Hello! Welcome back to the blog. I know, it’s been awhile since my last post. We’ve had a busy time of it over here with general family life and back to school. Andrew and I have also been on the DIY train with our first room renovation project. You can expect a whole post and possibly a video diary on that. We are almost 70% of the way there now and I must say I am excited at how it has evolved, and the fact that we’re still married! DIY with your other half is not for the faint-hearted!
On the gardening front, it truly was a typical Scottish summer, with days upon days of rain, cool weather and grey skies. It took a long time for things to get going in the veg garden, especially the squashes, tomatoes and chillies; and the sweetcorn did not produce a thing! If I hadn’t had such a great first season in the garden last summer with abundant crops, I would have thought it was all on me and my beginner status or because I lacked a green finger. I’ve learnt that you can do everything your supposed to; fertilise at the right time, keep things watered, prune, thin and deadhead. But if your crops are lacking in sunshine, things just won’t grow.
That said, even though I didn’t have the anticipated courgette glut or nearly half as many tatties, I still got a ton of produce throughout the season for which I’m really thankful. It’s a wonderful feeling to go in to the colder months feeling as if you’ve provided for your family; with the foundation of many meals cured and stored away. For the first time, I feel truly connected to the autumnal harvest season. A time that sees farmers gathering in crops and storing produce; I’ve had mini harvests all of my own and it’s given me a real sense of achievement.
In other news, I’ve been welcoming in the new season by updating my front door containers with autumnal decor. This year I focused on using perennials in containers that could be transplanted to beds later.
I added Echinacea for height, they last really well throughout the autumn months and take a bit of frost too. I’ve been deadheading them regularly and have given them a couple of seaweed feeds to keep them going. Once they’re done, I’ll overwinter them in the greenhouse before planting them out in a border in the spring. I also love the mix with the frilly leaved heucheras and ivy, it’s a combination I would repeat for the texture alone. The orange pansies are my little nod to halloween. We’re planning a trip to the local pumpkin patch this weekend to add more halloween to the mix, and to pick up a couple for the school carving competition.
Below is my first attempt at a pot display. I pulled out the annuals that were mixed with the pelargoniums and replaced them with heathers and violas for long lasting winter colour. I made sure to get chrysanthemums that were still in bud so they last longer. The plan is to use the same pots for a spring display, so once the mums are done, I’m going to try and overwinter them in the greenhouse. The pelargoniums will come indoors shortly after a clean up and prune, and the sedum and heathers will be added to the rockery. This little cluster of flowers and plants is a welcoming sight at the top of the driveway, and gives some much needed colour whilst the rest of the garden has a nap.
The self seeded verbascum ended up at over 7 feet tall. I love how it popped up out of nowhere and added impact to the entrance of the greenhouse. I wonder where it will appear next year?!
At the last minute, I decided to add a winter kitchen garden to stretch out what felt like a pretty short growing season. This will be my first time growing crops over the winter months. So, I’ve been watching youtube videos and flicking through my gardeners world magazine collection, to learn what works and doesn’t in our climate. So here’s what I’m growing:
- Kale – half from seed and half from seedlings from the propagation place
- Leeks – plugs from the propagation place
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli – plugs from the garden centre
- Pak Choi – plugs from the garden centre
- Lettuce – from seed
- Spinach – from seed
- New potatoes – in the greenhouse
- Fennel – from seed
I’ve planted up most of the garlic bulbs now. Iberian Wight, Red Duke, and Carcassonne did really well for me this year, so I planted up some of the harvested cloves. New varieties I’m adding this year are Caulk Wight and Mono Elephant, which is essentially one huge clove. I’ve followed exactly the same planting process as last year, which you can read all about here.
It’s nice to still see some green in the kitchen garden in October. The brussels didn’t make it, thanks to the cabbage white butterfly and a tiny hole in the crop mesh! However, the risk of them has now passed so the mesh is away for another year. I may fleece some crops if it gets really cold, but for now everything seems quite happy!
And that’s all for this post folks. We’re pretty set up in the veg patch now for a few more months of growing. The rest of the garden is a different story, I’ll save that for another post! I hope you’re enjoying the autumn season and everything pumpkin spiced! Until next time.