Sandgate Community Garden: Update 21 April 2024

Sandgate Community Garden Team Diary Entry for 21st April: We must have pricked out more than three hundred marigold seedlings this week.

We were all feeling quite optimistic last week that the weather had taken a turn for the better and it was going to get warmer.  Unfortunately that did not last too long before we were back to showers and biting cold winds again, with no respite on the horizon for at least a week!

We have the luxury of sheltering our tender plants such as the tomatoes in a greenhouse on Pent Farm, however the growing pace has slowed down and some of them are showing signs of being too cold as there is no heating.  At times the temperature has gone down to four degrees during the night.  You can see from a picture below that the indigo tomatoes (a black variety) on the left, are showing their true colour, which they would not do ordinarily.  Our fingers are crossed that they can survive and perhaps pick up again soon.  It makes you realise how precarious it can be growing food at times because to lose all of our tomato stock at this stage would be not quite disastrous, because we do not have to rely on the food we grow, but a real shame.  There is nothing finer than home grown tomatoes picked fresh from the plant.

Another issue with greenhouse growing is that mice have an amazing ability to be able to get inside somehow, and find the more substantial seeds such as squashes and courgettes.  So it is that we shall have to sow more seeds found and eaten in this way.  There is always something that wants to eat whatever you are growing.  Remember this fact when buying fruit or vegetables from the supermarket how much in the way of chemicals have gone into producing that perfect product and the cost to wildlife and the soil.

We must have pricked out more than three hundred marigold seedlings this week for both Pent Farm and Enbrook.  Used as a companion plant, they add great colour to a site and can be as tough as old boots once they get going, able to flower until the first frosts.  There were also lots of zinnias and cosmos to tackle too and still plenty more that need potting on later next week.  One of the pictures below shows a nasturtium plant growing merrily away at the end of one of our compost bins.  The seed must have been composted but had the conditions to sprout and grow on probably because of all the rain.

What’s next?

  • Still jobs carried over from last week such as lemon balm removal and repotting the pot plants.
  • Prick out more seedlings
  • Take out the last of the celeriac
  • Put some compost on a couple of beds

This weeks update from the Sandgate Community Garden Diary.