Beechgrove 2021 Episode 2 08 April 2021

Beechgrove 2021 Episode 2 08 April 2021

We are welcomed to Episode 2 of Beechgrove 2021 by Carole Baxter along with Mairi Rattray, Kirsty Wilson and some very noisy birds who are full of the joy of Spring.

Carol says is great to have Kirsty back in the Beechgrove garden and that she is loving her new allotment, Kirsty has been busy painting her new greenhouse, green!

Mairi is asked about how the weather has been at Beechgrove after Carole telling her they had a big hailstorm at home. 

She says its been dry, cold and windy so they have had to water some of the shrubs that are in containers particularly the Camelia.

She pleasantly surprised they are still alive after they were just planted in the ground and left to their own devices so they will not flower at all this year.

Mairi Rattray

Carole Baxter

Carole is back in the 8 x 6 greenhouse and this year she is going to be growing more productive plans.

It is time to be sowing Cucumbers, Tomatoes and some Basil, sounds like a ready made salad!

They are being sustainable and using Peat-free compost as well as peat-free growbags that she has warming in the greenhouse.


Carole has some Tomatoes to prick out and some have just got their Cotyledon leaves but the more advanced ones have their first true leaves.

The ones with their true first leaves are the ones that are ready to prick out.

She uses a dibber or you can use a pencil and makes a hole in the soil in the pot to transplant them into and carefully hold the plant by its leaves as to not damage the stem.


Carole then uses the dibber to push the soil firmly around the plant then they need a water and a bit of care.

She is growing 4 varieties of Tomatoes this year, 2 grown traditionally as single stem and then she has varieties Dora and Veranda Red which are smaller and ideal for pots, even on a windowsill.

Mairi Rattray

Mairi is setting up a water butt to collect rainwater off the greenhouse and she suggests hanging on to your greenhouse manual to make sure you get the right fittings for the guttering and down pipe for the water butt.

It is an old water butt and she has raised it off the ground using some blocks or you can buy stands leaving enough room for the watering can to fit under the tap.


Having the water butt so near the greenhouse is handy and the weather has been so dry every bit of water collected helps.

Carol tells Mairi she jinxed it and its now going to keep raining.

Brian Cunningham

Brian says this is a special year for Scotland as they are hosting COP26, a climate change conference and as a family they want to garden more sustainably and is going to share his ideas with us to try.

First job is to make a no dig vegetable bed in their lawn.

With the no dig method you feed the soil and the beds are 1.2 metres wide so you can get at them from both sides easily without walking on the soil.

Brian Cunningham

To extend the bed onto the lawn without digging he shows how you can make simple raised beds but it needs to have 15 cm of compost at least on top to stop the light getting to the grass.

He is putting some cardboard on the edge of the lawn just to stop it sneaking through.

To get the compost moved to the new bed he calls his 2 children, Daughter Eilidh and Son Ben as helpers.

Brian Cunningham

The compost is their own mixture using some of the soil from path, leaf mold and old bags of compost and farmyard manure.

They have mixed it all together with a secret addition from the compost heap, his home made compost that is looking just perfect.

The workforce are complaining that their dad has not been pulling his weight when it comes to sifting the compost.

He checks the depth with Eilidh and its 15 centimetres on top of the grass and Brian does some work in spreading it about!

Brian Cunningham

It is too early to plant anything outside yet but you can sow for the greenhouse or windowsill and Brian asks for help with some peas.

Ben collects the compost from the greenhouse and sets us at the potting table and Brian says how they sow is also going greener this year.

They are not using normal pots, but after working their way through a stockpile of toilet rolls they are using the inside of them to sow Peas in.

The children fill them with compost whilst Brian opens the peas and the variety is Kelvedon Wonder which is also good for successional sowing which they will do in 4 weeks time which will be in the ground.


He asks the children what they think of the pots and they said its good as they will decompose as you plant the whole pot.

Warning Bad Dad Joke as Brian spills the peas and declares he has Pea-d on the floor!  

Well that went down well!

The compost they are using is peat-free too so they will start growing very quickly.

Brian says its lovely having you back at his garden in Old Scone and they will return to see their efforts to be more sustainable throughout the Summer.

George Anderson

George is in his greenhouse and he showing us his lovely Spring bulb, himself and wife Jill had planted to take part in various shows and has some wonderful daffodils and Hyacinths.

This year it will just be photographs of the plants going to the shows not the plants themselves.

George is going to show us how you can sow seeds in small spaces and recycled containers.


He uses old milk containers he sculptures in to a good growing container and also plastic punnets that grapes and soft fruit come in.

He fills them with peat-free bark based compost and he sows seeds on the top of this.

One of them says mixed seeds on the label already and what George has done is made a mix of last years seeds in a jar like salad leaves, Pak Choi, Radish, Coriander and Spinach.


