Sandgate Community Garden: Update 26 September 2021

The unseasonable weather has continued this week with a possible break coming soon of cooler and possibly wetter conditions.

It has been interesting how the autumn plants have fared under unusual circumstances. Used to thriving in a typical autumn, the Chinese cabbage has bolted, and the mustards are trying to do the same.  You begin to wonder if the sowing dates may have to be altered, however the daylight hours remain the same, and such plants need to be able to put on growth in the shorter days available before it gets simply too cold.  It is a constant juggling act trying to get the conditions right, luckily most of the time we manage it.  The cheeky sowing of some winter lettuces shot up within a couple of days – again, another gamble of taking chances.

We have started to think about the clearing of some of the beds, beginning with the Golden Valley Planters.  Rita has been working hard over the months sowing collected seeds, taking cuttings, and nurturing lots of plants at home for putting out eventually in Golden Valley and probably parts of Fremantle Park too.  The first job is to clear, cut back and pot up some plants, put down new compost and replant parts with new stock.  A start has been made but now we are waiting for  a decent downfall of rain as mulching a dry bed is not a good idea.  

The new cold frames we had made this year have been languishing at the end of the garden being used every now and then in the earlier months to shelter a plant or two, but will now soon be starting to do their work.  They are mighty heavy to move from one end of the plot to the other,so it was a case of waiting for some strong willing volunteers to be in the garden at the same time to be able to shift them into a space with the chance of getting some winter sun.  They will need a bit of a clean up, but will soon be protecting those new winter lettuces and mustards so that we may have a few salad leaves even in the deepest darkest depths of winter.

Following on from last week – the Hythe Hops scheme made a second and final collection of the hop cones, making a grand total of 110 kg.  Docker brewery have announced that the green brew from themselves and HopFuzz will be available from noon on Saturday 2nd October at the East Yard on the Harbour Arm.  Some of us will be rushing over there straight after our gardening session that day to try it before it sells out!

The Hythe Environmental group were in the centre of town on Saturday 25th for their annual seed and plant swap with apple pressing going on at the same time.  We took some of our spare seeds for exchanging, admired the apple press at work and tried some of the amazing fresh juice. 

We would like to give a mighty ‘THANK YOU’ to the Sandgate Society for organising the walk and talk of the Sandgate Community Gardens and for donating the money raised to us, after expenses – we are indeed very grateful for £64.30 which will be going into the kitty towards all the seeds and numerous other things on our current wish list.

What’s next?

  • Clean up the cold frames and start collecting together mushroom boxes to be planted up with salads
  • Remove and compost the bolted Chinese cabbage
  • Keep checking the mustards for and flowers which should be removed.
  • Prick out the new mustard plants and lettuces in the modules
  • Plant the saffron crocuses in a safe place