You are currently viewing The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020
The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020

The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020

The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020: This week, Carole and George are enjoying a mid-season harvest. Carole reveals the tatties that she planted in containers in the first episode, and George harvests cabbage and blackcurrants at his allotment in sunny Joppa.



Meanwhile, Chris checks on the progress of his box blight battle and explains the art of cloud pruning.

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 16 2020



Potatoes are hugely versatile and a staple ingredient of many meals in one form or another – boiled, mashed, chipped or baked. Tatties are classified as being either earlies or maincrops. Early varieties are ready to harvest much sooner than maincrops and are what we call ‘new potatoes’. Maincrop varieties are in the ground a lot longer. They have a better yield and produce larger potatoes.

Potatoes are grown from special ‘seed’ potatoes (also called tubers). These are just like potatoes you buy from the supermarket, but they’re certified virus-free. Buy seed potatoes from late winter onwards. You start them off indoors by setting them to sprout, before they are planted.

It’s important with earlies and a good idea with maincrops to ‘chit’ the seed potatoes first before planting; this means allowing them to start sprouting shoots. Stand them rose end up (the rose end is the one with the most small dents in the skin, or ‘eyes’) in egg boxes or similar in a light, frost-free place. The potatoes are ready to plant when the shoots are about 3cm (1in) long. On early potatoes, rub off the weakest shoots, leaving four per tuber.


Cabbages come in different shapes, sizes and colours, and with a little planning it’s possible to pick them fresh nearly every day of the year. They can be used raw in salad or coleslaw, and as ingredients in soup, boiled, steamed or braised. Different types can be harvested throughout the year.

Cabbages need a sunny site and firm soil. Wherever possible, prepare the soil in autumn by adding well-rotted manure or garden compost and then leave it over winter to consolidate. Before planting cabbages, make sure the soil is well firmed by shuffling along the surface on your heels, then rake it flat.

Box blight

Box blight is a fungal disease of box resulting in bare patches and die-back, especially in topiary and parterres.

The Box blight is a disease of box leaves and stems caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola (syn. Calonectria pseudonaviculata). Box blight doesn’t kill the roots of box plants. Cylindrocladium buxicola is divided into two genetic types which differ in their sensitivity to some fungicides (triazoles). It largely affects Buxus spp. (box) in the UK, but other plants in the Buxaceae family are also susceptible.

How to grow blackcurrants

Blackcurrants are easy to grow, producing bunches of dark purple berries in mid-summer, rich in vitamin C. With their tart flavour they can be made into pies and jams, cordials and even cassis. Short on space? Blackcurrants can be grown in containers.

Prune blackcurrants when dormant – from late autumn to late winter. They fruit best on younger wood, so when pruning aim to remove older wood, leaving the younger branches. Up to and including the fourth year after planting, remove weak, wispy shoots, retaining a basic structure of 6 to 10 healthy shoots.

In year four, cut out about one-third of the older wood at the base, using a pair of loppers or a pruning saw. This will encourage and make room for younger, healthy wood. Also remove weak shoots and low ones leaning towards the ground.

Cloud pruning

Cloud pruning is a Japanese method of training trees and shrubs into shapes resembling clouds. It is known as ‘Niwaki’, the translation of which is ‘garden tree’. The style is said to depict the distilled essence of the tree. This type of pruning does not have to be used in solely Japanese-style gardens; it can be used as a feature in gardens of many different styles.

Trim annually with secateurs or shears in early or late summer to keep specimens in shape. Faster growing species may need to be trimmed twice a year. Suckers and unwanted branches can also be removed. If you have chosen a flowering shrub, be aware that you will need to prune it after flowering, otherwise you will cut off the flowers.

The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020
The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020

The Beechgrove Garden episode 16 2020: Carole and George are enjoying a mid-season harvest. Carole reveals the tatties that she planted in containers