Tuesday, 28 December 2010


A comment on one of the allotment forums got me thinking. Someone said that most people buy veg. from supermarkets  because their prices are unbeatable.

I would have to take issue with the idea that supermarket prices are unbeatable. They are always beatable by our local greengrocer, often by a considerable margin. As an example, last spring I looked at iceberg lettuce in two supermarkets and the prices were 89p and 99p. At my local greengrocer they were 69p and this is normally true for everything else. Of course, local shops don't have the range of fruit and veg. flown half way round the world that supermarkets do but I really don't want to buy strawberries in January. I find the anticipation of waiting for the taste of that first strawb of the season almost as good as the fruit itself. This is why I very rarely buy veg from a supermarket (I grow most of my own but there's always the hungry gap). It’s not just a question of not knowing what you’re eating or where it's come from but the almost obscene profiteering of supermarkets and the way they treat their suppliers.

What we really need to do is educate the public as to the alternatives to supermarkets.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas dinner

We thoroughly enjoyed having home-grown veg. with our dinner this year, especially as the ground has been frozen solid for over a month now. I know a lot of gardeners have been complaining that they can't get their crops out of the ground so, because we had a hard winter last year, I grew leeks and parsnips, etc. in containers in the greenhouse. Although the compost was frozen the veg. were easily broken out. We even managed a few limp lettuce leaves to put in our turkey sandwiches later in the day.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

here we go again

Back to the snow again. Already I'm fed up of this winter and we're not out of December yet. I know I sound like a moaning Brit. but we're just not used to this kind of severe cold lasting so long. Being a maritime country our winters are normally wet and on the cool side. I suppose the positive side to it is that a lot of pests and diseases will be killed off so we might have a reasonable season next year.

Our next-door neighbour has a berry tree in the garden and we've had a small flock of waxwings feeding there on and off for the past few weeks. Tried to get a photo but as soon as I open the door they fly off. And before anyone suggests it I'm not going to sit outside waiting for them with my camera when it's -5.

I would post a pic of the snow-covered garden but what's the point It would just look like every other snow-covered garden. Instead I'll post one of the ice build-up on the estuary we live next to.

 Those of you with sharp eyes may just be able to make out the Lake District hills in the distance.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My order for next year's tatties has gone off to JBA seed potatoes at Annan. As the crow flies they're only a few miles from here so I reckon what grows for them will grow for me. Each year I try to grow a few new varieties as well as the old favourites. The pic shows my tattie patch at the end of June, 2010. I had as many plants again growing in an assortment of containers around the garden.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

back to the cold again

Well, the snow melted and gave me a whole day to work in the garden. I extended the asparagus bed to get a few more crowns in next spring and collected a couple of sacks of seaweed from the shore. Managed a bit of tidying up but we are back to night frosts with more snow forecast for later in the week.

At least the thaw allowed me to pick some stuff and I got four leeks, two snowball turnips and a celeriac, plus spring onions, lettuce and parsley from the greenhouse. Don't you just love having your own greengrocer's store.

Friday, 10 December 2010

I can see soil again !

Although it's been very cold up here we didn't have as much snow as other parts of the country and now it's all gone and I can see lovely brown soil again.

Most of the crops seem to have suffered no lasting damage from the severe frosts, even the pak choi which I was worried about is perking up. Some of the big leaves on the chard are looking bedraggled but there's plenty of smaller leaves to pick from. It just goes to show how resilient plants are, not like us humans. We were without hot water from the boiler for a day and a half and it made life very difficult....aren't we pathetic.

Container lettuce in the greenhouse keeled over when we had two nights of severe frost. -16C and -15C, certainly not the sort of temperatures we were expecting when we moved to the west coast. However, when I looked this morning it had picked itself up.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

looking a bit sad at the moment

Some unseasonal cold weather and snow has put paid to any activity in the veg. garden and things are looking a bit sad. Some stuff will survive and some won't....but that's gardening for you. The leeks should be fine if I can break through the concrete-like soil surface.

I still have stuff like lettuce and spring onions in the greenhouse so there will always be something fresh.