Sandgate Community Garden: Update 7 March 2021

More trays of seeds got sown in the warmth of the Saturday sunshine in the garden, so we now have hundreds of seeds and seedlings on the go.  However, all of them are pretty hardy and early varieties that can cope with some cold.  First thing in the morning the trays of seedlings get put out into cold frames and mini greenhouses, and are taken indoors at night time when the temperature drops.  That way, the plants make some good steady growth and when they are around four weeks old, should be able to be planted out in the garden, covered with fleece, as long as the temperatures in the local weather forecast are not too low. 

We have some plants ready and waiting to go out now, but this weekend says the nights are too cold and they will have to wait a little longer.  It is all about being patient, keeping an eye on the weather, as well as making judgements about how strong the plants are.  Patience being the operative word!  So many citizens of Sandgate have been telling us about how well they are doing with getting all the seeds in the ground, outside, with no protection, expecting them to oblige by growing.

Sometimes you get lucky, but we can still get heavy frosts and even snow as late as Easter, and plants can catch up and overtake earlier sowings because their growth has not been checked by the cold.  We have also had tales of annuals romping away in the greenhouse, growing well, but when we are asked when the plants can safely go outside (probably not until at least May), there is then the realisation that these plants will have to be kept under glass, watered, and moved on into much larger pots to be able to survive in good condition until then, by which time they resemble triffids.  Patience!

The temperature this winter has made a difference to the garden.  Last year we had annuals such as nasturtiums and nicotiana coming into flower – all have been lost as well as the autumn peas, even the broad beans have taken a battering.  However many gardens have lost their broad beans altogether so we count ourselves lucky there.  The temperatures were low, but not as low as in other parts of the country or even county.  There were concerns about the goji berries to see if they survived but you can see from one of the pictures below that they are sending out good strong shoots.  There is also a picture showing the new shoots of the autumn raspberries coming through.  We will have to be careful not to hoe them off!  Autumn raspberries are different to summer in that they fruit on the new stems which grow fresh in the spring, and may not need support, whereas summer raspberries fruit on the stems which grew in the previous summer and usually need to be tied into a frame.

Not enough rain to fill the pond so we cannot report back on if the repair has worked yet!  Happily all the jobs on the list for this week did get done, to include the turning of the compost bins, the planting of more fruit trees at Fremantle Park, and the application of a good amount of fresh compost at Golden Valley shops and more weeding.  There was even time to help out with a big tidy and litter pick behind the shops, as well as revamp the Meadowbrook and Chichester Road alleyway with a generous dollop of compost and some new plantings of some soft fruit bushes.  Phew!

What’s next?

  • Keep checking on the pond for a repair status
  • More sowings of herbs, lettuce, spinach and spring onions
  • Keep looking for pesky infestations of sycamore seedlings!
  • Water the new planting at the alleyway – label
  • Finish the wiring of the posts along the wall
  • Find slates/stones for making new signs
  • Keep all plant pots watered if dry
  • Divide hostas if they are growing
  • Start work on one of the greens in the High Street.