Sandgate Community Garden: Update 31 January 2021

This newsletter is all about saying thank you to the people who are helping us to get things done, there are times when it can seem the task is too great, or will cost too much, but more often than not we manage to find ways to progress.

Two things needed sorting out at Enbrook – Our tool box has been broken for some time now, and we have to raise seedlings or keep plants at various houses.  Fortunately Councillor Rory Love of Kent County Council has awarded us a grant through the Combined Member Grant Scheme to enable us to replace that tool box and keep seedlings cosy in some cold frames until ready to be planted out.  We realise how fortunate we are when such help comes along and it makes a big difference to how we function.

This week some of us have been concentrating on work at Fremantle Park, Sandgate.  The Parish Council are kindly allowing us to take on some growing space there, and we reported last year on three large wooden containers that were set up and planted with vegetables and herbs which have been watered and looked after by locals living nearby.   The plan is to turn some of the grass into a growing area for vegetables and fruit, plus some bee attracting flowers. 

The ‘no dig’ methods we follow meant covering the area in a double layer of cardboard topped with a good thick layer of compost.  The card smothers the grass and gradually gets broken down and drawn into the soil, the compost gives the fruit and veg a great start and can be planted into straight away.  The only problem is that compost of any type is incredibly expensive, especially in such large quantities; however the horticultural department of the Folkestone and Hythe District Council came to the rescue bringing us two large trailers full of their own compost created in their yard from their work all around the area.  Unfortunately the ground within the park has been saturated by all the recent rain making it impossible to tip the compost straight onto the plot so it had to be dumped on the verge and we took turns to work on barrowing the whole lot to where it was required.  It will take some days to dry out and to make it workable enough to rake into all the right places, but at least a start has been made and we can begin planting soon.

Whilst working there, so many people have walked by, or popped out from their houses to say how great it is to see things going on and how much they appreciate the park in the first place.  The space we are working is very visible to many of the residents as houses and flats overlook the entire park, so we hope to be able to make an interesting and colourful display.

At Enbrook Park our gardeners took turns to check on the plants and cover some of the brassicas being attacked by pigeons, cut back and tidy plants around the pond and spread more compost on one of the asparagus beds where the roots keep being exposed, probably by digging squirrels!  The Saturday session was called off as it has continued to rain, however in spite of the wet, Chris, one of our bee keepers noticed her bees have been busy bringing lots of off-white pollen back to the hive which is thought to have come from hazel catkins.  Flowers in the midst of winter are proving their worth to the colony.

What’s next?

  • If it is drier, begin to put down more wood chip pathways at Fremantle Park
  • Do not mention the barrowing of chips and/or compost up to the Enbrook garden!
  • There are still some seedlings to pot up
  • Check on pruning required to trees and shrubs.
  • Order seeds for small wild flower area.