Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Fruit & Vegetables

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    82

    Question Fruit & Vegetables

    We are planning to move to Caithness in the near future and have a plot of land on the coast. We are hoping to be as self sufficient as possible for fruit and vegetables and are looking to install a polytunnel.

    Any advice on what grows well and what doesn't or any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Stephen

  2. #2

    Default

    having grown up and lived in caithness most of my life the most important thing is get protection from the wind.If the land is just grass and you want to get started quick a good way to start is to use cardboard to put on the ground stick some earth or stones on it to way it down.Then cut holes in it and plant your veg ,the cardbord will rot naturally and it will keep down your weeds. I am a gardener by trade so if want any advice i am glad to help

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Roy

    Where are you moving to? As you state it sounds like we are in the exact same position as we to are in the process of buying a croft. We're are so excited. We are reading all the books imaginable but there is nothing like local knowledge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bower
    Posts
    982

    Default windbreaks

    Probably best to build a windbreak to the north,and one to the east and west and definitely south too!

  5. #5

    Default

    roy i am not sure where you are moving to or what height you are looking for here is some shrubs and trees to start with .The most important thing is give them a good start i would dig atrench and fill the bottom with manure and double plant i am sure you know what i mean.The plants i would recomend are everygreen yew,holly,portugese laurel, beech, hawthorn and rosa rugosa hope this helps

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Wick, Caithness
    Posts
    1,699

    Default

    I planted quite few trees around our garden on the outskits of Wick about 20 - 25 years ago. I quickly found they would take a very long time and only now would I say we have some sort of a wind break.

    The wind tends to burn the tops of all the trees apart from our sitka spruce trees. We have grey alder and sycamore. The sycamores further south would by not be over twice the height but burning the tops off them very year hasmeant that for the first 10 years they resembled shurbs rather than trees. We have willows and they have done very well - especially this year when the summer was good. I have been told by one or two people that if you have the room planting willows around the edge to break the wind for the next trees will help protect them. The willows can be removed many years later if you want rid of them and when your other trees are established.

    The growing season is much shorter in the north due to the lack of light early in the season. Lots of veg and other plants can catch up when the days grow longer but then you have glutt. I found that anything growing under the ground usually did well. Potatoes, carrots, turnips, swedes, kohlrabi etc I have no problems with. Cabbage family OK but I had to deal with disasters in the first years until I got used to controlling cabbage root fly that is rife where I am.

    As an ealier poster said controlling the wind is major factor and I carried out some experiments when I first moved. Under glass or poly was most successful although I never built anything large or spent any cash on it. Iused largepiecesof plastic.

    Strawberries grow well here as the climate has imporved for the summer by the time they are fruiting. Some years can be poor as it can be very wet in July August some years and lots of rotten fruit. We had many more plants than we needed and even in those bad years we still had lots of fruit to eat or make jam.

    Rasps also do well and we had a big crop this year. Blackcurrrants, red currants we have had formany years but leave them for the birds these days. We just use few in summer puddings on ice cream etc.

    I do almost no gardening these days due to lack of time. The few potatoes we grew were sprouted ones from the kitchen and not seed and they came up fine. We have plenty of compost and some went into the peas we had this year.

    I would say gardening in Caithness is challenging and you need to have things grown under glass especially flowers if you want them in the garden as some years I found I could not plant anything out until the end of May where as when we lived in Glasgow I might risk the end of March. It all depends how much risk you want to take with timing and with the type of things you plant.

    There are some things that will be very difficult to grow if they do not like wind and very low temperatures. 2006 was an exceptionally good year overall and no guide to most years from a gardening point of view. But maybe others have different ideas on that as I do not keep gardening records to prove my case.

    2006 seemde unusal for several reasons in the garden. For example we had no slugs and we used to be overrun with them. We did find the New Zealand Flat worm was around a few years ago and perhaps they have wiped them out or perhpas the chickens that raid us fro the local farm this year. Still ithas seemed very strange not to see slugs in the huge numbers we used to have them. Or perhaps it is the fact that we have encouraged many birds via feeding. We now have good number of blackbirds roaming under our trees and maybe they have helped wipe them out.

    Good Luck with the gardening once you get going.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Wick, Caithness
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Trees

    The sycamores were bare rooted and I bought about 20 in a batch - much cheaper. They were about two feet high when I planted them. I reckon that the growth rate might have been only about one third of the rate I would have gotten in the central belt of Scotland.

    The Grey Alders came in pots and again the wind factor has always stunted their growth. They are stil only about 12 feet tall and further south might havebeen twice that height by now. They are also more like big bushes as the tops have been burnt off most years causing the top to split and have more than one point each time they split from lower twigs.

    Leyland cypress I would tend to forget as they are badly damaged by the dsalty wind here. In fact most of the small evergreen type firs that are sold in many garden centres will only survive and look OK if they are well protected. there was a couple who had a garden centre in the south and when they retired they brought many dwarfs in pots but they only survived without burning as the couple over wintered them under cover.

