Leafyleith's Blog

July 10, 2013

Daisies

Filed under: Gardening Year 5 — by leafyleith @ 9:58 pm
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These are hardy osteospermum that I got last year. They’ve been flowering since February when there were two or three blooms to brighten a winter’s day. But now they’ve really come into their own. Definitely a good purchase.

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April 24, 2013

Let’s get ready to rhumble!

seed selection

At long last, spring is in the air and we are ready to rhumble.

I stopped off at the Allium Garden Centre on the way down from Inverness just after Easter and selected some seeds. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I was totally swayed by the packaging of Marshalls, so they got my business.

This year I’m going for:

Beetroot – Detroit 2 Crimson Globe and Baby Beet Action

French Bean (climbing) – Cobra

Broad Bean – Jade

Carrot – Rainbow

Spring Onion – Furio

Lambs Lettuce – Elan

Pak Choi – Summer Breeze

Spinach – Amazon

I also want to get some peas (which were my main success last year) and some climbing courgette.

According to the packs most can be sown now so, even though I think it’s a bit early, I’m going to give it a go. A couple of weeks ago I put in spinach, broad beans, carrot and spring onion. It’s been very cold, but am pleased to report that the spinach has sprouted. No sign of anything else, so far.

October 23, 2012

Strawberry Central

Filed under: Gardening Year 4 — by leafyleith @ 8:28 pm
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I know it’s autumn and well past the fruit growing season (well in Scotland anyway) but I just wanted to record my attempt at strawberries this year.

I tried two ways of growing: in the ground and in hanging baskets. The ones in the ground were not so fruitful but the basket ones were absolutely superb. I think this may be due to the fact that the basket was located close to our gas boiler vent so they got a blast of hot air every time the tap was run (or the heating was on). It’s been a pretty non-eventful summer on the sun front.

Anyway, the top pic was taken in May and the next one is July. Hopefully the ones in the ground will bear fruit next year.

March 26, 2012

Chilli, but not the weather

Filed under: Gardening Year 4 — by leafyleith @ 10:10 pm
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It’s March, it’s Scotland and it’s 20 degrees. Unbelievable.

It’s motivated me to get growing but I’m trying to rein myself in because I know it will more than likely be baltic again next week.

So tonight I’ve planted a couple of chilli varieties: Hungarian Hot Wax and Jalapeno. My Veg Patch book says you shouldn’t plant chilli any later than April because it needs a long growing season. So will try the rest in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday I also put in a couple of rows of spinach and some calendula. Fingers crossed that I’m not being too early and they’ll all make it.

October 3, 2011

Post-summer update

I didn’t plan to have no updates all summer, but it’s happened. I’ve been busy though. So, just a quick summary of what’s been going on.

The summer was pretty crap, weather-wise. Not a lot of sustained sunshine – probably about four weeks of solid sun… (including 20+ temperatures during the last week of September).  Anyway, it seemed to take ages to get anything to grow and some plants have been better than others.

The carrots, courgettes and parsnips have done well. I’ve also grown fennel, but it bolted and I think I sowed it too early (beginning of May), so next year I’ll hold off for a few weeks. Rocket and salad leaves were good.

I was exasperated by the beetroot. I tried three times to grow it and it failed to germinate. It eventually made an appearance after I soaked the seed and sowed it in June. Must remember this next year.

Another fail were the runner beans which kept getting eaten alive by slugs or snails, so eventually I gave up…

So that’s a quick run down of the last five months! Better luck next year, I think.

May 15, 2011

And we’re back!

So, where was I? It’s been a while, we’ve got a bit of catching up to do.

Last summer saw a few successes and a few failings. Successfully managed to grow some lovely carrots, pak choi and courgettes in the new raised bed. Failed miserably on the beetroot, sweetcorn and sunflower front. Not sure what happened there, because they were fine the previous year.

And we got a new little Daisy here at Leafyleith. She was the best seedling of all last summer.

