Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
November at The Garden
As with last year we still have lots of produce growing at The Garden: tomatoes, strawberries, chillies, courgettes, squashes, cabbages, kale, salads, herbs, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, chard...
2011 has been a bumper year for produce sales - we sold in excess of 1200 bags of salad (100+ kilos!). We are working on plans for new systems to enable us to increase production next year so we can keep up with demand.
The good weather just now means we can get on with the outdoor growing areas - Alison has a big sack of daffodil bulbs to plant for spring colour and Di has been working away in the fruit cage.
We have started sowing for next year and now the seed catalogues are coming in I am enjoying spending time looking for different seeds to sow next year. This year Di had sourced some fantastic new salad leaves and they have proved to be so popular that we need to add to them next year.
Now we are into "winter mode" The Garden is no longer open to the public every week day but we are hoping to be working down there most mornings so visitors are welcome to come down and visit.
Our friends at The Summer Isles Hotel have been busy attending award ceremonies - winning the Highlands Restaurant of the Year to name but one! Well done to them and we look forward to continuing to supply them with our quality produce.
During November we are giving all our customers who spend over £50 (excluding p&p) an Acorn Pot kit, worth £6.90, with our compliments. These kits are so useful and make great gifts - in the growing house we are using ours for geraniums, chillies and tumbler tomatoes.
As part of Breast Cancer Care month Alison and I took part in a Zumbathon in Ullapool - it was great fun and thanks to Fiona and Aileen for organising it and the staff at Ullapool Leisure Centre for all they did for the event.
Don't forget we are on Facebook so why not become our friend.
Friday, 16 September 2011
September at The Garden
As always we have been kept busy both in the office and down at the Garden. In my last post I mentioned that we were having a stall at Elphin market and I have to say it was a great way to spend my day off! The market is so well organised and is held in the old school and has a great selection of stalls - between selling fresh produce to visitors and stall holders I was planning my Christmas shopping: I really love Szeiler sculptures and Jill's pewter brooches so think there might be a few of my family getting one; Susie's handbags are all original and extremely well made with such attention to detail; Sharon makes brilliant buttons and keep thinking of all the things I can put them onto! There was just so much that Ann-Marie and I have decided to hold a winter market in Achiltibuie - so far we have 14 stalls booked. It was good to see so many local people come along to do their shopping - as well as our fresh produce there was bread, wonderful cakes, preserves, smoked salmon & cheese as well as Sian's croft grown hogget.
Alison went along to the market this week and so we spent Tuesday afternoon picking and digging fresh produce. I got soaked pulling carrots and digging parsnips but it was worth it as they were so good. We also had red cabbages, green cabbages, assorted kale, chard, fir apple & Charlotte potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, living lettuce, salad bags, courgettes, fresh herbs...
When ground has been harvested of produce Di has either been sowing new crops or green manure. We have also been sowing to keep salads going over the winter as well as for 2012.
Strawberries in September - just wish you could smell them as they are wonderful. As I spent quite a bit of time tidying up the plants etc I felt it necessary to do some quality control and the taste was every bit as good as the smell.
Our tomato hanging baskets have been producing the most amazing amount of tasty tomatoes and our only problem is that we can't get them to ripen quickly enough to keep up with customer demand.
We have had so many people coming down to buy fresh produce for their evening meal and what I enjoy is listening to people who are planning their evening meal around what we have available.
On that note I think it's lunchtime and I have my own hydroponic cherry tomatoes as part of my lunch.
Monday, 22 August 2011
August news from The Garden
The weather has not been at all good for August - don't think I need to tell you that! The rainfall has been rather amazing but with so many hydroponic systems and being reliant on rainwater harvesting we have to confess to being grateful for it! During July Allan built a new 3 tray raft system which has meant we have been able to increase our salad production but the demand for our salads is so great that we have struggled to keep up with demand!
Our everbearer strawberries (Flamenco) are on their 2nd crop of the season (one more crop to go) and the lucky guests of Norwest Seakayaking are having them for dessert tonight! Due to various setbacks with our beans, courgettes and cucumbers (some of our seeds etc were noshed by fieldmice and voles) we are delighted to now be cropping them. The cucumbers are so delicious and one family last week bought a cucumber each to snack on in the car.
Visitors are delighted to be able to come down and buy fresh produce straight from the Garden and they love being able to help pick their peas and beans. I have been giving some people a taste of the Rat Tailed Radish (Munchen Bier) Di has grown this year. Otis, a little boy from Glasgow, absolutely loved them and I have a feeling he is going to be growing them next year.
Alison and I have been cooking again, providing a meal for a family for the first night of their holiday, evening meals for Norwest Seakayaking and next week I am going to have a stall selling our fresh produce at Elphin market - have also been asked to make some of our savoury tartlets as well!
Following the success of last year's World's biggest coffee morning we have been asked to provide the venue again this year.
Tonight we will be watching BBC ALBA at 9pm as they have a programme about coastal rowing and the Coigach Lass, Achiltibuie's skiff who Di is the cox for, is one of the boats featured.
Di has been busy sowing our winter lettuce and parsley for next year. Some varieties of lettuce to sow now are Rougette du midi, winter density, rouge d'hiver and claytonia (also known as Miners lettuce or winter purslane). At home I have sown my spring cabbage so hopefully it will be successful as I generally buy young plants from a good garden centre (or get some from Di if we have spare ones).
Ah well must get on with making up stock.
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Propagation house on the move