update written by Sandgate Society
Such a contrast to the weather in the last few newsletters, this week we have had some beautiful sunny and warm weather, encouraging more gardeners to get to the garden and make the most of it, especially as we are now in another lockdown. However this one is very different to the first where we could only work on our own – this time we can follow community garden rules for food gardens, which explain in detail how we can work in the space.
We certainly feel glad that we can carry on as long as we are careful, and we know of the benefits the garden brings to mental and physical health. How timely that we should receive yet another certificate from the RHS Britain in Bloom, in recognition of how important community gardens are, and how valuable our work is in such difficult times as we have experienced this year. Always glad to receive a certificate and we shall have to consider where it could be displayed!
Just as we are being given such an accolade, we are then contacted by a Social Prescribing Service for West Kent. We are being asked to be part of a support service to help people reduce social isolation and loneliness and improve health and wellbeing. We will be very glad to register.
In the meantime, there is still much to be done. The first of the fleece covers have been put down and more has been ordered, to protect any vegetables overwintering, to shelter from the wind and frost. It takes a while to get to know your fleece and what should be avoided. For this garden there is no point buying a lightweight fleece of less than 30g m2 as it will tear and be useless in no time at all. It is also wise to make sure the fleece has good UV tolerance as the sunlight makes the fleece turn to dust and simply disintegrate in less than a season. Who would have thought that fleece can create such a minefield of issues.
All the wooden boxes got their final coats of wood treatment for the year, and the compost area is nearing completion. Two more packets of broad bean seeds have been sown as have the last of the autumn peas. They have been quick to germinate and we will soon be planting them out once we have put down more compost on the beds. The leaf compost bin is nearly full already but leaves fished out from the pond are not added until any wildlife has had the chance to escape back to the water.
Now is a chance to look at the bare bones of the garden and review how the permanent plants are growing. Last autumn we planted the smallest of twigs claiming to be gooseberry plants – they had been decimated by sawfly and looked very sorry for themselves, so we got them for pennies, a real bargain as they now resemble good sturdy plants and should be cropping next summer.
You really would have thought that the brassicas would have been given a break from caterpillars by now in November, but unfortunately they are still enjoying making holes in the leaves – even in the vegetation of the High Street planter! Unbelievable!
What’s next?: We need to consider a wild flower seed bomb for behind the compost area; Continue to spread compost, Continue to collect leaves from the ground and in the pond, Put the fleece down if it has arrived in the post, Clear some of the spent salad areas, Clear some of the finished flowers and compost, Put a thick layer of compost on the hops.