June at The Garden
Here we are in the middle of June and we have been experiencing quite a variety of weather - some of the evenings have been so cold that I have had to turn the central heating on! Others have been so warm - if we are confused how must all the plants feel?
As always we are all kept extremely busy but I am delighted to report that we finally got our new colour catalogue and it has been well received. We wanted it to be more than just a product catalogue and people have enjoyed the looking at the beautiful photos which we included (here's hoping it helps increase visitors to the area), the inclusion of useful tips and information has been appreciated - we even included a recipe!
Online shop/mail order
With The Garden placing greater demands on Di's time I have now taken on the challenge of being responsible for this area of the business. I have settled into this new role and continue to follow on from Di who worked hard to ensure customers orders were delivered as quickly as possible. I do enjoy seeing the whole order through - from taking the initial order, packing it and handing it over to the Ali the Post or Dave from AJG Parcels.
Phew - where to start! We now have 5 raised beds - Di planted bed 5 with beans and flowers and yesterday Alison planted up bed 4 with courgettes, pumpkins and squashes.
Bed 1 is filled with early varieties of potatoes including Nadine, Pentland Javellin, Wilja and Foremost. I have to say I am looking forward to tasting them!
Beds 2 & 3 have assorted planting with lots of salad leaves, spring greens, flowers and herbs. Will put some photos onto into our Gallery.
The vegetable garden outside has been laid out in 4 quarters - one area dedicated to 13 rows of Arran Victory tatties (they are so delicious!), one area has brassicas, another is filled with root vegetables and the final one is the nursery for our ornamental shrubs. The fruit cage has some raspberries planted but such has been the demands on time that we will concentrate on it over the winter.
The demand for our bags of mixed salad leaves have grown this year (sorry no pun intended). We are supplying fresh produce to Achiltibuie Stores, The Arch Inn (Ullapool),Piping School Cafe, Polbain Stores, Summer Isles Foods, Summer Isles Hotel, Tanera Mhor and people popping into The Garden. We are even getting email requests from people coming to stay in Coigach to have salad ready for them to pick up on their arrival! I have to say that when I was down at The Garden yesterday I had to excerise great self control and not eat any of the strawberries - the smell alone...
All this demand has meant an increase in growing systems. Allan and Christie have built a sunken area for storing the supply tanks for our tomato and cucumber systems. This will give us the capacity to grow in excess of 100 plants in our pyramid pots which will be used with our fibreglass channels.
The new high systems are a step closer - the supports have been concreted in along the middle of the growing house and when time allows the system will be completed.
We are delighted that stoats have taken up residence, in an old rabbit burrow, on the croft and there now seems to be no sign of rabbits. The rabbits have caused a lot of damage over the last year or so and fingers crossed that all the new rabbit netting prevents anymore returning.
Lots of birds have been seen on the croft and last week Marius and Amelia have been joined by 17 more geese.
We are hoping to hear from the planning office soon and we that it won't be too long before we can start building.
On a personal note I set myself the challenge of taking part in a charity walk in Inverness to raise money for cancer charities in the Highlands. A team of 6 from Coigach - Alice, Collette, Heather, Karen, Linda, myself and my friend Deirdre from Inverness all set out at 10pm on the 5th June, in the pouring rain to walk 13 miles, and had a great time. With all the donations we received we have raised almost £1000! I am thinking of the next challenge but in the meantime will keep walking!
Bye from a not so warm Coigach.