Achiltibuie Garden Blog


Achiltibuie Garden Blog


Friday, 10 July 2009

Julie gets growing

From chatting to me on the phone some of you may already know that I am prone to "cheating" when it comes to growing herbs. I am never organised enough to sow my seeds at the correct times (Stuart, my poor husband, tries to motivate me but without a great deal of success) but from mid March onwards I buy a few basil plants from the supermarket (preferably when they are on offer!) and take them home, remove them from the plastic pot they are in and if there is any loose compost I shake it off and then put them into either our seul eau pots or pyramid pots and put into my hydroponic trough system in the polytunnel. These 2 plants usually keep me going until October, depending on the temperature, or if kept indoors a bit longer.

This year I actually spent too much time on the outdoor areas of my garden so the polytunnel wasn't up and running as early as it should have been. We needed to make new supports for our 3 metre double channel system, where we grow our tomatoes and cucumbers, and once this was done we paid a visit to an excellent garden centre in Dingwall, where I stocked up on ready established plants: tomatoes (Gardeners Delight), cucumbers, peppers, dwarf french beans and strawberries. A visit to the supermarket added 2 great chilli plants to the collection.

Once home I decided to transplant them into pyramid pots - like with the basil, I just removed the loose compost and put them into Gold growing medium. I have to admit the plants weren't on a hydroponic feeding system straight away but we are delighted at how well they have grown. The chillies have flowered and now growing lots of chillies, we have had the first picking of french beans, the cucumbers and tomatoes are doing really well. I don't think it was a good idea to buy pepper plants with peppers on them as they have not grown much and one hasn't made any progress although the fruit is still growing. As for the strawberries - it seems raids are made on the tunnel at various times of the day so not sure what the production has been like! I have personally enjoyed several large and delicious strawberries.

I was given some Alicante tomato plants and ran out of space in my hydroponic channel system so decided to recycle a container that I found to make a system for 2 of the plants. Stuart cut out a polystyrene raft to take 2 plastic plant pots. We transplanted the tomatoes into them and used Hydroton (expanded clay granules) as the inert growing medium. We got a new air pump and airstone, added our hydroponic tomato feed and we have fruit!

Having run out of space in our raft system, which we use for growing salads for The Achiltibuie Garden, I decided to take out some of the Little Gem lettuce and planted them into our newly built raised beds. I just left them in their net pots, filled with hydroton, and they have grown well.

Will get some photos of our progress onto the blog soon!