By Sandy Ogilvie
The Easter holidays are closing fast, and with it the opportunity they offered.
The time off they gave was the perfect chance to get into the garden and begin the seasons planting. Traditionally it also offers some of the better weather, though in Scotland this is never to be counted upon. We must, however, take the chance where we can get it, and perhaps the weekend will offer you both means and opportunity to get your planting done?
You don’t need large amounts of space to do it, nor do you need experience to turn your hand and try it. You can begin with something as simple as a small planter on a window sill planting herbs for use in your cooking – chives, thyme and rosemary.
These are easy to take care of and require little space. If you are feeling more adventurous then consider where you are planting; what you plant may be affected by the soil you are planting into, the shade of the site and how much drainage is available.
Fruit and vegetables will all be affected in different ways depending upon the soil quality you use. Few vegetables prefer shade, and most will appreciate a reasonably well-lit area.
Potatoes and carrots might be a staple for many diets, but whilst you should grow what you are going to eat, you should plant it at the season most suited to the fruit of vegetable in question. For example, parsnip planting is best done between April and June. The best time to plant a leek would have been between March and April, although it is possible to grow from seedlings if you are running a little late.
If you have the space and the motivation but not the know-how then never fear!
The team at Bute Produce are always on hand to offer help and all year we run a variety of courses introducing beginners to ‘Grow Your Own’. We can also offer composting workshops, seed-saving workshops and more. For the keenest gardener we offer a horticulture workshop certificated by the Royal Botanic Gardens.
For the gardeners amongst us who have the knowledge but lack the space and want to become more involved there are other options.
Bute Produce have a number of community plots available at no cost to the public where you are able to grow whatever you wish. Simply drop by and speak with our team to register your interest in maintaining your own plot. Or you can contact Fyne Futures on 01700 503181.
If access is an issue for you then there is excellent news on the horizon. Planting in community spaces is not a new concept and over 2017/18 the Future Growth project helped to introduce a variety of fruit and vegetables into the Battery Place beds.
This year a project is being launched on the ground of the old West Church to transform the site into a community garden where anyone can grow fruit and vegetables.
The site will offer wheelchair access and have a series of raised trugs at sitting, standing and ground height.
The fruit and vegetables will be free for anyone to pick and eat, with the aim of reducing food poverty and the islands carbon footprint.
No matter your experience or the space you have one thing is certain; now is the time to take part.
Seize the day and step out into the garden. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!