After returning from our little vacation, just about everything back here in Edinburgh was just as we left it, the apartment was still intact, the clouds were still in the sky and that lemon we forgot was still in exactly the same place in the fridge …. except the lemon wasn’t looking as perky as it had 3 weeks before, oopsy :D. There was however one more significant casualty of our absence and that was our garden. I’m maybe stretching the definition of garden a little to include our two window boxes, but the last blooms of our spring bulb project were certainly still standing strong when we left. On our return however, I think you can agree it was time for a little refresh:
Sam and I will always be the first to admit that we are the furthest thing from being green fingered, but we were pretty darn pleased that we not only managed to grow something in our little window boxes, but they were actually pretty good looking too (even if I do say so myself!). So what to grow next? Well the way we saw it there were only really two ways to go, either buy some nice bedding plants so that we could have flowers sat staring back at us for the rest of the summer or alternatively, and slightly more adventurously, grow some vegetables.
In truth this was a bit of a no-brainer for us. Whilst we were away on our hols, we went along for the ride whilst Sam’s BFF Leandra went shopping for supplies for her vegetable garden, and we were a little inspired. Now I think it’s fair to say that a whole lot more planing and expertise went into Leandra’s gardening approach – there were planting diagrams, 7ft stakes and a whole lot of deer proof netting.
Sam and I took a slightly different tact. We woke up excited to make a vegetable garden in our window boxes, found our way to the garden center and then soon remembered we had no idea what we were doing! Fortunately, it turns out plants all have a little bit of wisdom written on a card attached to them, and so keeping our eyes peeled for varieties of plant which said they were suitable for growing in containers, we soon had a cart full of vegetables ready to grow (or kill, depending on how often we remember to water them 😉 ). Finally, we grabbed a vegetable grow bag (compost which was pre-mixed with some organic fertilizer) and headed home to make our garden.
Before we started planting we emptied out the slightly dead previous inhabitants of the window boxes, saving the bulbs for next year, and filled them up with our fresh compost. The process of planting was pretty straightforward, we made sure to lay everything out before we started as we realised we were trying to fit a whole lot in a rather small space, then made sure to water all our little plants well once they were in place.
As this is our first stab at growing our own vegetables, we wern’t particularly sure what is easy to grow versus what just wont work, so we decided in the end to get a bit of everything and just see what happens. So here’s what we got:
We figured it would be nice to have some herbs to use in some of our recipes, so we got some Rosemary (common upright if that means anything to anyone?) which we figured would go pretty nicely with some lamb at some point soon:
Alongside the rosemary we placed some Mint (Garden Mint) which usually finds its way into pitchers of Ice Tea in our house:
Finally in our line up of herbs we got some Sage (Common Broad Leaf), which will certainly find its way into some stuffing or into a butternut squash and pasta recipe …. mmm can’t wait :D!
With warm weather hopefully on its way we thought a little crop of lettuces might come in handy for light summer salads, and so we opted for Little Gems:
Just for fun, rather than with any expectation of a huge crop we thought it would be neat to have some of our very own strawberries (maybe enough to make a thimble of jam, :D), and opted for a Honeoye variety:
As our window boxes sit at the bottom of a set of railings we thought we might try our luck at training some peas up them and so planted a few little Rondo Pea plants:
And finally, we grabbed ourselves a couple of tomato plants. Now, living up in the slightly cool wilds of Scotland, we have heard that ripening tomatoes outside can be a bit tricky, but we managed to find a variety called Sub Arctic Plenty which claims to have been specially developed in the 1940s for US Servicemen stationed in Greenland and the earliest variety to ripen, so fingers crossed we might act have some red tomatoes before winter arrives!
Now it’s a little bit of a waiting game, but hopefully in the coming weeks and months we will have some exciting home grown additions to some of our blog recipes. In the meantime, we promise we’ll keep you all posted about our successes (and failures :S ).
PS Any and all tips you lovely people may have to help us keep everything alive are greatly appreciated! Is anyone else trying to grow something new or adventurous this summer?