Sandgate Community Garden: Update 2nd June 2024

Sandgate Community Garden Team Diary Entry for 2nd June: ‘Flaming June’ it definitely is not.

There was certainly no need to worry about having to water the seedlings this week.  We have stepped into ‘Flaming June’ already, and ‘Flaming June’ it definitely is not!  There was 59.4 mm of rain in the month of May – it felt like there should have been more rain than that.  Fortunately this coming week is looking a little more hopeful, with some promised sunshine.

There was a very interesting talk on the growing of heritage wheat that goes into the baking of our lovely local sourdough bread made by Docker bakery.  Hinxhill Fields is a small local farm inherited by a plumber from his grandfather a few years ago.  The decision was to grow heritage wheat which is more of a niche market, rather than try to compete with the modern wheat growing industrial sized farms.  The harvest is only about 8 tonnes, and Docker is the main customer for their bread and for their brewery for certain beers.  It was lovely to see and hear the enthusiasm this plumbing farmer has for his flour and how he juggles both jobs, but in particular the pride he has in the finished product having followed its progress from seed to finished flour.

A few weeks ago we were approached by Veolia, probably best known locally as the waste management company, although apparently they ‘design and provide water, waste and energy management solutions’.  Their sustainability department was looking for a community garden in the district to launch their ‘sustainability fund’ to support projects that ‘make a positive, sustainable difference to local areas and deliver long-term social and environmental benefits’.  It seems that our garden would fit the bill for their event.  The team arrived on Wednesday morning all the way from Bromley, and were apparently blown away by our garden which ‘far exceeded their expectations’.  Needless to say we were glad to be of assistance in their task, and have made sure to apply for a grant from the fund – we shall have to wait and see if we are successful.

In the meantime, we were also approached by Taylor Wimpey and given £300 to spend on whatever we needed.  We were quick to treat ourselves to some new tools to supplement some of the rather old and sad specimens we had, plus some new trugs as our old versions had been repaired several times and have recently seemed to have lost the will to carry on any more.  We still have some funds in the kitty, and our thoughts are now starting to turn towards the eagerly awaited Sandgate Sea Festival on August Bank Holiday weekend.  This is the occasion when we work our hardest to boost our funds with plants and all kinds of paraphernalia.  Make sure you have Sunday 25th August in the diary to come and visit our stall.

Several of our gardeners are also members of the Sandgate Environmental Action Group.  We meet at the old fire station on the last Thursday of the month.  The group has started to get together a new website which should be online soon, and includes access to an app called iNaturalist.  The app will allow you to upload observations of the wildlife found in Sandgate for the purpose of recording exactly what wildlife there is.  Within the gardens we often report on our observations of flora and fauna, and so it is a natural step to go on to record what we see on the app too.  This week we have reported the sighting of the red damselfly from last week’s newsletter and a Ginkgo tree which is also inside Enbrook Park.  The Ginkgo is one of the oldest living tree species in the world, and has a ‘long history in traditional Chinese medicine’.  You can see a picture of it below – it has a most distinctive leaf shape, so have a look for it when you are next in the park!

What’s next?

  • Separate and pot up the sprouting banana trees
  • Clear some space around the tayberry bush
  • Plant out the sweetcorn
  • Make space for the cucumber plants

This weeks update from the Sandgate Community Garden Diary.