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 last of the veg (Nov 10)

IMG_1836      taties


We had high hopes that the vegetable patch would supply much of our winter veg – but ‘club foot’ (see Aug 24) unfortunately put paid to that.   Otherwise our patch has served us pretty well.   Today we picked the last of the peas and dug up the last of the potatoes.    The leeks are fattening up and they’ll be next to harvest…

Ed’s been busy turning over another 3 patches. One for fruit (he’s just put in new raspberry, blackberry and blueberry plants), one just for potatoes, one for all our other veg (we are now armed with a supply of club root resistant brassica seeds –  5 words I never imagined saying in the same sentence!) and one for Mr C.

Mr C says he knows that there were at least a dozen patches here during the war, so we had a look on Google earth and it’s possible to make out quite a few old outlines.  This birds eye view also exposes the skew-whiffness of our first patch, so Ed’s re-shaping it to run parallel to the garden walls.  He’s pegged out the others to do the same.   I think it’s a sign of what a committed gardener he’s become.

He’s also managed a first pruning of the old apple trees  – need to go slowly so as not to shock them.   Got the green house up and running  – now lagged inside with bubble wrap to keep it insulated through the winter.     Fixed the dripping tap by the back gate and collected all the apples.     It’s only the start but already it looks like a well-tended, working garden.   Imagine what he can achieve in the next few years?


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Club foot! (Aug 24)

We have a veggie patch disaster – club root – or club foot as I’ve been mistakenly (and embarrassingly) describing it to the neighbours…has attacked nearly ALL our brassicas.


So I’m afraid half our winter veg supply; the sprouts, cauliflower and cabbages (with all their lovingly placed collars) are not going to make it.   And it was all going so well…

It’s a fungal infection that comes from something in the soil.  It stunts growth in the roots and therefore the plants.  There’s really not much we can do about it – apart from trying to find strains of club foot resistant brassicas in future.   Ed not surprisingly is forlorn after all his hard work, especially today  – as he decided to pull them all up.

However, even though we’re rookies, the rest of the patch looks really healthy and with our intermittent removal of slugs (fond of lettuce) and caterpillar eggs  (prefer curly kale) it looks like the rest of our veg should be fine.