Watering, watering, watering……

12 May Busy with the hose

The weather is finally warming up but still no rain so out with the hose again today watering all the fruit and the growing vegetables.

The first flowers are out on the runner beans now and all the peas planted out earlier and sown are doing well. Thankfully the mice seemed to have left the pea seeds alone. The first shoots of the early potatoes are beginning to appear so they were earthed up to encourage growth and protect them from frost and cold nights.

12 May Flowers on the broad bean

The carrots are just beginning to show, but unfortunately the beetroot has not germinated so there was a re-sowing today and the rows were covered with fleece to help keep in the moisture.

We also covered the salad crops with fleece to help the germination of the several types of lettuce sown today; Little Gem, Cos, and Antarctica. Radicchio and radishes were also sown.

12 May Sowing the salad crops.

We cut the grass and planted out the sweet peas and gladioli for both summer colour and cutting.

The fruit had a feed of blood, fish and bone to keep it growing well and to encourage good fruiting. We feed on a regular basis throughout the growing season, generally about every six weeks.  Once the vegetables are grown on, they too will be included in the feeding round.

Jobs for next week

Watering, of course!
Weed the onion bed.
Weed round the hazels.

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Fruit blossom….and winter veg.

Thin out Milan turnips

Time to thin out the turnip seedlings

Today was one of those typical May days, with hats and scarves on in the morning but by lunchtime the jackets are off, though the east wind was still making itself felt. The plot is full of fruit blossom and the first flowers are on the strawberries and broad beans.

And yet another week with no rain so the hosepipe was out again to water the fruit and vegetables.

With the ending of the purple sprouting broccoli and kale there was space to plant out the new fruit bushes, honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var. Kamschatica). Part of the honeysuckle family, this is also known as the edible honeysuckle producing, long blue/purple fruits in early summer which taste like blueberries. They originate in Siberia so are ultra-hardy and is also drought tolerant. It is being described as the new ‘superfruit.’  Two plants are needed for pollination.

A box of the early summer cabbage ‘Greyhound‘ was bought as young plants. These were planted out and will give us an earlier crop. Brassicas are hungry plants so they had a good dollop of compost and the ground was well firmed before planting – brassicas like to grow in firm soil.

Tom’s onions and leeks destined for the autumn shows – the giant Kelsae varieties – were planted out and netted.

Some of the newer strawberry plants, grown from runners have died, so replacements were put in their place. They had been covered with fleece but that was taken off today. The plants have really benefited from the extra protection for a few weeks and are now beginning to flower.

It is always time to be thinking ahead and now is the time to be sowing the seed for next winters veg so the kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts have all been sown at home and will be planted out as young plants.

It is also time to sow the courgettes and marrows, sweetcorn and French beans.  We don’t plant out until the middle of June on our exposed site so sowing around now gives plenty of time.

Summer annuals were sown to give flowers and colour in the next few months.

Jobs for next week

Sow salad crops
Thin turnips
Feed of blood, fish and bone round the fruit and water in
Continue clearing the ends of the veg beds
Tidy up the grass edges

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Do you have apples trees but don’t know what they are?

Many people with an apple tree in their garden come to Apple Days wanting to know what variety their apple is.  (Note: Caley Apple Days are held in conjunction with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at the beginning of October) .

At this time of year many apple trees are in full bloom.  If you wish to know the variety of apple, remember identification could be helped by a picture of the blossom.  So why not take a photograph now and when/if you bring the apple to Apple Day bring the picutre with you, it might help identifiecation.

To give you a clue as to how different blooms can be here are some recent photos taken at the Community Orchard in Dunkeld.



Red Falstaff

Scotch Dumpling


You have to look carefully, but it might help.



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The new Alpine House is officially open!

Thursday evening saw the official opening of the refurbished traditional Alpine House and frames at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.


The Regius Keeper, Simon Milne, welcomes guests.




Late spring bulbs prominent in the alpine display and many attractive plants outside the glasshouse even quite common ones.



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Wildlife friendly plants

Want to encourage more bees and butterflies into your garden? The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has produced a list of Spring and Summer bedding which are rich in pollen for our bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. The list is available on the Garden for Life blog page. Click here to see the full list.

A small change in our planting habits can make a big difference to wildlife.



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Blossoms and weeds.

Yet another week with no rain and low temperatures, especially during the night. In spite of this, everything on the allotment is growing well.  The turnip and beetroot seed sown a fortnight ago have germinated and only the broad beans look as if they are suffering a little from the cold weather.

The blossom is out on the apples and the Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) seems to have taken heart from its move. It is looking very healthy and the blossom is quite lovely.

Today the last of the main crop potatoes were planted, ‘Desiree’ and ‘Pink Fir Apple’. Two varieties of peas, ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ and the dwarf variety ‘Twinkle’ which were started off at home, were put into the ground.  In addition, another row of each was sown in the ground to give some succession – if the mice leave them alone!

The purple sprouting broccoli is now over and the kale has started flowering. The flowering stems were cut off and we should still get a good crop of young leaves coming on over the next few weeks.

Despite the dry weather, we had to weed the broad beans and the onions and took the hoe over the other beds which are still bare.

And with no rain, the task of getting the hose out and giving everything a good soak was done once again.

Date for your diary – Open Day, Sunday 20 August, 2pm-4pm

Jobs for next week

Continue clearing the end beds
Weed the comfrey bed
Sow salad crops

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An auricula theatre

Once very popular these plants and this special way of displaying them  are making a comeback. This example was set up by Graeme and Hilary Butler from Rumbling Bridge nursery  at the Highland Rock Garden  show last Saturday. For more info read Graeme’s  article in the 2017 Caledonian  Gardener  and look at the nursery website.

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