Leafyleith's Blog

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.

March 26, 2012

Chilli, but not the weather

Filed under: Gardening Year 4 — by leafyleith @ 10:10 pm
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Image

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.

April 12, 2010

Raised bed gardening

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 10:46 am
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Two tonnes of soil and horse manure delivered? Check.
Soil and manure carried through house? Check. (Thanks JB, Neil and Mel.)
Raised bed built and filled? Check.
Seeds sown? Check.

Raised bed gardening is go at Leafyleith.

Many (mainly JB, Neil and Mel) have asked about the merits of raised beds, so I am hoping for a good harvest this year to prove that raised bed gardening really works.

And what a transformation, don’t you think?

It’s been a glorious weekend – 18 degrees for the last couple of days – which has been rather welcome and a bit unheard of in these parts at this time of year.

I’ve probably been a bit premature but I couldn’t resist sowing a few seeds, just to test out the new arrival.

So down the far end, I’ve sown radish, rocket and lettuce (Lollo Rosso and an Italian mixed leaf selection), just a couple of rows of each, but the sunshine on Leith is set to continue for the rest of the week, so hopefully they will germinate.

Meanwhile, Cat War continues… The chicken wire is working a treat, however they are now using the flower bed on the other side. And they don’t even have the decency to dig a hole.

September 21, 2009

Clean up time

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 5:15 pm
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It’s getting very autumnal here at Leafyleith. The veg patches are looking very bare and sorry for themselves. I’ve cleared the spots where the peas and pak choi were. Some of the runner beans are still in production along with tomatoes, but everything else is long gone and the butternut squash didn’t even make an appearance. Wee bit too chilly and perhaps a bit neglected?

pink-cyclamen-sep09

The sweet peas are well and truly dead. The marigolds are dying off. The geraniums are still in full swing but am not sure how long they’ll last, so I’ve been trying to inject some cheer and splashed out on some cyclamens and polyanthus last weekend.

flower-pots-sept09

It’s also been the first week that we’ve had no rain for as long as I can remember, so last weekend was spent scrubbing the deck and now it’s stained and ready for winter. Been meaning to do it all summer, but the incessant rain meant it just didn’t happen.

allium-bulbs

And I’ve just planted a load of allium bulbs out in the front garden, so hopefully they’ll put on a good display come spring – although I seem to be recall planting some alliums in the same spot last year and they didn’t make an appearance. It’s right in front of a privet hedge which could be zapping all the goodness from the soil. Or perhaps the mice got them? There are about 60 bulbs out the front, so the mice are in for a bit of feast this year.

July 23, 2009

Ground control to Major Tom

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 5:12 pm
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I’ve been attempting to grow some tomatoes in my wee grow-house and they are looking rather good. Even if I do say so myself. My dad is an expert tomato grower, so am hoping there’s something in the genes.

tomatoes-july09

This isn’t my handiwork. I got these a few weeks ago, so they were already quite established. When the fruit is there you need to keep them well watered and feed every second watering with Tomorite.

Now I just need some sunshine to ripen them up. And a bit of sunshine on my chilli peppers wouldn’t go amiss either.

chillies-july09

July 1, 2009

No slacking

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 7:56 pm
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The lack of posts in June may have given the impression that there’s been a bit of slacking going on at Leafyleith. No, no, no.

While I have been out gallivanting quite a bit – St Paul Cap de Joux, France; Manchester, England; Dunfermline in the Motherland – I have been quite busy researching gardens in these locations. In some cases getting some hints and tips, and in other cases spreading the word of the power of planting.

Anyway, while I’ve been on tour, the sun has been out and the vegetables and flowers have been hard at work. Great results on the flower growth front.

tropaeseum speciosum

I cannot recommend highly enough Tropaeolum Speciosum (AKA Flame Flower or Flame Thrower as Shed and Lawn Man seems to call it).

