The new allotment

It sort of feels like I have just won the lottery.  Seven years ago, then I first moved to Edinburgh, I found out about the concept of allotments (hard for most Americans living in detached houses to understand) and high demand for allotments in Edinburgh in particular.  So within a few weeks of moving, I figured out how to get myself on the waiting list.  I did that months before I ever learned how to unscrew a bayonet light-bulb in fact! But don’t get me started on the stupidity of bayonets…

I wish I had a lovely photo to post of the new plot.  But as luck would have it, I am temporarily living in Italy and can’t actually get my hands dirty with “my” new dirt for another month.  However, as it’s still very much winter in Edinburgh, there probably isn’t a whole heck of a lot I could be doing there anyhow at the moment.  Or at least I’ll tell myself that to appease my anxious fingers.

In the mean time, I have lots and lots of thinking to do, and the luxury of time to read-up and draft a plan for this space.  Thankfully I happen to be married to the best soil scientist in Edinburgh, if not the world, with a few graduate students that might be talked into taking some soil samples for me whilst I’m away!  That’s my first plan of attack to help me figure out soil amendments needed and preferential plants that will be most happy on the plot.

Whilst I’ve not had outstanding success in a multitude of edible plants in my own wee Scottish garden at home, I suspect the success rate will be fairly low the first few years.  Any and all hints, tips and recommendations that can be shared are MORE than welcome, so pretty please, write a comment below!

Debugging Orchids

So in lieu of copious amounts of digging, weeding and pruning, I have taken this wet and cold opportunity to clean up my indoor orchids. For months now, they have been weeping gooey droplets, telling me that there are some little beasties infesting my lovely orchids. Mind you they keep on blooming and reblooming, so all is not completely lost.  It is shocking how these lovely house plants are often treated as disposable by folks who purchase orchids in bloom, and then toss them or kill them (usually by over-watering) just to buy another greenhouse grown plant.  Orchids are really quite easy to grow, and phalaenopsis in particular are good rebloomers with a wee bit of attention, moderate light and some orchid fertilizer.  But as with all plants, they can be impacted by pests, so some extra TLC from time to time can be in order.

In the US, I used put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe off any bugs/eggs over the whole plant. But rubbing alcohol doesn’t exist in the UK…so I use surgical spirit. I “think” these are roughly comparable, although the smells are quite different.  Well, the orchid leaves look nice and shiny now, and I’ve not seen any new droplets, so fingers and toes are crossed that I did a decent job of cleaning off the pests, whatever they might have been.

Foraging Fox

FoxHole2.14Well, after a few weekends away, I have only managed to make it down into the garden to take out the compost… But it’s been cold and wet, so not much really needs to be done at the moment. Yes, that’s my excuse. But, I did replant some poor little bulbs that were uprooted by what I can only presume was a fox.    I found a largish hole in the middle of my Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x Something or other), where I had recently thinned out an area, giving some plants away to coworkers, and then replanted the space with some lovely double daffodil bulbs.  At least that’s what I think, I planted…  Another reason for starting this blog – to remind myself what I have planted, where and when!!  So, as you can see below, there are some bulbs left, but a wee bit of plant carnage.  Silly fox!  But I suppose an animal’s got to eat…  Oh well, I threw the wet soil back over the remaining bulbs and will hope for the best.  But I am not optimistic about this patch performing well this Spring!FoxHole.shasta2.15