Life in the Highlands

Hello and thank you for looking at my Blog...i hope you enjoy my site. I'm pretty new to this but hope to keep it all updated with the progress of my garden. I've really enjoyed being able to start everything from scratch and the hard work has been worthwhile. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress too! Feel free to leave comments it's always nice to get feedback.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mid May 2007

The weather has been warmer but very changeable of late. After finishing off in the garden following a glorious sunny day suddenly the clouds darkened and showers ensued....great i thought just what the garden is needing. Then the sun shone and i had the most beautiful rainbow, not an unusual sight up here but this was the first i've seen this year. It looked like I was at Rainbows End.....was tempted to go digging for my pot of gold.

So well what have i been up to lately. Despite the weather being windy and rainy i've managed to get some stuff done but the planting has backed up because of this. This week i've got my onions in, not sure i've done the right thing in growing them from seed this year. They don't look to me as though they will make large onions later in the year! So i wait with baited breath. Planted three rows; two rows of white and one row of red.

When i prepared the onion bed in the Autumn i spread garden compost on the top and let the worms take it down. It was interesting to note just how nice and workable the soil was with this treatment and with a rake just levelled it out. I was interested to note that whilst planting that the compost was mixed in with the topsoil a good four inches down, a sign that the worms had done their job over the winter. This should give my onions a good start and will not be too much for the carrots.

The shallots and garlic are doing fine and i've sown another row of carrots, Autumn King and beetroot, Boltardy between the onions and shallots. I sow two rows of onions to one row of carrots. The theory is that this will confuse the lady carrot fly. The fly is attracted by the scent of the carrots which is why they frequently attack just after you have thinned the crop. Cow Parsley is a member of the Carrot family so it may well be an alternate host for carrot fly which could be the reason the crop is always under attack. In fact, there is an old gardening practice of sowing carrots only when the Cow Parsley is not in flower, ie before the flowering stems develop or after the flowers fade. This timing avoids the two important generations of the fly. I noticed today that the Cow Parsley is just starting to open so i can only hope that my sowings today will miss the attentions of the carrot fly.

The first attack comes in late May or early June and the second in August and September. Delaying sowing until late May, can help to avoid this first generation. Alternatively, sow very thinly eliminating the need for thinning.

Managed to plant a row of Iceberg lettuces today too. I only plant one row and when i crop them i do so by cutting across the base and leaving the stump in the ground. I then cut a cross in the stump and after a few weeks a new lettuce forms. This gives me two crops from one row and saves on space too.

Whilst busy in the garden i was very aware that there was a large amount of birdsong, they are busy nesting in the Rosa Rugosa hedge just outside the garden in the wild area. I've a bird table which is handy for them to feed their young and so far this year i've seen, Great Tits, Pied Wagtails, Chaffinches, Blackbirds and today i was delighted to see a Bluetit and Greenfinch. This is the first time i've seen these two birds in my garden and was taken by surprise. The birds that visit my bird table seems to change as the garden matures. I found an interesting site called British Garden Birds which i've found helpful in identifying my feathered visitors.

Clematis Nelly Moser is covered in buds and i've been eagerly awaiting their opening to reveal those glorious flowers. Typically the one that did open was at the very top of the trellis, so here's my first clematis flower of the season. It's a topping plant that if pruned lightly after the first flowers will give a second display later in the year. The flowers are two tone pink and striped. However, the only draw back is that if planted in full sun they tend to fade quickly but their beauty is a joy and eagerly anticipated. This plant is only three years old.

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