Sandgate Community Garden: Update 27 June 2021

To continue with the bee news written by Chris and featured in last week’s newsletter, it seems that a new queen bee has been seen in the garden nucleus box.  Named ‘Lilibet’, she is certainly a welcome addition.  Chris came up to the garden Saturday morning with a local bee farmer to help her identify Lilibet, we managed to snap a quick photo of the inspection as we had to maintain our distance whilst the box was open.

An industrious week as ever, more celeriac put in, and a new bed of lettuce planted where the pea shoots had just been removed.  The sugar snap peas and the broad beans are giving up the last of their pods and will likely be removed next week to make way for new plants waiting in line to be planted out.  Compost bins got turned, tomato plant side shoots pinched out, and the coriander removed as it was starting to flower and we need the space.  Kale and cabbage seeds were sown, and more lettuce varieties pricked out.  The first cabbage white butterfly was seen this week, so we know the whole brassica and caterpillar shenanigans are about to begin, but we have a master plan up our sleeve to try this year in the hope of doing better.  We will be writing about it later once we start the battle!  We have been holding our nerve as regards black fly.  You have to suffer an invasion of pests before the cavalry in the form of ladybirds turn up.  It makes sense as they need plenty to feast on before considering moving in.  There has been plenty of evidence of ladybird larvae seen this week, and so they are already at work. 

The rain and warmer weather are contributing to make the whole park continue to look stunning.  Below is a picture of a pyramidal orchid discovered the long grass.  What a treat it is to see so many wild flowers and to observe the insects that rely on them.  We have been trying to improve our planters on the sea front since they were battered and sprayed with salt water in the high winds a few weeks ago.  Below is a picture to show how they have picked up, and many a bee has been seen dropping in to make the most of the floral display, which has been our objective all along as well as trialling plants that can take the strain of being right on the seafront.   It will be a continuing story. 

Our friends in Cheriton, the Incredible Edibles, are busy on a gardening project at All Souls Church.  They have put in a bid for hot composters and large water rain collectors at the church hall where new edible beds have been planted.   Kent County Council will support this project with a pledge of £1,000 towards the target but they must first reach at least 20 backers from the community by the 30th June pledging as little as £2 each.  If you would like to support this local project by pledging just £2, click on the link below to take you to ‘Spacehive’ which is a crowdfunding platform for projects aimed at improving local civic and community spaces.  Thank you.

What’s next?

  • Still got chicory to sow and maybe beetroot
  • Clear the sugar snap peas and maybe the broad beans.
  • Prepare beds for replanting
  • Clear borage from overcrowded areas in the herb bed
  • Prick out kale and cabbage seedlings
  • Check on the Hythe hops growth
  • Water all new plantings regularly until established