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The weather has been fabulous and has provided a boost to us and all of the the wonderful wild things living up here. We decided the best way to get the garden in shape for the season was a family day of weeding, digging and planting. We reshaped the whole vegetable garden two years ago when we moved the poly tunnel and it is really coming together now. With all the changes we have made we are hoping to have a bumper crop of food this year. There have been many mistakes but we have learned from them which is all part of the process. If you have been following our blog you will know that wind is a big issue but we now have more wind breaks around the whole garden then we ever have before so that is also a battle we hope we have at least half won!
Hannah and Gavin came along nice and early on Saturday morning to give us a hand getting some of the big jobs in the garden done so we could start planting things. We started off by weeding and digging over a small mounded bed which we then planted out with our first batch of potatoes. Then we moved the layers of old carpet that we had covering two of the 3 long mounded beds and piled in all on the centre bed which we won’t use this year. Hannah and I planted the edge bed with some of the seedlings from the propagator and with a selection of seeds. James and Gavin stood around chatting a posing for photos.
After all of our hard work we had a lovely lunch of pasta with garlic and fresh greens from the garden. Of course there is tons more work to do but overall it is starting to come together.
We have had success getting seedlings started in our propagator and we are preparing beds for planting out. The weather is really warming up and we are still getting some strong winds but our new addition to the wind fencing in the form of pallets is working well. Several of the beds are made with old corrugated tin that we have half filled with compost so that the high sides give extra protection as the young plants are finding their roots. We haven’t had much success with beans yet because of the wind and slugs but we have a few ideas in mind to tackle these issues so hopefully we will get a healthy harvest this year. A new addition to the veg patch is the asparagus bed which we are all very excited about however it can take as many as 2-3 years to produce so we will have to be patient. For now though here is hoping for another hot summer.
It’s the first day of Spring so I thought I would document what was blooming on this day of 2019. Having such a hot (for Scotland) summer last year and another mild winter has had an effect on the growth of many of our favourite plants. We were all surprised to see the first heads of Red Hot Pokers already showing. There are two pink Camellias by the house and one is losing it’s blossoms while the other is just at it’s peak. The daffodils have been up for a while and at the big old pink cherry tree at the bottom of the house garden had never looked so beautiful. Spring is always an exciting time of year and despite having some pretty wild storms blowing through we have had some fabulously warm calm days in-between.
Trying to protect the vegetable garden from the wind is an ongoing job around here so recently we started adding pallets since most of the thin windbreak material we had stapled to the fence posts had ripped loose. The pallets have been pretty effective although after putting a few in place some strong winds came and pushed the back door of the poly tunnel through. We have since finished a solid run of pallets on that side which gets the worse of the winds so this will hopefully help increase food production of the garden. The finishing touch was some repourposed green material which has tidied up the look a little. Now we just need to get some more pallets, more stakes and more material to complete the job and keep the pigs out!
Well after just 3 days the seed trays I planted in the propagator have started to sprout. This is such an exciting development because we always seem to be running so far behind with our vegetables when they should already be producing. The plan for now is to keep the seedlings in the newly boxed in propagator and build another space that I can move them to when they are bigger but still not ready to be outside. This maybe just the thing we need to get our food production levels up.
I built the propagator earlier this year in the spring and it worked wonderfully for getting seedlings going this summer but as the cooler temperatures have descended on us it was not holding more than 8 degrees at ground level. I decided to box it in earlier this week and I am super pleased to find that it is maintaining an air temperature of 20 degrees. I have just seeded several trays of vegetables with the hopes of having food producing plants earlier in this coming year.
For the first year ever we have managed to grow (and patiently wait to eat) our winter vegetables so that we would have enough for a great Christmas spread. Delicious home grown carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts and onions and we have been eating up the leftovers with lots of green veggies. Today I made a dish with leftover turkey, and from the garden leeks, cavolo nero, purple sprouting broccoli and from the shop a courgette zoodled with some garlic and ginger for a nice healthy follow up to our Christmas dinner which was fairly indulgent.
Well it’s been a long time coming but now is the time. Iv been meaning to strip the wood shed and make room, at first I thought it would be a quick sleeves up and we’re away. But no put a screw in the wall and watched it fall out almost straight away. Dry rot?? I. Then softly placed my hand behind one of the slats and give a tiny pull and almost the whole wall fell out. Luckily I had a plan before I knew it I’d stripped it back and the fire pile grow. With a lot of scratches to ones head I began figuring out how to put it all back together and make plenty of working room. It still needs a little figureing it out but we’re getting there.
The problem with all work and no play is no recovery time! This place inspires you to to just keep going as you turn a corner and boom something else needs doing. But now a couple of years into it and a plan and pattern is revelling its self. But boy if you just keep going for it and not take anytime to enjoy, bang your down with a fever and three days in bed before you can even think about recovering. And this a the height of the season just give you more work to do when your back on your feet. And looking back at last year it happened then to.
The fabulous weather is back and we decided that it was a good day to tackle some of the changes we wanted to make down on Jimmy’s walk. We currently have Nona, our very first live in volunteer helping out around the property so the three of us headed down with a variety of tools loaded into the wheelbarrows to see how much we could accomplish in a day. Nona and James both started with strimming on both sides of the path while I cut back some unwanted plants around the pond. Once they had revealed a large area I went in and hand pulled the longer grass around some of the smaller plants and flowers that we have been adding to the area recently. They then began placing some new plants around and digging them in while I trimmed back growth around the bases of trees. It was so satisfying to see the results and in the process we came up with some new ideas of plants that might do well in the area. It just so happened to be a perfect day for a BBQ so I ran off to the shop for some supplies and we enjoyed a relaxing evening with friends after a hard days work.