Sandgate Community Garden: Update 30 May 2021

May bank holiday, June is now upon us and at last the weather is starting to improve.  We were sorry to see that a large tree had fallen in Enbrook Park, always a sad sight; however we were assured that the tree had been suffering from Ganoderma  (a fungus) for some years.  We were lucky enough to benefit from some of the logs to make extra seats for the garden, and on the sunny Saturday morning session we spent a happy hour sitting on the logs sowing spring onion seeds and around 240 dwarf beans.

The poor sick looking plants having spent too much time in their pots shivering and being blown about are finally getting into the soil.  The courgettes are all planted as are the squashes and sweetcorn, plus the chard seedlings, a bit of sunshine and warmth should see them romp away.  We have held back from planting the basil and the cucumbers just yet as they are really tender and could do with getting a little bit bigger and stronger.

Whilst pottering about and planting at Enbrook this week, we came across a very interesting insect none of us had ever seen before.  It was photographed (Picture below) so that we could find out if it was a friend or a foe to the garden.  There have been several new insects and invertebrates to watch out for such as the marmorated stink bug, the harlequin ladybird, and the New Zealand flatworm, to name but a few.  Happily, this fellow is a wasp beetle, and a friend, which seems to occupy most of the world except for Ireland and the Americas – most interesting and we shall now know to be pleased if we ever come across another.

We currently have plenty of fresh herbs as well as salad leaves.  Mixing the two together in a variety of combinations makes for the most amazing salads you can imagine.  The leaves range from bright green through to a deep dark red and various shades between, the herbs are parsley, coriander, dill and chervil which lift the leaves to another level.  Add calendula petals, borage, and viola flowers, then you have something extra special which would cost a fortune in a posh restaurant.   This week we also added pea shoots, a real taste of early summer before the peas arrive!  Absolutely delicious!  We are always pleased to share what we can, and often do with visitors to the garden, and we took a batch to the library for distribution too.  However we were delighted to be contacted by the Kent Food Hub keen to work with us and other groups in or close to Folkestone like the Incredible Edibles, on a new project to promote growing seasonal local food and to make fresh food accessible to all.  We are looking forward to doing as much as we can to enable this to happen in the wider community and to make links and work together on common goals and interests. 

In the meantime we have plenty to be getting on with as we have heard that the judge for the RHS ‘It’s your neighbourhood’ scheme is visiting the Enbrook garden on 17th June, no pressure!  The judge is coming in an advisory capacity, to evaluate our progress, and our Sheila has been working on the most amazing supporting statement to give to the judge as requested, because he only has an hour. The statement sums up our history and achievements so far.   We have laboured hard on this, and Sheila has turned it into a work of art, but it is still early days and we continue to work on our progress. 

What’s next?

  • Keep up with the weeding
  • Keep watering the new planting for a few days until established
  • Pick the salads and herbs
  • Pull up the finished coriander to make way for the basil
  • Keep removing old and yellowing leaves around all plants
  • Start dead heading
  • Plant last of the summer bedding we have sown from seed