Growing your own Organic Food in Rural Scotland
When we arrived here in the glen are garden was over grown and lifeless. Before we moved here we lived in the Cotswolds and had only a very small garden so didn't have much space to grow our own food. We knew nothing about growing food but it was always one of our sustainable goals to be able to grow at least some of the food we consume. We have a hatred for the plastic packaging that supermarkets wrap food in and shop bought organic food is often very expensive. Where we live here in the glen the climate is quite unique. Cold and often wet winters and hot and long sunny spring and summer day followed by wet and humid spells. So we knew it would be a challenge to grow our own food here but wanted to give it a try.
So during the lockdown years we decided to tackle the scrub land to the side of our house and put it to use as a veg garden. We cleared the turf and moved some bushes and trees to other parts of the garden. We got some additional top soil from a local farmer and installed a poly tunnel. We made raised beds and added compost and seaweed from the beach to the soil. With only limited knowledge of growing our own food we asked many of our friendly neighbours who also grow what worked best in the climate and soil here. But ultimately we just gave it a go. Read some books and researched online.
We are fortunate to have a stream that runs through the garden that for most of the year give us a fresh supply of water. We source only organic seeds and buy peat free compost. We plant bee friendly plants to encourage the pollinators. And of course we never spray any chemicals onto our land.
So has it all been successful? Well no some crops haven't worked out but others have been amazing. So its a continuous learning curve. We are learning to collect seeds for future years and compost all our scrap food waste in compost bins, bokashi bins and now have a wormery. So its early days for us the soil is improving and we occasional add the fire ash to the soil. We also use our bunny poop in the soil they are great composters. Build the poly tunnel was a struggle and I must admit if I could tighten the cover I would do. When the wind is very high I worry for the poly tunnel but its stood well so far.
So our sustainable journey is just that a constant seeking to minimise our impact on the environment. Buy less from the supermarkets and therefore much less packaging. Keep the garden organic and let the wildlife have their bit too. We love growing our own food and sharing some with our guests when they are here. So if you do come and stay here in the glen with us we are always happy to show you around the veg garden and talk about growing organic food in a sustainable way.
Pete & Sai x