A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…

The Vegetable Patch (Jul 6)

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There are 3 huge old vegetable patches in the walled garden that are overgrown with grass and weeds. Ed’s been working on one of the patches this week – and this morning he turned over half the soil ready for planting.

It was sunny and hot so we had a picnic lunch under the apple trees before getting down to some planting.

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We put in several seedlings; sprouts, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and leeks (as we’re a bit late to plant these from seed). Apart from the leeks I’ve discovered that these are all ‘cruciferous’ veg from the ‘brassica’ family.  We also replanted what we think might be some ropey old courgettes (that were already in there) hoping to save them.  From seed, we’ll plant beetroot, carrots, lettuce, spinach, turnips and beans (currently germinating in the kitchen) in the next few days.

We’re building up our knowledge of brassica growing as we’ve discovered birds have a particular fondness for them; apparently wood pigeons like sprouts. So the whole patch needs to be protected with net. We also need to get some flat disc ‘collars’ that go round the base of all the stems to stop cabbage root fly laying their eggs down there.

So Ed made a frame from various bits of wood that he found in the old green house and lean-to’s and then managed to cobble together enough pieces of random net to go over the top.  He doesn’t think the net will last a windy day though so it will need replacing in the next few days.

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The upsum is that out of an acre of walled garden we’ll have cultivated just 6 by 12 meters – but at least it’s a start. If we’re successful with our beginners patch then it should supply us with nearly all our winter veg.

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