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Sustainable Cupar FAB - Berry Bryan's gardening blog

September 2014

Here we are half way through September and bringing in turnips, courgettes, cucumbers, cumelons and tomatoes from the garden and greenhouses, and also apples, pears, plums and brambles from the fruit.

We've had many a fruit clafoute this summer, and if the paste is altered a little it could make a tasty veg clafoute. we'll try it when the fresh fruit is finished.

The hens have slowed down laying eggs, but it is a nice surprise when we unexpectedly get an extra one or two on a bright day.

we are getting the bees ready for the winter. It has been a successful year for them with seven swarms, with only one escaping to other parts.

Hope everyone else in the FAB group has had a successful season.

Bryans bees

June 2014

Already we are half way through June. Now starting to reap the rewards of our work. We have had our first lettuce and first courgette this week. We have had strawberries for a week and soon will be in full flow.

In this weather, the bees are happy working and they are giving us a very good supply of honey. With swarms we have increased our apiary by five hives, and so, have fifteen hives.

Tomatoes could be ready in one or two weeks time.

Hens are laying less eggs. Could be the heat - I don't blame them!

Looking forward to the produce we should have next month.

bryans produce

july 2014

This says it all !!

MAY 2014

Good weather finally arrives! The hens are now laying well. Bees are busy supplying us with honey. Tomato plants are on their 3rd truss, they are looking well. Aubergines coming away fine. Figs and peaches are being fed every fortnight with liquid feed. Apples, pears, plums and soft fruit looking well. Still got lots of frozen fruit left so we need to eat it a bit quicker to have room for the new stuff!

On the whole it looks like a promising summer.

March / April 2014

The tomato plants have thrived and are now at the end of April put out in their final pots. hundreds of seedlings have been sown in the greenhouse - tomatoes (gardener's delight, Alicante, Ellacraig and Monemaker, trying chilli peppers, cucumbers and aubergines this year as well. So far 115 pounds has been raised for FAB funds through selling seedlings. The weather may still be cold so there is heat at night in the green house.

Starting to sow in the garden as the soil has heated up. The trampoline frame which covers 5 metres by 10 metres cost around 35pounds - a good deal!

All the bee hives have survived the winter, a mild one this year. On a sunny day they are very busy round the garden and it is lovely to hear them. The peaches have bloomed and have been a picture as always. Spring is not far away!

peaches in Berry Bryans greenhouse

Febuary 2014

the first tomato seeds have been sown and are now being cosseted in the greenhouse! This year I am trying peppers as well as tomatoes.

The apple trees are all pruned, as are all the bush fruit.

Another trampoline has become available and this is being transformed into a fruit cage - just need the netting to put over it.

Digging will start soon once the ground is ready. The potatoes can be chitted now - this means putting the potatoes in a frost free cool place with sunlight and they will start to sprout. Gives them a head start when put in the ground.

January 2014

We've had a successful year, mainly because of the weather so I'm looking forward to planning for the coming year. I'm thinking of growing less tomatoes and trying peppers and chillies as I like a challenge. You will be kept informed of my success or failure. (Maybe!)

All my garden seats and benches have been treated with preservative. Some panes in the old greenhouse have been replaced and both greenhouses have had the glass cleaned and sterilised with Jeyes fluid. I've started pruning all my fruit trees and berry bushes.

with the destruction caused by the gales, I have acquired another trampoline and am in the process of assembling it and will either cover it with polythene or net, as I have not yet decided what to put in it! I've been offered another one from Edinburgh, but have had to refuse it as my "estate " is not large enough!

Because of some unexpectedly warm weather the bees are flying. They have been given their annual treatment of oxalic acid to kill the veroa mite. It does not harm them, it is an organic pesticide. e check regularly to see that they have enough food. If not we give them fondant.

