march 6

Grow6

Spring has sprung! There are now more daylight hours than dark. However, seed-sowing success depends on rising temperatures and bright windowsill days. If you are brand new to growing, don’t be tempted to sow tiny seeds inside or outside just yet; without a few days of consistent heat, they will simply rot off, or they might germinate and become pale, stretched and thin with overcast days.  Instead, get ready by clearing sunny windowsills and sourcing peat-free compost and trays or containers to sow into; small yoghurt pots, toilet rolls, and plastic cartons will do.

Tatties:

You can still buy seed potatoes and chit yer tatties. Tattie chitting is the process of developing strong shoots on your tubers before you plant into warmer soils from the end of April. Tubers can be placed in egg cartons or trays somewhere cool but bright and left to develop sprouts. 

Want to learn and grow with others?

Up and down the country, community growing spaces are gearing up for another growing season, and folk always need an extra hand. They will almost likely have spare pots for you to sow into too! So have a look on these maps here:

If you don’t find a group on the map near you or want to start a group in your local area get in touch we are here and happy to help.

Blackcurrants

Grow6

Meterological spring but don’t be caught out by fluctuating temperatures and cold soils by sowing small precious seeds too soon. Now is the time to warm the soil with a sheet of old black plastic or pane of glass, chit tatties, and think about water catchment (hard to believe), clear sunny windowsills and growing spaces to start sowing from mid to late March.  

If you want to try onion sets, garlic or broad beans, you can plant these really hardy crops now.

Garlic 
Plant garlic now into sunny, free-draining soil or pots for a summer harvest. For disease-free, big, fat, juicy bulbs, buy garlic specially bred for growing in a garden centre, online, or perhaps from a friend who grows their own. You are effectively cloning your garlic bulb, so choose the biggest, healthiest cloves to plant and keep the biggest bulbs from your summer harvest for your next sowing.  

Broad Beans 
Broad beans are also tolerant of cool spring soils. You can start beans off on a light windowsill and plant young plants out towards the end of March; this reduces the risk of the seed rotting off or perhaps being nibbled by mice.  

Tatties
Tattie Days are taking place up and down the country; if you can find one near you, GO, you won’t be disappointed, though you might be overwhelmed by the sheer quantities of tatties to choose from! It’s a whole other world, and there are always experts on hand; it’s a fantastic day out! Seed tatties- can be ‘chitted’ in a cool, light place. ‘Chitting’ is the process of encouraging early shoots to develop before planting in spring. If you don’t have open ground, you can grow tatties in any deep container– 2 tatties planted in an old compost or a big long-life shopping bag can give you a couple of kilos.

Berries
One of the lowest maintenance food types we can grow, every growing space needs berries, and Scotland is the best place to grow them! You can pick and scoff with no soil to wash off. So, approach neighbours for spare strawberry plants or last-minute rooting of blackcurrants (pencil thickness and length) half covered in water or soil. If you want to plant a few different types to give you fruit all summer, it’s the last call to buy bare root plants online for spring planting. These plants come in the post with no soil, pot or leaf and are the cheapest way to buy a few different fruit plants.
 

Finally, If you are lucky enough to have a compost heap- turn it! If you haven’t a heap, consider building one, your soil and plants will love it. See our Soil page for more info.

 

corna

Grow6: Winter

As the days shorten, daily tasks slowdown in growing spaces BUT there is still plenty to keep us out, active and growing. 

If you don’t have a growing space why not join one? Community gardens always need an extra pair of hands and never more so in the winter months.  Look at these maps, to see if you have a growing space near you.

If you don’t find a group on the map near you or want to start a group in your local area get in touch we are here and happy to help.

 

Last call for winter planting
See our Grow6 pages for tips and guidance on planting garlic, broad beans and over wintering onions. Missed the window? Don't panic it will soon be spring and the cycle begins again.

Make leaf mould

Bag leaves to make amazing peat-free material to sow and grow into.  Leaves break down differently to a ‘normal’ compost heap, taking longer (2 years) to decompose. The resulting product is- not rich in nutrients but great for adding bulk and structure to any soil and a brilliant peat-free substitute when mixed with homemade compost for peat-free seed sowing and growing in pots

As the leaves fall bag and stash them to make amazing peat-free material to sow and grow into.  Leaves break down differently to a ‘normal’ compost heap, taking longer (2 years) to decompose. The resulting product is- not rich in nutrients but great for adding bulk and structure to any soil and a brilliant peat-free substitute when mixed with homemade compost for peat-free seed sowing and growing in pots.

