Dig for Victory

28 Oct

digforvictory%20l_tcm4-561972‘Dig for Victory’ – was a programme set up by my fellow Aberdonian – the late Professor John Raeburn to help the 1939-45 war effort at a time when the United Kingdom was suffering under the German cosh.

Food shortages were commonplace and rationing was in force. Shipping produce across the Atlantic from Canada and the USA was hazardous and under constant threat from the mighty German U boat fleet. Times were hard. Belts were tightened but somehow we won through and I can remember the happy faces in the queues outside that wee sweetie shop in Blair Atholl in 1946 the day rationing was abolished.

There’s a bit of that spirit going on in our Bardrishaig garden at the moment where I have tackled what I take to be the original vegetable plot out front.

I hit the ground running with my new Honda brushcutter in September when I chopped down the scourge of montbretia – nettles – docks and brambles which had taken over the veggie patch – possibly since the end of Dig for Victory in ’45 judging by the roots I have uncovered out there since I got stuck in with my spade early in October.

Dock roots as thick as my forearm and nettle roots stretching to the shore and back are commonplace – to say nothing of the brambles for we all know how aggressive they can be.Then of course there’s the tree roots – a present from someone who in their wisdom planted a row of trees to separate the veggie patch from the path below the wall — the ijit!

Gardens at this latitude get little enough sunshine – especially up here on the west coast and fruit n veg won’t ripen without sunshine. treeThen there’s the water issue – a mature tree for example will drink about 50 gallons of water per day. I know it can be wet up here during the twelve month damp season but try carting that much around the garden in your two gallon watering can to feed your water-starved plants during a dry summer. The tree root system itself is reputed to amount to hundreds of miles in total – and – having chopped through a few miles of them with my spade and mattock I know this to be a fact.

I tidied up what was left of the stumps with my chainsaw —


and the roots can take their chance with my sharp spade under the soil —


No worries – there’s a hundred square metres in the veggie patch and with my yellow root bucket moving steadily downwards I have only twenty five square metres left to dig – not that I’m counting 🙂


Depth of soil varies from a thin covering at the top by our standing stone —


to a full spade depth after the first two metres or so —


I was never a happy gardener in my youth – much preferring to drive the farm tractor or Land Rover from a very young age. Tractors and Land Rovers being conspicuous by their absence around the farm nowadays – I bend my back into the toil with a will and underneath those bulky winter clothes is growing a brand new svelte like body – or as svelte as it’s likely to get in it’s 75th year 🙂


And – when Supervisor Clyde takes a break from pointing his pistol at me (see Silverback’s Shoot to Kill) I can straighten my back and admire the view —


of which I never tire —


as it’s a purrler —


from any angle 🙂


She’s a good un and left our new rockery shipshape —


Talking of ‘shipshape’ — it’s not a term I can honestly use for our new barbie built from scraps unearthed in the garden —


But at least the errant treestumps in the veggie patch provided fuel for the next fire – Professor John Raeburn would be proud of his parsimonious cousin 🙂





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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Isle of Luing


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