Gardeners World episode 14 2020: Monty gives tips on growing tomatoes and has ideas of how to fill gaps in the garden once the flowers of spring are past their best. The team meet an extraordinary gardener from Swansea, whose upper limb difference has not deterred her from growing and creating a garden that is both productive and beautiful.
On the eve of reopening, the show goes behind the scenes of Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset to find out how the head gardener has managed this historic landscape whilst the garden has been closed over the last few months.
Joe Swift visits the small city garden of an interior designer, where some unusual plants have been used to add an element of surprise to the outdoor space, and in Kent, Arit Anderson meets a community of gardeners who have all been prescribed gardening as part of their recovery from physical and mental illness.
Gardeners World episode 14 2020
Sweetpea growing guide
Seeds should be sown in pots or seed trays then covered with 1 to 1.5 cm of compost. A 125 cm pot will hold about 12 seeds, 8 around the edge and 4 in the centre – a standard seed tray about 50 seeds, arranged 10×5. Level the compost and water with a fine rose. Covering with newspaper or propagator lids will help to avoid drying out. Germination is probably best at 15C to 18C and can take place in 5 to 8 days.
This gives the best way of developing growth and this is done into, typically, 7.5 cm pots or alternatively “root trainers” which are about 125 cm deep. This should be done as soon as seedlings can be handled when they will be 2.5 to 5 cm high. Lower the taproot into a dibber hole in the compost, tap the pot to settle the compost, which should be level with the original depth on the stem. Gently water in. Root Trainers are a frequently used accessory.
Spring sown plants should have their growing tips of the primary stem pinched out after two pairs of leaves have been produced, to ensure the development of side shoots. Autumn sown plants will normally produce side shoots naturally but the primary stem should be removed before planting out.
How to grow tomatoes in Gardeners World episode 14 2020
Growing your own tomatoes is simple and just a couple of plants will reward you with plenty of delicious tomatoes in the summer. There are all sizes of tomatoes to try, from the tiniest cherry types, favourites with children, through to full-flavoured giant beefsteak tomatoes.
Water regularly to keep the soil/compost evenly moist. Fluctuating moisture levels can cause the fruit to split. Feed every 10-14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser, changing to a high potash one once the first fruits start to set. Irregular watering, together with a lack of calcium in the soil leads to blossom end rot – the bottom of the fruit turns black and becomes sunken.
For indeterminate (vine or cordon tomatoes), there is evidence that removing some leaves above the ripening truss (which allows the fruit to be warmer during the day but cooler at night) can encourage slightly earlier ripening without negatively affecting cropping. Removing leaves below the ripening truss does not improve ripening but can help reduce the spread of diseases such as tomato leaf mould or tomato blight where these are a problem.
Tomatoes in containers
Juicy ripe tomatoes, picked straight from the plant, can be enjoyed by anyone with room for a pot or growing bag in a sunny, sheltered spot. Compact bushy cultivars of cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow – they look decorative trailing over the edge of a pot or trough, and give you loads of small, sweet, pop-in-the-mouth fruit from a single plant.
Put containers or growbags in a sunny sheltered spot. Fill containers to within 2-3cm (about 1in) of the rim with moist compost. Cut out holes in growing bags to accommodate the plants, and make slits in the base for drainage. Plant once nights become frost free – usually mid-May in mild areas. Bury the roots deeply (up to first tiny ‘seed’ leaves on the stem) and water well, to settle the compost around them.
Cover plants with horticultural fleece on any unexpectedly cold nights. Water regularly to keep the compost moist – this can mean at least once a day in hot weather when the plants grow larger. As soon as fruits start to form, feed the plants regularly with a proprietary liquid tomato food according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Irises can be kept healthy and full of flowers by dividing clumps before they get congested. This is also a good way to increase stocks of plants. Both clump forming irises and those with rhizomes (fleshy stems at soil level) can be divided. Irises that are grown from bulbs are not suitable for division.
Pumpkins are great fun to grow with children. They are easy to cultivate, but need a sunny position, plenty of water and shelter from cold winds. One of the finest sights of autumn is colourful pumpkins ripening in the sun. Once harvested, pumpkins can be used in delicious soup and for roasting.
Pumpkins need a sunny position, moisture-retentive soil and shelter from cold wind. Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make individual planting pockets 1.8m (6ft) apart. Do this by making a hole about a spade’s depth and width. Backfill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general-purpose fertiliser over the soil.
Although it will be hard to keep up with their watering requirements, you can also grow pumpkins in growbags or containers (at least 45cm/18in wide). Plant one or two per growbag, or one per container.
In late May, start hardening off (acclimatising) indoor-raised young plants. Do this by moving them into a coldframe for a week. If you don’t have a coldframe, move plants outdoors during the day, then bring them in at night for a week. The following week, leave them out in a sheltered spot all day and night. Plant into your planting pocket in early June when the risk of frost has passed.
Squash come in all kinds of shapes and sizes from massive pumpkins to tiny patty pan squashes. There are winter squashes, such as pumpkins and butternut squash and summer squashes, such as yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, and scallop, which are harvested when immature. They are all relatively easy to grow from seed.
Squashes are easy to grow from seed and can be sown outdoors in the spot where they are to grow, or you can start them off indoors in pots. Sow two or three seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep outdoors in late May or early June and cover with cloches, jars or plastic; leave in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one.
Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make planting pockets 90cm (3ft) apart for bush plants of summer squashes and 1.5m (5ft) for trailing plants of summer squashes. Do this by making a hole about a spade’s depth, width and height and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Plant one plant on top of each planting pocket.