The Beechgrove Garden episode 13 2020: It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to strawberries and cream, and there is nothing better than having grown them yourself. In a fruity Beechgrove, Carole tastes the ultimate in no-fuss, easy-to-grow strawberries, while Chris shows how to summer prune figs and grapes.
Beechgrove is a hardy annual TV gardening series which sets out to deal with, glory in and celebrate Scottish horticulture and growing conditions. Beechgrove is and always has been a firmly practical, get-your-hands-dirty gardening programme which delights in success but also learns from failures in the garden and never takes itself too seriously.
The Beechgrove Garden episode 13 2020
A fresh, properly ripe fig is a thing of great beauty. To grow figs successfully outdoors in the UK, it’s important to choose a hardy cultivar and plant it against a sunny wall. In colder areas figs require winter protection; luckily they grow well in containers which is ideal where space is limited. These spend the summer outdoors and are overwintered in a cool, frost-free place. Even a single plant provides a successful crop.
Move figs growing in pots into a sunny location, outdoors, once there is no danger of frost. In spring, apply a general-purpose granular feed and mulch around the base of fan trained plants, with well-rotted organic matter, to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Once the figs appear, apply liquid tomato fertiliser every two to three weeks during the growing season, until they start to ripen. Water well during summer.
Dig around the outside of a planting pit every couple of years with a sharp spade to ensure that no roots have escaped. Figs can produce fruitlets in late summer and spring or summer. Only the tiny pea-sized fruitlets produced in late summer survive winter and are sufficiently well advanced to flower the following summer. Fruitlets produced in spring may ripen in greenhouses but seldom outdoors.
Remove larger fruits that are not mature enough to ripen at the end of the season, leaving the tiny embryo fruits at the shoot tips, to ripen the following year. Winter protection outdoors: protect fan-trained figs in winter. After leaf fall, pack a fan-trained plant with straw, bracken, or even bubble wrap and then cover with horticultural fleece. Remove the insulation during late spring, from May onwards.
Winter protection in containers: In autumn, move plants that have been grown in pots into an unheated greenhouse, shed or porch.
Grapes: pruning and training
The main pruning season for grape vines is early winter, but they need regular pruning and maintenance throughout the growing season to keep them manageable and productive. The two main pruning systems are the Guyot system and the rod and spur (cordon) system.
The main pruning time is early winter (late November or December). Pruning later can cause the vine to bleed sap, weakening the plant. Training and pinching out of new shoots, as well as thinning of fruits, is carried out in spring and summer.