Showing posts with label seeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seeds. Show all posts

The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2017

In the Beechgrove Garden, Carole and George have a tough job of taste testing the new super-sweet tomatoes and thin-skinned cucumbers in the tender veg polytunnel. Jim visits Glasgow Botanic Gardens - now in their 200th year of existence - to see how the new young gardeners of Glasgow are being trained through a unique apprenticeship scheme.

George is in his horticultural element as he visits Rosa Steppanova in Lea Garden at Tresta on Shetland. This extraordinary garden is 12 hours and 200 miles by sea from Beechgrove, and yet it is an astounding display of plants from all around the world.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2017

Scotland's favourite gardening programme.

In the Beechgrove garden, Jim and Carole enjoy a red cabbage success story. Chris plants a range of hostas in the Beechgrove cottage garden. Since hostas are usually tasty morsels for slugs and snails, Chris also tries out a range of preventative measures. George visits Fiona and Euan Smith's garden at Kierfiold House on Orkney. The garden is a lesson on how creating shelter allows for planting in exposed conditions and is home to a large collection of hardy geraniums.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2017

The whole Beechgrove team are on the ferry to the Orkney Isles this week. Famously a place of only two seasons, 18 hours of light or 18 hours of dark, with constant winds but mild and with little or no frost.

The assumption always is that nothing much grows on Orkney in those conditions, but Jim, Carole and George find that is far from the case as they discover the determined gardeners of Orkney and how much they have achieved, to the extent that there is a thriving Orkney Garden Festival across the islands.
Jim, Carole and George host a Beechgrove Gardeners' question and answer session in Kirkwall and visit a host of good gardens on South Ronaldsay.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2017

 Life is a way more than a bowl of cherries at Beechgrove this week as Jim and Carole harvest bucketfuls of ripe cherries in the fruit house.

Carole visits two passionate showers and growers who are entering the Dundee Flower Show. Alistair Gray in Brechin is a show vegetable grower and winner of the 2016 World Potato Championship, while Bruce McLeod in Meigle grows champion chrysanthemums.
Jim visits Philip and Marianne Santer at Langley Park near Montrose. With little previous gardening experience, they have reclaimed the long-neglected garden to create a haven of colour. To their amazement and delight, the garden has been attracting visitors to what they call their little piece of paradise.
The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2017

 In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is investigating the mysterious death of a hedge. He suspects foul play, and has a water diviner on hand to search for clues.

Carole is in Ardersier for the second visit to see how Mari Reid and her friends are getting on in Vegetable Gardening on a Budget. Recent research suggests that we could all save £1,500 a year by growing our own. Mari and her friends are putting that theory to the test.
Jim takes the high road to Ballinluig, where Ian and Christine Jones have created a hidden gem of a garden at 600ft above sea level.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2017

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
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

Selecting Tomato Varieties

  Tomatoes originated in the South American Andes cultivated as early as 700 AD. They have become one of the central ingredients in many diets on all continents. It is now the most popular plant grown in home and commercial gardens across the world.
  There are two basic types of Tomatoes with literally hundreds of hybrids and heirloom varieties.
    - Determinate varieties grow as a small bush and set all of their fruit early in the year.
    - Indeterminate varieties grow as a vine. They bloom and set fruit as they grow.
  Growers living in hot summer temperatures should plan for the fact that indeterminate varieties will stop setting fruit when night temperatures reach approximately 85 degrees f. In warmer climates growers can plan for setting a fall crop by propagating cuttings from from the mature vines in late summer. Then plan for a new vigorous crop of tomatoes in the fall.
  Unfortunately fungus, bacteria and virus love tomatoes as much as we do so care must be shown in selecting the tomato varieties we grow that are resistant to the strains of disease most prevalent in our areas. Otherwise our effort could be in vain.


Indeterminate varieties resistant codes can be found on the plant label or seed packet
Below are the Disease Resistance Codes and a brief description of the major diseases:

V Verticillium Wilt
F Fusarium Wilt
FF Fusarium, races 1 and 2
FFF Fusarium, races 1, 2, and 3
N Nematodes
A Alternaria
T Tobacco Mosaic Virus
St Stemphylium (Gray Leaf Spot)
TSWV Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

What do each of these codes really mean?

