Sandgate Community Garden: Update 9 May 2021

This week we have had high winds through to hail, thunder and lightning, followed by torrential rain!

We did not manage to achieve all our tasks for the week as the Saturday session was cancelled due to rain, but all the squashes and courgettes did get potted on and at least we did not have to do much watering.  The high winds at the start of the week flattened the broad beans and rhubarb in particular, as well as battered many other things where the fleece covers got pulled off and blown about.  Two of us went to Enbrook Park once the winds had died down and replaced all the covers, and by Wednesday the broad beans were looking perky and standing up again.  The temperatures are still low for this time of year and it is good that we have not planted the tender tomatoes, courgettes and flowering annuals just yet.

In February we were given a Community Grant from Kent County Council for us to buy some cold frames and a new tool box for the garden at Enbrook.  The tool box was ordered online, and although the web site had shown the item was in stock, by the press of the button to complete the order, there was something like a 14 week wait before it would be in stock again and we are still waiting with a promise of it appearing sometime in May.  From the writing of the grant before Christmas 2020 to it being awarded, the cold frames had increased in price by nearly a third and we had to find another source.  We commissioned the maker of the planters at Fremantle Park and Cheriton High Street to make the cold frames for us instead(when he could fit it into his order book), and the first two were delivered this week, with another two due soon.  In a picture below, you can see that they are very solid and have a Perspex lid as a safety feature.  They have already been put to good use sheltering many newly potted seedlings.

On Tuesday a couple of us made a visit to Godinton House at the invite of the head gardener Viv Hunt. We were shown around the beautiful gardens, and given some seedlings and rooted cuttings of several flowering shrubs and plants.  We were most taken with their beautiful bug hotel and aspire to make something similar at some point.  We hope to remain in contact with the staff, and have invited one of their apprentices to visit our garden as he is studying how to set up a community garden in his home town.  What a privilege it was to see the hub of where all the magic of plant propagation happens, their beautiful greenhouses and potting sheds.

This coming week we have another visit planned to another Kent Community Garden in East Malling called Communigrow.  This is a garden which is ‘focused on reconnecting people to freshly grown food, the outdoor environment it comes from and the soil it grows in’, which is pretty much our ethos too. This trip has been in the pipeline for over a year now but because of ‘you know what’, has been postponed and put back until finally we think it will actually happen.  It may not be possible to compare our gardens as there are many different circumstances, but there is always something to take away from such visits and to consider as a possibility.

What’s next?

  • Pot up the cucumbers and tree spinach
  • Spread compost on small bed at Enbrook and Wilberforce Green
  • Move wood chips
  • Start work on turning the compost
  • First pick of new spinach beds
  • Salad pick
  • Any radishes to pick still?
  • Weed alley way