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.
In Beechgrove Garden episode 7 2017:
1. 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.
This week it was tomato planting time for Jim. This year we are using growbag compost in all of the systems to give us a better comparison. The growing systems were as follows:
These get flatter over the growing season and do not give an ideal root growing system for the healthiest of tomatoes. Jim was also trying a few different methods to try to increase the drainage of moisture through the compost and the amount of soil available for each plant. However even if you are just using growbags it is best to warm them up in a greenhouse first and then give them a good thumping to let air into them as you would a pillow.
Collars in growbags. A hole is cut into the grow bag and the collar is inserted. This is then filled with compost. It gives a greater planting depth of 15cm for the tomatoes to grow.
One plant per 7L pot. One grow bag will fill 3.5 pots. Jim then moved on to look atwatering systems.
This system has a reservoir full of water which is fed by gravity into the potted tomatoes.