Sandgate Community Garden: Update 21 February 2021

We had quite a setback this week.  It should have been an omen to read that it is not always necessary to break the ice on a frozen pond, when it was discovered that some over enthusiastic ice breaking had resulted in eleven puncture holes in the pond liner and the water had leaked out.  Always best to get to grips with the situation quickly and get it sorted, so we excavated the liner around the edges to find those punctures and fix them with a pond liner repair kit.  We will not know if we have managed to find all the holes, or if the repair is a success until we get some rain and with any luck the pond fills up.  We will keep you updated.

We spent some time checking up on the plants to see how they had fared after the snow.  The Cardoon in a photo last week has perked up, as have the cabbages, which even had some caterpillars hiding in their leaves on closer inspection – unbelievable!  The autumn peas and broad beans look decidedly sad under the fleece covers, but they have established root systems and with any luck they should recover in time.  The goji berries only survive up to minus five, but they seem to be sending out some new leaves so we are optimistic they will be fine too.

The warmer weather and longer daylight hours have meant that it is time to make the first sowings of the year.  Just in time, our new plant trays from Charles Dowding, the no dig guru, arrived, and they are perfect for us.  They are longer than an A4 size piece of paper, there are sixty planting cells for seedlings, and so when multi sowing beetroot for example, at four seeds per cell, you have a potential two hundred and forty plants in a small space.  They will transform the seedling growing process this year. 

We had a bonus in the form of some lost parsnips.  It was thought that the entire crop had been harvested, the plot they had been growing in looked very empty until there were some tell-tale signs of new growth from parsnip tops, poking through the soil.  They are quite happy to be left in the soil for a few weeks yet, but they will not be lasting that long!

Fremantle Park: At last the soil is starting to dry, good enough to be able to walk on.  More paths have been put down in the form of trusty wood chips, and after a topping of some fine bagged compost, they will be ready to be planted into.  We have some fruit trees, fruit bushes and more herbs ready and waiting to be planted, so if the weather stays dry they might get planted.

What’s next?

  • If there is any rain this week, check on the pond water level
  • Continue to weed plots covered in fleece and nets
  • Make more sowings on Wednesday, of the vegetables mentioned last week
  • Make a start on emptying compost bin number three
  • Remove old plant growth from hops – careful not to cut strings
  • Weed outside wall and clear debris