Compost, compost, compost

One of the best garden jobs ever whatever the month, in all weathers, and one of the most significant for its positive environmental benefits, if you have a heap, turn it, and if you haven’t a heap build one! Our Soil pages can help 

parsely under glass

Grow6

There’s plenty still to do in growing spaces as the harvest continues, but temperatures are dropping, the soil is cooling, and the nights are drawing in. Stay tuned as we make the seasonal switch from the end of this week. 

Peas

If you had a late crop of peas the pods will be coming to an end. Peas and beans are great plants for soil conditioning- cut stems above the ground off at soil level leaving the nitrogen-fixing roots in the soil. Spent pea plants make amazing compost. Chop them up where possible with shears or secateurs to speed up the process and mix them with other garden greens, toilet rolls, old egg boxes etc.

Tomatoes

Indoors tomatoes will slowly continue to ripen, if you have quite a few, green tomatoes can be turned into salsa or chutney. Outdoor tomato plants can now be composted.

Berries

Late summer berries keep on giving but as any sunshine loses its power, the fruits become less sweet. Autumn berries can be great for jam or crumbles, so keep up the harvest and check your local hedgerow for blackberries too.

Greens

Kale plants come into their own now as other tender greens slow down. The good news is the cooler temperatures mean no more cabbage white butterfly caterpillars munching your greens, but beware of the pigeon!

Herbs

Any late-flowering herbs offer essential late nectar for bees. Basil, parsley and coriander continue to grow indoors and out. Outdoor plants will benefit from some protection as the temperature drops- an old plastic juice bottle or glass fridge door will do!

Tatties

Lift tatties on dry days for storing. Store any surplus tatties carefully, checking for blemishes, fork holes or squidgy bits. One rotting tattie can soon become many. Tatties need stored somewhere cool and dark. The advantage to lifting and storing indoors is that you can sow broad beans or garlic in empty soil from next month.

If you’ve loved growing more of what you eat and eating more of what you grow this season, you might consider becoming more self-sufficient through seed saving next year!  A couple of great resources can help introduce you to the wonderful world of seeds.

 

seed saving

Grow6: September

Meteorological autumn has begun, and summer has returned! So this week it‘s time to water pots and younger plants, ripen fruit and perhaps try a spot of seed saving. Seed saving is on the rise as more folk growing recognise our changing weather patterns and the need for seeds suited to our local climate conditions. Some seeds are easier to save than others, peas and tomatoes are well worth a try from healthy, disease-free plants.  

Peas

If you still have some fat juicy pods that escaped the pot let a few pods dry on the plant in warm autumn sunshine. Once the pod and pea are brown and dry store peas in an old envelope in a cool, dry, mouse free place. You might still be picking late sowings and if this is the case and the warm weather continues, they’d appreciate a good soak to give you a final flurry of pods. 

Tomatoes

Remove any remaining flowers and at least half of the leaves to maximise sunshine. Reducing flowers and leaves means you can cut back on the watering too. Do keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, mould on stems and black spots signalling tomato blight. If you have suspected blight don’t leave it to develop further, harvest fruit and try ripening them on a windowsill and dispose of diseased plants in council compost, depot or the bog standard bin. Disease-free tomatoes can be left to ripen in this last blast of summer

Berries

Try coaxing late flowering strawberries to swell and ripen. Forming fruit will appreciate a good water every few days to help fruit swell. Autumn raspberries come into their own from now on but they too might appreciate a one-off good soak if the dry spell continues.  

Greens

Cabbage white butterflies are still laying their eggs on ‘brassicas’ so do keep an eye out for eggs and caterpillars and squish them between your fingers. It’s still worth making sowings of pak choi or winter lettuce on windowsills. 

Herbs

Mint and thymes will still be flowering and providing essential late nectar for bees, so don’t be tempted to go in and ‘tidy’ for autumn too soon. Coriander may also have run to seed or be flowering; you can still use this in the kitchen, and pollinators love the small, delicate white flowers. If you have a warm, sunny windowsill, you might consider splitting one supermarket basil pot into several. Pinching the plant out will keep you in bushy basil plants for weeks. See our socials for ‘pinching out’ clip from Lauriston Farm. 

Tatties

Tubers will have finished all their growing by now, so diseasefree tops can be cut at soil levels and composted. Dig tatties over the next few weeks and let them dry in warm sunshine before storing them somewhere cool, dry and mouse free If any of the stems are mushy, you may have potato blight- remove the tops, don’t compost them and leave the tubers for three weeks undisturbed to prevent blight getting to your tatties. 

