Well May is here and we can finally ditch one layer of thermals and enjoy the spring heat of only wearing your hat, scarf and coat every time you brave the outdoors. There will be no world naked gardening celebrations today, not without hypothermia anyways. Gotta love the Scottish weather, we had a couple of days last week where we had snow! That said thought, things are coming on in the garden.
Work has been going steadily planting the usual array of veg and flowers, getting the greenhouse set up and general tidying/maintenance. The front lawn is starting to look green again instead of the mottled green and yellow of winter and the veg beds are beginning to show some life.
There have been a few changes this year which have affected the feel of the garden, not all of which were carried out by Kate and I. Our neighbors have all gone on a bit of a chainsaw frenzy, and the wall of conifers that circled a large chunk of their gardens and provided a green backdrop to ours have all gone leaving our garden feeling a bit more exposed as we can now see houses and windows which were previously shielded from us. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to but we’re hoping that making the sitting area a little bit more welcoming might help.
Sitooterie is a Scottish colloquial term, which means a place to sit out in, a summerhouse or gazebo. It’s a combination of sit, oot (the Scottish pronunciation of out), and the noun ending –erie of French origin. If you have a small patio or a sheltered area outside your house, it can also be called a sitooterie.
Our little patio area where we sit and eat or BBQ is getting a little bit of a make over. We wanted to make it much more appealing and comforting so we’ve given it a wee bit of a splash of colour in the form of some brightly coloured pots for the herbs both on the ground and some smaller ones hanging on the fence.
We’ve also bought some outdoor lights to hang allowing us to stay out there later in the evenings when it’s dark and just for fun, we’ve gone with funky steam punk style “Edison” bulbs. We just thought it would add a bit of character and interest. Hopefully we’ll get them arranged and attached in the next week or so.
We’re also adding a proper standing patio heater to make things a bit more pleasant on the colder nights. We do have a big fire pit, because we loved the idea of having a fire when we were sitting out but it just takes so much wood to keep it going that it’s a bit impractical for just the two of us so an electric stand one might be better.
At the minute we’re using a little bowl/oil burner thing that sits on the picnic bench, but to be honest it’s not great and you have to keep your hands quite close to it to feel the benefit. It’s pretty though.
I promise there will be more photos once we have things finished.
If you have read any of my previous posts about the greenhouse and growing tomatoes, you’ll know that I’ve tried out a few different watering systems for the tomatoes none of which were particularly good.
One of the things about growing tomatoes in the greenhouse is trying to maintain the level of watering so that you don’t get tomatoes which split or rot. This is especially difficult if you are planning on going away anywhere for a holiday.
I had just about given up on the idea when I saw something on Beechgrove Garden called Quadgrow and as I’m a big Beechgrove fan (more of a Jim fan), I decided I would give this one a try – Jim was impressed with it.
Basically, it’s a water reservoir and four pots. There are four wicks that sit partially in the reservoir and feed water up into the pot and the plants roots, so that you don’t water form the top, instead the plant takes the water it needs from the wick. So I have a couple of these to try the tomatoes with and from the various videos etc online, it sounds like folk have tried them and found them to be really good. So fingers crossed.
At the minute the plants aren’t quite ready to be put into the bigger pots, so they are still sitting in their paper pots but they are growing fast so it won’t be long.
New beds for the peas
Another addition to the garden this year is three new mini raised beds for the peas. Kate knocked these up for me after our disaster with the peas last year. We had tried to grow them in troughs but there just wasn’t enough depth and the plants got quite stressed, so I now have three lovely new pea beds thanks to Kate.
These are all placed along the fence behind the other raised beds, this just made it easier to provide support for the peas as we could fix some mess to the fence.
We eat quite a lot of peas and mange tout so hopefully having three beds growing will be plenty to keep us going though the summer and autumn.
So there we go, a wee update for you. Next time I’ll maybe talk you throw this year’s exciting selection of tomatoes, one of which is blue!