The hot weather continued throughout the most of last month, so once again watering was one of our main priorities. This was the first task every morning to water in all the glasshouses and the troughs/ tubs outdoors before the temperature rises making watering non-productive as it quickly evaporates before it reaches the plant roots. We were grateful for the donation of a seep hose, which has helped to ease this chore.
The rewarding job of harvesting continued. We have picked tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, spinach, chard, peas and carrots, and salad bag numbers have increased due to an abundance of lettuce and we have also lifted some of our first early potatoes ‘Maris Piper’. They were harvested and then cooked for our lunch within the space of an hour and they were absolutely delicious.
We have been using up the empty spaces in the vegetable beds once harvesting is complete with direct sowings made of swede, beetroot, kohl rabi, radish, pak choi, and more carrots before it is too late to sow into the ground. Broccoli transplanted to give us a later crop and we have used our new environmesh to protect the crop from cabbage white butterfly.
The Stovehouse border is now bursting with colour and we have been picking small bouquets of flowers, which we send to the SRUC poultry shop each week. We would like to thank everyone for all the donations received from the shop as it is averaging around £40 per week from the vegetables, preserves, and flowers that we send up.
In the kitchen we have enjoyed some of our produce; quiche made with our own tomatoes and onions. New potatoes, cabbage, and bacon for lunch, and we have used some of our rhubarb plus an extra secret ingredient to make jam which we will enter into the World Jampionship competition which is held at the Dundee flower and fruit festival in September in the category of “thinking outside the jam jar”… all will be revealed nearer the time!
In the middle of the month the Ayr and Erskine Horticultural Therapists and Community Psychiatric Nurses met up one afternoon at Holmwood House in Glasgow. This was a great opportunity for us to look around and get ideas from their walled vegetable garden and discuss service delivery at the GL sites. These opportunities are invaluable and we appreciate the chance to meet up with the staff from the other sites.
After the success of our one pot curry that was made for Armed Forces Day last month, we contacted Care and Share a charity which provides free meals for the homeless in Ayr each Wednesday afternoon. After some discussion with Jean Keenan their volunteer cook, she agreed to let us into their kitchen on Wednesday 30th to replicate the curry for the Wednesday lunch. We were able to provide tatties, onions, garlic, chilli and coriander from the garden towards the menu. Three veterans and I went down to the Riverside Church to prepare the curry for approximately 80 people. The afternoon was a huge success with the GL veterans working well and methodically to prepare the meal under the guidance of Jean Keenan and Ann Robertson. The clients who attend the project expressed their appreciation and delight at the meal that was served up, which in turns made the GL veterans very happy and proud of their achievements.
Despite the heat the veterans have still been working away in the Stovehouse! They have restored a beautiful garden bench which has taken pride of place in the garden and we have added yet another product to our woodwork range, lovely wall planters.
Pamela and Victoria