 

If you’d like to know more about seed saving, there are some great resources out there:

Seed Sovereignty

Vital Seeds

 

cara tatties

Grow6: August

There’s still plenty going on in growing spaces, sowing on windowsills, harvesting, weeding and getting ready for autumn.  Mixed weather, shorter days and cooler nights all mean plant growth is slowing down. Cropping and ripening fruit takes priority, but give some thought to any gaps in the soil and get ready to make the Grow6 seasonal switch.

If you have missed something, scroll through our socials feed or see previous posts on our Grow6 page.  

 

Peas

Late sowings will just keep on cropping if you keep on picking. Any yellowing pods you might consider leaving on the plant to begin to dry out for saving seed.

Tomatoes

Will you be eating homegrown tomatoes or trying green tomato chutney?! To encourage fruits to ripen remove any remaining flowers and all lower leaves to ensure as much light as possible gets to the fruit to encourage ripening.  Brown leaves and stems may signal tomato blight. Do keep a careful eye on the fruit and if symptoms spread remove the fruit and try ripening on a windowsill.

Berries

Late-flowering strawberries will be flowering and fruiting. Autumn-fruiting raspberries will begin to produce fruit. Watch the bees gorge on late nectar and keep an eye out for birds, here’s hoping for some sunshine to sweeten the fruit.

Greens

Young kale plants for winter should be growing away in warm autumn soils. Keep an eye out for cabbage white butterflies and pick them off. Try sowings of mixed winter salad leaves, oriental greens (pak choi, mizuna) or corn salad in soil, troughs or trays on a warm sunny windowsill  for planting out in a few week’s time. Where sown outside, cover them with an old sheet of glass or plastic to act as a mini greenhouse.

Herbs

It’s time to try late sowings of coriander on a sunny windowsill for a few leaves for autumn dishes.

Tatties

Maincrop tatties will start to signal they are ready for lifting once plants have flowered and leaves begin to yellow. Familiarise yourself with signs of potato blight in case blight strikes, and if in doubt, you can now cut plant tops off and leave the tatties untouched for three weeks before harvesting to stop the blight from spreading into the tubers and turning them to mush.

Large areas of bare ground can also be protected by sowing green manure- seeds that prevent nutrient loss over wet winter months and can be dug in springtime for bulk and nutrient. Read more here

August 20.08.2023

Grow6: August

There’s a definite autumnal feel in the air, and cooler nights and shorter days signal change but the harvest continues so whether you have grown several things or just one crop savour the sweetness, flavour and satisfaction of growing your own. There’s still plenty to be getting on with in growing spaces.

If you feel you have missed something scroll through our socials feed or see previous posts on our Grow6 page.  

 

Peas

Late sown peas continue to crop. Sugar snap and mangetout varieties are ideal at this time of year as delicious pods can be harvested regularly and added to salads and stir-fries, you don’t have to be patient and wait for the pods to swell before eating the lot! When peas stop producing, and the plants begin to yellow, cut the plants off at soil level, leaving roots in the soil and cut up and compost the tops.

Tomatoes

Liquid feeding can stop, it’s time to focus on ripening fruit. If you haven’t ‘stopped’ your tomatoes by now, it’s definitely time. Removing the growing tip in cordon tomatoes signals to the plant is time to swell and ripen fruit. Jossie from Lauriston Farm shows us how on our socials. 
Whether growing inside or out keep a careful eye out for discoloured leaves, brown stems and discoloured fruit which may indicate tomato blight. Carefully remove any discoloured leaves to reduce transmission and keep a keen eye on plants for symptoms spreading. If problems persist tomatoes are best harvested early and turned into chutney. To avoid blight next year do not home compost blighted tomatoes or potatoes.

Berries

Late flowering strawberries will begin to produce fruit, try and keep ripening fruit off the soil to prevent slug damage. A sheet of glass or an old shower door positioned over the top of plants can help ripen fruit. Autumn raspberries will be flowering and slowly swelling fruit. Check fruiting canes are supported to maximise ripening. 

Greens

Any young greens in warm, damp soils need protection from slug, snail and possible pigeon damage. Sowings of cut-and-come lettuce, pak choi and mizuna and mibuna (oriental greens) are best made in trays indoors for planting out at the end of August.

Young kale plants or winter cabbage will benefit from protection from the cabbage white butterfly- either check plants on the underside of their leaves daily or cover them with a fine net to stop butterflies from landing on the leaves.

