I just wanted to write a quick post to record a few of our gardening successes . . .and failures, this year.
Growing vegetables here has many challenges: the soil is waterlogged, acidic, and clay-ey; and this being west-central Scotland, the weather tends to be, more often than not, cold, wet and windy. Last Spring we built raised beds, improved the soil, and found we were able to successfully grow potatoes, spinach, kale, and various brassicas. We also built a new shed with windowed frontage which I hoped would mean I would be able to grow tomatoes more successfully. Sadly, last summer was even cooler and wetter than usual and my plants yielded not a single tomato. This year, my tomatoes have fruited, but I suspect they will (as in previous summers) remain at the stubbornly green stage, and merely add to our already large store of green tomato chutney from previous harvests.
So I have decided to give up on tomatoes and to focus my energies on what I can actually grow (without a heated greenhouse or a deluxe wind-proof polytunnel).
Realistically, I think this means potatoes, leeks, onions, courgettes, and cucumbers (which do seem to grow successfully in my little pretend hot-house shed). We planted several types of broccoli again this year, but, some forestry culling nearby has meant that the deer have begun to join the rabbits and hares in encroaching on our garden, and enjoying the delights of our raised beds. These beasties are doing their level best to do away with our brassicas – next year much more extensive netting will be required.
We have a small area of decking at the back of the house (on which Bruce is here depicted, imploring me to stop taking photographs and feed him) and in large pots here we’ve also been able to grow several things that the rabbits and hares made short shrift of last year: beetroot, chard, celeriac, and many, many courgettes.
Because this area is so close to the house (and possibly also smells strongly of dogs and cats) the wild beasties don’t bother it.
So we’ve been eating lots of courgettes, and are looking forward to onions, tatties and leeks this autumn. And there are always the sweet peas, which I happily grow from seed each year, and love both outdoors and in.
I am an inexpert and time-poor gardener, but I do enjoy raising and eating tasty home-grown vegetables. So any suggestions from Scottish gardeners for vegetable varieties which grow reliably in my sort of climate would be very gratefully received.