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Author Topic: Scotland v South of England for growing veg  (Read 1222 times)

julieng

  • Joined Apr 2020
Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« on: April 10, 2020, 10:41:25 am »
Hello Everyone,

I was just looking for some advice on how big a difference there is in the variety of veg that can be grown in Scotland v the south of England.

My wife and I are planning on setting up a smallholding with the eventual aim of being as close to self-sufficient as possible.We are currently trying to decide on where in the UK to go, and Scotland is appealing for a number of reasons.

However, given that we will be eating mostly what we can grow, is there going to be significantly less variety in Scotland than in Sommerset, which is our other option?

Jules

alang

  • Joined Nov 2017
  • Morayshire
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 06:07:39 pm »
Scotland is a big place. You'd have to narrow down which area you're looking at moving to. I live in the NE and i could grow all the veg i wanted outside. For tomatoes, peppers and chilli with the aid of a polytunnel/greenhouse that would be possible too. Planting season is later where i am due to my elevation and the possibility of late frosts. But hasn't stopped me growing veg so far. Just need to add a bit of precaution into my growing.
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 07:13:35 pm »
As alang says, it depends where in Scotland.  There is a huge variation in local climate because of elevation, latitude, coastal or inland, soil types, wind direction, Gulf stream, if you are on an island, and so on.
I live south of the central belt and have previously lived in Fife and in Edinburgh.  I have also lived in East Anglia, Yorkshire and Anglesey, and grown veg in all those places. I have never grown veg in Somerset. 
I have noticed a huge difference between the places I have grown veg - for example, in Anglesey, the big problem was sandy soil, but also heavy sea mists and howling winds.  In East Anglia, we had very heavy glacial clay, which requires knowledge to grow well on, but has a good climate, if a bit dry so very productive.  In Yorkshire, we were a couple of weeks behind the south, but grew great crops.  In Fife, it was sea mists again, and further north and we only had a town garden so growing was restricted.  In Edinburgh, the growing season was shorter, but we had a wonderful fertile allotment and could grow even tomatoes outside, if they were started indoors.  Where we are now in South Lanarkshire, we are high and windy, but with lovely volcanic soil and plenty of sheep manure!  I can grow just about whatever I want, but with severe limitations to the ease of growing.  The season is short so many plants are started in pots indoors, and even runner beans, corn and brassicas are grown in the polytunnel. Some years tomatoes are a bit unwilling to ripen, and some years whatever is growing out in the open garden is flattened by wind or deep snow.  I don't bother with growing succession crops because the later ones will not crop before the frosts.  Last frost here is early June, first frost once was Aug 6th ! but usually is late September.  First snow is sometimes at the end of October, but usually just one fall before Christmas, and last snow most years is in April, occasionally May.  That's just here;  everywhere else in Scotland is different.


I sometimes dream of the rather carefree gardening I grew up with in East Anglia, but I wouldn't move from my draughty hilltop.  I like a challenge and I don't expect 100% success.
There are some lovely sheltered parts of Scotland, with beautiful gardens, so if you want to live up here, simply adapt your growing and eating habits.  We grow most of what we eat: eggs, sheep, veg, fruit, herbs, but not citrus fruits or bananas - but who needs them when you have the best raspberries, every othe kind of cane fruit and wonderful strawberries.
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Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
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Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 08:02:07 pm »
I'm not assuming you were thinking to add Shetland to your list of potential homes, but just wanted to add to Fleecewife's very eloquent description,to be prepared to throw the gardening books away and that although the growing season is shorter the further north you go, the daylight hours are longer so plants catch up. All the best and good luck  :fc:
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

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Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2020, 09:00:29 pm »
To emphasise what’s already been said; it’s a big place, the east coast is much sunnier than Stirling area in the middle.  Compared to South Wales where I grew up we get 30% more sunshine here in Angus, it’s Ace! I thought the dark winters would bother me but actually without the constant cloud and drizzle the days tend more to frosty and clear, but it’s just me. I don’t notice it particularly colder than Newcastle where I was a student for four years.
Also the longer summer days really do allow lots of extra growing when English plants are ‘sleeping’.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2020, 10:10:11 pm »
In September I moved to a smaller house only 5 minutes from my previous one (Central Scotland)  There is a huge difference between the gardens - windier here, but warmer.  I had sunflowers down tehr, I wouldnlt attempt them here.
So there are a lot of local micro climates.

