Busy, busy, busy…..

June 9 - Exhibition peas growing well

The volunteers have been at the allotment over the past few weeks, though there has been no blog! And in all weathers, even in the rain today when we got the final planting for the season done (bar one) before we fled when the rain began to fall even more heavily.

Everything has been growing well and the allotment is turning into a sea of green. All the potatoes are now through and a good height; the carrot germination has been patchy so more seed was sown; the beetroot and purple Milan turnips are a good size and have been thinned. All the salad crops are through and doing well. And, best of all, the first of the strawberries are ready for picking.

June 9 -First strawberries - variety 'Gariguette'

Today, the bad news is that the birds, probably the wood pigeons, have eaten all of the gooseberries on the bushes. The fruits are (or were) still hard and green but now they have all gone. We have in the past only netted when the fruits are showing signs of ripening, so this is something to remember for next year. On the plus side, the fruits on the cordon gooseberries haven’t been touched – or perhaps just haven’t been found yet.

We have a good bed of onions and shallots, and last week the shallots (‘Hative de Niort’) were thinned out to three bulbs per plant. We’ll be pulling these up on the shortest day of the year, so they are on their final period of growth.

June 9 - Shallots thinned to 3 bulbs per plant

Some of the winter brassicas were planted last week including red cabbage and cabbage ‘January King’. Today we planted the kale – ‘Pentland Brig’ and ‘Dwarf Green Curled’ and also purple sprouting broccoli. Still to plant the Brussels sprouts. We also planted perpetual spinach and rainbow chard.

The leeks always come from the National Vegetable Society stall at Gardening Scotland. They are a good size and well grown and always do well. These were planted today too.

This year we are growing Brokali for the first time. Brokali is a cross between European calabrese and Chinese broccoli with a centre head and side shoots ready for harvesting throughout the summer.

Last week the courgettes, marrows and squashes were planted. Since we have a dung heap, we put some plants into it to see how well they do with the heat being generated by it. The French beans, ‘Cobra’ (climbing) and ‘The Prince’ (standard), and runner beans ‘Scarlet Emperor’ (an old favourite) and ‘Tenderstar’ were planted with more seed sown to give succession of fruiting.

Lastly the sweetcorn was put in the ground (the variety used was ‘Swift’) and was netted against the rabbits.  Once the cobs form, it will need a netting roof to protect it from the pheasants.

June 9 -Sweetcorn 'Swift'


Jobs for next week
Finish staking the peas with the firm green netting
Net the cordon gooseberries
Start netting other fruit

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Still time to find out and see for your self

As you enter Gardening Scotland from the North Gate you cannot miss the garden designed for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to mark 100 years of remembrance.  The garden was commissioned by Glen Art a Scottish charity which supports veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.  The charity provides gardening and artistic activities and has a base in Erskine for its gardening projects.  The garden was designed by CWGC gardener and Caley Council member Robert Ross and built and created with the support of Gen Art veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

It was a pleasure to meet Fiona MacDonald the Director of Glenart today at Gardening Scotland and to enjoy the garden.  

These pictures do not do the garden justice so come and see for yourself.  There is still time.

Glen Art is looking for volunteers to help with their gardening activities so if you or any gardening friends can help contact info@glenart.co.uk.


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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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