The hens have started laying again, thank goodness, as we have been missing having our own eggs. We are still living off our own stores of apples and berries in the freezer - enough to keep us young and healthy for 3-4 months

Joan and I wish you all a Happy New Year and a successful growing season

December 2013

Bryan's garden is tucked up now for the winter. All the fruit has been harvested and stored. The fridges are brimming with soft fruit. The apple harvest has been settled in to their boxes for the winter.

Joan and Bryan use this stored fruit throughout the winter - thereby reducing their carbon footprint, as they do not need to buy so much fruit that has had to be transported into the area by lorries.

At the end of January Bryan's gardening year begins. He will sow his tomatoes under heat. And so begins another year.....

September 2013

And the harvest continues with plums so heavy they need support.

September 2013 continued

The apples are looking good - the dessert apples are starting to be ready for picking at the end of September. The cookers will be later into October.

The bee hives are being reduced in size for the winter and the male drones are soon to have there wings clipped as they are sacrificed as the hive needs to be smaller to survive the winter.

September 2013 apples


September 2013 pears

And then there are the pears!

September 2013 raspberries

There are many other fruits - the brambles, the Japanese wine berries and the late fruiting rasps

apple and chickens

August 2013

This picture tells a wonderful story. This is the harvest from Bryan's garden on one day in August. This picture tells us of the days that were spent tilling the soil in winter when Bryan was out there digging over the frost capped soil while the rest of us sat watching telly and of days in spring when the seeds of new life were planted. The photo tells of the care and attention that has gone into feeding the soil over the years - not only in Bryan's life, but in the lives of previous generations and it really shows what can be done in a back garden in Cupar.

August 2013, continued

And the icing on the cake is the peach harvest - utterly FAB!

July 2013

Bryan and Joan are reaping the fruits of the garden this month. The harvest of strawberries, raspberries and currants is well under way. This fruit is frozen for use throughout the year, their freezer is full already and there is lots more fruit ripening. The peaches are turning pink, the josta berries and gooseberries will be ready soon and then the plums and apples...

It has been a great year for fruit. This is the time for summer pruning of apples, pears and plums. Hedges can be cut now as the birds have stopped nesting.

The first taste of new potatoes has been had and Bryan's hens are laying well again - they stopped laying through the really hot spell we have just had.

Bryan and his son Ian have doubled their stock of bees. From 5 hives to 10 hives, which is just FAB. If we could all invest more time, like Bryan, in food production in our gardens, we would all be healthier and the country would be a bit more sustainable.

June 2013

Well the sunshine came eventually in June and the fruit blossom has set well in Bryan's garden. The peaches are swelling and Bryan's pear trees are looking very hopeful for a good harvest this year. The strawberries will be ready soon too.

In the greenhouse the fig tree has many fruits and the tomatoes are ripening with the first tomatoes being nearly ready to pick.

The bees are well. All the hives are thriving and presently the bees are heading to the rape fields at the edge of Cupar. The bee day was successful, Bryan's son Ian led the workshop and everyone really enjoyed it. While the rest of us battle with overgrown shrubs and many weeds Bryan looks on contentedly on a garden that is looking FAB and is well under control!

May 2013

May has been such a cold month so far but in the last couple of days the soil has started to warm up. The nights remain cold and clear. We are three weeks behind in the growing cycle.

Bryan has just finished planting all his seeds. The tomatoes are flowering and are being fed every third day. The side shoots are being removed. In the greenhouse it is important to maintain an even temperature if possible.

The fruit is flowering away and so far is looking good. There has been some signs of greenfly and black fly on the currents so keep watching for it.

An old trampoline frame is being converted into a frame for the strawberry net - nothing goes to waste at Bryans!

The birds are all nesting just now so don't cut back hedges or thickets till after the nesting season. Here's hoping we get a good spell of weather now!

April 2013

Well, April is nearly finished, but we are several weeks behind due to the bad weather.