I think you should look all over and decide where you want to live rather than living dependant on what you can grow.  As others have said you can grow anything with the benefit of a greenshouse or polytunnel
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 08:38:26 am »
As long as you have an undercover growing space you can grow almost everything - I grow tomatoes, courgettes, squashes, french & runner beans (for the dry beans rather than green), peppers (sweet and chilli), coriander and basil, plus a lot of winter greens in my polytunnel and the Keder. The only thing I am struggling with is aubergines. Outside many brassicas (mainly for winter), plus all the usual stuff - I am in South East Scotland.
So - with a polytunnel you can start everything off undercover, and grow most things in Scotland. Maybe the only thing is that some of the stuff Charles Dowding grows outside over winter is better off undercover in Scotland - but that's because of the wind and wet rather than just simply the cold.


oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 11:25:11 pm »
As others have said you can grow anything with the benefit of a greenshouse or polytunnel

Last year my tomatoes failed to ripen in my tunnel as winter arrived before they had a chance to start turning red!

In the 8 years I've been gardening here we've had snow lying for 3 or 4 days in May 4 times so I don't expect to plant anything outside until we'll into May. 
Things like courgettes simply won't grow outdoors. 

There might be lots of light but some plants can't really make use of it if they are basically dormant because it hasn't been above 12C for a week.

However, as others have pointed out there is huge variation (and I'm at one extreme of that variation) .  By the coast, 30km down the road from us is probably a full 4 weeks ahead of us and is as good for growing as nearly anywhere in England.

Particularly in a harder area having a polytunnel makes a huge difference.



julieng

  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2020, 11:00:22 am »
Thanks so much everyone for all the helpful responses! Certainly seems like Scotland could be great place to set up. We are thinking about the west coast and it seems like the weather in places there is very amenable.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2020, 11:27:34 am »
West coast is wetter than the rest of the country generally speaking
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
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Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2020, 12:36:27 pm »
West coast is wetter than the rest of the country generally speaking
And midgier.  :)

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2020, 06:20:35 pm »
West coast is wetter than the rest of the country generally speaking
And midgier.  :)

Although you wouldn't have to worry about watering your plants if you lived at Sligachen (Skye), over 10mm rain a day on average!

https://www2.sepa.org.uk/rainfall/#charttop

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2020, 09:45:56 pm »
West coast is wetter than the rest of the country generally speaking
And midgier.  :)

Although you wouldn't have to worry about watering your plants if you lived at Sligachen (Skye), over 10mm rain a day on average!

https://www2.sepa.org.uk/rainfall/#charttop
And a great pub nearby  :excited: :excited: :excited:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 01:31:42 am »
Down south coast areas the weather is about a month ahead of much of Scotland wrt sowing times a. Scotland's first & last frost dates make for a long frost season .
Scotland's  many hours of darkness in winter might also have a bearing on your intentions .
 There is a website that will show you the first & last frost dates for the UK
 
Deep dug beds full of well rotted  ruminant , fowl or pig dung & lots of straw beddings , manured on a three or more crop cycles will give you a quality water absorbent bed system & provide a massive amount of different compost decaying at different rates  that will feed your plant as they need it through out the growing seasons  . It  will stand you good instead during any particularly hot & dry periods
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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Scotland v South of England for growing veg
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2020, 08:46:22 am »
Down south coast areas the weather is about a month ahead of much of Scotland wrt sowing times a. Scotland's first & last frost dates make for a long frost season .
Scotland's  many hours of darkness in winter might also have a bearing on your intentions .
 There is a website that will show you the first & last frost dates for the UK
 
Sowing everything in module trays (bar carrots, parsnips and potatoes) under cover is the answer to that. You can get ahead by a month easily that way. Also horticultural fleece is valuable for early crops outside. I am just about to cover my potato bed with it, as tatties went in April 1st and should just about be poking through - some frost this morning here. Fleece should keep them from being knocked back.

 

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