Kailyards and Plantie Crubs, oh my!

Seven Trees Farm is just starting to wake up from winter. Our plans to have a hot bed/cold frame ready to winter over greens was put on the back burner again, thanks to life’s steady onslaught of surprises.
The seasonal windstorms we experience here make a traditional greenhouse a losing proposition, but the often-mild winters make year-round gardening irresistible. We had a few hardy greens survive our no-tech neglect style – parsley, chives, chard, soup celery, and some sad spinach. Maybe we need to pile some of those farm-ubiquitous cement blocks into a plantie crub and call it good 🙂

Seven Trees Farm

The picture above is of a kailyard c.1936, on the island of Foula, a part of the Shetland Isles. The climate in parts of northern Scotland is so harsh that even today gardening is a challenge. One way early crofters dealt with the cold and salt sea air was to build walled gardens. Even so, not much would grow but hardy plants like Shetland cabbage (kale) and more recently, potatoes.
These two pictures are of the Ham Doon kailyard (also on Foula) in spring and summer. The word kailyard literally refers to a small plot of land or kitchen-garden where cabbage (i.e. kail) and other vegetables may be grown. The word kail is recorded in Scottish sources from the late fourteenth century onwards and derives from Old Norse kál. Kailyard has been in use since at least the sixteenth century, and is attested in official documents such as…

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