It has the prettiest leaves and dainty red flowers, with lots more on the way. Everyone comments on it. It’s my favourite thing in the garden so far (apart from my hammock).

That pic is actually two plants that I put in last year and I thought they were goners because they initially lost their leaves and only grew about 5cms, but what a result this year. So I’ve invested in another one for up at the deck.

hydrangea

The blooms on the inherited hydrangea and the  honeysuckle I planted last year are also on their way. The jasmine has done it’s bit already and it smelled superb. It has flowered but seems to have taken on a growth spurt, so am hoping a few more are on their way.

I didn’t think much had happened on the veg front and I must admit I am getting a bit impatient with progress, but I just had a quick look at previous photos and the sugar-snap peas and mangetout are coming on a treat with flowers out this week. I presume flowers are a good sign?

mangetout and sugarsnaps

Runner beans and butternut squash are also growing, but the star of the show is the courgette.

courgettes in tub

As you can see, I made another novice gardener error by planting too many in that tub. On hindsight, I really should have planted just four seeds in there, because they all germinated and are doing brilliantly. ‘Note To Self’ for next year. So have transplanted a couple into the garden where the radishes were, and passed on one to my neighbour (who seemed most impressed that I’d grown them from seed). Courgette plant to a good home, anyone?

pakchoi

Another quick developer is the pak choi and rocket. I planted these seeds a couple of weeks ago and look what’s happened already. Although I am a wee bit anxious about them because there seem to a flurry of butterfly type creatures which I think might be Cabbage Whitefly. So I need to deal with them pretty urgently.

Don’t want to harp on about it, but space is tight and successional planting is not really possible at Leafyleith. So I’ve put my name down for an allotment. There’s a bit of a wait here in Edinburgh, so if I haven’t developed arthritis in four years time, I should be able to start successional planting and growing lots, lots more…

June 6, 2009

Hoe, hoe, no!

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 11:55 pm
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A fundamental novice gardener error has been made at Leafyleith. Because space is a bit tight in the veg patch, I have to admit I didn’t exactly follow the instructions on the seed packets. How much space does a carrot actually need, I asked myself? I’ve now learned why space is kind of important.

Unless you want to be on your hands and knees weeding with a trowel, then always leave at least a hoe’s width between rows. It’s not rocket science and it’s what will be happening in Leafyleith come 2010.

Weather-wise May was a sensation. Me and the plants were loving it. That’s the reason why I haven’t been inside in front of the computer. It’s been so marvellous, we even had the parasol up for two days in a row and Leafyleith had its first harvest.

radishes

I ate a couple of these whoppers earlier and they were delicious, delicious, delicious. It’s exciting stuff – for me, anyway.

This afternoon I invested in some pea and bean mesh from a shop in Portobello. I thought it would be simple. I only had to string up about a two metre distance. Told you, space is tight at Leafyleith. Boy, was I wrong.

What a fankle I got myself in. It took me about two hours. Shed and Lawn Man says it looks fine, but I am not convinced. And I am not sure the RHS will be happy with my efforts either. It’s horrible green, plasticky stuff, I wish I’d gone natural and just used old branches. 

pea-support

Top tip: those little Gu chocolate pots are not only delicious but they stop you poking your eye out on a bamboo stick, as well.

I planted some runner beans a couple of weeks ago and had them in individual pots in the grow-house. The books say not to be hasty with runner beans and, for once, I followed the rules. A weekend inspection showed there were tiny cracks in the soil and, low-and-behold, another inspection four days later made my heart skip a beat. They’d grown about 15 cms and had fully established sets of leaves. Result! So I’ve planted them out with some sweetpeas for company and they seem to be growing a treat.

runner-beans

The rhododendron has come alive over the last couple of weeks and is looking completely amazing. Photos don’t do it justice and a neighbour says its the best he’s ever seen it (but I think he was just trying to make me feel good). The bees are loving it. It’s Bumble Bee Central out there.

rhody

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