Although we have heard about the lambing snow in Orkney, it still came as a bit of a shock – mostly because we were expecting it in April, not in the middle of May when we had all been out in t-shirts the week before!
It snowed three days out of seven, but thankfully didn’t hang around for long, as I had planted out the first of my seedlings a few days before. I really couldn’t have had worse timing, as the snow was followed by days of cold weather and high winds.
Despite the weathers best efforts to kill off my poor little seedlings, they have all (by some miracle) survived. I think that this was mostly because of Matt’s brainwave to repurpose some strip light covers.
I was so glad that they survived, as I had been really nervous about putting them out in the first place. I left the covers on for a couple of weeks, until the plants were pressed against the top and clearly in need of more space.
Even now, with the very changeable weather and roughing it without protection, my chard and sprouting broccoli are getting bigger everyday.
Encouraged by their success, I have planted out the next batch of both this week, along with some turnips. They have gone straight under the covers and will stay there until I need to put out more seedlings.
Our little growing room is constantly full and I have been so pleased with how it has worked out. I don’t think that we could have started our growing adventure without it this year. Matt made an extra shelf by the window this week, so that I could get seedlings up off the floor and closer to the light.
It’s just what I needed and is now full of lettuce, fennel, aubergine and nigella seedlings.
It isn’t only the growing room that is stocked up, I am also starting off new seeds throughout the rest of the house. I find that I need to leave them in the warmth of the main part of the house to germinate, so the space at the bottom of the stairs and the kitchen windowsills are full of seed trays.
We had been given a voucher to spend with Vital Seeds and they arrived on one of the really snowy days. It means that we now have Green Tiger tomatoes, Japanese spring onions, pak choi, peas and chives. It’s a bit late to starting tomatoes really, but the growing season is so different up here, that I thought it was worth a try. I do love tomatoes.
With the health of my already flowering tomato plants in mind, I went out to gather some nettles to make some fertiliser for them yesterday evening. The cold weather has certainly not held back the weeds, which seem to be particularly large and healthy looking in Orkney! So I had no trouble finding some nettles to get it started. I crammed as many as I could fit into some old jars and covered them with water. I will leave them for 2-3 weeks and then give my tomatoes a treat, to hopefully help them along with fruiting.
I would like to say that the cold snap is over, as the rest of the country is apparently having the hottest day of the year today, but at the moment the weather seems undecided. A couple of days ago I was certain that spring had returned and it was gloriously warm first thing this morning, but turn your back for a minute and the day becomes overcast, windy and chilly. Perhaps June will bring warmer weather, either way, I am still so glad to be here.