Sandgate Community Garden: Update 29 August 2021

It is now a real race against time to get everything in that was sown at the start of the month and to get the final sowings of winter greens done by the end of the first week in September.  You can already feel the change in the season, the days are shorter and cooler.  We sowed four trays of spring onions, and four of bulb onions, plus a few more winter radish.

Strapped for space, we are being ruthless and twisting out anything that is past its best or not performing well enough, in favour of new plants.  These plantings will take us into mid winter and spring so the beds are given a generous helping of compost  as it is much easier to do so now than in December and working around established plants. 

We planted over 120 plugs of spinach with 1 – 3 plants each plug a potential of some 300 plants however you need a lot of spinach to make a meal and more was sown in the week.  The Nero kale and Florence fennel got planted as well as more coriander, Amsoi, Pak Choi, red giant mustard, mizuna and Green in the Snow.  The mustards are able to withstand a temperature of at least minus six, depending on the duration of the freezing.  Some of them will be grown in beds and some will be planted into mushroom boxes and kept in the cold frames.

The tops of the tomatoes should have all been pinched out by now to allow them to concentrate on ripening the tomatoes they already have, any later tomatoes are unlikely to have the time to mature especially outdoors.  We find a few half chewed as well as pecked courgettes occassionaly, but the wildlife seem to not be so sure of the fat prickly cucumbers pictured below – mind you neither are some of the gardeners at first until they try one!

We are now starting to water the celeriac as they are beginning to swell at ground level, although we are still unsure if any bolted plants will yet perform.  The kale is pushing up the mesh netting and interesting the cabbage white butterflies but soon they will cease to bother with the brassicas at all now the window of opportunity has nearly gone.

Many thanks for all the messages of support following the ITV Meridian report which finally got aired on Thursday following the filming on Tuesday in Sandgate and Cheriton of the Incredible Edible spaces.  The phone did not stop pinging all day and evening.  If you missed the film, here is the link below.

Our next outing is the Sea Festival in Sandgate this Sunday 29th, and may all be over by the time you read this newsletter.  We will be on the seafront outside the castle with our plants {thank you Jill for your donation of houseplants) and various wares on our table, plus lots of smiles hoping to encourage you to part with some cash for yet more projects.  Erica of the Incredible Edible crew, kindly donated a rather splendid butternut squash from her no dig organic allotment, for the ‘Guess the weight of the squash’ competition.  We picked a bucket of flowers for the Sandgate Society to put in small vases on the tables for the pop-up tea and cake café at the Fire Station, which will certainly be getting visited by many of us when we have finished a stint of rattling the donation box at our stall! 

Finally, if you are interested in the community gardens and like the idea of growing organic, no dig fruit and vegetables then come along to the walk and talk on Sunday 5th September.  Happily it will be worth the visit just to frequent the pub (The Golden Arrow) at Golden Valley to sup tea or coffee with the new landlords Shona and Richard, both looking forward to welcoming you to see the changes they have brought to the establishment.  Check out the Sandgate Society website to book.

What’s next?

  • Tidy the area where the raised boxes were
  • First pick of the third lettuce sowing
  • Sow more mustards
  • Pot up some coriander plugs
  • Weed under some of the nets
  • Hoe along the outside edge of the fence
  • Keep watering the new plants