, and they look too sorry to be on show. 

As a group we have been discussing the likes and dislikes of the year as regards what we have grown.  So far it has been conclusive that we need more green leaves such as spinach and chard, more dwarf and broad beans, courgettes, potatoes and cucumbers, more rhubarb, onions throughout the year, and about the same amount of beetroot.  The turnips and kohlrabi will be ditched, as will a high percentage of the endives.  The early crops of radish and pea shoots were greatly appreciated, and we need to be smarter with the space used by the tomatoes, strawberries and the squashes.   We would like to try sorrel and salsify again which failed for some reason this year.  Some areas of the garden are working well, and some need to be reorganised this winter – so we have plenty to work on.

Bee News

With the sudden change in the temperature and the weather, there is evidence of dead bees sprawled around the entrances to the hives.  It seems that the victims are the only male bees of the hives, the drones.  Well known for their ‘layabout’ lifestyle (their only purpose in life is to mate with queen bees), they are quickly ejected from the hive at this time of year when surplus to requirements and no longer useful – as a result they die.  A sad ending, however the girls of the hive now have to consider the survival of the basic colony in the hard months to come.  The beekeepers have been setting traps around the hive to attract wasps and hornets, well known for attacking and raiding hives, killing the bees.  So far so good, but with tales of enormous Asian hornets on their way to the UK, the keepers need to be vigilant.

What’s next?

  • Hoe and weed any cleared spaces, cover with a thick layer of compost
  • Rain has brought on the weeds, so plenty of weeding to do
  • Plant the elephant garlic
  • Begin to draw up plans of parts of the garden needing changes.
  • Maybe start on the reformation of the pond now it is full again