Sandgate Community Garden: Update 18 July 2021

July is important for the sowing of new seeds.  Many of the beds have been cleared of one crop, and another has been planted in its place.  Some of the beds will have three plantings this year, and a few may even see four before the year is out.  The days are shortening and every growing day in July is about equivalent to two in August, and a week in October.   The third lettuce sowing of the year was done just this week and they are now ready to be pricked out into individual pots or cells for growing on.  The second lettuce sowings are just starting to give us a few leaves, about four each plant for now, and the next picking a week later until they really get going and will then be picked twice a week for a few weeks until the next plants take over.  That at least is the theory, and timing is critical.  On Wednesday Chinese cabbage and Kaibroc got sown, by Friday they had grown their first two seed leaves which was pretty impressive.  The Kaibroc was moved into a tray of cells to grow on; it is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale and produces many tender side shoots for harvesting after the main head.  The next seeds to be sown will be Florence fennel, and in a few days’ time the second batch of coriander, dill and chervil.

The very prickly job of picking all the gooseberries got completed, providing many delicious tales of mostly gooseberry crumbles, some of which got mixed with a stick or two of rhubarb – just fabulous.  It is hard to find gooseberries in the shops these days as they are so labour intensive, and ours disappeared in no time at all, as did the few blackcurrants that managed to survive the winds, and seemed to have ripened overnight.    The crowded carrots and parsnips got pulled in some spaces to allow the remaining roots to grow on, and they were just big enough to make something out of them.  The Charlotte potato variety, a second early, got lifted on Saturday and then just as quickly as they came up, disappeared and taken to several households in Sandgate – we only had room for a few plants but they were appreciated. 

Many of the plants in all the community areas will be enjoying the heat and sunshine we have been experiencing, and they will be trying to catch up with where they should be.  It has been noticed that the celeriac, not ready to be harvested until October/November is trying to go to seed and developing a flower head!  This is most unusual, and apparently is caused by a period of cold days which leads them to believe they have been through winter and so start to flower when it warms up!  It is also unusual to see so many fungi in high summer.  Both Enbrook Park and Fremantle Park are sporting several ‘fairy rings’ in the grass, the one below was photographed at Fremantle.  Fairy rings are linked with folklore and often viewed with great suspicion; they can grow up to ten meters in diameter apparently.

The Incredible Edible team will be supporting the grand re-opening of the Community Network in Cheriton High Street on Saturday 24th July from 12pm until 4pm.  So if you are interested in volunteering or just joining in with the activities that day, then come along!  The Incredible Edible garden at All Souls outside the hall is now planted up with all sorts of flowers, vegetables and herbs, however pictures rarely do justice to the subject at hand and always best to come and see it all yourself!

What’s next?

  • Keep watering the new plantings and check the Enviromesh is in place.
  • Plant out the second beetroot tray
  • Sow coriander, dill and chervil
  • Start work if possible on the bed inside top gate
  • Finish tidying and clearing daisy area
  • Tackle some bind weed and mares tails