Sunday, 21 April 2013

Allotment news - Brassica seeds planted

The diary aspect of this blog is useful for me to keep tabs on when I have done certain jobs, and keeping a record of what I've done in the allotment is especially useful.

Looking back at last year, I see that I am later this year at getting started on planting. The reason is that although we had a dry and sunny early spring, we were getting frost every night, and the ground was very cold. Things are warming up now though, and today I have planted the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seeds. They have gone straight into 3" pots this year, rather than being started seed trays, which I hope will help the plants by disturbing them less often, and help me by cutting out one of the transplanting tasks. The pots are all lined up on newly erected shelves in the shed window - pity I don't have a greenhouse...

Just for the record, the seeds I will be growing this year are:
  • Potatoes - Maris Peer
  • Broccoli - Autumn Spear
  • Brussels Sprouts - Crispus
  • Cabbage - Kilaxy
  • Carrot - Maestro
  • Cauliflower - Clapton
  • Cauliflower - Romanesco Early
  • Onion (sets) - Hercules
  • Swede - Invitiation
  • Broad Bean - Masterpiece
  • Runner Bean - St George
I also have a packet of mangetout peas - Oregon Sugar Pod - which I think were a free gift or something, but I'll see if I have room for them somewhere. Finally, I plan to try to grow a few salad leaves, though I think success there will depend on how much heavy rain we get!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Shopping on Skye

Shopping on Skye is just one more thing for an incomer to come to terms with. There are sufficient shops on Skye from which to obtain most of life's essentials, but the shops are small, so choice is rather limited and prices tend to be a bit steep. Here's the only proper supermarket in Portree....
 and this is Portree town centre and main shopping street....

This means that to do a 'big' supermarket shop, or to browse around a number of large shops, a trip to Inverness is required. Inveness has many more shops and services than one might expect for a town with a population of only 72,000, but it is by far the largest town in the Highlands, and serves the population of an enormous area of Scotland. Here are the two retail parks in Inverness (there are huge food supermarkets in both of these). 

...of course, I generally spend a while wandering round B&Q... AND I get a 10% discount on Wednesdays for being over 60...!

From Roskhill Barn, Inverness is a journey of some 125 miles, which takes about three hours driving (through some stunning scenery, I might add). So that's six hours driving, there-and-back. You can therefore imagine that adding in several hours of wandering round shops turns a trip to Inverness into a long and tiring day.

Sometimes, Sue and I do the trip together, but that means Cupar has to come too, so more often these days, we go separately, and it was my turn for a trip this week. We plan carefully. The useful retail parks are on the outskirts of the town, but there is a traditional town centre with a smart indoor shopping mall as well as pedestrianised high street. A long shopping list is created, and then a plan is made of which shops to visit in which order - to avoid too much driving around. My little van comes into its own on occasions such as this  On this particular trip, I came back with a very mixed load, which included a dozen pillows, some timber, a bale of potting compost, a couple of sacks of dog food, some plants for the garden at Loch View and a significant quantity of food and household items from the supermarket.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mint Sauce!

Further south in the UK, you might see lambs in the fields as early as Christmas. On Skye, we have to wait until April. We have sheep in the field outside the Barn here at Roskhill most of the year now (it's our field, but they're not our sheep...!!) and new lambs are arriving daily.

But could I get them to look at the camera...???