Achiltibuie Garden Blog


Achiltibuie Garden Blog


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

July is almost over

It's a cool, breezy, overcast and wet day here in Coigach - I am having to constantly remind myself that it is officially summer! During the long spells of hard frost and snow earlier in the year I foolishly believed predictions of a good summer - ah well won't make that mistake again. On a positive note it means our water butts are not getting a chance to empty!

This has been a busy month for Alison, Di and I with the growing at the Garden, visitors, mail order, general day to day running of the business, various meetings and for Alison and I we were catering for guests of Norwestseakayaking who were staying locally. I had time off for my eldest son's graduation from Strathclyde University - it was definately one of the proudest moments I have experienced as a mum!

The Garden
Our Keder growing house is now in full production. We've had a great crop of strawberries from the hydroponics system at roof level and we are just about to start picking courgettes from plants in the raised beds. The recently installed two floor-level hydroponics systems, one for tomatoes and the other for cucumbers are doing really well. Each of these is supplied by its own tank, sunk into a sump in the floor at the lower end of the growing house - thanks again to Allan and Christie for their hard work. Allan has also finished putting in some water storage tanks at roof level which greatly increases the amount of rainwater we can store. These also provide a drip feed system for the raised beds which reduces the amount of time spent watering them.

All of the raised beds look fantastic but the bean bed is definately the most eyecatching - Di recycled some of the drying frames from the Eagle of the Ninth to use as supports for the beans.

Fresh Produce
The outdoor garden continues to thrive and Di has been harvesting produce from it - the peas are so tasty, I even had to buy them from Achiltibuie Stores when I saw them! The demand for our salad bags continues to increase and the shops are taking as much fresh produce as we are able to give them. We supply decorative leaves to the Summer Isles Hotel and world famous Michelin starred chef Albert Roux was another of their guests to be served them.

Flora and Fauna
Outside, we've been delighted to discover how many different wild flowers grow on the croft, including common orchids, yellow rattle, eyebright, marsh cinquefoil and red clover. We've heard a number of different birds, amongst them willow warbler, grasshopper warbler (we think) and twite. There are still stoats on the croft which is good news in our bid to keep rabbits out. Our older domestic geese have taken up summer residence at Alison's and the flock of domestic geese that Di has introduced are definately thriving on the croft.

We're so pleased that many of you have been able to visit us this year. Our visitors all comment on how much we've managed to do since the Keder house was put up at the end of 2008 and are very interested to see the plans for our visitor centre which are now on display. We hope to have a decision soon from our Planning Officer, when we will be better able to plan the building programme.

The growing house is now open from 12pm - 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons until the end of September. I enlisted the help of my youngest to assemble some shelves so we have created more of a shop/display area within the growing house.

We have now introduced "You buy - we ship!" at the growing house as visitors have told us they have limited space to carry goods home. Visitors place an order at the growing house and we send it out at a reduced delivery rate (exclusive to personal customers at the growing house) and purchases will be sent to arrive on the customer's preferred delivery date.

Bye from Coigach