Seeds, seeds and more seeds

I’m trying to be a bit more organised this year so have spent some time this week going through all my seeds, bulbs and young plants working out what needs sowing, propagating, planting etc and when! The conservatory is fast filling up with things in pots as it’s way too early to risk putting anything outside yet – we learned our lesson on that score last year! We’re also not risking being so late that loads of things don’t make the productive stage (another lesson from last year).

It looks like, all being well, we should have a great harvest this year, with well over 40 fruits and veggies, not counting the herb garden. We’ve also got some interesting new things to try like, oca, cucamelons and heirloom corn as well as some more unusual varieties of other kitchen garden staples.

The new gas tank is dug into the front garden

In other news ‘operation gas tank’ has begun – predictably what was supposed to be a 2-day job has already been four and we’re only halfway through. The front lawn was dug up and a new gas tank inserted. Some of the internal connections have been done however there still needs to be some pipework done to connect the new tank to the house. Once that’s been done they’ll transfer any gas from the old tank in the back garden to the new one and then remove the old tank. I can’t wait – we’ll be able to make a lovely new bed in that space, just as well with all the seeds and plants I’ve bought.

The ‘after’ total carnage shot – not too bad at all!

I also heard this week that the very kind people at What Shed have listed APG in their round up of Best UK Gardening Blogs – thank you! You can check out the others on the list here.

All the gardening things…

Despite being buried under a foot of snow again earlier this week, things are definitely looking up on the gardening front, not least because I’ve been doing lots of garden planning and subsequently lots of garden purchasing.

The post has been full of wonderful arrivals over the past couple of weeks including books on companion planting, biodynamic gardening and a couple of Beth Chatto’s after seeing her on Gardener’s World – Monty rated them very highly.

Live Plants, including horseradish (let’s hope it does better than last time, it was all spindly little roots that would’ve been a nightmare to peel – are we the only people that can’t grow it?!), strawberries and blueberries (ours weren’t great last year but planning to do something to make the soil more acidic this year and hopefully some cross-pollination will help). I also got garlic, a variety especially meant to be planted in UK soil, rather than just planting cloves from supermarket garlics which is what I’ve always done before, I’m hoping that my soil maintenance over the Winter will mean it’s less clay-ey and we’ll get much bigger bulbs this time around.

Seeds, all the seeds have been arriving! This year I’m hoping to save some money by bringing things on from seed instead of from plants but being so high up we have a very short season. The heated propagator is working well and the tomatoes and companions seem to be thriving. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sow more in normal seed trays without them getting too cold in the conservatory at night.

and stuff! Cane holders for the climbers, plant clips and a hanging basket chain – all to be revealed with that one in due course.

The potatoes have been chitting – we have Pink Fir Apples, Salad Blue, Mayan Gold and Epicure. And, I finally braved pruning, I’ve been too feardy the past couple of years but I went on to youtube and learned how to prune all sorts of things – nothing was safe once I got started – roses, blueberries, apples, buddleias, blackcurrants, jasmine, fig, ivy and lilac – not sure if I haven’t gone a little too far with some of them, guess time will tell.

Next job is to write a new to-do list, plan my seed sowing and raised beds and get back to the chicken run that was interrupted by the Avian flu restrictions, fingers crossed for some nicer weather soon. I’m also deliberating on whether to buy live worms or to invest in a wormery so if anyone has some thoughts, I’d love to hear from you (definitely not sure about the dog poo wormeries I found on amazon – who knew there was such a thing?! the thought of worms who’ve digested that around the veggies isn’t filling me with great joy despite it sounding like a clever bit of kit).

We’re back in business, hurrah!

It’s been a week since the avian flu restrictions in Scotland were lifted and the girls regained their freedom and now we have our first egg of 2017 – better late than never I guess!

Well done Rose, now Betty it’s your turn…..

Guess that also means we need to start thinking about ripping down their temporary run and getting back to building the new one so that we can get some new chickens to join our little flock.

Winter Returns But The Girls Are Out!

Just as we were starting to get excited about the brief whiff of Spring we had, the snow returned – whilst it looks beautiful here when the white stuff comes down, it does rather dampen the enthusiasm a little.

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Nine Mile Burn

Our new heated propagator has arrived – after much deliberation, I finally decided on one with six smaller trays as it seemed the best value for the most space (it was £40 from Thompson & Morgan), along with a load of seeds that I’ve optimistically ordered – our season is so short here that growing from seed is a risky business so hopefully the propagator should help things along.

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I’m especially excited about some of the tomato seeds we’ve got – Indigo Cherry Drops, a dark purply colour that will go nicely with a mixture of other yellows and reds in a variety of sizes. We also bought some companion plants to help control pests – marigolds, calendula and cosmos – time will tell if this works but at east things will look pretty as well. It’s all about biodiversity this year…

Betty getting her first taste of freedom in 3 months
Betty getting her first taste of freedom in 3 months

The Avian Flu restrictions that were in place have now been lifted in Scotland, a low-risk zone, meaning that as long as extra biosecurity measures have been taken (removing bird feeders etc) that our birds are allowed back outside. I was very excited although with fresh snow on the ground they had to be coaxed with mealworms initially. Now we just need them to start laying again – another effect of them being cooped up for 3 months.

Nine Mile Burn
Nine Mile Burn