Sandgate Community Garden: Update 11 April 2021

Great news!  The rhubarb eventually turned up in the post at the end of the week and was immediately planted, and we have had some substantial rain at last.  The start of the week was taken up with watering the plots, and planting out more lettuces, spring onions, coriander, dill, parsley and chervil.  The herbs make a great addition to the lettuce leaves when they are picked and add some great flavours and textures.  The radishes sown in mid-February are starting to swell and should be ready to start to pick in the next week or two – such an amazing quick crop which copes well with the cold and can be eaten within nine weeks from being sown.  Not all of the jobs on the list got done as it is still quite cold and it takes time to remove fleece covers to water, and then replace them.

The garden will take some years to mature, and for the small shrubs and trees to become established but we can already see changes to some of the fruit bushes with promises of actually bearing some fruit.  The Honey Berry is a relative of the Honeysuckle, and is currently in flower.  The berries are very similar to blueberries without half the fuss, and can be eaten raw, or made into jams and jellies.  There is a picture of the flowers below.  The Goji berries are putting on some lush growth and should produce some fruit later this year – time will tell.  The autumn raspberries also planted last year are appearing thick and fast so there should be much more to pick with any luck.   In the meantime we have been tantalised with a picture on our WhatsApp group of Rosie’s parsnip pie!  There were many offers to help with the eating as it apparently tastes similar to apple pie; however it was already too late, and the pie had not surprisingly, been quickly consumed by the family.

By the pond we have some Pulmonaria or Lungwort in full flower which has certainly been attracting the bees in the few times that the sun has come out enough for them to venture out.  Other wildlife noticed this week has been many ground beetles.  It seems they are mostly active from March until October and as part of a well-balanced garden ecosystem, they will be helping out by feeding on any slugs or other insects they can find.   Every now and then we come across random small rodent sized holes, going deep underground; always interesting to consider all the life that is going on under our feet, and perhaps it was about time we got the wildlife camera out again to get some insight as to what goes on when nobody is around.

This coming Saturday, 17th April from 10 am to 12.30 pm, there is to be a plant sale and seed swap at the front of the Community Network in Cheriton High Street.  We are donating seeds and plants for this and all proceeds will go to our sister group Incredible Edible to support more planting and growing of fruit and vegetables in the community

Reminder – tomato plants will be available up at the garden from Wednesday 21st April.  Courgette plants to follow from mid-May.

What’s next?

Get to grips with unfinished jobs from last week:

  • Stake the raspberry patch
  • Plant the sweet peas
  • Continue the war on sycamore seedlings
  • Fill any lettuce gaps
  • Sow more celeriac and celery, plus start the sweet corn and courgettes
  • Keep watering carrot and parsnip beds plus pot plants and new plantings
  • Pot up herbs for the Incredible Edible sale
  • Start to pot up the tomato plants