Sandgate Community Garden: Update 15 August 2021

It has been ‘hunt the cucumber’ week as all the plants have been scattered along the wall and in any available space so that when they trail along and produce fruit, they can appear just about anywhere.  It makes for an interesting time finding them, and an achievement when one gets found after the search is called off.  The tomatoes are starting to try to do something now with a first fruit picked, but many gardeners are telling how theirs are lost to blight this year.  We shall have to keep fingers crossed that ours survive as they are slow to get going this year and have been put back further by the strong winds.  We have been comparing site conditions as one of our gardeners has been picking tomatoes for some time. 

The Hythe Hops group has started the process of deciding on harvest dates for all the hops in the area.  It seems optimistic to be contemplating a harvest as our poor hops at Enbrook were looking somewhat brown and crispy after the salty winds last swept through however happily some new shoots have fought their way through and are sending out some flowers so all is not lost, there should be something to pick and contribute. 

The winter radishes sown last week got planted on Saturday, and the mustards sown in the week along with the spinach, are up already through the soil in their modules, which puts the pressure on to find and clear more beds to make space.  The celery bed should be free soon as we are having to harvest them quite quickly as some of them are bolting.  Like the celeriac, after they were sown way back in the early spring, we had several days of colder weather making them believe they were experiencing winter so that when the summer arrived, they had been fooled into thinking they were in their second summer which triggers them to produce flowers followed by seeds.  The plant then becomes tough and bitter so needs to be removed as soon as possible.  Chris, obviously our speediest gardener made hers into a fabulous soup within two hours of being picked.  It looked fabulous in a picture on our WhatsApp group.   Other plants confused by the seasons are some cowslips planted in the seafront planters, now currently flowering. 

We have been checking under the netting of the brassicas, removing yellowing and doyley leaves chewed by the illusive keel slugs.  We have invested in more fine mesh this year, not just for the brassicas but also to protect new plantings until established.  The netting over a bed of chard was removed in order to use it to protect the new radishes, as the chard is now a few weeks old.  However, as soon as it was removed, an opportunistic pigeon caught sight of the unprotected chard and swiftly flew in to start work on them before being noticed and shooed away!  The chard got covered again!

There is a picture below of a Jersey Tiger moth seen at Fremantle Park this week, such a beautiful creature and a treat to see, we are always on the lookout for more unusual sightings in the locality.

The Sandgate Sea Festival is fast approaching and we are starting to collect things for our stall to raise some funds to keep our Sandgate projects old and new progressing as well as contributing to our sister group, The Incredible Edibles based in Cheriton.  Many thanks to Terry for contacting us and donating some beautiful house plants, thanks also to Marjorie for funding towards seeds and pants for next year.  We will be doing our utmost to help you part with some of your cash should you venture our way on the day!

What’s next?

  • Not looking like rain is on the near horizon so back to some watering
  • Pot up more plants for the stall
  • Keep an eye out for any signs of blight
  • Check busy areas for some weeds hiding