Showing posts with label greenhouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greenhouse. Show all posts

The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2017

 In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim takes a look at progress of his favourite cutting flowers and adds an easy staking system to the beds to keep flower heads up.


Last week, Brian visited Pitmedden Gardens to see how they deal with the threat of box blight on their six miles of hedging. This week he is experimenting with a range of slow-growing, small-leaved evergreens as potential alternatives to using box.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2017

Carole visits David and Laura Gill in Dunblane to see the garden that David has created from scratch over the last eight years. The garden's centrepiece is a beautiful pond that provides a floral oasis of calm in a busy life.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.12 2017

  In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers side by side in his domestic-sized greenhouse. They shouldn't work together, but with limited space you have to make it work, and Jim is determined to find a way.


With pruning saws at the ready once again, Carole and George take the Woodland Garden in hand as, at the moment, you can't see the wood for the trees.
 Brian visits the meticulous Pitmedden Gardens in Aberdeenshire to find out how head gardener Susan Burgess tackles the problem of box blight, with the six miles of clipped box hedging to maintain.
The Beechgrove Garden ep.12 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.12 2017


The Beechgrove Garden ep.11 2017

In the Beechgrove Garden it's fire and water as Carole and George don waders and climb into the pond to clear the blanketweed, while Jim also wages war on weeds with a new flamethrower.
Brian and George plant up a new alpine wall with blue and white plants that will create sky beyond the alpine mountains. Carole is in the water again as she visits Julia Young's unique garden in a quarry at Blebo Craigs, near Strathkinness, as Julia has a small rowing boat to weed and plant around the quarry.


What a beautiful summer’s day at Beechgrove this week and in the low maintenance garden, Jim, Carole and George were admiring the Viburnum and Azalea both flowering at once, illustrating what Carole had remarked on earlier in the season that there seemed to be a concertina effect with everything flowering at once.
At the start of the series we remarked on the concertina effect of bulbs – crocuses, daffodils and
some tulips all flowering at the same time. In the Driveway Garden, George claimed bragging
rights for the beautiful Meconopsis flowering there which he had planted last year. As well as the more common ‘Lingholm varieties’, there was also Meconopsis ‘Slieve Donard’ of Irish origin named after the mountains there. The variety ‘Mildred’ which is a slightly paler blue form has a number of different flower heads on one stem.
‘Marit’ is a white variety. George explained that after flowering they need to be fed. A thick layer of wellrotted farmyard manure or leaf mould should be put around the base of the plants to a depth of at least 4” They like cool, moist conditions. The seed heads should also be removed as we don’t want them to set seed. This means they will bulk up and flower for next year.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.11 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.11 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2017

In the Beechgrove Garden, it's tomato time as Jim and Carole both start off their own tomato trials. Brian Cunningham is back at Beechgrove and he continues with the next phase of development for the alpine garden. George packs his loppers and cuts a dash to see Sheila Harper in Banchory. Sheila's garden boasts two old, unruly apple trees which George brings back down to earth.


Jim is visiting the inspirational Firpark School in Motherwell and finds that horticulture is at the very root of the school's success. Firpark has 150 pupils with a range of additional support needs, and pupils learn to take produce from fork to fork and from garden to bistro.

Pruning Apple Trees Sheila Harper in Banchory is living in a rented property with two magnificent, old and unpruned apple trees which now crop way above her head. Once upon a time they were trained as espaliers. George thought that given the size of trunk and size of branches, they may be somewhere between 70-90 years old. George carried out some very necessary pruning work to both balance and prolong the life of the trees. The top growth was reduced by around 1/2.
The results looked severe but George reassured Sheila that the trees would recover and that the shoots which would grow from the cut branches would need to be pruned back to half their length and thinned out next year.
The trees were just coming into growth at the time of pruning which was ideal as it gave George and Callum an indication of where it was possible to thin out and cut back the branches. George advised Sheila that the trees has just had a major operation and recommended feeding the trees with blood, fish and bone around the base in spring and autumn and keeping them watered to aid their recovery.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2017


The Beechgrove Garden ep.6 2017

 Jim has set up the 6 x 8 greenhouse in an almost exact replica of his own greenhouse at home and this week he's adding some half-hardy colour.Meanwhile, Carole trials a range of fertilisers using Scotland's number one bedding plant, the begonia, to see what if any difference adding fertiliser makes.Chris continues development of the new, old (Scottish) rose garden. It has been planted with every variety of rose, but they will all have to be able to cope with exposed Scottish conditions.  George visits Dr Tony Toft in his garden at Hermitage Gardens in Edinburgh, which is a showpiece display of unusual species mixed tastefully with specially commissioned pieces of art and sculpture.



