See all stories
9 Jun 2022

Leith Hall Garden: time to nourish and flourish

Written by Sarah Ramsay, Head Gardener
A view of a kitchen garden in full bloom, with various plots and beds separated by wooden posts or a see-through wrap. Bright orange flowers grow in the foreground, beside some onions, staked beans and a very leafy vegetable bed.
The kitchen garden at Leith Hall
Leith Hall’s kitchen garden is a rewarding place, especially in summer.

With daylight seemingly ever-present, midsummer in north-east Scotland can feel surreal. Those stretched-out days almost make up for our short growing season and bitter winters, so June is a time to marvel at the speed of plant growth in the borders. Look out for the Filipendula camtschatica here at Leith Hall – it’ll be 4 metres tall by summer.

In midsummer it’s all about the kitchen garden, where we grow and sell heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables. As the risk of frost starts to decrease in June, the tender runner beans and pole beans are planted out and the cloches are taken off the pumpkin plants.

Carrot, beetroot and pea seeds are sown directly into the ground, and the early potatoes and broad beans are almost ready to harvest.

We’re always searching for ways to grow our vegetables sustainably, such as composting our garden waste or growing companion plants to attract pollinators. An old polytunnel frame is being used to grow pumpkins up and we’ve made our own bean supports from coppiced willow.

And, rather than adding to the 500 million plant pots sent to landfill in the UK each year, we sow many of our vegetable seeds into homemade paper pots which will break down in the soil.

We all know about the nutritional benefits of fresh veg, but summer days spent in the vegetable garden can also combat stress and anxiety, provide exercise and reduce your ecological footprint too.

Here are some of my top tips:

  • Plant your onions and carrots next to each other – the smell of the onions will deter carrot root fly.
  • Protect our precious peatlands by using peat-free compost for sowing seeds and potting on seedlings. Scotland’s peat bogs are a crucial carbon sink and play a vital role in regulating our climate.
  • Make your own pots out of newspaper and sow your broad bean and runner bean seeds into them.

Have you heard about our Roots seed subscription?

For £6 a month we’ll send you a ROOTS pack every six weeks, with gardening gifts, stories about Scotland’s plant life and tips from our expert Trust gardeners – and six times a year the packs will also contain a packet of Scottish seeds to grow at home.

Plant your Roots today

Sign up now