Thursday, January 29, 2009

Something to report

At last - a real gardening thing has happened on my patch! The shallots have been planted - yipee. I know it's not much of a report, but it is another baby step towards my goal, and it is one of the January tasks ticked off. Thanks goodness, because the month is almost gone and I feared there would be nothing to show for it.
Another task on the list to the side there is to plan an asparagus bed. Well, I have done that too - in that I now know where I will put it - which is in an area that used to house several rhubarb plants. When we moved here there was enough rhubarb growing to feed the entire Central Belt every day from March to July. My cousin, who lives in Troon, however, happened to mention that he was looking for a few crowns. Was he surprised when I duly obliged? Haha - he can now supply Ayrshire with his delicious rhubarb chutney, and more to the point, I have a bit of space that I can give over to an asparagus bed. I will have to weed it out carefully and dig in some compost over the year, so I think I will have to wait until next spring to plant any crowns. Hopefully some of our campervan trips to the west coast will yield a bag or two of seaweed, which will help the fertility a bit.
Feeling a bit more confident about the tomato and pepper sowing now, so may get on with that next week, unless we get snowed in. I know the lovely Charles says to wait until March, but I do worry that it will be too short a season for me up here. I wish there were more northern gardeners writing or blogging, so I could get a better idea. I will give it a go now and sow a second batch at the beginning of March and report back - wow - a research project!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I am going on a beekeeping course! I got a lovely email from the man from EMBA to say the course was starting up in March, just a few miles away from us and there would be 29 including me. I think that's a really high number of people in Lothian who are thinking of becoming beekeepers, so good news for bees. I am not sure if the garden would be suitable for a hive - its long and narrow, and there are a lot of houses round about now, and associated overhead phone cables which might disrupt their flightpaths. I guess I'll find out all these things on the course. If not, them I am sure I can borrow a corner of a local farmer's field. Wonder what sort of people will be in my class!
I have not given up on hens by the way - plans are afoot to give Jenny some company - and us some eggs!

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's oh so quiet.....

...Oh so still... in the garden - cold, frost and today a fairly heavy snowfall. Not a lot really going on outside, but lots of reading - books, seed catalogues, magazines and online things. Trying to work things out in my mind, but there is a lot of confusing information around. Is January too early for sowing broad beans and early leeks inside - too early for tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in the propagator - should I try and get the longest possible growing season out of this northern climate - or will I end up with loads of leggy seedlings kicking around inside like a bunch of teenage boys, as it is still too cold to go out? I will just sit by the fire and ponder.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's going to be fine in 2009!

Well - hopefully at least the weather will be, because I have an awful lot of work to do here. Never mind, Santa left me a wonderful present in my stocking which will solve all my problems. Charles Dowding's Organic Gardening - the Natural No Dig Way. Sadly though, I will still have to dig quite a lot before I can stop digging for ever, as clearing out the perennial weeds is an essential part of the process - ho hum.
I have not yet worked out my main seed order yet, but I have selected my shallots, which will be 2 packs of Longor from the Organic Gardening Catalogue. I decided against the Eschalote Grise - mainly because if I order something from T&M, I seem to get full catalogues from them every 2 days in the mail and also because CD (my new hero - above) says they should be planted in the autumn. The new Sarah Raven seed catalogue arrived today though so I can drool over the fabulous photos there, look up the OG and Suffolk Seeds catalogues do a some complicated cross referencing and then order online from Alan Romans.
The greenhouse clearout is going really well, thanks to HG. We have a freed up inner section for the plants when they are sown, and quite a bit of bare staging in the outer section for potting and sowing.
Anyway, to fool myself into thinking I can really grow things, here is some chard still looking quite good, despite the permafrost.


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