Leafyleith's Blog

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.

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.

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.

March 28, 2010

Commando Cat

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 3:02 pm
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I was feeling rather inspired last week. Spring has sprung, I thought. So I got my seeds out and started planning for the new raised bed.

I started sowing sweet peas, calendula and nigella for my summer pots and window boxes. And I began hardening off my delphiniums and cleaned the copper rings which will protect them from slugs and snails.

And then this happened.

This is Princes Street, Edinburgh at 6pm at the end of March. It’s just not right. And now I’ve just seen a weather forecast and it says it’s going to SNOW.

Another upset are these bleeding cats. There are five regular visitors: Monster Cat, Cagney & Lacey, Scabby Doo and Minging Fluffball Siamese. And at least another three that appear every now and again. They really make my blood boil because they use the veg bed as a giant cat litter tray. It’s truly disgusting.

I have tried lots of things to deter them:

  • citrus peel
  • cat shoo plants
  • cayenne pepper
  • lavender
  • half empty plastic bottles of water
  • throwing glasses of water at them (quite satisfying, but worried a person might be standing over the other side of the wall)
  • chicken wire

The chicken wire is a recent purchase. I’ve covered the veg patch in it. There is nothing in the veg patch at the moment because it will soon be converted into a raised bed, but I thought if I can stop them crapping in it with the chicken wire, they may take the hint and move off elsewhere.

That was my theory.  But a couple of hours after unrolling my new weapon I looked out and Lacey was using it like some kind of Commando Cat, pacing up and down between the holes, like it was in training to go to Afghanistan. Quite funny, really.

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these sonic cat deterrent monitor thingies, but they are about fifty quid and seem to get mixed reports.

If anyone has any suggestions of how to deal with these blighters, I’d love to hear it. Please don’t bother with the dog suggestions though.

January 9, 2010

2010: a gardening odyssey

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 6:35 pm
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I’ve been in hibernation for some time now, but I thought a review of my first year of gardening might jog my memory for moving things on in 2010.

Things I learned:

  1. You don’t need to adhere to the seed packet instructions too much when it comes to measurements, but DO leave at least a hoe’s width between rows just so you can keep the weeds down and not break your back in the process. I didn’t do this and wish I had
  2. Don’t be too enthusiastic with your sowing… you don’t need to sow the full seed packet in one go
  3. Successional planting is the key, so that everything isn’t ready at the same time
  4. Don’t believe the weather forecasters if they tell you it’s going to rain. I went off on holiday for a week after being promised rainfall, and came back to a withered up mess. If you are going away for a prolonged period, ask some kindly person to check on your plants
  5. And finally, don’t think people are weird just because they’re not interested in gardening and plants. Well you can think it, but probably best just to keep it to yourself

So that was Gardening Year One. Roll on Gardening Year Two. It’s going to be a busy year.

So far, I’ve got some seed catalogues to flick through, plans for a raised bed (and hopefully some ‘volunteers’ to cart the soil for it through the house), some new pots to fill and some dead delphiniums to try and revive.

Oh and while the weather is so chilly, I’ve been trying to help out Blackbird and Robin with some suet coconut shells, meal-worms and a delicious selection of seeds. Don’t forget our feathered friends during these temperature challenged times.

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