Live in Scotland long enough, and you find out that you live in a microclimate. You see, rather than just having weather, each inlet, outlet, loch, coast, hill, dale, mountain, valley, village, city, street and block seems to have its own weather system.
Yes, of course, these things fall along certain lines…West=Wet, East=Not as Wet, but other issues defy logic. Apparently even the shortest of distances make a noticeable difference in the weather, Stirling is wetter than Falkirk (15 miles away) and Alva (7 miles away), warmer than Dunblane (4 miles) and colder than Glasgow (30 miles).
Well, I seem to live in the "Season Behind" Microclimate, as my veggies always seem to be lagging behind those of my friends. If their courgettes are ready, you can bet that my spring peas are in season. My broad beans, just about the same time as potatoes. I am hoping my pumpkins will be ready for Christmas.
I asked my wise old veg growing neighbour about this. After expressing her disdain for the excessive growth of my peas (they are 7ft tall and produce peas the size of marbles, just not very many), she agreed that our village is "strangely effected by the distance from the Ochils and the river forth, creating a delayed growing season". I asked if she was telling the truth and she laughed and said that I just didn't really know how to grow anything (and pointed at my pea-opulence) She then asked me when I was going to make her more chocolate cake (I'm a really good neighbour).
She may have a point, a small point. Small holder or crofter, I will never be. At the beginning of the season, I dote on my veg. Treating them like royalty, they are planted, watered and adored with single minded love. I lose interest quickly and as the season progresses, they obviously become depressed by my neglect and fall behind their better loved counterparts in other climes.
But, you know what? I don't really care. My end of July broad beans taste as good as the Mid-May beans grown by others. If my pumpkins turn up at all, I am greatful for the fairy dust. Who knows, maybe next year, I will do better keeping them in line…or maybe I'll just move across the street to a different microclimate.