It’s been the time of the year to tidy up in the garden and here at Gardening Leave, Auchincruive there are always plenty of jobs to get on with. The cold frame has been cleaned out ready for hardening off flower and vegetable transplants later in the spring. Vegetables in the raised beds are surviving the elements despite attacks from hungry pigeons, we feed the birds so can’t really complain if they prefer fresh! Veterans quickly made a frame and covered the plants with netting so we should still get a crop. We have tidied the border in the quiet garden and keeping storage areas organised and tidy is an ongoing battle lead by our volunteers Willie and Joe.
Seed sowing continues and the greenhouse is rapidly filling up. In February we sowed more sweet peas which will be grown up obelisks in the Stovehouse border. Successional sowing of lettuce and herbs ensures a good supply for harvest and the lettuce in the Stovehouse is starting to grow again. Tomatoes sown in January are growing well despite the cold spell, they have developed their true leaves and been pricked out into individual pots including the variety Marglobe, one of the varieties from Franchi seeds WW1 range.
Plans for the Stovehouse border are now coming to fruition. Slabs are partly laid for the paths, masterminded by Denis our garden volunteer and help from veterans and volunteer. This design will prevent us trampling on the border when harvesting cut flowers, next step is to make paths in Hilary’s WW1 vegetable border design. Watch this space. In the Stovehouse the veterans are continuing with woodwork with guidance from Jim and Frank. This month they have made a new design for a birdfeeder which can be refilled with a mixture of vegetable fat and seed. The birds love this mix and provide entertainment during tea breaks as they feed from the coconut shell outside the window.
We have not had many visitors to the garden this month apart from the feathered variety, however a group of veterans and a volunteer went and cooked a meal at the Riverside Church Care and Share homeless project. This time they made a lovely spicy Thai curry, which was followed by fruit crumble made by the project’s volunteers Jean and Anne. Many thanks to everyone at the Care and Share project for your hospitality and donation.
Donations this month include Crocosmia corms, stationery, seeds, wood, shelving and not forgetting the wonderful baking. The poultry shop continues to support Gardening Leave and is now open on the first Saturday morning of each month.
Marmalade entered into the World Marmalade Awards at Dalemain won a double gold for the military category and overall joint best in show for the home made section. The oranges used in the recipe were donated by Tor who bought them from Margaret’s fruit shop in Girvan. Congratulations to Shug, Colin and Mick who chopped boiled and jarred the winning entry.
Last and not least some wonderful meals have been coming out of the kitchen this month. We have been treated to soups, steak pie, macaroni cheese, shepherd’s pie and some incredible curries.
Colin carried out a taste test offering two chicken curries using spices from the Chillipapas range, one a Ghurka curry was hot and dry, the other a milder fruity tasting curry. About 15 veterans and staff took part and the majority chose the Ghurka curry.
Spring has made an appearance today and we look forward to the warmer days.
Until next time
Pamela & Victoria