Sandgate Community Garden: Update 21 March 2021

It is now officially spring with the arrival of the equinox, and we finished the week having caught up a little with ourselves after the lousy week before.   The current priority is to get plants that are ready into the ground as quickly as possible, releasing the sowing trays for more seeds and seedlings to be grown on.   We planted out the peas for shoots, spring onions, cabbages and broccoli, and two rows of parsnips got sown in-between the rows of radishes.  Radishes are a quick crop which will not be in the ground for many weeks whereas the parsnips are slow growers and will just be starting to do something when the radishes are being pulled up. 

We think that we may have fixed the pond.  We found that we had a small leak where the repair patches were overlapped.  Chris and Alistair, two of our able volunteers, worked out what the problem was.  Chris is the only one who comes prepared with a pair of wellies so more often than not ends up in the pond checking it out, that is dedication for you. 

We took some veg plants and compost to the nursery at the Saga Pavilion for the children to help plant in their playground planters.  We were sad not to be able to work with the children last year, and hope that we will get the opportunity to do so this year if the pandemic allows it.  In the meantime we will be forwarding plants so that they can at least grow something alongside their usual herbs and flowers.

We had a visit on Saturday from Dennis, who came all the way up to the garden bearing gifts.  There were seeds, new dibbers, irrigation timers (if only we had a mains water supply), a garden sign, and most touching were two clocks which apparently Dennis had put together himself and were community garden themed.  Just amazing and most kind!

Mid-week the planter outside the Ship got a good top mulch of compost, it is looking a little empty and sad at the moment but tidy, and it will not be too long before we can start filling it up again.  Opposite at the planters outside the Riviera Court, the phormiums were stripped of dead leaves and topped with a good few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure to give them a boost.  Permanent potted plants need a feed at least once a year, depending on what they are, how big and how much they grow.

Tomato plant news

Make a note in your diaries that it is hoped that our own grown tomato plants will start to become available from Wednesday 21st April.  Be warned that this is too early to safely plant out tomatoes and they will still need protection for a while depending on the weather.  Last year we lost some seedlings to a storm that came through whilst under protection, and we had to make new sowings.  We have seven varieties, Tumbling Tom and Minibel (Cherry bush varieties) Moneymaker, Marmande, Crimson Crush, Tigerella and Yellow Delight.  We will make a further sowing just in case! 

News of the Incredible Edibles

Our sister group have started work on a new herb and vegetable garden in Cheriton outside the All Souls Church Hall.  The traditional design will also include a cherry tree and a lavender/pollinator border.  Like our planter outside the Ship in Sandgate, the containers in Cheriton High Street will gradually be filled with plants over the spring.  A new planter has been taken on at the Three Hills Sports Centre, and of course, there are lots of plans for more projects in the pipeline.

What’s next?

  • There are a few new raspberry canes to plant
  • Plant the artichoke plants
  • Plant the lettuces and sugar snap peas
  • Plant up plot 1 at Fremantle Park with available vegetables
  • Check the Golden Valley for spaces to plant veg, check for weeds and if new trees need watering
  • Sow more seeds!