June Update from the Community Garden

🥕Welcome to Summer, galloping towards the longest day!We’ve had a month of weeding, planting out and watering, with some serious growth! I feel like we flipped overnight from waiting for the ground to warm up and dry out a little, to frantically watering and getting young plants into the ground before the moment passes!

💐The spring flowers are very sadly over, with the alliums, peonies and foxgloves bridging the gap into summer, and the polytunnel is bursting with the most delicious salad leaves, along with young cucumber, pepper, and aubergine plants.  In some places we’re already onto our second crop, having cut down the overwintered mustards and lettuces which did us proud in March and April, and replaced them with seedlings started off at home in March.

🪱With the much needed help of Michael O’reilly, we emptied the compost bays, spread the black gold from inside them, and turned the monster heap which had been added to since last Autumn – a very satisfying job, made so much easier with some O’Reilly muscle! Interestingly, the beds where we didn’t get round to mulching with compost are covered in weeds, with pathetic plant growth on them, whereas the mulched beds are cool and damp, with their plants racing away.

🐝In the SCG and on the allotment, there has been the most glorious carpet of poached egg plant, all in full bloom, covered in honeybees and hoverflies, guaranteed to lift the spirits. It’s accompanied by swathes of phacelia tanecetifolia which is the bumblebees’ favourite, and such an obliging plant. When it’s past its best, I pull it up, snap it up (it’s nice and brittle) and use it as a mulch around other plants such as the dahlias or squashes. The dahlias have been unhappy this year – assaulted by prolonged cold, a month of rain, then persistent dryness. They are now growing strongly, but will be a couple of weeks later to flower than usual, as will the tomatoes.

🌱Sarah, Annie, and our 2 Duke of Edinburgh students have done a great job of painting the new shed, and the interns from Mission EmployAble have been weeding and helping to build nice solid structures to support some extra Tay- Black- and Boysenberries next year.  There is an awful lot of bindweed and brambles on the allotment site, but we keep plugging away with hopes of a bindweed free future! I have had a tough month, spending a lot of time away from home, and I want to publicly thank those valued volunteers who have kept things going – weeding, watering, and picking. Without them, the garden would be a shrivelled field of weeds by now.

🌼We are opening for the National Garden Scheme on the weekend of the 15/16 July. The £5 entrance fee goes to NGS charities, which are mainly nursing charities, and any money raised from teas will go to the SCG. Sarratt Stores are kindly giving us use of their courtyard café that weekend. I apologise if this causes difficulty with parking – please try to think of the good that the NGS does with the approximately £3 million that it raises each year.