A couple of year ago, Chris added some standard weeping roses to the side border of what was then the cutting garden. This week Chris is adding to the collection of roses using the 4 central rectangular beds. First though – some pruning of the now 2 year old weeping standard roses and the reason for leaving the pruning so late is so that the long stems have time to produce some growth and be weighed down so you get an idea of what wood to prune out (where the previous flowers were) and that which is dead diseased or frosted in this case.
Use sharp clean secateurs so as not to spread disease and take off the tips about 1cm above a good healthy bud, then go through the entire canopy. On the main trunk was a shoot of the root stock – the dog rose, this needs to be taken out as they would become way too vigorous and take over the plant.
Christhen fed them with a specialist rose feed and then watered it in. A layer (2 – 3cm deep) of well-rotted horse manure was then added around the base. In the four beds in the middle of the garden, Chris wanted to show some variation and diversity of types of rose but have a coherent theme.
The centre of beds were planted with species roses to provide height with varieties of ground covers and others to provide a kaleidoscope of colours and scents. The preparation of the beds for new roses is paramount. Roses like free draining soil, but a firm soil and ours was a bit too light and fluffy which would allow root rock, so to make the soil a bit heavier, Chris added well-rotted horse manure to the beds. This was forked in and the beds were tramped over the beds to firm up the soil to give the roots a good firm hold in the soil. To the planting holes he also added seaweed (kelp) meal and mycorrhizal fungi. Chris was planting the roses quite deep so the shoots are coming from ground level, as the current thinking is to plant roses slightly deeper as this will keep the roses in a healthy condition. It is essential in the first few months after planting to keep them really well watered.
At a later date, there will be under planting of herbaceous plants and bulbs to complement. We ordered our plants bare root, which is a cheaper way of adding to your plant collections and here in
Aberdeen we are just about at the end of the bare root season. Elsewhere you may have to buy container raised plants. If you are not ready to plant then you can heel them in to keep the roots as moist as possible. Heel right up to the crown of the plant. The roots will be vulnerable to drying out so keep them moist until you are ready to plant.
Chris featured a few favourite varieties:
A large centrepiece large shrub rose is Roseraie de L’Hay, with a wonderful fragrance. Very large, double flowers of rich crimson-purple with contrasting stamens. A vigorous, dense shrub. Completely reliable.
• Repeat Flowering
• Highly Fragrant
• Ideal for poor soil
A modern English Shrub rose is Munstead Woodc combining the old-fashioned bowl shaped roses with a sweet fragrance and long flowering of the modern rose. Ground cover is Kent, one of the County Series and a really good ground cover rose with double button white blooms. A new floribunda is Burgundy Ice. This is a relatively unusual plant derived from a well known rose called ‘Iceberg’ – This new one has all the vigour of Iceberg but with a burgundy tint.
These roses came from David Austin roses, and the information above is from their catalogue.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.6 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.6 2017


The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017

Jim is planting a selection of swedes and turnips for later in the year.Meanwhile, Chris is attempting to create a rose garden at Beechgrove, but how will it cope with exposed Scottish conditions?


Carole is in Ardersier for Vegetable Garden on a Budget, with recent research suggesting that a family of four could save roughly £1,500 a year growing their own vegetables. Mari Reid lives and gardens in Ardersier and has come up with a clever way of helping others to grow their own by using community-minded land or garden share.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017


The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017

 Carole and Jim are also both planting potatoes; Jim is planting new blight-resistant varieties in the main veg plot, whereas Carole tries cheap and cheerful potato bags on the decking.
 Jim has asked the team to each choose their best tree for a small garden and is planting them all in Beechgrove to compare and contrast.
 Saughton Park is a faded, hidden garden gem in the south west of Edinburgh. The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or the Caley, as it's affectionately known, has taken up the challenge of renovating this once-grand park and garden. George will visit the project on a regular basis during its design and build.


