Sandgate Community Garden: Update 2 May 2021

The great thing about writing a weekly newsletter is that we can look back at what was happening this time last year and begin to make comparisons.  Last year we were contemplating removing the fleece covers, but this year there is no plan to do so just yet, with further cold nights on the horizon.  The promises of rain in the weather reports fizzle away and deliver nothing – the rainfall for April was 10.8mm which is a surprise as there is no recollection as to when that small amount happened as it must have sneaked in when nobody was paying attention.  We continue to water all the new plantings until they are established, or unless the rain does it for us.

All the jobs on the list for this week got tackled, from persuading the hops to climb in an orderly fashion up the hairy twine, to recovering rogue potatoes sprouting in the potato patch from last year, sowing chard, re-potting the squash and courgette plants and celebrating the first pick of the lettuces.  Just one small patch gave us 3.06kg of lettuce and the plants should keep producing more leaves for the next ten weeks until the next sowings are mature enough to take over the supply.  The first pick takes the longest as we are encouraging the lettuce plants to give up their eldest leaves and produce lots of new leaves on a central long stem which will proceed to grow upwards.  There is a knack to picking the leaves properly to discourage slugs and keep the plants clean and fresh.

As always when we ask for a little help, Sandgate comes to our assistance, either donating cash in exchange for plants or some of our produce, to bringing plants for us to use or exchange.   Richard came up to the garden with rooted cuttings of his grape vine, and Jill brought two boxes of hostas and house plants – thank you!  Really exciting is an invite from the Head gardener of Godinton House, (an amazing stately house and gardens near Ashford) to come and see the gardens next week with a hint that we might be taking home some plants and seeds too!  Just the chance to see the gardens in such good company and with any luck, the hub of the garden where the propagation takes place will be beyond comparison for a gardening anorak – deep joy!  

What’s next?

  • Next lettuce picking Wednesday session
  • Finish repotting the squashes and courgettes
  • Pot up the cucumbers and tree spinach
  • Continue to move the woodchips from the far end
  • Continue to monitor the water situation and rainfall
  • Differentiate between unwanted and wanted weeds
  • Spread compost on small empty bed