I am so pleased that I set aside some space for a cutting garden and very happy at how it is taking shape. It really is a mass of colour right now, and who would have thought sunflowers would grow in this windswept place? This has been a good first year and I am slowly filling up the bed with perennials, as well as lots of self seeding annuals. Hopefully it will evolve into the cottage garden that I imagined it to be last Winter - and I do love including flowers in my daily harvestings.
My first time growing Dahlias has been a great success, and we are enjoying colourful vases of these beautiful flowers all around the house, as well as bunches of sweet peas. We have also collected the vivid blue borage flowers, to freeze in ice cubes. These delicate, slightly cucumber flavoured blooms look beautiful in jugs of water or lemonade drinks, and will be a fine reminder of Summery days later on.
But growing food is the main purpose here, and that has been happening. Garlic, beans and cauliflower have all been harvested and stored for later. Potatoes are being dug and eaten as required. Tomatoes and late strawberries are coming on-stream now, and the carrots and beets are swelling up nicely.Cabbages, kale and chard will sit cosily under their blankets until required, and parsley - well - there can never be enough parsley!
And I let some of last year's kale go to seed - and what a result. I filled two sacks with the seed pods, so should have enough to keep us all going! I know that this is true seed, as it was grown down at the bottom croft in the roofless shed, with no other cruciferae nearby. i am pleased with this, as it is an old variety which was almost extinct. Shame, as it is a lovely kale. Read the story here.
Now, thoughts are focussing on what to grow over the colder months - particularly those times in mid Spring - the so called hungry gap. You know - that time when the winter stores are used up, the house is filled with trays of seedlings, but nothing will be ready to harvest for ages yet. i am hoping that the polytunnel will help me extend the growing season at both ends, and allow us to harvest some fresh produce all year.
I have started planting up trays of salads, spring onions and other greens. These pea shoots are a good cut and come again crop and will be used as an addition to salad, or in a stir fry. Tubs of early carrots, beets, turnip and radish will be sown in the next couple of days. And then there are the Spring bulbs and the garlic... the circle keeps turning.
Oh - and there are other things happening on the croft - the sheep, hens and cows - all still living quietly away. Delia is expecting another calf any day (or week) now - remember? So I'll be sure to let you knwo how that goes. Meantime, here is a photo of Ulysses - how big and handsome he has grown. And those tiny horns.... too cute (for now!)