It was not a bad morning weather-wise at Beechgrove but temperatures are still dropping at night so be careful with your tender plants. Carole and Jim were looking at the splash of colour shown by the spring bedding. Last year the display consisted of varied spring bedding with the bulbs planted throughout the entire scheme which did not really work because the bulbs obscured the bedding
plants. This year the bulbs are in the centre of the display and the spring bedding has been planted around the perimeter. Narcissus ‘Rapture’ (a cyclamineus Narcissus) looked lovely with its reflex petals. Narcissus ‘Silver Chimes’(Jonquilla) is a multi-headed variety which is highly scented like jasmine or hyacinth.
Carole was not too sure of the mixed colours of primula but they seem to work well with Tulip ‘Concerto’. Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ is a late flowering variety with apple blossom coloured blooms. It is already flowering in pots but it is later flowering in the bed. It coordinates well with the white Polyanthus. The daddy of all the bulbs was a Tulip that we don’t know the name of. We had ordered Shakespeare but Carole wondered if the bulbs had been wrongly named as she knew ‘Shakespeare’ as a compact tulip with stripy leaves and yellow to orange blooms. This variety turned out to be too tall to show off the blue polyanthus underneath but is a real show stopper... whatever it is.

The typical size of a UK garden is 14 square metres which means that many people have limited space in which to garden so it is really important that you choose the right tree for the job for proportion and decorative value. Each of our 5 presenters has chosen their favourite tree for a small garden to add to the trees already at Beechgrove. Criteria for their choices included shape and size, rate of growth, pruning regime, autumn colour fruit etc. Into each of the planting holes went mycorrhizae to aid root establishment and a bit of fertiliser. Jim also demonstrated a range of staking techniques. There are two main reasons for staking young trees, particularly if they are tall specimens and if the site is exposed. Firstly, to anchor the root ball preventing it from moving about. Secondly to keep the main stem vertical, whilst realising that swaying of a stem does help to strengthen and thicken it. Presenter’s trees for a small garden choices: Jim: Prunus ‘Snow Showers’ – a lovely little weeping cherry suitable for most gardens, with an estimated height and spread of just 3 x 3 metres in 20 years. Th is tree will grow in most sites but does not tolerate very wet soil. Chris: Cornus controversa ‘Pagoda’ – spring flowers,autumn berries and stunning autumn colour foliage. This is a slightly more vigorous form of the more common variegated form C. controversa ‘Variegata’Height – up to 10 m spread to 8metres. Carole: Sorbus vilmorinii – beautiful lacy foliage, springflowers, autumn berries and can be grown in most soil types. Eventual height and spread in 10 – 20 years – 2.5 – 4m. Garden staff: Crab Apple ‘Royalty’ –Malus Royalty is an ornamental crab apple with attractive solid dark red flowers. The autumn fruits are a deep red colour, whilst the bronze leaves are impressive from spring to autumn Height – 3 – 4 m after 5 – 10 years. George: Amelanchier ‘Rainbow Pillar’ – white flowers, autumn colour and grows on most types of soil. A lovely new introduction from Ohio which will grow to 5 m in height and 2.5m spread. Brian: Acer grosseri var. hersii – a snake bark maple with grey green foliage and beautiful snakeskin bark. fast-growing tree with year-round interest. Reaches specimen size quickly. Growth then slows. Eventua height and spread – 7 – 9metres.
Staking methods:
1. No apparent staking, the root ball being anchored below soil level. Three wooden pins are put into the soil around the rootball and then these are attached to horizontal cross pieces. This is mainly used for bigger specimens.
2. Double upright stake to 30cm above ground - 30-40cm apart (with crossbar 30cm above
ground from prevailing wind side.)
3. Oblique stake.
4. Single upright stake to 30cm above ground.
5. Single upright stake to start of ‘head’.
6. Double upright 30-40cm apart with crossbar to start of ‘head’. (Crossbars to be screwed to the
stakes).
Other trees already at Beechgrove suitable for small gardens are:
The Siberian Pea tree – or Caragana arborescens.This is a very small, weeping tree and so is ideal for any small garden and makes a very attractive feature tree. In May it has with yellow, pea-like scented
flowers that are popular with bees. It is very tough and will do well in poor soils, semi shade
and has good drought tolerance once established. Caragana will reach 3 x2 m (or less) in 20 years so is perfect for smaller gardens. Another of Jim’s favourites is Prunus serrula – the Tibetan cherry which has been in the Beechgrove garden for about 20 years and still really well contained and could be planted in any small garden. Again, it is a good all-rounder, growing in most soil types and
positions. Ultimate height and spread in 20 years is 8 –10m. It features wonderful peely red bark.
Another topper in Jim’s opinion was Amelanchier lamarckii (the Snowy Mespilus). This is small, tough and graceful, and is ideal for an exposed or difficult position. April brings a profusion of star-shaped, white flowers with bronze tinged young leaves, followed later in the year by striking red autumn colour. Height and spread in 20 years is only 4m x 3m.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017

