Winter hasn't been too cruel this year, but Carole is still hoping to find out how hardy the plants are that she deliberately left in the ground last year to test their resilience.Meanwhile, George takes a look at his winter stem border that's full of plants that have been shining out in the darker months. Undercover, the glasshouse is a hive of activity at this time and Jim is sowing for Scotland.
Chris continues to work on the pond area of the garden, planting a range of grasses on the banking, but it's perhaps a little too early for the waders. Carole visits retired doctor and artist David Hawson, who has created a fascinating topiary garden in Monymusk.
Welcome to Beechgrove for the second episode Jim, Carole and George were talking about the hawthorn hedge which had been hacked back quite severely over the last two winters. One side during the winter of 2015/16 and the second side over last winter. The regrowth has shown that it is possible to be quite severe with this hedging and it will still grow back. There has been a bit of a change in temperatures since last week. Temperatures had reached 18-19°C in some places at the weekend, but it was feeling much cooler today. However, the increased temperature had brought out the cherry blossom and an amazing red colour of Peach blossom too which George would grow purely for the blossom itself. Promise of a bumper crop to come soon we hope.
Jim’s first task of the day in the greenhouse, was to plant some onion setts into cells in trays.
He wanted to put an end to the argument that onions which are planted as setts don’t keep well
over winter. He illustrated this by showing some of his own onions which he had grown from setts which had been overwintered perfectly well in his garage. He explained that the secret is in drying out the harvested onions so that all moisture is removed before storing them. It has nothing to do with
growing onions from setts or seeds. Jim prefers to grow from setts as seedlings are more difficult
to deal with.
The planted onion setts will be put into a cold frame and then planted out into the
vegetable plot in mid-May. By growing from setts it also means that the onions will be 6 weeks ahead of anything grown from seed.
Jim then moved onto plug plants. A new variety of Salvia called ‘Vista Red’ had just arrived by
post ad were in good nick. He removed the plug plants from their packaging and planted each into
a cell tray. As the plug plants were already quite moist you can leave the watering for a day or two
after planting, they also need good light to get established. Lots of plugs will be arriving at this
point of the year and can be treated in exactly the same way.
Jim had a bit of fun with some broad beans.
He experimented with the positions of the seed when
sown to see if this made any difference to germination. He had 3 cell trays with seeds in each tray being sown in different positions – end down, other end down on the flat, and on their side. All the seeds were then watered with a larger holed rose head on the watering can to avoid disturbing the seeds.
Finally Jim pricked out some ‘stretched’ plants and potted them on. These had grown tall and
leggy as they had been left for too long in the greenhouse. He potted up some leggy French
marigolds, burying the long stems a bit deeper into the compost. They will be watered in and
will need a bit of time before they get going.
Featured seeds and plants:
Broad bean ‘Oscar’
Broad bean ‘The Sutton’
Pot Marigold ‘Key Lime’
Salvia ‘Vista Red’