This is the main reason why it’s been quiet on the posting front. But the Gaffer and I have been quite busy getting the garden back into shape and ready for year 3 of Leafyleith.

So far, the following seeds have been sown:

  • Beetroot – just in
  • Runner beans – been in for a few weeks, so far no show
  • Dwarf beans – just in
  • French onions – through
  • Parsnips – through
  • Carrots – through
  • Basil – no show, so have re-sown
  • Salad leaves – sporadic, so have re-sown
  • Courgette – just in
  • Fennel – just in
  • Sunflowers – just in (am starting them off in pots in the growhouse, because of last year’s failing)

For some reason I was a bit surprised that the fennel seeds look just like the ones you cook with. Not sure why this surprised me, but it did. Does this mean I could have just sown the ones I have in the kitchen?

September 13, 2010

Dwarf bean glut

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 11:11 pm
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A few weeks ago if you’d asked me what I thought of dwarf beans, I’d have been quite derogatory.

I wasn’t impressed by the spindly, little plants. They didn’t look like they were making much effort and I thought I’d wasted my time on them.

Boy, was I wrong. I am truly amazed by the abundance of produce from six plants. They are tiny – less than 30cm tall – but I’ve had so many beans off them I am having to give them away.

I’ve grown a variety called Purple Queen. It has lovely lilac flowers that produce a dark purple bean which turns green when cooked. And the more you pick, the more they come up with the goods. They are still going strong.

My favourite recipe has been a variation on Salad Nicoise using smoked mackerel instead of tuna. It’s delicious.

Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll grow dwarf beans again next year. I prefer the visual impact of the taller varieties in the garden, so I’ll probably opt for a purple variety of runner bean. But if you’ve got a lack of space or fancy growing some veg in pots, then dwarf beans should be top of your list.

August 8, 2010

Harvesting courgettes

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 5:50 pm
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At long last things are happening at Leafyleith. My two courgette plants are producing an abundance of fruit.

You can see below that I’ve left some of these a bit too long and they’ve become marrow like. They should really be picked with the courgettes are still quite small and the packet suggested picking when they’re 5cm wide.

The plants are quite large and sprawling. I made the mistake of planting too many plants in a tub last year, so I’ve allowed plenty of space in the raised bed and they’ve made the most of it.

I went for a round variety of courgette – Eight Ball – and this week I picked a few and made this easy courgette soup recipe that I found online. I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter – no chives or oregano in mine and I substituted creme fraiche for the cream.  But the general idea was there and very tasty it was too.

It won’t be long before I’m making this soup again, judging by the number of courgettes in the pipeline…

July 20, 2010

Slow gardening

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 12:01 am
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Is it just me or does everything seem a bit slow this year?

Had a look back at last year and by now the hydrangea and flame-flower were in full bloom. The hydrangea has flowers coming but they are still green and the flame-flower is a fraction of last year’s size, so am putting this down to the harsh winter.

Not sure what’s going on elsewhere.

We had great weather during May and June, but all the seeds that I’ve sown seem really slow. The sunflowers and sweet peas have been rubbish, whereas last year I had great success with them.

On the veg front all I’ve harvested is rocket, lettuce and pak choi.

The courgettes are on their way – lots of flowers, but the recent
torrential rain and lack of sun is hindering their development.

I had great plans for the new raised bed too. But my original sowing of beetroot failed to show, the bean plants are more Tom Thumb than dwarf and the spring onions look like blades of grass.

Anyway, fingers crossed that the sun comes back out in Scotland, although I heard on the radio that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, that it will rain for 40 days. Wonderful.

July 19, 2010

Mr Frog

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 5:59 pm
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Bit of excitement here at Leafyleith recently with the arrival of this little chap. He (or she) was sheltering in the growhouse which had tipped up during the high winds.

Froggy didn’t stay long though (probably due to harassment). We put out a saucer of water where he had a quick dip and then soon disappeared… Not sure where he normally resides, someone nearby must have a pond, so hope he made it home safely.

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