Bryan has been keeping the young tomato plants cosseted in the greenhouse. He had a scary moment when the heating system nearly failed....but he caught it just in time. The young plants are now being protected from any late frosts. They are put into grow bags, each plant gets a good handful of dung, a bit of bone meal and it's own tube to elongate the root run. His tomatoes are starting to flower and they will get fed regularly through the season.

The potatoes are in and the onions brought on from seed are in the ground. All the soft fruit has been pruned and the hard fruit has been trained beautifully on the walls or freestanding. The raspberries that the FAB group pruned and tied in are starting to show green and look good. The peaches and figs are setting fruit already.

The chickens are not free range now as there are too many precious things they might eat! They have a shady patch to grub around in and they are laying well now the light has increased. The bees are flying on sunny days and all the hives have had a treatment with oxalic acid to help manage the verowa bug.

The garden is coming to life and we are all hoping for a good fruit harvest!

March 2013

peaches in Berry Bryans garden

Bryan has been pruning his peaches that are grown under glass. These trees will be blossoming soon and are a delight when in flower. The main reason to prune is to thin the blossom for cropping.

Peach blossom provides an early source of blossom for the bees which are now flying.

March 2013, continued

Bryans bees

He has also been pruning his Josta berry plants , blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries. he has been propagating new soft fruit plants by using the pruning cuttings. This is done very simply by using slender cuttings and sticking them in the ground (the right way up!) and they root easily.

The tomatoes have been transplanted into 3in pot and are still in the heated greenhouse, but will be gently hadened off.

All the vegetable beds will be ready for planting and sowing soon. Shallots can be planted. Parsnips can be put in early too and try some salad crops under glass to get an early start.

The hens have started laying - 3 eggs per day. Soon they will have to be kept undercover so they cannot do too much damage to crops.

Bryan scarifies his lawns this month.

February 2013

The weather in Jan was more conducive to making snowmen than gardening and Bryan made the most of the snow making a snowman with his grandchild.

Now the time has come to sow the tomato seeds in a heated greenhouse - in a propagator. The onion seeds have germinated and are being transplanted into pots in the heated greenhouse. They are gradually cooled down as they progress in size in preparation of being planted out. You could use setts instead.

Bryan has been feeding his fruit trees with bone meal and dung. There is still time to do the winter pruning of the fruit trees. This can be done up and till the middle of March or when the sap starts to rise.

January 2013

Welcome to Berry Bryan's gardening blog. After much persuasion Berry Bryan is sharing his gardening expertise with us. We thank him for this and look forward to a year full of growing potential.

In January Bryan is busy - he has been preparing the greenhouse for the new year. All the glass is cleaned using Jeye's fluid and all the canes, pots and tomato tubes have been cleaned to prevent disease. Tomatoes are sown at the end of January in a seed tray and kept in a heated propagator in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out at the end of February. The seedling tomatoes are then brought on in a heated greenhouse.

Bryan is also sowing his onion seed in Jan, again they are sown in seed trays in a propagator in the greenhouse. Shallots can be put in the ground in Jan / Feb. so get your sets now for planting out soon if you do not sow seeds.

Peaches (under glass) have been tied back and the raspberry canes are tied in for the next year. Goji berries have been transplanted and tied to a frame for support against a south facing wall. Some fruit pruning has been started, but Berry Bryan advises not to do the pruning too early as we may get a cold spell, Feb/ March is a better time. The plum trees that were pruned in the summer have been neatly tied in and have a lovely shape.

Benches have been cleaned and treated for the year.

Bryan has bees and presently is potting up honey from last year - this is available from Patterson's fruit shop in Cupar.

The chickens have started to get a good covering of feathers after moulting and the roosters have gone to live up north in the country with Bryan's sister due to their noisiness at very unsocial hours.

January is a time in the garden, if you get the weather, to shift plants as they are dormant. It is also a time to plan for the coming year, get the seeds ordered and don't forget to feed your birds as this will pay dividends. Birds will eat things like green flies as the season progresses, so the more birds you have the better.

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