Despite the cold weather one of Lower Kersal Young People Group attends the allotment watering the winter vegetables, and taking cutting from the herb garden for a cooking project. He also attends the wildlife bed.
It has been a cold month in the garden and October has seen big changes at the Fred Paton Centre. Lots of new service users have begun attending the centre and so staff have been finding out who would like to get involved with gardening. Service user JR has expressed an interest in being involved in the maintaining the garden and he has identified the plants and vegetables that we currently have growing and has made suggestions improve upon the garden as it presently stands. JR has insight into what flowers and produce should be planted at what time of year, and what soil type is preferred for best outcomes. He’s looking forward to getting involved in the upkeep of the garden.
As Winter is almost here, this is the opportune time to start looking at how we plan to develop the space into a Dementia Friendly Sensory Garden. The team has met with the Woodlands Development Community Trust who are also based in the Fred Paton Centre. The Woodlands team have a large community garden and hub nearby and so are experienced at working in gardens and with the community. It’s a very exciting time and we hope to have more to share in next month’s report and perhaps some plans too!
The 7th & 8th October saw our annual ‘Falling Leaves Arts & Crafts Festival’. Everyone was invited to the garden to enjoy woodfired pizza, teas, cakes, pumpkin soup and coffee and engage in lots of creative activities…
We hooked up with lots of other community groups and artists to deliver a host of things to do and make… Including box planting, rope making, photograms, raku firing and jewellery making to name but a few activities we had to offer
We also had a walking group joins us at the end of their Margate trek for some sustenance.
We couldn’t have hosted the day without all the wonderful people that helped out and made the event such a great success. Along with having such a good time we also managed to raise over £700.00 which will be used towards the construction of our Arts and Crafts cabin. As always none of this could have been achieved without the help from friends, volunteers, staff, trustees and the good will of the people of Thanet.
A good helping of traditional winter veg started cropping up thick and fast at Caerhys this month, with the first leeks, brussel sprouts and butternut squashes all appearing in the share shed. And of course, some timely pumpkins for Halloween. There have still been some reminders of summer though, as October also saw the last of the tomatoes, green peppers, courgettes, cucumbers, french beans, and the current crop of salads. All in addition to seasonal staples of potatoes, turnips, carrots, kale and swiss chard.
As a consequence of that seasonal shift in veggies, it’s been all change in both polytunnels. The french beans, peppers and tomato plants have all been removed, and the soil prepared and turned in both. The replanting has only just begun, with Poly 1 providing a new home for hundreds of freshly transplanted salad leaves, but with many many more to do. Meanwhile in Poly 2, ten lines of carrots have been planted, with cabbages and chards to follow shortly.
The grass, and weeds, have finally stopped growing so things are calmer here in the EGP office!!! The waiting list continues to grow though so we are not idle… we have been present at several relevant fairs/events recently looking to recruit new gardening volunteers. Our lovely new stash of PR leaflets has been essential for this – huge thanks Vegware for funding those.
In early September we were delighted to be able to offer our hard working volunteers another opportunity to experience the art of ‘foraging’ – we ran another ‘forgaging walk’ after the success of the oversubscribed walk earlier in the year. Again thanks to Vegware we were able to cover the expenses of the workshop leader. Finally, we needed to purchase an additional and unexpected six hand trowels for a late flurry of volunteer new starts, our grateful thanks to Vegware for being able to do that!
The garden looks a bit untidy at this time of year. Summer vegetables have finished and have started to die back leaving only the winter crops like the Broccoli Romanesco in the picture that are just starting to fruit. One trial crop Cucamelon produces small grape sized fruit that look like a water melon, but taste like a cucumber. We do have a few Beetroot still looking healthy despite the recent dry weather. Unfortunately most of the Parsnip that we grew have been eaten by mice, but they haven’t touched any of the Swede so we will have something to pick for our winter soups.
After bustling with people all summer, Caerhys seemed much quieter in September, as several of our longer term volunteers moved on to pastures new. Farewell and thanks to Emma, Janny and Josie, who finished their time at Caerhys after putting in a fantastic amount of work while they were here.
September marks the start of autumn, and so the time has come to begin a new phase of planting. After planning it out in August, Caz, Gill and Agnès have begun taking out the old plants to make room for the new. This month saw the last of the courgettes (probably, a few plants were kept back, just in case), and there’ll be fewer tomatoes from here on out. Some new salads have been sowed, and we’ve had the first of our turnips. And with Halloween approaching, it’ll soon be time for the squashes!
Outside of the veg itself, toward the end of the month some vital maintenance was carried out on our straw building, so soon it’ll be ready to act as the new store shed, providing us with a new place to store and collect the veg. The building has of course already been put to good use, hosting a variety of talks and the local Pembrokeshire Ukelele Pirates over the summer.
The Ukelele Pirates playing in the new straw building
The core group members being given a guided tour of the field by Caz
September has been a busy month – we planted some cyclamens and violas for Autumnal colour and the snap dragons and cosmos are still flowering. Sadly the sweet peas are finished for the year, but we’re already looking forward to next year’s batch!
In preparation for winter we cut back some of the herbs and perennials and had a general tidy up. The pots are all washed out and stacked ready for use in the new year.
Our volunteers and service users are looking forward to planting spring bulbs over the next few months and will be making some lovely Christmas wreaths in the lead up to Christmas.
Hi there, We are still enjoying the good weather at The Garden Gate…
Tuesday Salad Club is still thriving and we have been growing some delicious produce.
We hosted a special presentation day for our attendees who completed their East Kent College courses this month. Attendees of The Garden were awarded certificates by Tim Clarke, one of The Garden Trustees and Operations Manager of The Turner Contemporary in Margate.
Certificates were awarded for completing Gardening & Pottery courses.
We have a ‘Falling Leaves Art Festival’ on the 7th & 8th October and look forward to telling you all about it in our next update.
Lower Kersal Young Peoples group voulenteers enjoyed a day on their allotments. All the voulenteers brought food to celebrate the groups crops that were grown this year.
Leek and potato soup was made. Along with Rhubarb crumble and many other ingredients grown in the allotments such as: Onions, Peas, Herbs, Peppers, Plums and Pears.
Everybody had a lovely time and are looking forward to next years crops.