Herbs

There’s still time to buy a pot of supermarket basil and split it into multiple plants to grow on a sunny windowsill. This will give you several basil plants to harvest from for sauces and salads. 

Tatties

Maincrop tatties will start to signal they are ready for lifting once plants have flowered and leaves begin to yellow. Familiarise yourself with signs of potato blight in case blight strikes, and if, in doubt, you can now cut plant tops off and leave the tatties untouched for three weeks before harvesting to stop the blight from spreading into the tubers. 

Autumn and winter are traditionally quieter on the growing front, but there are crops you can grow to keep you eating something fresh in quieter months or for an early summer harvest. So, rather than ‘spring’ it upon you, we thought we’d give you some notice to gather the necessary resources to make the seasonal switch. Read more here.

more kale

Grow6: August

This week, we focus on ripening, harvesting, and getting some ‘greens big enough to provide us with something fresh and nutritious through the winter and into early spring. Keep an eye on our socials this week as we support you to make the seasonal switch to help you grow something through autumn and winter.  Meantime here’s our weekly update for the growing week ahead.

If you’ve missed something, scroll through weekly updates or Grow6 crop pages to catch up. 

Peas

Will be enjoying the rain and continuing to crop, though plants will be turning yellow.  Once all the pods have finished, plants can be cut back to ground level and the tops cut up for compost. If you have seeds left, you can re-sow pea seeds on your windowsill to harvest pea shoots for salads and stir-fries.

Tomatoes

As our temperatures and daylight hours begin to feel autumnal, the focus turns to ripening fruit, so ‘stop’ the growth on cordon tomatoes (see Jossie from Lauriston Farm on our socials) and remove lower leaves to enable any sunlight to access the fruit. With bush and tumbling tomatoes, this is a bit trickier. However, any light pruning to enable more sun to reach the fruit at this stage is good. Familiarise yourself with signs of tomato blight and be vigilant; any unexplained brown growth or discoloured fruit should be removed instantly and not home composted.  

Berries

Cut off strawberry runners from the mother plant and either pot up or grow on these, young, small plants in open soil. Check autumn raspberry canes are upright and properly supported to ensure the fruit has access to as much late summer sun for ripening as possible. 

Greens

It’s been a great year for growing greens and it’s time to keep growing them to provide for us through winter. It’s too late to sow outdoor greens to get through winter but young plugs can be settled into warm soils and grown on before the growing season ends. Do keep an eye when transplanting tasty young growth into warm, damp soils- slugs and snails love something fresh to eat. 

Herbs

Late sowings of coriander can be made in pots indoors, parsley is slow to germinate and is better bought as a plug plant and then planted outdoors into open soil or pots 

Tatties

Continue the regular ‘blight’ watch as maincrop tatties swell in warm, wet soils. Once they have flowered and leaves begin to turn yellow from the bottom, you can dig them up . If you want to ‘store them’ in a cool, dark place, lifting is best done on a warm dry day to ensure the skins are dry. 

Follow Get Growing Scotland on Facebook and Instagram and please use #grow6 #getgrowingscotland in your posts so we can share your growing photos, stories and inspiration.

Herbs

Grow6: August

Some of us are still waiting for summer to return, and it’s time to turn our thoughts to growing through autumn and winter! There’s lots to think about. Rather than ‘spring’ winter growing upon you in the summertime, from next week, we thought we’d help you make the seasonal switch and give you some notice to gather the resources you need to keep growing! Aside from dodging the showers and potato blight this week, it’s time to focus on sourcing and sowing winter greens. Here’s our weekly update for the growing week ahead.

If you’ve missed something, scroll through weekly updates or Grow6 crop pages to catch up.

Peas

Keep picking late sowings of peas and cutting down and composting plants that have turned yellow and no longer produce pods. Cut pea plants at soil level taking care to leave pea roots in the soil to add nitrogen that the roots ‘fix’. Winter greens and kale plants can be planted into soils where peas once were.

Tomatoes

Bush tomatoes may well need a careful trim to remove some congestion in the centre of the plant, improve air circulation and encourage sunlight to ripen green fruits. With sharp scissors carefully cut out any brown leaves. 

