Beechgrove 2021 Episode 3 15 April 2021

Beechgrove 2021 Episode 3 15 April 2021

We are welcomed to Episode 3 of Beechgrove 2021 by Carole Baxter and Mairi Rattray and the garden is covered in a thick layer of snow.

Carole says a few days ago she was cutting the lawn and buying suntan lotion and Mairi says last week they were busy weeding the garden this week Snow arrived and put a stop to that.

A cold wind has made it feel colder than the -2 it has been and some of the plants have suffered like the poor deflated Daffodils that are laying in the snow.

The snow has been removed from the Topiary also.

Mairi Rattray

New for 2021

Joining Beechgrove are 6 lots of keen amateur gardeners that are going to report from their own gardens doing all their own filming. 

With Covid-19 stopping the presenters travelling around Scotland with the current travel restrictions the Beechgrowers are a new addition for 2021.

Carole Baxter

Carole is excited by Asparagus, because it comes up every year she sees it a a 'value for money crop' .

They grow it in the polytunnel and have 2 varieties Mondeo, which is German bred and a French variety called Dariana.


The Mondeo was planted in 2006 but the Dariana was from Carole established Asparagus Crowns.

When the garden was left to over grow during last years Lockdown, Carole thinks that was beneficial for the Asparagus due to a watering problem and damp ground and they are looking better this year.


Carole has brought in some from her garden and has been sprouting  since 11 March 2021 and she been cropping it since the end of March.

She will continue cropping for the next 8 weeks then you leave it like a herbaceous plant and it grows it fern leaves and helps build up next years crown.

Kirsty Wilson

Kirsty is in Fife where she is getting some seaweed for her allotment which makes a great organic fertiliser.

Seaweed is full of nutrients as well as being sustainable and is great for plant health and growth.

Julie Campbell

Julie Campbell from Seaweed n Stuff is an seaweed enthusiast and knows all about its benefit and she is meeting with Kirsty on the beach.

She got into seaweed after reading an article about its health benefits as a food which she wanted to add to her diet as they are high in Iron, Protein and Iodine but low in fat.

Depending on what sort they are also good for Vitamins A E and B12, a proper superfood! 

Kirsty Wilson

To harvest seaweed the best place is a rocky beach with mid-low tidal zone for the best edible seaweed.

It is ok to harvest it for personal use but for a large scale you would need a Commercial Licence to harvest.

To Harvest you need a low tide, warm clothing and a pair of scissor (a bucket i would think also) and you just cut off a third from the top leaving the rest attached to the rock.


Julie uses 15 different types but there are over 700 and non are poisonous so its just a case of trying them to see what yo like i suppose.

For a gardener looking for seaweed for the allotment you would remove just 1 bucket of storm seaweed from the beach that has washed up.

Kirsty does not look too keen but for its health benefits she tastes some.

Kirsty Wilson

Pepper Dulse known as the truffle of the sea, is supposed to taste like pepper and garlic and is the first one she tastes and is surprised that it does and she likes it.

Kirsty heads up the beach with her bucket to collect the washed up seaweed.

Next Kirsty is meeting up with Ally Mitchell and environmental innovator with a new approach to recycling by creating plant pots from end of life plastic, rope and fishing nets and his company is Ocean Plastic Pots.

Ally Mitchell

He collects the waste materials at ports before turning into plant pots it is usually destined for landfill or worse still ends up in the Ocean where they pose the biggest threat to Marine mammals like whales.

He got the idea as a marine diver he was part of salvaging from a boat that run aground containing 2,000 tonnes of plastic off the north coast of Skye last year on the first day of lockdown.

plant pots

This changed they way he looked at this waste and then went on to teach himself plastic moulding and started making plant pots.

Then he started collecting from the beaches himself all the plastic that washes up that he used to see in Ocean that breaks down to microplastic and is digested by the fish and marine life.

Kirsty asks 'what can we do to help protect marine life'? Ally says the best thing we can do is prevention, recycle our plastics and using less plastic stops it entering our seas and oceans.

Mairi Rattray & Carole Baxter

Mairi is in the greenhouse with Carole admiring the cherry blossom from a variety called Sweetheart.

They are both socially distanced at different potting benches to sow some Perennials, herbs and ornamental grasses.

Carole has been working out costs from a £3 packet of seeds they range from 30 seeds to 1,000 seeds and if they germinate that means some plants would be less than 1/2p to grow.

Mairi says the compost she is using is Beechgrove's own Leaf Mold which is 2 years old.


Carole is using a peat-free compost and she has a presser to level the top of her pots buy you can use the bottom of a pot.

Mairi uses seed trays and she pinch sows her seeds so she does not sow too many.

Carole is using twizzers for the big seeds and she starts by sowing some Lupin.


Mairi says its the size of the seed that let you know the depth or the amount of compost you cover it with that she does through a garden sieve, Carole has a kitchen flour sieve.

Watering next and Carole likes her watering can rose facing downwards and she starts watering away from the pot and moves across or she puts them in a tray of water that is Mairi preferred method.

The seeds sowed today will need some protection from the weather they currently have at Beechgrove.

George Anderson

George is in sunny Joppa at his allotment and he is a lot more advanced as he got some Peas and Broad Beans to plant out already.

You can tell the soil is warm enough as weeds are germinating and the ground was dug over in Winter and they just needed to tidy it up.

They have added bark to the paths, done some weeding and have been spending over an hour a week there.


The variety of Pea he is planting is Meteor which is an early one and he has grown them in plugs so they are all ready to go in.

The main reason George is at the allotment is to plant some fruit that he had ordered and that was delivered in mid March and because it was bare rooted he put it temporary in a pot.

