September saw us making progress towards getting the workshop up and running…
In a blinding whirl of activity consisting of dismantling, constructing, shifting, organising, inventories and quotes we’ve created some space, a bit more order and another step towards a functional workshop. A friend and local resident of Erskine Hospital Estate (Frank) very kindly offered his services, tools and materials for the construction of work benches. Thanks Frank!!! We then swiftly moved in to organise our wood store and donated tools. With work continuing, progress is being made and we hope to get access from the main building into the workshop in the near future!!
With Autumn being the big season for harvesting we’ve been busy in the kitchen turning our crops into a variety of storable consumables from pizza sauce and soups to preserves such as pickled ‘Poor Man’s Capers’ and chutneys. In addition we’ve graded and stored our potatoes for winter use.
Despite the shortening days and cooler temperatures we’ve also been busy sowing a lot of seeds, mainly baby leaf salads, spinach, rocket, cress, mustard etc to keep supplying the kitchen with greens over the winter. The greenhouse got a clear out and is now bursting with life as all the seedlings come through, the polytunnel is still waiting patiently as the next covered area to be filled with winter produce.
Outdoors in the garden we have planted a huge amount of leek seedlings which will see us (and the hospital kitchen) through until next spring.
Moving into the time of year for reflection… a curious anomaly was noted in the garden by the watchful and… dare I say it, slightly envious eye of Pamela our Horticultural Therapist from Auchincruive. The un-netted brassicas growing at Erskine never got attacked by the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris brassicae)! On closer inspection (and after Pamela had left) we discovered that inadvertently and in true style we had created a ‘sacrificial’ or ‘trap’ crop in the corner of the garden which had detracted the cabbage white from our main crop!!
The cabbage white is prolific in British gardens and populations are boosted in summer by immigrants from the continent. Laying eggs on cabbages and cauliflowers the caterpillar eats the leaves of the crops. However the butterfly is particularly attracted to flowers and nasturtiums of the red variety so a mixed border of all of the insects’ favourites (including a few brassicas) keeps it attracted to the flowery borders and away from our crops! Fantastic! In addition to the butterflies, the worker bees are still foraging on our nasturtiums for the last of the year’s food which will they will take back to the nest to keep the queen alive during her winter hibernation.
And finally, carrying on from the reflection in the garden we are testing the waters of our creative sides and preparing for a stall we are holding at ‘Stars on Parade’ in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in November … Maybe we’ll see you some of you there! Should be a fun night!!
Until then, Wendy