Cordon tomatoes, if well fed and watered, will keep growing upwards and outwards. Having one central growing stem, and regularly removing side shoots ensures the plant puts energy into the fruit that we want. Once cordon tomatoes have produced between 4-6 ‘trusses’  (sets of fruit), it’s time to ‘stop’ them. Cutting the main stem, just above the top tomato tress, signals to the plant to stop growing and direct energy into swelling and ripening fruit. It’s a bit of a judgement call as to when to do this, depending on your growing conditions, watch for the green fruit for the next couple of weeks, and then make the cut and stop the weekly liquid feed.

Berries

Currants will slow down, most strawberries are over, and autumn raspberries will begin flowering. If you are wondering who might have pinched your fruit, keep an eye out for birds!

Greens

Giant winter spinach, parsley, pak choi and other oriental greens can now be sown into pots and trays on warm windowsills. Kale plants and young seedlings with 4 or 5 leaves can be planted out before soils start to cool. As with spring, all new growth is vulnerable to slug and snail attack, so seedlings and young plants benefit from any tactics to deter our slimy friends; crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, hair clippings, beer traps or night patrol!

Herbs

Have you cut and dried herbs for winter? Thyme, marjoram and sage can all be cut, bunched and hung up somewhere to dry and add flavour to winter stews and soups.

Tatties

Tatties planted early can be cut back and dug up. Maincrop tatties may still be in flower and have some growing to do in the next couple of weeks. Watch out for potato blight, spots on the edge of leaves and soggy stems are quite characteristic; this is easily confused with your tatties being ready to lift where leaves yellow from the bottom of the plant. If you suspect blight, cut the tattie shaws (tops), dispose of the shaws at commercial waste recycling, so you are not spreading it, and leave the tatties untouched for 3 weeks to stop the blight spores spreading down into the tubers. It can be hard to tell the difference; Bob, from One Seed Forward, keeps us straight on our socials.

Follow Get Growing Scotland on Facebook and Instagram and please use #grow6 #getgrowingscotland in your posts so we can share your growing photos, stories and inspiration.

kale image

Grow6: July

There’s no doubt about it; our weather is changing with longer dry spells and heavier more intense rain. What remains the same, only more urgent, is the need to build and protect our soils from extreme dry or wet spells, and in turn, they will look after us. So if you have garden space and don’t yet recycle your grass and other green waste from the garden mixed with egg boxes, veg peelings and toilet roll tubes start now! Size is irrelevant; any amount of composting is a good thing – protecting, building, and enriching soils is essential, an opportunity to invest in future growing seasons. Now is also the time to really focus on growing through autumn and winter. Grow6 autumn/winter begins next week to keep you sowing and growing something fresh all year round.

If you’ve missed something, scroll through weekly updates or Grow6 crop pages to catch up.

Peas

Keep picking peas from late sowings to keep them flowering. Where peas are ‘spent’ (they will no longer produce pods and start to pale), cut the plants at soil level and compost them, leaving roots in the soil to nourish it.  Plant ‘greens’ into the warm, wet soil on top. 

Tomatoes

Will they ever ripen? Some of us will be luckier than others; a few things can help: keep up a regular weekly liquid feed, remove lower leaves and extra side shoots on tall, cordon tomatoes, and hope for more sunny spells to ripen fruits growing inside and out.

Berries

Summer strawberries and raspberries are starting to come to an end; however, the currant season is in full swing (watch out, the birds don’t swipe them ALL!), and autumn flowering raspberries will be developing flower buds. See previous posts for what to do with your early flowering canes. If you are out and about, keep an eye out in hedgerows for fruit. ‘Wild’ raspberries and strawberries are much smaller than their cultivated cousins, have great flavour and make delicious jam.

Greens

Time to get growing greens for late winter; wherever possible, sow on windowsills or under glass outside to speed germination up; try winter spinach, mixed lettuce, rocket, parsley, and coriander. If you have big gaps in your soil, you might find some young winter cabbage, kale or leek plants at your nearest community garden, allotment site or local garden centre. It’s time to get them in the soil now if they are to grow big enough to get through winter.

Herbs

Spare a thought for our pollinators working hard in all this wet weather. A range of flowering herbs in pots or garden spaces ensures enough food for everyone.

Tatties

Early tatties that have flowered and are yellow can be cut back and lifted. Unsure how? See One Seed Forward posts in our socials. Maincrop tatties will still be growing away but do keep a regular eye on any stems rotting, damp, humid days are perfect conditions for potato blight.

Follow Get Growing Scotland on Facebook and Instagram and please use #grow6 #getgrowingscotland in your posts so we can share your growing photos, stories and inspiration.

Tempted by our composting call ? See our Soil pages for Resources and inspiration.