Sandgate Community Garden: Update 3 October 2021

Well, it has definitely all changed for wetter and cooler weather!  The rainfall for September was at 3.9 mm for most of the month until the very endo when it surged to 40.5 mm.  It has probably rained more than that in the first couple of days of October. 

Docker brewery had to postpone the launch of the green Hythe hop new brew until Saturday 9th October for fear of losing their gazebo on the harbour to the high winds, let alone the lashing rain.  We were only thinking how fabulous the banana tree was looking in the Enbrook garden with a full set of leaves, and took a photo before it was tattered to bits.

Unfortunately the leeks added to the plant confusion as to which season we were in and also started to flower, which is totally unheard of in October.  With any luck the trend will be over and it will be clear we are now in autumn. 

Arms full of herbs got collected this week and sent to a ‘wild remedy workshop’.  Whilst collecting some rosemary it was interesting to see that there were several metallic looking beetles amongst the leaves which after research turned out to be the Chrysolina Americana or rosemary beetle becoming established in the 1990s apparently, and originating from southern Europe.  Luckily it does not do much harm to the plants and seems to have scarpered since the rain started anyway.  However the weather has not deterred the badgers from demolishing the entire beetroot crop in one fell swoop,  another reminder that it can be a BIG mistake to remove netting sometimes.

Sections of the netting around the garden have been damaged by our nocturnal animals, and one of the pictures below shows the holes created.  The squirrels (or is it the foxes?) have worked out how to get under some of the netting and have great fun digging about in the soil.  Not to be left out, a mole has worked its way from the other side of the garden wall and is happily pushing up the soil all around the tool box and compost heaps where we hope it will stay!  The badgers seem to have turned their noses up at the winter radishes so far which we have just started to pull up, and very tasty they are too.  Much larger than the spring varieties, they can get as big as a turnip and withstand winter temperatures although it is doubted they will last that long.  The cheeky late sowing of winter lettuces had been safely tucked away in a cold frame making plenty of growth until the wetter weather encouraged just one snail to find them and make a meal of all but six – it only takes one snail.

The nursery children at Saga are keen to be planting up their pots and planters in their playground now that the summer is over, and we will be supplying them with a few cloves of garlic and onion sets to plant, along with a few broad beans and mustard plants.  They have visited the garden to see what is growing there as part of their educational walks around the park grounds.

This coming week we are pleased to have been asked to take part in an exhibition as part of the Folkestone Fringe, called ‘Re-Rooting’.  We will be installing a large planter in the window of the venue at the Shakespeare Centre in Sandgate Road, full of plants with information on their medicinal uses and any associated folklore.  Six volunteers from the garden have stepped up to the plate to get the job set up and eventually dismantled.  The exhibition will run from 8th to 30th October (Thursday – Sunday 11am to 4pm) just incase you happen to find yourself in that vicinity and feel in need of a cultural experience as apparently there will be four artists exhibiting their work at the event too.

What’s next?

  • Take down the tomatoes left standing at Enbrook and distribute green fruits
  • Remove the beans and prep the ground for replanting
  • Any wood chips left?
  • Clear the demolished beetroot bed and add compost for replanting
  • Take plants and seed to the nursery for the children to plant