Non-exciting Greenhouse News

August 14, 2018

I promised you a greenhouse update, so here goes – we may not be quite in the league of my friend’s parents yet, but in the past two years the top back corner of the garden has gone from looking like this:

chicken shed

To this

pile of shed parts

To this

large pile of soil

To this



That’s because the other half is in charge of both weed strimming, and greenhouse erection and care and maintenance. This makes for poor blogging material as he largely just undramatically gets on with doing things properly: tying up the plants and supporting them, cutting out the side shoots the way the books say you should, keeping on top of the weeding. Hell, we’ve got an automatic watering system and everything.

watering system

As a result of my complete lack of involvement in the project, everything is coming along very nicely. In fact, we’re awaiting the ripening of all the tomatoes with some trepidation…

tomatoes ripening

Not to mention the tomatilloes, and several different varieties of chillies …


If I have one complaint, it’s that the current version suffers from a bug that means no sooner have I managed to dispose of one courgette in a not-too-revolting way, another one (usually bigger than the last) appears in the kitchen. Clearly it’s time to accelerate the ‘learning to love courgettes’ project. We made a start with this Madhur Jaffrey recipe which was actually quite nice (and probably would have been nicer if I’d followed the instructions and put in ground roasted cumin seeds at the end instead of whole coriander seeds instead). Turns out, most things can be tolerated, and even enjoyed, if you smother them in enough cream…



July 20, 2018

Heading to the garden yesterday afternoon to pick some beetroot, I encountered a problem:

hare hiding in the beetroot

Can’t see it? Let me help:

hidden hare with arrow

I did wonder whether I could sneak in and grab a couple of beetroot without disturbing it but it took fright (I say took fright: it didn’t so much run off as saunter so it’s possible they’re aware they would have us wrapped around their little fingers, if hares had little fingers). Fortunately the hares seem fonder of sitting on beetroot than eating it, so there was plenty for the beetroot salad* I had planned for my writers’ group pot luck dinner.

Other things lurking among the veg are, frankly, a bit less welcome:


I may have to learn to love courgettes. Recipes welcome, preferably ones that don’t end ‘and you can barely taste the courgette’ as that doesn’t really fill me with a sense that it’s worth growing.

Anyway, the salad seemed to go down well and after an evening of good food and great chat, I realised with a bit of shock that it was 10 o’clock and I had better get on my bike and ride home. I do love these long light and warm summer evenings. The heatwave may have left this corner of Scotland (it rained for most of today) but we’re still getting enough warm weather to make riding at night a positive pleasure – especially when there are no cars, and the only other thing moving as I made my way home were the bats dancing above my head.

night sky
*Beetroot, feta cheese and parsley – known as ‘Barbie salad’ because of the colour the feta cheese goes

The Accidental Gardener

August 28, 2016

Visiting the ‘allotment’ today – as we are now referring to the old veg garden and greenhouse – I noticed that I appear to have accidentally grown some courgettes

accidental courgettes

Proof perhaps that there’s no avoiding a glut of courgettes (and as I don’t like courgettes – and neither, apparently, does the rabbit, although it has spend the last few days demolishing a bed of cavolo nero – then just one courgette counts as a glut) even if you don’t plant any of the buggers.

Although, thinking back, a friend did turn up with a load of plants back in April uttering the fateful words ‘take them or they’re going in the compost’, with only vague instructions as to what they were. I might have guessed when they thrived they would be courgettes rather than the hoped for squash

Delicious recipes, possibly involving rabbit, appreciated.

To Those that Have Shall be Given

September 2, 2015

The Other Half took another step into the realm of gardenerdom this week: he has been presented with someone else’s vegetable surplus. It is apparently an iron law of vegetable gardening that you never get anyone’s garden produce* until you have a plot of your own and then you can hardly fend it off with a stick. For no sooner does he boast about his triumphs in the Any Other Vegetable category at work, than he finds three courgettes on his desk (then again, it could just be some sort of an initiation…)

surplus tomatoes

Help, send tomato recipes

He’s now considering whether to escalate with his tomato surplus, but to be honest, that’s the sort of dangerous move that ends up with you standing in the kitchen googling marrow recipes…

* Apart from the gentleman I met in Bigtown who was reminiscing fondly about being sent by his mother down to the local allotments to pick up some leeks for the family tea. Not *their* allotment, you understand. Just *an* allotment …