Sandgate Community Garden: Update 23 May 2021

Now the weather has gone beyond a joke and even we have stopped saying how we really do need the rain!  The wind that rip roared through on Friday has done much damage to the garden and it is interesting to see what has been affected where other plants not so much.  Looking back at the archive of our newsletter on the Parish Council website of a year ago, we were having the very same issues with stormy and cold weather but the plants were much further along than they are now. 

Enough moaning and let us concentrate on the positives.  The filming for our guru of ‘no dig’ organic gardening, Charles Dowding, got done before the garden got a blasting, and it was looking good.  We had up until August to submit our film, however the bare bones and structure are clearer now, and shows how much we have done to improve the soil, and all the pathways that also contribute to the organic matter.  There is no guarantee that our film will be used but Mr Dowding it seems was most impressed with the look of the garden and that is good enough praise indeed for us!  In fact we have had a few messages from friends of the garden to say how well things were growing, so many thanks for all those kind words as it makes a difference. 

Talking of the soil and organic matter, the compost heaps got turned at last which uses much muscle power, and frees up more space.  The compost in bin three looked good enough to eat as it got barrowed to our holding pen, reminiscent of crumbly fruit cake.  The brandling worms had finished their job as the compost was clear of them and this tells you it is ready to use.  The other two bins got turned too, leaving bin one as good as empty to begin the process all over again. 

We are delighted to announce that we have been given a massive £1,500 grant from the Martello fund, to be used to ‘maintain the existing gardens we look after in Sandgate as well as to explore new ones’.  £500 of this money can be put towards a water supply for the garden at Enbrook, which is certainly something we are hoping, might be a possibility for us one day.  This fund means we are on the road to expanding our horizons, and makes things seem all that more likely to actually happen.  If only it could be arranged for there to be more hours in the day…..

The Hythe hops are busy doing their thing climbing up the hairy twine, and we are removing any new shoots to concentrate on a maximum of four shoots per plant now we are in our second year of growing.  We have been given some posh new signs to display with our hops at Enbrook Park and at Fremantle Park so that anybody interested in joining the scheme can easily find the information required.

So it seems there is plenty to celebrate after all, and even when the weather prevents you from getting on with those jobs outside, you can be inspired to write poetry influenced by favourite flavours of Swiss chard and kale, which Alice has shared with us in a picture below.  Alice has made some truly amazing dishes to share with her family over the year; we get to drool over them as they are posted onto the group WhatsApp.  Mmmmmm, now there is another interesting subject – seasonal recipes from the garden.

Regardless of the weather – the Sandgate Society needs us all to get out there on 6th June for the Safari so make sure that one is in the diary – more information below.

What’s next?

  • Must weed the outside wall
  • Cut grass edge against fence and hoe
  • Continue to remove wind burnt damage from plants
  • Maybe plant the sweetcorn and squashes
  • Keep picking what needs picking
  • Maybe sow the beans at last