Sandgate Community Garden: Update 24 October 2021

This week seems to have been all about ‘almost’, ‘not quite’ and ‘maybe’.

It is difficult to pinpoint, but along with the changing of the weather and the season, there is a shift in how our volunteers are having to arrange their free time to fit in with a change in work patterns, trying to grab a holiday before winter sets in, visiting or being visited by friends and family.  There has been a sprinkling of ill health, medical procedures, and various ‘jabs’ of one sort or another topped with a bit of COVID ‘pinging’ just to add to the mix.  We have had some new faces too, which is refreshing, and always interesting to know why people seek us out and want to come along.  The good news is we are a friendly bunch!   

We have been in talks for some time to try to get access to a supply of good compost.  We established contact with a farm just outside Folkestone where they actually make compost to put on their own fields and sell the remainder to other farms in Kent.  The farm owners are keen to support us by bringing a large trailer load of the ‘black gold’, however, at the last leg we got scuppered by the fact that their enormous tractor is too large to gain access to the tipping site.  Not knowing anybody in the locality with a spare smaller tractor or transport happy or able enough to help us out, we find ourselves back to square one until we can find a solution to the dilemma. Oh well!

We have managed to complete the ‘what’s next?’ list – the onion sets and garlic all got planted, the remaining mustard plants were nestled into some mushroom crates and housed in the cold frames, and will now be spending their time under cover until the spring returns.  The flowering plants and seeds are being looked after with the view that they will be planted or sown and in place for next year, wherever that may be, in Sandgate.  The tree leaves are starting to fall in greater numbers now, mostly bypassing the autumnal riot of colour and simply dropping.  So begins the prolonged clear up, not forgetting that they are a useful resource and go straight to the compost bin as lying around on top of some of the leafy growing crops like spinach or chard can make them start to rot and encourage slugs or snails which we have in plentiful supply as it is.  In fact the appearance of many a hole in the various crops verifies just how warm and wet it continues to be.  It all goes to show how organic we are though, and accepting that you have to share your food with insects, wild animals and molluscs, although it is never good to find something sharing at the same time!

Talking of sharing, we are sharing our words of wisdom and experiences in the garden with Explore Kent.  Their website can be found here Get Out and Explore Kent – Explore Kent and we were asked to send some pictures of the garden and contribute autumnal and wintery ‘blogs’ on what we are up to and all that  can be done in the garden.  There is always plenty to be done during the colder months and quite amusing when the assumption is that we will be ‘shutting down’ for the winter to then re-open again in the spring. 

What’s next?.

  • Plenty of leaves to pick up and compost
  • Plenty of weeding to be done along the wall and behind the posts
  • Plenty of compost to shift from one place to another
  • Still plenty of crops to be picked after sharing with the wildlife
  • Can we fit in some onions between the fennel bulbs?