September Update from the Community Garden

September is such a GREAT month! Possibly my favourite. We have been sowing autumn salads to go into the polytunnel, along with Sweet Williams and hardy annuals such as Cornflowers and Ammi which will spend the next few weeks growing strong root systems underground, before stopping their growth over winter, and then racing away to give May salads and flowers next Spring.

The dahlias are still in full swing, although with the shortening day length, the flowers take longer to be replaced each time. A challenge to us every year is to LABEL the dahlias before the last flower has gone and they become unrecognisable! This enables better management over Winter and Spring, when we can decide who stays and who goes, and which favourites to propagate.  They have grown really well through the horizontal wire this year – it makes weeding harder, but prevents them falling over which is a perennial problem.

On the 17th, we had the annual Sarratt Apple Fest. Huge thanks go to the Boda family for their generosity in opening up their beautiful orchard, and putting so much time and effort into the day. Music was provided by an iteration of the brilliant jazz quartet ’Blue in Green’ who disprove the rule of ‘pay peanuts, get monkeys’ – we pay peanuts and get total heroes! The weather forecast was disappointingly accurate with ‘heavy rain showers between 2 and 4pm’, which was fairly disastrous for an outdoor festival, but we pressed on (he he) and those that came had a truly lovely time. Emma Dickins and Rob Garvey bore the brunt of the weather, steadily crushing and pressing with bands of enthusiastic children, while Anne and Roger Dudley ran an excellent apple tasting stand, Annie Griffiths was selling masses of fresh community garden produce, Henri Phillips filled a table with beautiful flowers, and Sarah and Rachel were a fabulous pair of tea-ladies! In the bell tent there was a team of Boda boys – Stanley doing face painting, Archie doing ‘guess the number of apples’, and Felix running a treasure hunt.  We also had the River Chess Association and Chiltern Society demonstrating what can be found in our precious river,  Mission EmployAble showcasing their café, and Barney as artist in residence! We raised about £250 – a small figure compared to previous years, but useful nevertheless. Thank you to all that came.

Picking is coming to an end; it’s been a tough but productive year, and it is with some sadness that we start to put the garden to bed for the winter. I think gardeners need to be optimists by nature, always looking forward to the next season with the mantra’ next year will be better’! I know I do.. Our Saturday morning sessions will continue for the next couple of months – do join us 10.30-12.30 at allotment no 1 opposite no 56 Church Lane for a jolly morning!

As ever, get in touch if you’d like to be involved. Email is best – [email protected] or ask to join the well-behaved SCG WhatsApp group. There is a regular gathering on a Saturday morning, 10.30-12.30 at the allotment site opposite no 56 Church Lane  – all welcome, tea and biscuits provided.