 To dig or not to dig, that is the question on Jim and George's lips in the Beechgrove Garden. Two side-by-side veg plots, both preparing to grow, but one has been dug over and the other untouched.
 Scone Palace is overrun by rabbits like many Beechgrove viewers' gardens. Head gardener Brian Cunningham sets up an observation to try and find out if there really is such a thing as rabbit-proof plants.George is no shrinking violet when it comes to floristry and as Jim would say, every day is a school day. This week, George goes back to school, not just any school but flower school in Edinburgh, where he learns tips and tricks to put together some unique arrangements with spring flowers.


At Beechgrove we keep our collection of Camellias indoors over the autumn and winter period until it is time to let them go out for their summer holidays outside. This week they were looking amazing.
Camellia ‘Donation’ is a reliable variety up with us and the first to flower in early March at Beechgrove and good value too as it’s still flowering. George commented that Camellias were also flowering in sheltered spots outside in Edinburgh.‘Ballet Queen’ was looking gorgeous – rather like the frills of a ballerina’s tutu. George described ‘Jury’s Yellow’ looking like whipped cream.
With lots of potential buds on these plants the display is set to continue. It will be another month before they can be moved outside as there is still the potential of early morning frosts.
We have had these Camellias for 4/5 years now and the discussion was whether they needed to be potted on. Keeping potting them into bigger and bigger pots is not the solution as they become too unwieldy to move. Jim suggested treating them like semi-bonsais and keeping them in the same pots and refreshing the compost. After flowering they can be removed from their pots and the old compost removed. Their roots would need to be gently teased out. They could then be re-potted in the same pots with new compost. They need to be kept well-watered to prevent bud drop.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.2 2017

    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.

Greenhouse Work

   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’
Courgette ‘Romanesco’
Onion ‘Sturon’
Pot Marigold ‘Key Lime’
Salvia ‘Vista Red’


Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015

The team enjoy the autumn colour in the Beechgrove garden. Carole and George plant various combinations of bulbs and spring bedding plants to see which of these make the most attractive displays, while Jim has a big clear-out in his greenhouse.



The programme catches up with Brian Cunningham at Scone Palace Garden to review the progress made to the David Douglas trail, and Carole also visits Tillypronie Garden near Tarland and delights in the swathes of heathers.

Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015
Jim,  George  and  Carole  were  in  the  Secret Garden on a lovely day and the sunny weather was bringing out the autumn colours. There is a fabulous planting combination here of a  tree  called 
Cercidophyllum  japonicum under planted with Kniphofia (Red hot pokers).
Cercidophyllum japonicum is a favourite with our presenters and was talked about endlessly at the 
Rothesay Roadshow on Bute. In the autumn when the first frosts hit it starts to smell of candy floss or strawberry jam. The Corylopsis (above)  which  George  gave  a hard prune last year was also starting to show some  leaf  colour  as  was Bergenia  cordifolia or ‘elephant’s ears’ (below).     

Show bulbs 
George was outside the greenhouse. It is time to start planting bulbs for entering into the spring flower  shows.  If  you  fancy  having  a  go  at  it, George explained that the best thing to do is to 
work back from the show date to find out when to  plant  them.    Approximately  12  weeks  is required for the bulbs to grow and be ready in time for the show. George   planted   up   some   hyacinths   and commented that these are garden hyacinths and not  prepared  bulbs  for  flowering  at Christmas.  
These will flower for shows at Easter time. 
He used deep pots, such as old rose or clematis pots, so that the roots will have plenty of depth to grow in.   He filled the pots  with a compost made of bracken and wool with some added grit 
for drainage. The bulbs were really packed into the pots onto the top of the compost with their noses above the compost. George  noted  that  you  need  to  read  the information about the class you are entering.  For example  George  planted  three  bulbs  of  the hyacinth ‘Ann Mary’ in a pot as three bulbs is the number required to display together to enter for this particular class.  The pots were then put into a plunge bed and covered with about 6” of used compost (from old grow bags etc). This weighs down the bulbs and keeps them positioned in their pots.They  would  be  left  in  the  plunge bed  until January.   George   being   the   old   romantic suggested  Burns  Night  (25th  January)  for the Aberdeen show in March or Valentine’s Day for the  Caley  (Edinburgh)  show  at  the  end  of 
March/beginning of April. With the Narcissi he planted as many bulbs as would fit into a pot.  The aim was to get all of these to flower and be in perfect condition on the day of the show.    


Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015

Jim and Carole walk around the garden pointing out plant combinations showing colour at this time of year. Jim prepares half hardy perennials for winter, whilst Carole enjoys the gloxinias which are still flowering well and shows how to dry off amaryllis bulbs.



In Coldstream, George Anderson meets Alec West who has an orchard jam-packed with apples, pears and plums - his fruit collection is said to be the biggest in Scotland.
It  was  a  fine  autumn  day  at  Beechgrove  this week and Jim and Carole were at the back of the Vegetable Plot looking at the cordon apples along the wall where there is a very promising crop.
These cordons are the oldest apple trees in the garden  as  they  came  from  the  original Beechgrove garden where they were planted by Jim and George Barron in 1978, and were moved to the current Beechgrove Garden in 1995.  Jim explained that when they were moved they were ‘shuchted in’ (heeled into the ground) for a whole  year  because  we  didn’t  have  a  place  to plant them and then finally planted along the wall in 1996. All of them have been grown as cordons, which don’t take up much room, and still bear a good crop to this day.   Varieties  included  ‘Lord  Lambourne’,  ‘Laxton’s Fortune’ and ‘Egremont Russet’.
Preparing half hardy perennials for winter Jim was in the greenhouse preparing cuttings of half  hardy perennials  and  sub-shrubs  for overwintering.
The cuttings were taken in August and they have rooted  well  –  they  include  sage,  artemisia, penstemon and helichrysum. Sage can suffer a real battering in the winter weather so it is worth
taking some cuttings.   Jim  explained  that  the  rooted  cuttings  can  be overwintered in their current pots. They will need to be fed with a half strength tomato or indoor plant fertiliser as there is no fertiliser left in the original compost.
If  you have the facilities – ie the space and  a greenhouse  it  is  worth  repotting  individual
cuttings  into  7cm  pots.  Jim  demonstrated repotting with the cuttings from purple sage. He
potted  them  on  into  some  fresh  peat-free compost. This compost had been used previously
for fuchsia cuttings and Jim is pleased with the results.  The cuttings need to be kept in a greenhouse at a  temperature  of  5-7  °C  overnight  until  next spring.  This means you will have nice new plants
by next April.  Jim advised that plug plants should be watered before they are potted on as the roots as they dry out will grow into the new compost searching for  water,  whereas  cuttings  with  loose  roots should be watered after they have been potted on. The cuttings need to be gently firmed into the compost.

Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015

The Beechgrove Garden ep.10 2016

The Beechgrove team take a break from the garden to be at Gardening Scotland, the biggest gardening show north of the border. The cream of British growers will be there, with everything from pansies to pelargoniums and cacti to clematis in a stunning floral frenzy.


We see those who are growing for gold including those exhibits showing off their medals from the previous week's Chelsea Flower Show. Show gardens are a buzzing, eclectic mix from Hive Jive, a garden inspired by the 'waggle dance' of bees, to the secret herb garden made with invasive weeds that are turned into beer.

Beechgrove will be concentrating on the Scottish talent and Scottish plants but we'll join them all for a sneak preview as well as sampling the unique atmosphere of Gardening Scotland.


The Beechgrove Garden ep.10 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.10 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.9 2016


In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is dealing with hardy veg in the veg plot, while Carole is starting off some tender veg in the polytunnel. Brian Cunningham, head gardener of Scone Palace, is back at Beechgrove to finish the new alpine garden planting.