You do not need too many seeds to get a portion of salad per pot.

George tops his pots off with River Sand or Coarse Sand just enough to cover the seeds and George is even using a recycled bottle with a small rose sprinkler on the top he got from a garden show to water them with.

Giving them a good water ensures the seed makes good contact with the soil and hydrates it to start the growing process off.

Not everyone has room for a greenhouse so he takes us outside to show what you can do in a small space.

raised bed

George has created a raised bed out of 4 paving slabs and also some out of the wood from old pallets.

This is all about reusing and recycling and he has used old windows to cover the tops of them and they are right by the kitchen so very handy.

He hopes this gives you some idea what to do in small or awkward spaces for next to nothing.

To plant the seeds in them he is using an old bit of pallet wood as a row space and draws a line with his trusty dibber.

If you do not have one a spoon or pencil will do and the seed packet it will tell you how deep to sow.

raised bed

He is planting Radishes not too thickly and not all the packet at once and he uses a small rake to fill in the trench and gives them a firm.

Out comes his plastic bottle watering can and he gives them a good water and covers them back with the glass frame but fleece would also do.

Kirsty Wilson

Kirsty is recycling too but she is making a birdhouse with a green roof.

You usually see green roofs on buildings or sheds.

All you need is a birdhouse with an adapted roof with higher sides, a compost bag, chicken wire, some peat-free compost, moss raked from your lawn and some sedums.


Kirsty has already completed 1 side and shows us the other side and that she has lined the top of the birdhouse with the compost bag to protect the roof.

On the top of this she packs the compost and covers it with moist moss and secures this with the chicken wire and trims the edges


She then adds even more moss to hide the chicken wire and she then adds the fleshy sedums to the moss using the dibber. These root really easily.

Eventually they will spread all over the roof and then she just has to hang it from a tree.

Sophie McKilligan

Last year we followed Sophie progress on her Garthdee Allotments in Aberdeen which she filmed herself during lockdown.

In 2019 Carole had visited Sophie at her allotment to give her advice and they spoke about Sophie studying Horticulture.

She did just that and passed her exams and was offered a job at Culzean Castle and Country Park in Ayrshire.

Iain Govan

Her boss and Head Gardener is Iain Govan and tells us that Culzean has always been associated with the Kennedy family and have been here for 100s of years.

In the 1700s the castle went from a single tower house to a huge castle and the gardens are shaped by the history of the castle.

He started work there in 2017 and the North Walled Garden was to be changed into a more productive garden.

North Walled Garden

Sophie who started work in January is to be based in this garden and there is a crossover between being a vegetable gardener as well as a North Walled Gardener and the total area is 4 acres.

Sophie says the productive part of the garden is surrounded by herbaceous borders that divide the North Walled Garden into sections.

This includes a nuttery, orchard, kitchen garden, plants with a purpose section and Prop house.

The cut flower bed is full of 1,500 tulips that are just coming up and one of Kirsty first jobs there she planted 1,500 Gladioli Corms in just 1 day.

Peach house

One of its star attractions is the Peach house and they are just coming into glorious bloom now.

This is the original glass house and they have always been grown this way and they have to artificially pollinate them by hand.

Sophie cannot wait until the summer to taste these special peaches.

She shows us another special place the Camellia house and it is at its best as this time of year and her favourite one is Camellia Japonica Bonomiana and she enjoys deadheading and watering them.

Camellia Japonica Bonomiana

With that job dome we are back in the Kitchen garden and its Rhubarb and how to force it.

After removing any dead leaves or weeds you add some nutrient rich mulch to the crowns.

The Crowns there are mulched all year round with composted bark but manure of home made compost is fine.


Kirsty has a Rhubarb pot but a large pot or dustbin also works and cover the crown so no light gets in.

She has one prepared earlier and covered 4 weeks ago and some is ready for picking and it will be sweeter when forced.

Kirsty and Mavis

Good news is Mavis her dog can come to work with her and they are both loving her new job and we will return for her to show us more of these fantastic gardens throughout the year.

Handy Hints of the Week

Mairi tip is to pinch out the top of leggy Sweet Pea plants down to just 3 leaves to encourage side shoots.


Carole is to make a Beetle Hotel as they are under threat. She puts an old bucket or planter in the ground and cuts lots of decent size holes in the sides as beetle doorways.


She then adds stones to the bottom and a couple of small logs to lay there eggs on or eat and she fills the gaps with leaves and bark and puts soil over the top.

Kirsty tip is about Hellebores that flower for months and she suggests cutting off the flower heads and floating them in a bowl to bring into the house.

We reach the end of the programme and Mairi is pointing out a Standard grown Holly Tree that has grown at an angle with a lollipop top.

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