Hello...

Hello.
I knew at the beginning of the year that I wanted to let go of the blog. I am in a different place now and I need the space to work through a great many things. I intend to keep the archives up for a time, although I have removed the comment function.
If you have landed here - welcome and feel free to dip in to what was our life - once upon a time...
J xxx

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Around the croft - harvesting


I am so pleased that I set aside some space for a cutting garden and very  happy at how it is taking shape. It really is a mass of colour right now, and who would have thought sunflowers would grow in this windswept place? This has been a good first year and I am slowly filling up the bed with perennials, as well as lots of self seeding annuals. Hopefully it will evolve into the cottage garden that I imagined it to be last Winter - and I do love including flowers in my daily harvestings.



 My first time growing Dahlias has been a great success, and we are enjoying  colourful vases of these beautiful flowers all around the house, as well as bunches of sweet peas. We have also collected the vivid blue borage flowers, to freeze in ice cubes. These delicate, slightly cucumber flavoured blooms  look beautiful in jugs of water or lemonade drinks, and will be a fine reminder of Summery days later on.



But growing food is the main purpose here, and that has been happening. Garlic, beans and cauliflower have all been harvested and stored for later. Potatoes are being dug and eaten as required. Tomatoes and late strawberries are coming on-stream now, and the carrots and beets are swelling up nicely.Cabbages, kale and chard will sit cosily under their blankets until required, and parsley - well - there can never be enough parsley!


And I let some of last year's kale go to seed - and what a result. I filled two sacks with the seed pods, so should have enough to keep us all going! I know that this is true seed, as it was grown down at the bottom croft in the roofless shed, with no other cruciferae nearby. i am pleased with this, as it is an old variety which was almost extinct. Shame, as it is a lovely kale. Read the story here.



Now, thoughts are focussing on what to grow over the colder months - particularly those times in mid Spring - the so called hungry gap. You know - that time when the winter stores are used up, the house is filled with trays of seedlings, but nothing  will be ready to harvest for ages yet. i am hoping that the polytunnel will help me extend the growing season at both ends, and allow us to harvest some fresh produce all year.



I have started planting up trays of salads, spring onions and other greens. These pea shoots are a good cut and come again crop and will be used as an addition to salad, or in a stir fry. Tubs of early carrots, beets, turnip and radish will be sown in the next couple of days. And then there are the Spring bulbs and the garlic... the circle keeps turning.



Oh - and there are other things happening on the croft - the sheep, hens and cows - all still living quietly away. Delia is expecting another calf any day (or week) now - remember? So I'll be sure to let you knwo how that goes. Meantime, here is a photo of Ulysses - how big and handsome he has grown. And those tiny horns.... too cute (for now!)

18 comments:

  1. Those flowers! You can have beautiful Borage flowers bobbing about in your Pimms in the middle of winter ;-)
    What an edible harvest too! Such an inspiration. Just started to give some thought to winter growing but it will be very small scale compared to yours.
    Looking forward to reading happy news about Delia soon xxx

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  2. I love the idea of floating ice cubes with flowers to remember summer days. I hope you are able to extend your growing season successfully!!

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  3. such beautiful ideas and images you presented us with today, its my hope that Delia delivers much easier this time, I bet its your s as well,

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  4. We have been collecting our own seeds for awhile now and it makes my heart swell when I open the box and see them all there. I have my kale going to seed right now! One more step it avoiding the stores.

    Love your flowers and you've inspired me to plant some here!

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  5. I have been wondering what to grow for the colder months. I'm so pleased to have kept on top of my veg patch this year - taking out old crops and filling the gaps but at the moment it is only looking like we'll be eating leeks this winter! I shall get my book out and have a flick through tonight. Your cutting garden looks stunning ... something else I will consider for next year. much love X

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  6. A wonderful look at everything you are harvesting. You have done very well this year I think. I really like picking flowers when I'm gathering produce as well - it is the icing on the cake. And I love the idea of flowers in ice cubes - it will indeed be wonderful to have them in drinks in the winter.

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  7. I can't believe you are growing Sutherland kale! I found out about it around a fortnight ago and knew immediately we had to have some for here, where the weather is probably less extreme than it is with you but can still be pretty ferocious. It makes me all goose-pimply to think it nearly became extinct and I wonder what else we are in danger of losing but do not yet know about. Also - those borage flowers look amazing. I plan to copy!

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  8. Your garden sure does grow ! Crofting has paid off for you it looks like. I'm still thinking about what you can do during the 'hungry gap'. Um... dirt pies? Kidding ! :) xx

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  9. a cutting garden is such a lovely phrase. you inspire me to plant one of my own. your flowers are lovely and i'm impressed with all the other things you've planted as well.

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  10. I am in love with Ulysses! He is adorable! I wonder if I can convince my husband I need a Ulysses look-a-like? Great post Xx

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  11. The cutting garden is lovely....You are doing a terrific job of growing and harvesting much of your food. Did I tell you I would be coming to Scotland before the year is over? I probably won't get as far as the Western Isles. I will be traveling from Glasgow to Inverness, and then, over to Skye. There will be many small stops along the way.

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  12. What a beautiful post as always, so satisfying to see the harvest come in, even if it is vicariously! I grow dahlias too but get frustrated because the stems are so short - have taken to floating the heads in water instead.

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  13. good to see your garden doing well

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  14. It's a very long time since I commented on here but I LOVE Ulysses, he is gorgeous. I grew up on a dairy farm and have a real love of cattle <3 <3 xx

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  15. Well done with the cutting garden and the harvesting of food! I love the idea of Borage flowers in the ice cubes, how lovely to have as a reminder. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Chel x

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  16. Lovely to see the beauty of your cutting garden and all the productivity of your labours. I love the sun passage post too. We watch it travel up and down the skyline of Coll as it sets all summer, it is already nearly out of sight again.

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  17. What beautiful garden bounty! Congratulations on the success of your cutting garden. I'm already making plans for next year's garden and MORE FLOWERS is definitely on the list. In the meantime, I, too, have loads of kale seeds saved, plus two big bags of kale in the fridge, and several new to me kale varieties I plan to sow this week. You can never have too much kale! :)

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  18. I really like the Borage flowers. I don't think I have ever seen these. I wonder if they like shade...

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