After all the lovely sunshine in April the weather turned colder last month and plants have grown more slowly than expected (although we’ve recently had a hot spell). Despite this, carrot, turnip and beetroot seeds sown last month are growing well and we have at last removed the protective fleece. In May we sowed Runner, French and beautiful marble effect Borlotti beans, also sweetcorn and courgettes and more lettuce, coriander and dill to ensure a steady supply for salad bags.
Kale, broccoli and leeks have been transplanted into the raised beds along with some donated plants including baby cauliflower from SRUC, so we are now juggling to find space for the Brussel sprouts! Calabrese was transplanted into the Franchi WW1 bed. Outside the peas are growing happily up their new support and it won’t be long before they can be harvested for the kitchen if they get that far. Harvesting continued in May and one of our veterans has taken on responsibility for this, making a great job and ensuring a good supply of salad for the SRUC poultry shop and Su Casa. The Stovehouse border is taking shape as veterans take a turn to transplant bedding sown in March and nurtured until hardened off and ready to face the elements. We hope to have myriads of flowers for cutting and drying this year and with the lovely paths this task should be easier for everyone. We are continuing to make bug boxes, wishing wells, butterfly houses, bird boxes and even a bench to ensure a supply for summer fetes although everyone is turning a hand to help with the garden as well during this busy time of year.
In the kitchen we have eaten very well this month: frittata, risotto and filled baked potatoes to mention a few all accompanied by delicious healthy salads. Veterans and volunteers made delicious spicy apple chutney and more chilli marmalade. Veterans and their families also enjoyed a barbecue last month despite the rain. Colin cooked up a feast under the gazebo and we were once again very grateful for the shelter provided by the Stovehouse. The food was delicious and many thanks to all who brought donations along.
Donations continue to arrive in the form of vegetable plugs from SRUC, Brussel sprouts and cabbages from a local grower and a tray of Livingston daisies from Joe Balfour. Not to mention the delicious baking from all the Margarets that we continue to enjoy. We were also given a lovely painting of a VC poppy and a hand decorated jewellery box by one of our veterans who enjoys painting as a hobby. We would also like to thank the staff at Natural Power for their donations for plants and woodwork during the sale held at their HQ in Carsphairn. It was a beautiful day and veterans and staff enjoyed attending this event in such a beautiful part of the country. Luckily we were there before the midges which are seemingly voracious in this part of the world!
This month we welcomed Lucas from Su Casa to the garden to see where the vegetables are produced and to discuss what we could grow for their new Ayr bistro the Artisans Lounge. The sun shone and he enjoyed the garden tour and an opportunity to see what we do.
It was lovely also to welcome veteran families and friends to the garden for the barbecue and many thanks to all the volunteers that came along to help.
With all this going on we still found time to enjoy the wildlife around the estate.
Until next time Victoria & Pamela