Sandgate Community Garden: Update 28 February 2021

What a spectacular week as regards the beautiful sunny weather.  It has been lovely to be able to spend some time in the garden and not be wet, or blasted from one end to the other!  The pond will have to wait to be filled from rainwater and to see if the repair has worked. 

Warm enough to sit down and sow seeds, we have started off more pea shoots, as well as spinach, spring onions, parsley, dill and fennel.  We planted out two plots with radishes that were only sown on 19th February, and at 8 days old were bursting out of the modules.  They have a cover of fleece to help them along, but last year we did not plant enough of them and they got enthusiastically eaten in no time at all. So many trays of seedlings coming along, it is quite a juggling act to get them out in the sunshine during the day, and back in the warm at night time.  Still too early for many seeds that are tender and cannot be planted out until at least mid-May, such as tomatoes.  We have had many enquiries about availability of tomato plants this year, and they will not be available until at least mid-April which is still early.  It is so difficult to be patient and to wait to get plants going, but that is exactly why the shops get them out there too soon as they often end up being murdered because of a cold snap, and then more plants get bought to replace them!

It has been a week of gifts too – thank you to Freddie for buying us a grabbing device for the pond to get out any debris.  Who knew such things existed and that our lives would not be complete until we had one?  We were also contacted by Peter and Isobel with the kind gifts of some packets of flower seeds which will be put to good use, and some amazing clay pots which certainly will look good in the summer, filled with the flowers grown from the donated seeds – perfect!

Fremantle Park and the Golden Valley shops

We now have enough volunteers at Fremantle to start a WhatsApp group to enable us to list the jobs that need doing, and keep up the communication.  This week the fruit trees and soft fruit shrubs got planted, and with any luck, three more trees should get planted next week.  The five vegetable plots are being allocated to local families to be looked after by them; but the herb planters and the new garden to be created at the other end of the park by the slope to the alleyway, are to be planted up with all kinds of things that anybody will be able to help themselves to in ‘Incredible Edible’ fashion.

After some cajoling and pleading, the Folkestone and Hythe parks department very kindly took out four Phormiums from the brick planters at the Golden Valley shops.  They are great plants for filling a huge amount of space and able to look after themselves, but this summer we are hoping to make this area a riot of colour with flowering perennials and annuals.  We have been weeding both inside and outside the planters, and will be adding a layer of compost to improve the soil and fill in the Phormium craters!  We met the new landlords of the Pub, The Golden Arrow, who are keen to work with us to help make the shopping area look something this year.  They are busy making great improvements to both the inside and outside of the pub with a view to making it a family orientated hub of the Enbrook Valley community in Sandgate.  We welcome them and wish them well with their plans as soon as restrictions are lifted.

What’s next?

  • Any rain on the horizon and get the pond back together again?
  • Get the large clay pots on site at Enbrook Park, and filled ready for planting
  • More seed sowings of peas, radishes, spring onions
  • Prick out the lettuces
  • Continue to turn the compost bins
  • Finish weeding at the shops and put down the new compost
  • Plant three more fruit trees at Fremantle.