How does our garden grow?

Posted on Posted in Food & Drink, News
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My gardeners helping with the tilling.

Brace yourself, this post is about gardening and is probably tl;dr unless you’re my mom (hi mom!). My general updates below, if you scroll super fast!

One of my goals for the year was:

9. Eat fruit/veg from our garden (aka successfully grow something in our garden!)

How did we fare, you ask?

Resounding success!

I have total homesteader aspirations, if my #urbanchickens are anything to go by. It would be a definite life-dream for me to move to the country and live off the land. Spending my days with animals and trying to make things grow.

BUT I’m starting small and not very good at growing anyhow (last year’s indoor garlic crop is proof of this). My mom is such a green thumb, so I’d been hoping some of her talents might be hereditary… She also came to inspect my efforts in June so that likely helped as well.

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Winnie in front of the two raised beds.

Planting

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Seed potatoes going in!

We built 2 raised beds and put them out in the ‘allotment corner’ of the garden. In these, we planted:

  • Mange tout / Spinach / Runner beans / Nasturtiums (to keep the slugs away!)
  • Potatoes / Tomatoes

I filled a bunch of grow-bags with more potatoes as we had so many extras.

We also got gifted a bunch of fruit plants from S’s folks so I set up barrels and planted out:

  • Blueberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries.

I planted a cherry tree in the front garden. We did all this around May time and hoped for the best!

I had also dug in some garlic cloves in November or so just between some of the flowers in the flowerbeds.

Tending & Waiting

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Tomato seedlings flourishing in the windowsill

Basically, I didn’t water anything and just let Scotland’s natural rainfall do its thing. I mean, this is probably why nothing I’ve ever grown in the past has ever grown (again, the indoor garlic).

However I later learned that this is an existing technique! Dryland Farming is used in areas where there isn’t much rainfall and farmers must make due with minimal precipitation. I ‘practiced’ my own version – except we get LOADS of rain in Scotland so everything basically grew itself. Score!

I did try to grow the tomato seedlings inside the house but then wasn’t sure when to plant them outside, how big they should be, etc. I just winged everything…

Harvest!

We planted in May-ish, and things actually started growing in mid-June! The spinach came up pretty quick and we had lots of tasty salads for a few weeks. Then the mange tout came in (still going strong!) so we have been having everything-with-beans. I planted some of the baby tomato seedlings outside at this point as it was pretty warm. Some blew over in the wind but the ones that survived grew really thick!

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Spinach haul!
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Tomato ombre!

In August we plucked the first set of potatoes from the raised beds, and I planted out more tomatoes where the potatoes had been. These are doing okay now actually! Hopefully some grow before it’s winter… Oh my goodness did we get a lot of potatoes. Weeks worth of potatoes. We have eaten SO MUCH MASH. Handsome S also learned to make his own potato pancakes with leftover mash which are ace!

The gooseberries also did very well! They came in nice and thick with lots of fruit on all the branches! I should have picked them when I noticed them – pretty and green and sour as anything! – but googled and found that if you left them on the branches they turned dark purple! S had never heard of this, but I thought I’d give it a shot. However, I must have revealed too much to the birds (mine or the local ones) as the bush was totally stripped the next time I checked it. Gutting!

Later in August, we also started picking blueberries and tomatoes, ate loads more mange tout, dumped another grow-bag worth of potatoes to eat.

blueberries

The last weekend in August, I decided to uproot the garlic – really nervous after last year’s failure. The stems of the ones I could see were yellowed and dry (perfect indication of harvest time!), however the chickens had used the area for dustbathing on multiple occasions so I feared the worst. Boy was I pleasantly surprised to find 9 pretty good sized garlic bulbs in there! I planted about 13 cloves so not a bad haul at all! They’re hanging to cure in the garage at the moment.

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Some yummy omelettes with our hens’ eggs, and our garden mangetout & garlic (plus mushrooms, cheese & bacon… aw yum)

The runner beans didn’t grow at all. My mom came to visit in July and even planted a second lot of seeds in the hopes they might fare better in warmer temperature, but nothing! We’ll not be doing beans next year I don’t think…

The raspberries didn’t grow either… I put them in a raised bed but think they didn’t get enough sun.

The cherry tree grew a cherry but it blew away in the wind. Have high hopes for it for next year!

So very pleased to report that I have totally ticked off my goal of growing and eating! Not sure if I can really give it all up to live off the land (#starvationwinter) but looking forward to trying new things next year! We’ve bought a lemon tree (for indoors), and are looking forward to trying corn!

General update

  • So glad the festival is over. My birthday too! WHEW. Been aggressively busy with work and life; feeling so exhausted. Low ebb!
  • Basketball’s started up again which is great. Exercise is key I think. Our team’s looking pretty lean this year though as 3 of our girls are having babies imminently. Good luck mama-Kats!
  • As you likely know, I pretty much dislike nothing more than reading in public. So if you fancy watching someone suffer, or you want to see something you’ll likely never see again – catch me at Platform Poetry at Ladybank station reading in October!
  • I stopped running home during the festival as the city was so swarming, but will hopefully get back into this soon. Fingers crossed for not too much rain this month.
  • Also just found out I passed my last module for the Marketing qualification I was taking – so pleased to say I now have a CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing! Thanks to my work for supporting me!
  • I saw the Cockenzie Power Station get blown up! And I also saw a SUPER BLOOD MOON. Both were fantastic.

Looking forward to…

  • Applying for UK citizenship (slow and steady!)  as I’ve now got my new US passport back.
  • Long-weekend in November – will we see a murmuration?
  • Less than 100 days now until Christmas (dun-dun-DUN!), with S’s family who are stellar and will be lots of fun. =)
  • Cheeky Euro trip next year and Japan trip next spring?

readingSam Riviere – Kim Kardashian’s Marriage
Jack Underwood – Happiness
Ilsa Bick – Ashes (Bk1)

Audiobook’d Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Even Reese Witherspoon’s smooth southern reading couldn’t hold my attention. Sorry Harper Lee!
Also Alan Partridge’s ‘I, Partridge’ was FANTASTIC, especially as read by Alan Partridge. Had to stop myself from bursting out laughing on the bus a number of times.
Finished Catch 22… old-school and didn’t hold my attention but feel like a requisite for the canon?
The best thing I listened to though was Ernest Cline’s Armada! Get this book, people! Audiobook was read by Wil Wheaton as well.

soundtrack

XYLØ – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Lauv – The Other
Odesza – Say my name (feat. Zyra)
Micky blue – Champaign Reign

 

Roll on, October! Indian summer?

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