Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2015

The tomatoes in the growbags were looking the best and also have the best crops. Surprisingly the plants in the self-watering systems were suffering the most, with the leaves rolled and yellowing and growth stunted.The system with a growbag placed on a wicked reservoir system was full to the top and the compost waterlogged.

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The plants in the Autopot system were looking a
bit better, but the fruit is not ripening in these pots either.Jim also talked about a letter that we have received about the use of the ‘expensive’ watering systems. Jim explained that our aim is always to try the systems and recommend those which work well. Using self-watering systems also means that you can go away on holiday without worrying about the plants. These systems can last 10 years or more if looked after properly, so they can be a worthwhile investment.
Featured varieties:
Tomato ‘Sungold’
Tomato ‘Shirley’
Self-watering systems:
Hozelock Growbag Waterer (Amazon £20.99)
Easy2Grow self-watering Autopot
( £89.90)
Quadgrow - Self Watering Planter (Harrod
Horticultural £42.95)
Polytunnel crops
Carole was in the Keder polytunnel and there are also some problems with the crops in here.Two varieties of Tendersweet sweetcorn are being grown in this polytunnel – ‘Swift’ and a newer variety, ‘Lark’. There was evidence of mould on the leaves.
Carole said that this was probably to do with the high humidity in this polytunnel. The plants have been treated with a fungicide.
The cobs however are looking good. Sweetcorn is planted in blocks to aid wind pollination but if grown in a polytunnel like these are, the plants are tapped gently to disperse the pollen. Carole explained that the tassels at the top of the sweetcorn plant are the male parts, which carry or drop the pollen down to the silks (the female part).This pollen drops down on to the female silks
below leading to formation of the cobs.Cucumber ‘Delistar’ has been cropping since the end of June with at least a dozen fruits so far.These have such a thin skin that they appear lime green in colour and they don’t require peeling.
Carole spotted some botrytis (grey mould) on one of the stems and she put this down to the string supporting the plants cutting into the stem. The Spaghetti squash is doing well. Carole is letting 3 of these vigorous plants form 6 fruits each and then stopping the plant. The 3 remaining plants will be allowed to scramble and fruit freely. The fruits will be harvested at about 10 inches long. Once baked, the flesh separates into long strands that look like spaghetti.Tomato ‘Ananas’ was starting to fruit. This is a
heritage beefsteak tomato and is forming ribbed fruits.One of the fruits however was malformed with the calyx in the middle. Carole thought that this may be due to a genetic hiccup known as proliferation.
Featured varieties:
Cucumber ‘Delistar’
Sweetcorn ‘Lark’
Sweetcorn’ Swift’
Spaghetti squash
Tomato ‘Ananas’
Square metre plot update George was in his hugely successful square metre garden catching up on progress. The dwarf peas (variety ‘Twinkle’) were ready to harvest and according to the camera crew tasted tender and sweet. After picking the small pods,
George said that he will pull up the plants and sow this patch with a new crop. The cabbages were also ready to harvest.
There are 2 varieties – ‘Minicole’, a ball-shaped cabbage and ‘Hispi’, a pointed variety.The idea of this plot is to grow small quantities of a range of crops to use in the kitchen - enough for a small family to eat. The soil has had lots of manure and fertiliser added and is very fertile enabling it to be cropped intensively and successionally.
George took the tops off of the broad bean plants to allow the bean pods to swell.However, the main job of the day was to fill up
the empty spaces.Carole had harvested the potatoes in Programme 14 and George sowed radish, spinach, parsley
and spring onions to fill the gap.He also sowed a winter salad mix where the peas had been. The packet said that this could be cropped through to January but probably not as far north as Beechgrove.Vegetable varieties suitable for a small plot:
Beetroot ‘Pablo’
Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’
Cabbage ‘Hispi’
Cabbage ’Minicole’
Carrot ‘Paris Market’
Carrot ‘Purple Haze’
Carrot ‘Yellowstone’
Fennel ‘Victorio’
French bean ‘Delinel’
Garlic chives
Lettuce ‘Little Gem’
Lettuce ‘Mazur’
Pak choi ‘Baraku’
Parsley ‘Titan’
Pea ‘Twinkle’
Potato ‘Arran Pilot’
Radish ‘Cherry Belle’
Radish ‘French Breakfast’
Radish ‘Purple Plum’
Rocket ‘Astra’
Spinach ‘Medania’
Spring onion ‘Apache’
Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’
Turnip ‘Sweet Bell’ greenhouse. Sadly, the tomato crop was not a pretty sight and Jim put this down to the fluctuation in temperatures – down to 3°C at night and soaring up to 30°C during the day on some days. These extremes in temperature are
very difficult to manage and control. Jim pointed out ‘dry set’ of the flowers - this is where the flowers form but drop off. Jim said
that this was due to the lack of humidity in the greenhouse. Greenhouses need to be regularly dampened down in hot weather.

Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2015