Well here we are – October, colder at nights and a strange mix of either drenching rain or warm sunny days. The half-hardy annual are showing signs of giving up the ghost – and the perennials are looking a little weedy – and if they could speak they would be saying: ‘give us a break, we just want to sleep for a while now, but we promise we will be back soon enough’.

Here is a quick run-through on some of the community projects and how they are coping as the seasons change.

Locavore Community Garden:- The word is that there is still lots of lovely produce coming to the produce table each week thanks to the volunteers who are part of this project. If you want to be part of this project it’s not too late to get on board – you just need to turn up, it’s as simple as that. Work sessions are: Monday 2-6pm (families encouraged), Tuesday 3.30-5.30pm (will sometimes be a ‘how-to’ session), Wednesday 2-4 (families encouraged), Thursday 3.30-5.30pm (Quiet session) – there is also “work parties” about once a month on a Saturday or Sunday. A ‘community day’ is being planned for 30th October – and a group project is coming up on 27th November.

Aside from facilitating lovely wildlings (forest school style) sessions, a recent successful funding application submitted by Char – community project manager, means that the project can go from strength to strength. Emily from @booksforchange shared the recipe for delicious kale crisps – they are super easy, super healthy and more-ish too: Recipe – Just drizzle roughly chopped kale with any cooking oil and rub it in gently with your hands so every bit is lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and put in the oven at approx 130 degrees. Ours took about 30 mins but depends on oven and how chunky the kale is. Just take it out when crispy! Top tips: use sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds before cooking OR turn it into Chinese restaurant-style “crispy seaweed” by using seaweed salt and/or a pinch of brown sugar mixed with the salt. If you want to find out more about this event check out: www.locavoregrowingproject.org

Hythe Triangle Community Garden:– This group are having work parties every Sunday morning from 10am till 12 noon. They are gradually working their way through the Triangle – cutting invasive vegetation and tidying the site up. Because they are spending a little extra time to make sure all the cuttings are cut very small – it means that everything cut down so far fits into the compost bin made for that purpose. If you would like to join the pool of volunteers, please get in touch, they would be delighted to welcome you. If you want to know more about this community project contact Terance Ellames via email at: hello@htcg.org Information is also available at: Facebook.com/Hythetriangle For those who can’t get their updates from Facebook or www – check out the on-site noticeboard which also gives information about the work this group does.

Incredible Edibles Cheriton and Broadmead:– Sadly volunteers were devastated to discover deliberate damage had been done to the sunflowers and cherry tree at All Souls Church on Thursday night 30/09. If you spotted the culprits in action please do get in touch with Tina email address below. On the brighter side of things – it is good to appreciate the bee and insect loving plants that are still in bloom: Japanese Anemone – fab at tolerating a shady spot, Cosmos – keep removing any dead flowers for blooms up until the first frost, Buddleia – a favourite of the bees and butterflies in our gardens, Rudbeckia – great for brightening up garden borders as we head into autumn, Verbena Bonariensis – ideal for adding height into a border. Adding a variety of plants or even letting weeds and wildflowers grow in your garden can help our important pollinators to flourish! If you would like to get involved contact Tina Pearson on email at: tina.pearson1@sky.com

Sandgate Community Garden:- Docker brewery had to postpone the launch of the green Hythe hop new brew until Saturday 9th October for fear of losing their gazebo on the harbour due to the high winds, and lashing rain. The high winds left the banana tree in Enbrook garden looking a bit tatty as well. The leeks seemed confused about what season they were in and started to flower, strange for October. Nevertheless, lots of herbs were collected and sent to a ‘wild remedy workshop’ – it was interesting to see several metallic-looking beetles amongst the leaves which after research turned out to be the Chrysolina Americana or rosemary beetle – luckily it does not do much harm to the plants and seems to have scarpered since the rain started anyway. On the downside, badgers have demolished the entire beetroot crop – a reminder it can be a big mistake to remove netting sometimes. The squirrels (or is it the foxes?) have worked out how to get under some of the netting and have great fun digging about in the soil. Not to be left out, a mole has worked its way from the other side of the garden wall and is happily pushing up the soil all around the toolbox and compost heaps where we hope it will stay!

The badgers seem to have turned their noses up at the winter radishes so far which we have just started to pull up, and very tasty they are too. Much larger than the spring varieties, they can get as big as a turnip and withstand winter temperatures although it is doubted they will last that long. The cheeky late sowing of winter lettuces had been safely tucked away in a cold frame making plenty of growth until the wetter weather encouraged just one snail to find them and make a meal of all but six – it only takes one snail. The nursery children at Saga are keen to be planting up their pots and planters in their playground now that the summer is over, and we will be supplying them with a few cloves of garlic and onion sets to plant, along with a few broad beans and mustard plants. They have visited the garden to see what is growing there as part of their educational walks around the park grounds. This coming week we are pleased to have been asked to take part in an exhibition as part of the Folkestone Fringe, called ‘Re-Rooting’. We will be installing a large planter in the window of the venue at the Shakespeare Centre in Sandgate Road, full of plants with information on their medicinal uses and any associated folklore. Six volunteers from the garden have stepped up to the plate to get the job set up and eventually dismantled. The exhibition will run from 8th to 30th October (Thursday – Sunday 11am to 4pm) just in case you happen to find yourself in that vicinity and feel in need of a cultural experience as apparently there will be four artists exhibiting their work at the event too. Whats Next: Takedown the tomatoes left standing at Enbrook and distribute green fruits, Remove the beans and prep the ground for replanting, Any wood chips left?, Clear the demolished beetroot bed and add compost for replanting, Take plants and seed to the nursery for the children to plant.

Hythe Environmental Community Group:– Volunteers braved the wind this morning 2nd October, to join our litter pick – given the bracing weather they are sure to have felt invigorated for their efforts, but they did achieve something very useful. Many thanks to Giles Barnard from Folkestone and Hythe Council for his support once again. The next litter pick will be on Saturday 6th November, meeting at Battery Point car Park, Seabrook 10.00 – 11.30 a.m. Earlier in the month volunteers spend a most productive and enjoyable day at the apple press and plant/produce swap. The day generated lots of public interest on Hythe’s high street and it was so nice to see old friends and meet new ones. The apple harvest might be down on past seasons, but the juice press worked non-stop for four hours, and the plant swop was a great hit too. Thanks to Rosemary for all the seed packets! and everyone that brought produce or plants. All the remaining plants are going to new homes in local schools, thanks to Mike Hamilton of the Folkestone Plant swop group!