Jim is on his own in the garden, taking on all his special subjects, including monitoring the progress of the tomatoes and reviewing his hydrangea pruning observation to see which of his three methods of pruning is working best and resulting in most flowers.
|Beechgrove Garden ep.20 2015|
Meanwhile, Carole and George are helping out with the last stages of the creation of a new community garden with the good folk of Inverbervie. The new community garden will be the central feature to a garden trail around the village, designed for locals to enjoy as a florific community space and to have tourists stop and take time in the village.
Jim was in the Trials Area on another rainy day at Beechgrove, looking at the calabrese spacing
trial here. Jim explained that last year he grew cabbages in a similar observation to find the
optimum spacing for the best yield. This year Calabrese ‘Marathon’ is being grown at three different spacings. The first block has 9 plants per square metre; the second block has 16 plants per square metre and in the third there are 25 plants. 9 plants per square metre 16 plants per square metre (middle) 25 plants per square metre (this end of the bed). The yield from the terminal and side shoots has been weighed from each spacing over the growing season so far. Jim concluded that nine plants per square metre produced the heaviest yield with the best quality heads. Jim went up to the Main Vegetable Plot to look at the broccoli here for comparison. Last week we were here looking at the cauliflowers.
The last of the F1 hybrid Cauliflower ‘Clapton’ hasbeen harvested but we are still waiting for the open pollinated variety ‘Snowball’. Back to the broccoli story: three different kinds of broccoli have been grown here. Jim compared the yields of the different varieties. Brokali ‘Apollo’ F1 produced the best yield of heads at 1.3 kg. Tenderstem ‘Inspiration’ is Jim’s favourite and produced just under 1 kg. It has a lovely flavour and a crunchy texture. Jim did not rate Chinese broccoli ‘Kailean Express’ as he finds it tasteless and therefore for him not worth growing.
Strimming the Wild Area
Jim was in the Wild Area getting very wet as it was still raining. Ford, one of the Beechgrove gardeners, was strimming the wildflower meadow whilst Jim was raking up. Now is the time to cut down the meadow as all the plants here have flowered and are setting seed. Jim explained that the cut grass should be left on the surface overnight so that all the seeds drop into the soil so that they can germinate for next year’s display. It should also be left so that all the wee beasties can escape from it. Then it can be raked up, and stacked ready for putting on the compost heap.
There are also some weeds in this area. Jim explained that the yellow-flowered ragwort will be chopped down or dug up before it sets seed as it is poisonous to mammals. It is particularly
hazardous in paddocks used for horse grazing. Jim also talked about the two hedges encasing
the Wild Area. One is a wildlife hedge which comprises native plants such as rose and
hawthorn. The other one is an edible hedge (Ken Muir) made up of fruiting plants such as wild pear, wild cherry and sloe which will feed the birds. There are no signs of fruit yet as it is only a couple of years old and needs more time to mature.