Western Isles Gardening
The Western Isles garden in January has very short days.
We are so far North that winter sunrise on the 1st of January in the Western Isles was at 9.16 am and sunset at 3.42pm. That meant that shortly after noon the sky was already starting to get darker!
Not a lot of time left for outdoor activities, but getting some time outside does help keep away the blues of Seasonal Adjustment Deficiency (SAD) which is caused by not getting enough daylight.
Already, just a few days after the Winter Solstice, the days began to get noticably longer, and in just a few months in the Western Isles it becomes possible to read a book outside by natural light at midnight.
This means that plants grow differently here in the Western Isles, the growing season starts later than in more southern parts of Britain. Right into late May nothing seems to be growing much, but during the months of June, July and August the speed of growth becomes truly astounding, and then in September the season slows again and the second lot of maincrop of potatoes that is sometimes possible down South is unlikely to mature here.
Fencing repairs and renewals are something that crofters often undertake in the Western Isles in January and February, weather conditions do not often favour much other outdoor work.
The renewals mean that there are often quantities of fencing materials about, some of which are good enough to recycle and use for repair work.
The wet weather and gales of Autumn often causes damage to fences. Maintaining fencing to keep rabbits and lambs out of a garden is an important task to any gardener here, and in spring time just when the newly grown green shoots are so very enticing, there are always so many other things to be done.
Willow harvesting can continue. Edible crops left in the ground are likely to be tastier than ever now, as the frost develops the flavour. Tasty new shoots are growing on the brassicas, try harvesting a mixed selection of shoots, leaves and vitamins.
If when you harvest a cabbage you cleanly cut the ball of the head out leaving the stalk, then delicous new shoots will grow.
Keep picking the purple sprouting broccoli to encourage new shoots.
A couple of gardening sites to remind us of the summer to come....
Annual gardening and outdoor living show held early summer at Ingliston, near Edinburgh Beechgrove Garden web site
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) is a registered charity which opens mainly privately owned Scottish gardens to the public.Scotland's Garden Scheme
Local horticultural groups or gardener's clubs can add details of meetings etc to the garden page - email webmaster.
Peaches, grapes, tomatoes and other salad crops are
grown on The Poly Croft on the Isle of Lewis
Visit the web site for growing tips and location details of the most North Westerly vineyard in the UK...