Carole also visits Mike and Sue Thornley at Glenarn Gardens in Rhu, near Helensburgh. This garden dates back to the 1920s and 30s and is best known for its stunning collection of tender rhododendrons that are planted in a sheltered Himalayan glen.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.9 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.9 2016


Greenhouse Gardening
 This year as last, both Jim and Carole have each taken on an 8 x 6 greenhouse and are using them to show just what can be grown in a small glasshouse.
 This year Jim in his 8 x 6 greenhouse is representing a little bit of everything that the domestic gardener at home would have – so a couple of tomatoes, a cucumber and a pepper all grown in the Quadgrow system, which means even watering and even feeding for the plants. This is great as it means that you can confidently go off on your holidays knowing that your plants will be kept watered and fed all by themselves.
 The heating in this house is effected by using a second-hand beer pump which keeps the greenhouse frost free over winter using the beer cooler as a heat pump.It is based on along length of pipe buried in the ground which collects the abundant low grade solar heat stored in the ground. This system was the brain child of Marek Mazilowski.
 Over winter in 2010 we did a small observation to compare the cost of heating to a minimum of 5C in two houses – one with a conventional electric heater the other with the beer cooler, we found that the latter cost only one third of the cost of the electric. However this is something that is not available on the market, you do have to be a good diy’er.
 Each of the pots in the Quadgrow has a Feeder Mat which pulls water up from the Smart Reservoir into the soil around the roots as and when the plant needs it. The 4-pot Quadgrow planter keeps plants perfectly fed and watered for 14 days at a time and produces 2x bigger harvests compared to pots & grow bags.
 The other things that Jim has in this greenhouse are a cross section of young plants being propagated, some growing on, some resting.First off Jim mentioned Pelargonium ‘Welling’ which has been flowering wonderfully, but has got somewhat out of hand, so the trick is to take cuttings from it now. Jim had brought some cuttings of Fuchsias and Pelargoniums of his own from home, which had been in a little propagator. When you are ready to pot these on, good practice would be to keep them in the same atmosphere as before, but of course there is no room when all are potted seperately, so the best thing is to take them out of the propagator prior to potting on to harden off a little on the bench.
 Once they have been potted on they can be put back straight out on the bench. It is important also in early summer, to keep a moist atmosphere around plants, so the pots are sitting on moist capillary matting, and keep misting regularly.The dwarf cyclamen which flowered earlier on in the year have been kept going by watering and feeding for a few weeks now, at this point it is time to place the pots, on their sides underneath the bench for the corms to dry out. An important factor to consider at this time of year is getting the greenhouse shading in place. Jim is using a removable fabric windbreak netting.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2016



  In this edition of the gardening magazine, Jim investigates digging. He grows two sets of vegetables side by side to compare how digging affects them.
Brian Cunningham, head gardener of Scone Palace, is redesigning the alpine garden at Beechgrove, while George takes a tour of 19th-century Braco Castle garden with head gardener Jodie Simpson.
Carole was on a mission to save the Mahonia in the calendar border from being pruned by George (after recent week’s pruning frenzy). As George pointed out however, it was flowering right at the top of the plant, so could be encouraged to flower lower down by giving it a prune.
  At Beechgrove Jim is always on the look-out for a ploy to trick Mother Nature to extend the growing season. The soil in the main veg plot is too cold and wet to sow seeds or plant into at the moment so Jim wanted to gain some time by planting onions sets (variety ‘Sturon’) into pots. This means that whilst the ground is warming up outside, the onion setts will have started growing in pots and be around 4 -6 weeks ahead. The result will be that we will have an earlier or even bigger crop, we hope. In the same vein Jim also sowed vegetable seeds into small cell pots including beetroot, turnip, carrot and radish (10 pots per variety). 3 seeds were sown into each pot and a thin layer of compost was sieved on top. These will then be watered and put into a greenhouse, cold frame or on a window sill. These would be compared with those that are directly sown into open ground. In the next few weeks garden centres will also start getting in vegetable plug-plants for the same reason – you are putting them out already half grown – however Jim explained that it was much cheaper to grow your own plugs at home yourself and then plant them in the vegetable garden when the conditions were right.  
   Last year George had great success with growing crops in a very small space – he called it hissquare foot garden, this year he is going torepeat this observation.In this bed the soil was warm, friable and dry soit was time to get sowing more crops. George explained that the slabs here absorb the heat during the day and dissipated it at night. This leads to the ‘edge effect’ where seeds sown next to the slab edge should be quicker to germinate.To prove this, George was sowing 2 rows of lettuce – one against the slab edge and one further away – to see which row germinated quicker. It also meant that there would be a succession of crops if one was slower to germinate.He made a shallow drill with a trowel, sprinkled the seed into each drill and then covered it over and labelled each row. The aim this year was to grow lots of leafy veg.The site had been base dressed with fertiliser,when the crops start to slow, George will be showing us a secret to keep the plants cropping.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2016