He starting with a Blackcurrant Ben Hope and after getting it out the pot he trims the old roots leaving the new ones.

Blackcurrant Ben Hope

This needs to be planted deeply so a few inches of the base of the plant is covered in soil and then buds will come from the base and make it a bushy plant.

Next he has a Cherry and the variety is Minarette and it is a single straight stem that you do not let branch out to the sides it stays single stemmed.

It does not need much room as it is grown vertically and George has mixed some of his own compost into the planting soil.


When planting the next  Cherry the root stock needs to be well above the ground and this variety is Sunburst and he is also adding some Mycorrhizal Fungi  that you can buy at your Garden Centre.

He scoops some out and what this does is come in contact with the plant roots and creates a coating and helps them absorb water and nutrients more efficiently.

George then breaks down the soil edges of the hole so he can give the plant a good firm tread in with his heel then fills the hole in.


He also has a Plum to put in as well as some Raspberries.

Jill reminds him to give them a good watering, and after a rake over thats the new fruit bed all planted up


Due to travel restrictions 6 households have joined Beechgrove to give us regular updates from their gardens from right across Scotland and they all have very different gardens.

These are all being filmed by their own families due to restrictions.

These keen gardeners are to be known as the Beechgrowers.

Diana like to grow vegetables for the family and they live in West Linton.

Catriona and Sophie
Catriona and Sophie and they are part of the gardening community in Crieff.

Asta lives in a flat in East Craigs and has a lot of house plants.

Aidan and Joe
Aidan and his Papa Joe come form Kilwinning and they like to grow wild and traditional.

Bilal comes from Lochinver and he gardens for wildlife.

Murray Family
The Murray family need help to design their garden in Melvich.

Together they will be gardening together, and bringing us updates every month, from right across Scotland.



Welcomes us to her garden in West Linton in the Scottish borders where they have lived for 3 and a half years and the garden is 240 metres above sea level making it very exposed.

They have a short growing season because the last frost isn't until the end of May.

She has 2 growing spaces including a kitchen garden surrounded by a Beech Hedge for the wind and a Potager for vegetables and cut flowers.


This was their focus in the last lockdown and was good for the whole family to be involved.

Diana starts off most of her veg seeds in the greenhouse or in the house and today she is sowing cherry tomatoes which she sows 2 seeds per cell in her seed tray in peat-free compost.

These will then go on a heat mat in the house to germinate then they will either be put on a sunny windowsill or under a grow light.


As they grow on she will keep repotting them deep into the pots before going back to the greenhouse in June to grow their fruit and ripen.

These taste so much better than shop bought.



Asta is a teacher from sunny East Craigs Edinburgh where she lives with fiancé Michael and their cat Dorian Gray.

Her grandmother had a wonderful; garden in the North of Iceland and that where she gets her interest in gardening from.

For her gardening is a form of mindfulness and by connecting with nature it puts things into perspective as well as being fun.

variegated Monstera

She shows us a variegated Monstera that she grew from a cutting but she over watered it and it did not have enough sun as the white parts do not contain Chlorophyll. 

So she stopped being so over protective and took a step back to see what the plant needed and now it is recovering and has 2 new leaves.

She encourages people to use their intuition with a plant and if not there is help out there by searching for it online or send a question in.

Aiden and Joe

Aiden and Joe

Aiden and Joe are showing us the folly in their garden in Kilwinning which is a town with a medieval abbey and they built the folly a few years ago.

This year project is a new Rose garden within their 4 acre garden which also has woodland, Orchard and a meadow.


In the Orchard they have some newly planted fruit trees and to protect them from the deer by surrounding the tree with 4 wooden stakes and to this they attach wire fencing.

Catriona & Sophie

Catriona & Sophie

Catriona co-ordinates a team of volunteers for the large community garden in Crieff.

The garden had been neglected prior to Lockdown so this has given them the opportunity to restore the garden.

It took a lot of work to clear it and now they can start bringing the garden to fruition.

mud kitchens

The garden is South facing and gets the full sun and its protected on the other sides by trees and houses.

They have trees, shrubs vegetables and fruit in the garden and everything is either donated or recycled and they have made mud kitchens and children's play area. 

Out of an old door they have made their own Tardis and are very creative!



Bilal is gardening in the Scottish highlands on the West Coast  and moved just 6 months ago and the garden is overgrown and neglected.

His plot is 5 acres and has a walled garden with borders, woodland garden and a kitchen garden with a polytunnel and raised beds.


He has transformed the kitchen garden which was just a field when he arrived which was overgrown with bracken and thistles.

He has also made some compost bins and tells us the compost needs to be a 50-50 mix of Carbon rich brown materials and nitrogen rich green to compost well.

He keeps cardboard, egg cartons and paper in case his compost gets too wet and sludgy and he has a roof on his because of the rain.

Murray Family

The Murrays

The Murrays live in Melby on the North coast of Scotland in their garden they like to grow their own fruit and vegetables, have fun and it somewhere to relax with friends.

They have a greenhouse where they grow food from seeds and they have Cauliflower, purple Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Beans all growing well.

The Murrays

They also have some bare root strawberries they got on-line.

The garden is large and in 3 sections, by the house a patio and grass for the children, an allotment garden and a bare section that looks out to the sea and Orkney

Handy Hints of the week


George and Camilla Freedom Bell

For his hint he we get introduced to his Camilla Freedom Bell and once its finished flowering it has a light prune of the long shoots to ensure it flowers next year.

They end the show with Mairi and Carole admiring the Dogwood and willow against the snow and they will be cut down to the ground for new growth for next year.

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