The Beechgrove Garden 2021 episode 12: Carole and Mairi are at Beechgrove showing how to prune and tame overgrown evergreens. Meanwhile, Kirsty is at her Inverleith Park allotment setting up a wormery and is looking forward to a pretty and productive harvest.
The Beechgrowers return with further updates in their gardening video diaries from the length and breadth of Scotland, and we visit the garden of Steve Micklewright in Newlands of Tynet, where the surprisingly favourable conditions allow some very special plants to thrive.
The Beechgrove Garden 2021 episode 12
Worm composting is an efficient method of turning kitchen waste and small amounts of garden waste into nutrient-rich compost and a concentrated liquid fertiliser. However, it is not a substitute for conventional composting. A ‘worm bin’ or ‘wormery’ usually consists of at least two compartments; a lower collection sump for the liquid and an upper composting area where the kitchen waste goes in and the worms actively work. However, single compartment wormeries can be also used.
The worms used for composting are known by various names; brandling, manure, red or tiger worms. These include the species Eisenia foetida, E. andreii and Dendrabaena veneta. Composting worms live in decaying organic matter, whereas earthworms are soil dwellers. They are smaller and darker red than the common earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, which is unsuitable for using in worm composting.
Organic waste usually has a high moisture content. If the lid is kept on, dry conditions are unlikely to occur. Add water only if the wormery appears dry. An established wormery can be left without the addition of food for up to four weeks. However, the liquid may accumulate which needs to be drained off to avoid waterlogging. Occasionally fork the compost over gently with a hand fork to check that the worms are present and healthy.
Potato blight and how to beat it
Potato blight is the most important potato (and tomato) disease in Britain and in fact is of global significance. While blight is often considered a ‘fungal’ disease, the blight organism itself is not strictly a fungus but is more closely akin to an algae.
Like algae it must have a wet environment to survive. Blight attacks usually follow warm rainy weather and are commonest in mild, wet western regions. Greenhouse tomatoes often escape damage because the plants remain dry.
Signs of blight are unfortunately common in summer. Potato leaves commonly darken at the edges with white mould occurring at the paler edges of the dark patches followed by destruction of the entire leaf. Tubers can become infected and rot in the ground (or later in storage) unless foliage is removed promptly when blight has been spotted. Wait two weeks to allow the spores to die out, then gather in your potatoes. Tomatoes show dark marks on stems and brown blotches on fruits with leaf rots. The plants can quickly collapse.
Once a crop is infected the disease quickly spreads in wet weather but can dry up and become dormant in hot dry spells. Blight infections stop once colder autumn weather arrives.