I've browsed here once or twice, but have finally got round to actually joining. Based on the Isle of Skye I've been turning a sheep field into a productive coppice woodland over the last 12 years (see my 'blog if you like). Attached is a picture of my latest project - a pile of woodchippings courtesy of the electricity line tree surgeons, which will hopefully stop some of my paths turning too much to mud over the winter. My interests, apart from the coppice, which I have just started harvesting, include perennial vegetables and foraging. I'm also collecting charcoal from our wood fired range to use in biochar next year, although this will probably be limited to my polytunnel, which is where I do my most intensive gardening. My challenges include lots of rain for most of the year, shallow acidic silty soil over rock (mostly about 18 inches down) and strong salty winds especially in winter. The good points about Skye include the extremely mild winters - rarely a frost below 5 degrees C, and distractingly beautiful scenery.
Welcome to Permies, Nancy! I'm really glad you decided to join; sounds like you've got a lot of interesting things going on at your place. Sounds like you have your challenges cut out for you too. You've come to the right place to share and brainstorm with others.
fàilte! Skye would indeed seem a challenging place to do gardening - wet, boggy, never warm in summer... A bit of shelter would seem a necessity for most plants.
I've lived in Scotland for some 15 years, have visited Skye a few times, so I can imagine what your conditions are like.
I guess I'll go reading your blog for a bit now.
I guess everyone gets used to their own climate after a while (or moves!). I wouldn't say we are never warm. We never really get too hot however, which is perhaps a slightly different thing! The wind is a problem (I haven't quite worked out the problem it's a solution for yet), but if you can achieve a bit of shelter then things do grow. We have been planting trees since early 2008, and it is just starting to look (and smell!) like a woodland in places. Berries do well and it is surprising what will survive underground given a well drained spot. We still have not had a hard frost (end of Nov), so I haven't dug my oca or Yacon yet. Other South American shrubs I've been trying are Feijoa Sellowiana (in the polytunnel: yet to flower but grows like mad), varous Berberis: still too small to say how they'll do, Fuchsia of course, The ones that 'came with the house' fruit quite well, but tend to ripen one at a time, so good for browsing rather than preserving, Luma apiculata (still small but happy). The one I'm most exited about (other than the Araucaria) is Gevuina avellana. Related to the macadamia it actually likes cool wet acid conditions. My first shrub is doing well (so sign of flowers, but put on good growth this year) and after three years trying I've managed to get a couple of seedlings started. They too seem to do better just left outside than put in the tunnel, although I've tried to give them a bit of shelter from the wind and deep pots. I'm also trying lots of plants from the Pacific North West of the US and Sansai from Japan...
Well I came here to introduce myself, but saw your post title instead. I'm typing with my 11 week old daughter - Skye - asleep in my arms. Named in memory of my families (great grandfather on my father's side) past crofting on the island of the same name.
Hi David, Skye is both a large island (we're nearly one and a half hours drive from the bridge) and a small community : c. 10,000 population with just the one high school in Portree. There were communities cleared from Skye, as in many parts of the highlands, but also a lot of young people leave to make their own way. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't. It is a popular place to retire to these days. With the internet, it is possible to do an amazing amount of family research. I found to my disappointment that, contrary to family legend, I have no tracable Scots ancestry (the furthest north the Reading clan originate is Birmingham, Staffordshire). My husband has ancestors not too far back in the Sirling area of Scotland funnily enough, so we're practically related!.
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