July has been an interesting month hasn’t it – some super hot sunny days and some heavy stormy weather days too – although not as much rain as we thought we would get – and certainly not enough to replenish the water butts. In fact a good old mixture of just about all weathers in one month. But although us humans (and our furry friends) may have struggled with the heat and the storms – the flowers and shrubs are loving it as long you were able to keep them watered through the dry spells.

Here is a quick run through on how some of the community projects are coping with this changeable weather, and what they have gotten up to over the last few weeks.

Locavore Community Garden: There is plenty going on in the Locavore Community Garden – with members cropping nice big juicy courgettes, cauliflowers, celery, parsnips, onions and more. This community project is looking ahead too with plans to deliver a Garden Holiday Club – 4 weeks of fun and learning around food and well-being during summer holidays. The Holiday Club is free for all children eligible for free school meals and is organised around 4 themes: Planting, Growing, Waste/Recycling and Sharing Food Together, with different activities on each day, from Wildlings (forest school) and bushcraft, to drumming, meditation, arts and crafts, film-making (with Young Animators) and story-telling (Books for Change) with Fridays for “Family Nature and Well-being”. All activities to take place outdoors (based in the Locavore Community Garden). This is a very popular event and was booked out quickly – but if you want to find out more about this project check out: http://www.locavoregrowingproject.org

Hythe Triangle Community Garden: One of the first tasks that the Hythe Triangle Community Garden set its volunteers was to repair the old stone wall in Windmill Street – and the call for help from members went out at short notice to get things moving. It was heavy work moving earth and stones away from the old wall so that repairs could be done effectively – but despite it being one of the hottest days of this year – they made great progress. Some days later, and although the weather was uncertain the rain held off – and with another big push on this work they were finally able to clear the space ready so that the wall renovation work itself can begin. If you want to know more about this community project or to get involved contact Terance Ellames via email at: hello@htcg.org or Facebook.com/Hythetriangle

Incredible Edibles Cheriton and Broadmead: Some great community gardening going on in various places across Cheriton and Broadmead. Members spent an afternoon gardening in All Souls Church on a lovely sunny day, remembering to check on the hops which are doing so well there. And on another day, with a generous contribution from Folkestone Woods Trades staff, another gorgeous planter was created and is now blooming on Cheriton High Street. Locals are loving it – and want more. If you would like to get involved contact Tina Pearson on email at: tina.pearson1@sky.com

Sandgate Community Garden: Despite tales from across the country about torrential rain Sandgate and Folkestone too escaped the extreme weather experienced elsewhere – so watering the plants has still been necessary for the Sandgate Community Garden. This year there has been a focus on more leafy vegetables: lettuces, chard, kale and spinach. The second sowing of lettuce and chard are being picked every week, along with courgettes, spring onions and plenty of sweet peas. Dwarf beans are now flowering as are autumn raspberries. A second tray of beetroot was planted, as well as the first of new chard plants. Dill, chervil and two varieties of coriander also got sown. A plan this year was to use organic bacteria against the caterpillars, a highly selective biological insecticide, gives them a stomach ache and they drop off the plants after they have munched a little – totally safe for people, pets and birds and pollinators though. Morrisons the supermarket are supporting this project and provided some herbs which were shared with the Incredible Edibles, as well as packs of the most unusual seed packets of wild flowers. For more on this inspiring project check out: http://growshepway.uk/grow/

Harbour Ward Community Garden: Volunteers were spending time cutting back overgrown vegetation and weeding. They split into teams (around 20 people had turned up) and they cleared pathways to make them safe. It was a very hot day but volunteers said it was so good to be outside and able to chat with others, and those who were walking down to the beach too. All were thanked for their efforts, with special thanks going to Cllr Nicky Keen, Cllr Michelle Dorrell Keutenius our mayor, Bryan from Shepway Vox and Giles Barnard from District council who is our go-to person on all grounds works and litter picks. They plan to do similar work around East and Harbour every 2nd Saturday of the month so keep your eyes peeled – all volunteers are very welcome

Hythe Environmental Community Group – Gleaning: Some of the Hythe gleaners went out cutting cabbages, while the rest sorted potatoes. – they say it was great to have a younger volunteer to do some of the carrying. Great team work meant that they finished orders early – yet more produce that would have gone to waste will instead be going to local organisations for distribution into the community.

Hythe Green Preservation Society: This group is fundraising and are tantalisingly close to their goal reaching £15,000. It means they will be able to deliver above and beyond their initial aspirational goal and they are excited to make a start on the woodland and to continuing with plans to improve and enhance this wonderful space. This initiative was developed by the Hythe Green Preservation Society utilising advice from the Kent Wildlife Trust, the Bumblebee Conservation Society and is following a management plant devised by Stephen Bailey Landscaping.