Our Blog

Grow Your Own: 5 Vegetables to Sow in August

Posted by Bertie Badger on Aug 21, 2014 4:47:00 PM

It's been a few months now since Eriska brought their greenhouse back to life, growing fresh vegetables for the kitchen's daily use to add to the guests dining experience, and the Eriska experience as a whole. With a large selection of our vegetable patch ready for harvesting, visitors to our restaurant can literally see their food transform from start to finish.

Alongside our vegetable patch, and a selection of wild herbs and berries, Eriska also welcomed some quail and pigs to the Island this summer, giving our little Scottish Island Retreat a bit of a farm feel much to the delight visitors who have expressed much enthusiasm in Ross's "home-grown" approach.

Though the best months are behind us it's not too late to late to try grow your own vegetable garden. For those looking to try their hand at a bit of gardening but don't know what to grow in August, here's a bit of advice from our professionals:

  • Radish

Radish's are very easy to grow, and ideal for beginners. For those wanting quick results from their labour - radish takes very little time to germinate and are usually ready to harvest after only 4 weeks! These root vegetables can be sown as late as September/October and make a tasty addition to any Salad.

  • Spring Onion

Another delicious addition to a nice garden salad, winter-hardy Spring Onion are ideal to grow in small plots or containers. With sowing possible as late as August/September, a winter crop can be left in the greenhouse over the worst months to produce a spring harvest.

  • Winter Cabbage

It can be difficult finding vegetables that are able to grow during a typical British winter. Winter cabbage is ideal for this, boasting a higher tolerance to the cold than most of their photosynthesising comrades. By planting later summer, you will find them harvestable in the heart of winter can use them in many tasteful coleslaws and salads.

  • Turnip

Though it fairs from the same family as Cabbage (Brasicca), turnip - like radish - is a fast growing crop and is often ready in 5 - 8 weeks, making it another brilliant choice for any beginners. However, if left they become less tender and flavourful so it is best to spread out the sowing of these vegetables to establish a constant flow of fresh, sweet turnips.

  • SwedeEriska_Vegetable_Patch

Though often confused with turnip, swede is much more resiliant to frost. They crop over a longer period, due to being left in the soil over winter, and are usually ready to harvest around 20 weeks after sowing. Another good choice fpr the novice gardener looking for a sweeter flavour.

Though the time for sweet berries and juicy tomatoes is gone for this year, there is still a large selection of herbs, salad leaves and vegetables to sow in august that can lead to a nice winter garden. 

Topics: Eriska Farm

The Eriska Farm: Going Back to Our Roots

Posted by Bertie Badger on Apr 16, 2014 6:48:00 PM

Eriska QuailsOne of the largests appeals of Eriska to our guests is it's unique setting. A private escape from the worries of reality where civilisation doesn't have to exist outside our 300 acres if you don't want it to, and our team are always trying to find ways to add to that experience.

This year marks the 40th year since Eriska opened it's doors to the world and to celebrate the occassion we've brought a new lease of life to the Island by the revival of Eriska's Farm.

Having fallen into disuse for some years, our Garden Manager, Kenny, has revolutionised the gardens since joining us last month, sowing a large selection of vegetables, plants and herbs for both culinary and asthetic use and bringing the Island back to life.

The Quails

Meet the newest addition to the Eriska family. Over the last month a dozen of these minute birds joined our ranks to provide our guests with fresh eggs for their meals.

Having only been with us for a couple of weeks, our feathery-friends have already begun to lay eggs, causing much excitments amoungst the Kitchen team.

The Vegetable Patch

Eriska Vegetable Patch

Ross in the kitchen is a strong believer in the use of fresh local produce in his dishes, and where could be more local than on our own doorstep? Guests to Eriska can now see their food grow in the gardens before they are harvested for use at night.

Of course it will be a while yet before you'll be seeing these legumes on your plate, but the introduction of fast-maturing crops such as radish and lettuce will see the use of our homegrown vegetables in the kitchen within the next few weeks.

We asked Kenny his plans for the coming seasons and he explained "I've started some earlier crops for the kitchen such as radish and lettuce which will continue to be sown periodically for a continuous harvest. Most crops require a longer growing period and these have been started off too; such as aubergine, cabbage and french beans."

These are not the only vegetables Kenny's been sowing since joining the team; we also have beetroot, peas, onions, potatoes, courgette, leeks, turnips, swede and kolhrabi growing under the soil as well as many herbs like fennel, garlic, dill, parsley, corriander and sage.

The Flower Gardens

Wildflowers and shrubs grow all around Eriska, giving the Island a natural beauty that often leaves visitors in awe. There is also the Rose bushes and a flower patch by the stables that have provided us flowers to adorn in the main house for years.

However, Kenny has brought another dimension to the asthetics of the gardens, preparing the addition of some multi-purpose plants such as mariglods, nasturtiums and borage that will provide both a floral display and can also be used within the kitchens. He explains, "The petals are the only part of marigolds which are edible and can be used in many dishes, generally as a garnish but can also be a substitue for saffron. The young peppery leaves of nasturtiums will often be found in salads or used as a garnish. Borage is a personal favourite; the flowers are commonly blue and are used to garnish drinks such as pimms and can also be found in various desserts"

We're very excited about the coming progress of our little farm and will be watching eagerly for sproutings over the next month or two - some more impatiently than others! With unbeatable freshness in our Island-grown produce, a whole new layer of taste will be added to dining in our restaurant and will help create a true Eriska experience.

Topics: Food, Ross Stovold, Healthy Eating, vegetables, Eriska Farm, Quails, Scottish Farm, Grow Your Own