    I think on the shelter belt from trees is that you will get there but it will take much longer to grow it than further south. And I mean many years longer.
    I have heard that some of the beech hedgeing around Watten was broght in from Canada as someone had the bright idea that if it survived in the very cold weather out there it might do so in Caithness. If that is true it certainly seemd to work as there are some pretty good beech hedges around there. It might be worth asking local farmers if you could get cuttings and grow your own from them. It might take another year or two but the plants if they survived would probably be faster in the long run than some that struggled because they were not from the north. Again much cheaper. Depends on how long you want to wait. But sometimes as you indicate bigger at the start is not always going to work out best up here.

    Hazel certainly grows in Caithness as there are quite few up the Dunbeath Strath. However it should be noted that they are in the valley and have been there for many years possibly hundreds of years. With our extreme weather you will have to hope that there might be some small area that suits a particular plant etc.

    Fruit trees are likely to be difficult in exposed locations in Caithness and for what it is worth you might consider low gorwing types on dwarfing root stock so that you might get apples etc from trees only a few feet high if you can protect them.

    On eold man did ssay to me a few years ago it was not that trees would not grow in Caithness and Orkney the problem was that so many folk planted only one or two or few and that they really need to be planted en masse to gan protection from each other.

    If you look around the county at some of the older estate houses they often have plantations around them of mature trees and wide variety can be found in them. If it couldbe done 100 - 150 years ago then it would seem possible that it can be done again. But it needs a reasonable amount of land to lay them out as it was done back then.

    As I have gone around the county taking photos it has always struck me that the idea that Caithness has no trees is complete rubbish. Some very exposed positions have small plantations. See photos of Olrig House trees well away from the sea but still stunted by the wind http://www.caithness.org/atoz/countr...rielphotos.htm

    Or trees at Castlelhill on Dunnet Bay http://www.caithness.org/atoz/castle...illaerial2.htm much nearer the sea.

    I have tree links at http://www.caithness.org/links/trees.htm and you might get some ideas from these on what to try in Caithness or some contacts to aks for more details.
    Last edited by Bill Fernie; 14-Nov-06 at 13:18.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    by the sea
    Posts
    2,432

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Fernie View Post
    Leyland cypress I would tend to forget as they are badly damaged by the dsalty wind here. In fact most of the small evergreen type firs that are sold in many garden centres will only survive and look OK if they are well protected. there was a couple who had a garden centre in the south and when they retired they brought many dwarfs in pots but they only survived without burning as the couple over wintered them under cover.
    I planted a small cupressus - Goldcrest pom.pom - a couple of months ago in memory of someone as thought it would survive the weather here, being described as hardy, and be green all year. I would hate it not to survive but it is very windy where I live although I chose a fairly sheltered spot. Have I made a mistake? Is there anything I can do?
    The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,068

    Default fruit and Vegetables

    Quote Originally Posted by badger View Post
    I planted a small cupressus - Goldcrest pom.pom - a couple of months ago in memory of someone as thought it would survive the weather here, being described as hardy, and be green all year. I would hate it not to survive but it is very windy where I live although I chose a fairly sheltered spot. Have I made a mistake? Is there anything I can do?
    only real problem with cypress, is that they may grow too tall, but if you keep them in trim, twice a year, they make a super windbreak and privacy all the year round. Sycamore grow quickly, beech quite slow, but make a lovely hedge, and when the leaves turn in autumn, can be a treat. Good old flowering currant makes a quick hedge, early flowering, good for the bees.
    Lime is a bonny tree, and also the rowan.

    By the way, I'm speaking from experience, of some 30 years plus.

  10. #10

    Default vegetables

    corgettes were very impressive for me
    brought them on in the green house then hardend them out .
    strawberries too were good this year.
    peppers came out fine too in the green house.
    planteds some tomato seedlings in the garden just to fill some space and was surprised that they too actually fruited
    beauty is in the eye of the beerholder!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Longside
    Posts
    5,900

    Default

    I have grown apples, gooseberries, rhubarb, red and black currants, bilberries, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, sweetcorn, cabbages, sprouts and onions quite succesfully in thurso and apples in castletown.

    I bought a fig and a pomegranate this year so will see if they survive the winter.

    I also have tree ferns in the garden that I am gonna wrap with fleece and hope they survive the winter.

    Will let you know in the spring.
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing. But they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  12. #12

    Default

    I am in a very windy spot overlooking Dunnet Bay, but have planted some step-over apple trees up against a fence, and actually got some fruit off them this year. I also planted a plum, which seems to be growing well (no fruit yet) but it got badly infested with aphids this year. I didn't realise that there don't seem to be any ladybirds up here....or is that just my garden?

  13. #13

    Default

    Hi folks

    I have been recommend this site by a local gardener, as a good source of plants for hedging. I have ordered some costal hedge packs as I am up at John o'Groats and shall report back.

    http://store.ashridgetrees.co.uk/s.n...ategory.556/.f

    I assume it is OK to post the link. Worth a look.

    Dave

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Many thanks for all your useful advice. It appears that with a little thought, care and attention you can grow almost everything.

    Once again thanks for all your help and happy gardening.

    Stephen

  15. #15

    Default

    Whips arrived from http://store.ashridgetrees.co.uk/s.n...ategory.556/.f and they seem well and strong. I shall certainly use again.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    thrumster
    Posts
    19

    Smile

    for a hedge that is caithness weather hardy, one of the escalonia family really survives well up here. It is salt, and wind tolerant, also the cold weather doesn't seem to upset it too much, it is an evergreen with dark pink flowers.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •