The Beechgrove Garden 2022 episode 12: Calum is at Beechgrove designing and building a garden modest in both size and budget, but big on ideas and inspiration for anyone starting their own garden. George is at his allotment in Joppa and, as ever, he has been busy over the winter building more-accessible raised beds and laying new paths ready for the season’s growing.
Celebrating the great Scottish garden. Tips and advice to get the most out of your garden, with inspirational ideas from Scotland’s most beautiful green spaces. The Beechgrove Garden has been on air since 1978 and remains a firm favourite with audiences in Scotland. It consistently outperforms what is being screened by BBC Network in the same slot. At the heart of the series is a 2.5 acre home garden, situated on a cold, inhospitable slope west of Aberdeen, deliberately chosen to reflect Scotland’s harsher climate.
Horticultural advice in gardening magazines and on UK network gardening programmes is rarely suitable for most of the UK outside the South East of England. Beechgrove shares with its viewers the weekly challenge to work with the Scottish conditions to produce maximum yield of as many varieties as possible of fruit, flowers and vegetables.
The Beechgrove Garden 2022 episode 12
Raised beds are a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables. They are a good way of boosting drainage and can be used to introduce a different soil type to your garden. Raised beds are also a useful way to garden if you have restricted mobility, as they reduce the need to bend.
Stone: Both natural stone and stone prepared for wall construction can be purchased. Skilled labour is required for construction and footings are nearly always required. Generally the most expensive material.
Brick: Strong and durable. Curves can easily be incorporated into the design. Skills are needed for construction, and footings are generally required. Engineering bricks are most suitable as they are weather resistant. Domestic bricks are much cheaper but porous and so much less durable.
Pre-cast units: Constructed from concrete or reconstituted stone, these materials are cheaper but less adaptable.
Timber: Very versatile. Pressure-treated (also called ‘tanalised’) wood is available. As a shorter-term alternative, untreated wood can be painted with a preservative. To prevent wood preservative leaching into the soil, line wood exposed to soil within the bed with black plastic sheeting. Untreated wood will have a shorter life than treated, although untreated hardwoods such as oak and western red cedar will still last many years. Gravel boards are generally sold only as pressure-treated timber.
Railway sleepers: It is no longer permitted to use railway sleepers impregnated with creosote in garden, due to the risk associated with frequent (daily) skin contact. If you already have raised beds made from old railway sleepers and have this level of contact, then protective clothing (gloves etc.) should be worn. For new beds, use sleepers treated with other preservatives, or untreated hardwood sleepers. Note that this material requires heavy lifting.
Paving slabs: Can be inserted on their side. At least 15cm (6in) of slab needs to be buried in the ground for stability, leaving only 45cm (18in) above soil level. As paving slabs often move over time, 30cm (1ft) -deep concrete haunchings can be laid for extra stability, and metal plates fixed at each vertical joint. Relatively inexpensive, but heavy to lift.