Western Isles Gardening
It is Easter weekend and finally I feel that spring has arrived. It seems that overnight the leaves on the trees have unfurled their buds and the spireae suddenly came into bloom. The daffodils gave a glorious show of colour until the gales flattened half of them, but those that remain are gallantly still a wonderful glow of yellow and shielding the more delicate tulips that have not quite opened yet. Everywhere I look life is bursting forth in lushness that heralds spring and a promise of what is yet to come. I just love this time of year; it is full of expectant abundance.
I have been busy in the greenhouse for a few weeks now and already I am beginning to move things out into the cold frames to harden off, mostly these are peas and broad beans. In fish boxes I have planted out cut and come again salad leaves and ordinary lettuce. I over wintered cut and come again and it was a welcome bit of freshness when there was not much else about. I have also planted out spinach beet in fish boxes, which I have not done before, but I think they will do well as long as they are watered.
Parsley, basil and coriander I started off on the windowsills indoors, but now it is warming up I can do successsional sowing in the greenhouse. Golden acre cabbage is almost ready for the cold frames. I sow a lot of these as the slugs take quite a few while they are small and cabbage root fly take a lot more later in the year, so I always have replacements ready to plant out.
Sweet peas are up and doing nicely, so I will have to decide where I am planting them this year. A lot of things will have to be rearranged because my garden is only small and I made raised beds over the winter which leaves less room for things like peas and beans.
Sprouting broccoli, calendula, rocket, godetia, French marigold (which the slugs keep chomping down to the stems) cauliflowers, swan river daisies, lupins snap dragons and carnations are all just up.
It is all go from now on though; there are more sowings to be done and a constant moving of young plants from greenhouse to cold frame. This coming week I will be sowing more calendulas, I was told last year that if cabbages and other green leafy vegetables are surrounded by calendulas it helps deter root fly. So I thought I would give it a go and even if it doesn’t work the garden will look nice. Along with them, more broad beans, peas, spring onions. The first lot will be going out in a week or two depending on the weather.
In between all of that the ground still needs to be worked into a fine tilth for plants to be put out and posts and netting put up for the peas and beans.
This year I have decided to cover my greens with fine netting to keep the cabbage white butterfly of them. The caterpillars decimated my crop last year because I did not keep up with picking them off. What with slugs, caterpillars, root fly, gales and cats it is a wonder that I have any garden left! Still a gardener needs to be persistent if nothing else.
I do hope you are all enjoying this fine weather and that your garden is giving you much pleasure.
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Peaches, grapes, tomatoes and other salad crops are
grown on The Poly Croft on the Isle of Lewis
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