Sandgate Community Garden: Update 12 September 2021

It is with great excitement that the hops are going to be picked this Sunday both at Enbrook Park and Fremantle Park.  Last year the harvest was a little earlier and we picked just 2.12 kg although this year we have three extra plants at Fremantle too!  The suspicion is that although the hops are older, they have suffered this year, so we shall see. 

We knew it would only be a matter of time until blight arrived at the last place to show signs of it – Enbrook Park.  Two plants were infected so far and have been removed and composted.  It is fine to compost plants with blight as the disease is airborne and not spread through the soil. 

The last of the small seeds for this year have been sown.  We still have more spring onions to plant, and bulb onions to put in for next year.  The last additions to the plot will be garlic and broad beans to overwinter. It will be strange not to be looking after any seedlings now until mid February 2022 when we start all over again!   A further 120 plugs of spinach got planted this week, as did 120 plugs of spring onions, some more winter radishes and more parsley.  The coriander sown just a few weeks ago decided to go to seed already, an example of how things  just decide to do their own thing no matter how much you try!

We removed a bed of squashes which had struggled all the way through the summer – sometimes you just have to give up and try again, and so the bed is being prepared for bulb onions instead.  Frustratingly, a random leftover squash plant was planted in a part of the garden near the fruit trees and just left to get on with it.  The plant took up the challenge and with total neglect from us has rambled all over the place and produced some large squashes as pictured below – typical!  You win some and you lose some, we think that we need to get the soil right in various parts of the garden so that most things will have a fair or more equal chance.

You may recall that we had started our first experiment using a natural soil bourne bacteria to spray on the brassicas to deter the caterpillars from stripping them bare which happens every year no matter how much you think you have protected them.  Pleased to report it has actually worked and we have brassicas standing to attention and looking fabulous already so that they can get even bigger and better over autumn and into winter.  However the brassicas at Fremantle did not get the spray and have been chewed to bits.  There is now a move to rescue what is left, but we are pleased to know that it really does work;  if there was only such a deterrent for pigeons!

This coming week we should finally find out how we fared from our visit with an RHS community gardens inspector.  It has been some time since the visit, and there is no pass or fail, it just tells you how you are doing and if there are any recommendations which could be implemented.  Always room for improvement, it will be interesting to know what they thought.

What’s next?

  • Finish the preparation of the bed with new compost for the bulb onions
  • Weed the gooseberry patch
  • Keep watering the new seedlings
  • Pot up any spare herbs and plants Try moving the cold frames into winter places