- “V” means the plant is resistant to the fungi that cause verticillium wilt, Verticillium albo-atrum and Verticillium dahliae. The fungi work their way up through the plant’s roots, clogging water-conducting tissue in the stem. They spreads a toxin that wilts leaves and prevents water from reaching branches and leaves, starving the plant. Yellow spots appear on lower leaves, followed by brown veins. Leaves then turn brown and fall off. Infection pattern often resembles a V-shape.
- "F," "FF," or “FFF” means the plant is resistant to Fusarium oxysporum fungi that cause fusarium wilt. First signs are yellowing and wilting on one side of the plant – a leaf, single shoot, branch, or several branches. Yellowing and wilting move up the plant as the fungus spreads, clogging water-conducting tissue in the stem and affectively starving the plant. Left unchecked, fusarium wilt can kill tomato plants well before harvest time. Unfortunately, some fusarium fungi have overcome the initial - “F” resistance attributes in designated tomatoes. Today, newer cultivars have been bred to be resistant to secondary fusarium strains – hence the “FF” and “FFF” designations.
- "N" means the plant is resistant to nematodes, parasitic round worms that often lie dormant in the soil. Nematodes can produce root galls on the plant up to an inch wide. Affected plants are weak, stunted, do not respond to fertilizer, and tend to wilt.
- "A"means the plant is resistant to the Alternaria alternata fungus that causes Alternaria stem canker. Brown or black cankers attack tomato stems, leaves, and fruit, often accompanied by streaks. Left unchecked, cankers can spread across the entire plant and kill it before harvest.
- "T" means that the plant is resistant to the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), which causes mottling and yellowing in tomato leaves, reduced tomato size and yield, and brown fruit.
"St" means the plant is resistant to Stemphylium or gray leaf spot, caused by the Stemphylium solani fungus. Affected plants develop brown to black spots, which progressively get bigger, turn gray, and drop out – leaving holes.
- "TSWV" means plants are resistant to the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Symptoms vary from plant to plant, but can include yellow and brown rings on stems, brown streaks on p stems, dead leaf spots and tips, and severely stunted growth. Fruit may be discolored at maturity.
A brief video on shopping for tomato plants:

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’

Cinnamon For Garden Use

Cinnamon...Yes the powder we all have in our kitchen has practically universal application for use in our garden to stop the growth of harmful fungus that can kill our plants. When planting seeds sprinkle it lightly on top of the seed tray and it will greatly deter Damping Off Disease caused from fungus attacking our seed or young seedlings. Here an Irish gardener uses Cinnamon to combat fungus in her garden.

Damping-off in Young Seedlings

Propagating plants from seeds or growing plants on from seedlings is one of the most serious challenges that gardeners face particularly in the cool lower light conditions in the spring.
This video discusses the plant disease commonly called “damping off” and ways to avoid it. It is a disease that can plague both beginning gardeners and professional growers.

Damping-off in Young Seedlings
Damping-off in Young Seedlings

The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016

Carole creates a chef's windowsill as she grows a range of micro salads, while Chris takes on the job of revamping the old heather garden and turns it into our own piece of an ancient Scottish hill top in miniature.

(wait for video to load on page, HD AVAILABLE ON DESKTOP VERSION , any problem please comment )

George and Jim are off on a bulb-lover's busman's holiday and indulging in more than a little 'tulip fever' as they visit world-famous Keukenhof Botanic Park near Amsterdam to see the mind-blowing bulb displays.
The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016
It was a beautiful sunny spring day at Beechgrove. It was time to get on with some gardening jobs outside after last week’s weather. After the success of a commercially bought scatter mix last year, Carole decided to challenge Jim, George, Chris, and Brian to come up with their own successful hardy annual scatter mix. They were getting on with the soil preparation prior to sowing, by raking the soil and getting rid of the larger stones.There were nearly 30 hard annual varieties in the commercially available product which came in an easy dispenser rather like a watering can.
However out of the 30 really only 6 varieties stood out at Beechgrove last year. The challenge was for each of George, Carole, Jim, Chris, and Brian Cunningham to select 6 hardy annual varieties for their own secret mix. The bed was divided into 6 for each of the competitors and the control would be planted in the 6th bed for comparison.George’s mix cost under £10 and had 850 seeds – all about quality. Carole’s mix however was also under £10 and contained 3,000 seeds – all about quantity. Each of the presenters were not giving away their recipes. Each seed mix was combined with sand to bulk it up in order to sow it easily. We will check on progress later in the series.

Carole was in the Greenhouse for the final part of her series on windowsill gardening. This time
it was all about growing microgreens –full of proteins and vitamins making a healthy addition
to snacks and sandwiches, also the latest trend with chefs. Last week Carole recommended
getting an electric propagator to get seedsstarted but the alternative is an unheated propagator which could simply sit on the windowsill.
Any kind of vegetable seed can be harvested as a microgreen and they too are very easy to grow. These are not like the sprouting seeds,here you wait till they have grown to seedling stage, cut them off with scissors - this is thepart you eat.
One example is a radish which can be sown in a tray of compost, covered with more compost
and placed in an unheated propagator. This canthen be harvested for its leaves in a few weeks’time.
Carole had also sown some peas which were starting to germinate. In a few weeks’ time these can be harvested for their shoots.
Carole then demonstrated a couple of kits. The first one contained 3 mats which can be soaked in water. She then simply sowed the pea seeds on top of the mats. It is best to have a light sprinkling of seeds to ensure they do not touch and therefore stop rotting.
The second kit contained a tray which could be washed in the dishwasher and reused. Carole put water into the bottom of the tray.Kitchen towel was placed on top and then seeds were sown onto the towel. Carole recommended misting the seeds with water twice a day until the seeds had developed roots.
To recap: throughout this mini-series Carole has shown how to grow microgreens,mushrooms, herbs, salads and sprouting seeds.A full and productive wee garden on the windowsill.

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.