Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Fruit & Vegetable Garden

When we bought the triangle of land which is now our vegetable garden, it looked something like this. After clearing the land of bracken - without using any poisons - and since I had never built a wall in my life, I set about....

....terracing it with breeze blocks, using the soil from the access paths to deepen the beds. Later, as a certain weariness with blocks and mortar set in, we started building the terraces with wood which, of course, didn't really last, so....

....we're now having to rebuild them, while the blockwork walls remain very serviceable.

Given a few years fertilising, composting and sweat, the thin croft soils soon become very productive. In this picture there are early summer cabbages, potatoes in chimney liners left over from the house build, two courgettes and a bed of strawberries.

It's probably our success with soft fruit which has most surprised us. We never thought that this climate would be so conducive to gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries. This year's strawberry crop is the best ever, perhaps because of the prolonged sunshine of May and early June, but with every soft fruit success....

....come the blackbirds. This year we've tried to thwart them by putting the early ripening fruit into jam jars, but we now have so much fruit coming on that the blackbirds are getting their full share.

Fish boxes, collected from the shore, make excellent small beds. We planted this one early and brought the salad leaves on in the greenhouse, moving the box outside once the weather picked up.

Another free resource is the plastic tubs of mineral salts which the crofters put out for the sheep and cattle. This year we've growing all our tomatoes in them, while the cucumbers continue to thrive in soil.

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