Staying small, George is in the fruit cage planting a new mini orchard. Hoping to prove that the fruit of your own labours is the sweetest, Jim is helping Carol Cocker in Inverurie to learn how to grow her own for the first time. Jim is like a child in a tree sweet shop as he visits an awesome arboretum in Kippen.
You will certainly have your five a day with Beechgrove this week. Jim is testing temperatures and hoping to sow early broad beans while Carole and Chris take a look at the fruits of their labours from last year with their containerised peaches.
Jim was on the Main Vegetable Plot getting ready to start planting and sowing early crops. We have been watching the soil temperature closely to see when we can get sowing and planting. On the uncovered beds the temperature has risen to 7 °C – the crucial temperature to start planting – and on the covered beds it was warmer at 10 °C.
Weeds are starting to grow and this is a good an indicator as any that conditions are right for sowing. Jim was preparing the ground to start planting an early potato variety called ‘Rocket’. The seed potatoes had already been chitting for 4-6 weeks in a frost-free greenhouse.
Carole, George and Chris were in the Fruit Cage creating a mini orchard – in this case, growing apples in a small space. In contrast to restricting roots in pots in the
fruit house (River’s Method as above), this is all about controlling the apple trees by pruning the top growth and choosing the right rootstock.
It is important to keep the roots of bare-root plants moist, ideally in compost until planting out time, as the roots are very delicate and vulnerable. Chris explained
that the rootstock is the engine of the plant gathering nutrients for the tree and fruit and controls the vigour the tree.