Sandgate Community Garden: Update 31 October 2021

We have always agreed in our garden WhatsApp group that should it be blowing a hooly or tipping down with rain on one of our designated gardening days then we would throw in the towel and not turn up.  On Saturday it was blowing and tipping at the same time, so that was that.  The site being rather exposed, at the far end of the park with no shelter or even anywhere nearby to take cover and wait until the worst passes, means you have to take the plunge and make a decision when the weather is dodgy.  All the same, the garden is always open for anybody to access from dawn till dusk and so if the gardening urge is too great to resist, then some of our gardeners can be found therapeutically weeding or deadheading whenever they feel compelled to do so.

Happily, the Wednesday session was reasonably fair, and there was a great number of volunteers making short work of our ‘to do’ list. We picked kale, salad leaves, chard, spinach, winter radishes and leeks, moved compost around to prepare some of the empty beds for re-planting, and the leaf compost bin got emptied.  The leaf compost was collected last autumn – fallen leaves were raked up from the grass and picked up from the plot and the pond, to be left to rot down for the year in the assigned compost area. 

This seems to be the first week that the autumn colours have started to show on the trees, that is the leaves that are left, as there are few leaves to compost so far, most seem to have been blown away!  Someone somewhere must be piled high with our leaves wherever they have been blown to, and we may not have many to compost this year.

The climate is quite different at Fremantle Park, with shelter from the wind, and the ground seems to collect more moisture sitting within a dip.  All the gardeners that volunteer there met up last Sunday to weed and tidy the plots and pathways, put fresh compost down and share which crops did well for them.  It was interesting to find we have a phantom planter, as nobody confessed to establishing a line of fabulously flowering osteospernum plants along the outer path edge.  So obviously we have a secret and shy gardener who would be welcome to join us if they made themselves known!

We are still establishing the slope within Fremantle Park, and gradually removing brambles and shrub runners as they try to reappear, with the view to putting some fruit bushes and more flowering plants there in 2022.  The strip of annuals we planted in the spring have made a lovely display and on looking to see if it needed cutting back and removing, although a trifle battered, was still full of flower and alive with bees, so we have left it and probably will not remove anything now until the first frost or the plants give up the ghost themselves, whichever comes first.  Rita, our queen of plant propagation and flower seed sowing, planted some donated iris roots and perennial wallflower plants she had grown from cuttings – something the bees just love!

Talking of donations, the Hyth Hops group got in touch with offerings of free beer from Hopfuzz and Docker brewery, a can or bottle from each brewer to all hop growers to say thank you for the donated hops grown within the collective.  In true community spirit, all the gardener names were entered into a lucky dip, and two were chosen to be the lucky recipients.  There are cans of ‘red-green hop’ available in the Sandgate village shop if you are still yet to sample some of the fresh ‘green hop’ brews.

Still on the subject of donations and especially community spirit, we are pleased to advertise and take part in an event on Saturday 20th November 11am to 3pm at the Radnor Park Bowls Club, called ‘Disco Soup’.  The idea is to take part in transforming surplus food into a community feast, and activities will include apple pressing, learning how to fement food in jars, and various craft stalls.  A great day for the family, and a wonderful way of using food which may otherwise have gone to landfill.  See the poster below for more information and how to take part.

What’s next?

  • Dismantle the fringe exhibition
  • Start planting the broad beans
  • See if there is space available for other things
  • We have bulbs to plant for the spring
  • Keep checking on the plants in the cold frames Still weeding and cutting back to be done