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|