Showing posts with label growing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growing. Show all posts

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6

   Carole continues with her windowsill gardening and sows herbs and salad leaves, which can be used to produce tasty, foodie salads for weeks.
   In Garden on a Budget, Carole is with Mieke Guijt in rural Kennethmont, helping to mould a garden out of almost nothing. Carole takes Mieke on a budget shopping trip to buy materials for easy-to-make compost bays and shows her how to have plants for 'free'.
   George visits the painterly garden of Broughton House in Kirkcudbright. The house and garden belonged to EA Hornel, artist, collector and 'Glasgow boy'. George discovers how much the garden influenced Hornel's paintings.

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6
The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6

Carole was in the greenhouse with snow falling all around her with the 2nd of her series on growing productive crops on a windowsill.  This time she was looking at herbs and salads.  Carole suggested that it is well worth investing in an electric propagator to give seeds a boost to aid germination.  To demonstrate, Carole sprinkled some chervil seed onto the top of some compost then sprinkled with more compost.  She then placed the tray into a propagator to give it some bottom heat.  She also featured a new herb called Wasabi Rocket which could easily be grown on the windowsill.
Carole also showed a trough containing compost and 3 types of herb seeds –parsley, chives and basil
-which were easy to grow.  Carole put the compost into the trough and then divided it into 3 areas.  A different seed was sown in each section.  She then recommended covering this with cling film until
the seeds had germinated.
She also had some vegetable and herb seed discs (Jiffy 7s) which needed to be soaked in water until they swelled.  These can then be placed on a windowsill to germinate and once hardened off can be planted outside.  Another interesting way of sowing seeds Carole had spotted were Seedballs, which were made of clay granules and a herb or salad seed mix.  Carole put 3-4 seedballs on top of some
compost in a small pot –no need to cover as the clay will break down.  With regular watering these will germinate in 1-2 weeks.  These can also be sown directly outside at a ratio of 20 to a square metre.  Finally Carole showed seedmats.  These are pieces of biodegradable material containing
seed.  She simply laid this on the surface of some compost in a pot, covered it with compost and then watered it.  Within 10 days there will be some lovely salads to eat from just the space on a windowsill

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.5

In the Beechgrove garden, Jim is hoping that the soil is now warm enough to plant tatties in the main veggie plot, while on the decking garden Carole is also planting tatties on a tiny scale.
Chris and Carole are going on very different fungal forays in Beechgrove this year. Chris is creating a whole Jurassic Park fungal valley with ancient timbers and all manner of edible mushrooms. Again on the other end of the scale, Carole tries out some windowsill mushroom-growing kits.
George visits Alan Shamash's impressive hillside garden full of an extensive collection of rhododendrons in Kirkudbright.
It was a gorgeous sunny spring day at Beechgrove this week. Jim and Carole were in the Fruit House looking at the cracking, cherry blossom.
The variety is ‘Sweetheart’ and it was laden with blossom. It has been a reliable variety at Beechgrove and there was lots of promise for a bowl of cherries in the summer. A few bees and butterflies have already been into the Fruit House to pollinate the blossom.
Jim explained that if the blossom was sprayed with water, this would ripen the pollen grains.
This variety was self-fertile so would pollinate easily. You could also use a paintbrush to pollinate each of the flowers.

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.5
The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.5

Windowsill Gardening: Part One

Carole was starting a 3 part mini-series on how to go about productive gardening in the tiniest of all spaces, by growing crops on your windowsill.
First up there were sprouting seeds. Carole explained that these can be grains, nuts or pulses. Examples were red clover, alfalfa, and mung beans. The resultant sprouts can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches or added to stir fries. To get them to grow, the first stage is to soak them overnight in water. This can be anything from 8-24 hours (check seed packets for recommended time). Carole had chickpeas, sunflower seeds and lentils soaking in bowls of water. These are then easy to grow as not much equipment is required –only a jam jar, an elastic band and a pair of tights. Approximately 1 tablespoon of the soaked seeds should be put into the jar. These then need to be rinsed and drained twice a day to stop the seeds becoming mouldy. Once they start to sprout, they can be eaten raw or cooked.
Carole also showed a couple of other systems you can buy –a jar with a sieve lid and 2 tiered growing systems. She then moved onto mushroom growing kits for growing white and chestnut mushrooms. These are made up of a trough, a lid, a small bag of compost and straw holding the mycelium of the mushrooms (the growing parts of the fungi). Carole explained that the straw needs to be white before starting to grow as sometimes when you get the kits it is not, so she advised placing it in a warm place ( up to 25C) to allow the mycelium to grow on.
You then need to pierce the compost bag and soak it in ½ litre of water.

Fungal Valley

Whereas Carole was growing her mushrooms intensively on the window sill, Chris has a bigger project in mind for a damp and deeply shaded area near to the stumpery which he created 3 years ago: a fungal valley for Beechgrove so that we can grow and harvest our own mushrooms outside at Beechgrove. Fungi in the wild occur mostly in wooded areas because of all of the rotting wood and leaf litter, and many fungi have a mutually beneficial association with tree roots.
At Beechgrove Chris found an example of these beneficial mycorrhizal fungi in the more wild and unmanaged part of the garden. There are around 15000 species of fungi resident in the UK, and if you delve just over an inch below the surface of leaf litter in a wood environment you can find them really easily.

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