Episode 22 Gardeners' World


Episode 22

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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.

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Now, this week BBC Two is celebrating harvest

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and, of course, here at Longmeadow this is the season of fruitfulness.

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There are fabulous flowers to pick, seeds to gather

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and, of course, delicious things to eat.

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This week, Carol is in the hedgerows, gathering blackberries...

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..as well as visiting a garden

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with over 200 different varieties of cultivated bramble.

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At this time of year, what we celebrate them for

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most of all is this bountiful harvest of beautiful berries.

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And we visit a prize-winning vegetable grower in Yorkshire

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to see what it takes to be a champion.

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It is very competitive.

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When you get to the bigger shows they all want to win,

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and they're out to win.

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CLUCKING

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Now you can get those. Mind out. Good boy.

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This time of year, the apples are starting to ripen.

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The earliest ones were ready a couple of weeks ago.

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In my orchard, most of them ripen in October.

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As you can see, we've got lots of windfalls,

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particularly for this tree, which only crops every other year

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and then tends to drop its fruit in a great sort of collapse.

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I never really know what to do with them, because the fact that

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it hits the ground, inevitably, especially on a September floor,

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means that it's bruised, and you cannot store bruised fruit.

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Don't even try - it will not last.

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You can eat them, of course.

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They taste perfectly good,

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but you might have to cut out the bruised bits.

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And what I thought I'd do this year, because I've got so many,

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is, as well as eat them, I thought I'd juice them, too.

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The first fruit to fall have often been damaged by insects

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and are too small and unripe to make good juice.

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What I'm looking for are ripe fruit that wouldn't otherwise store

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but will make fabulous juice.

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Apples don't ripen all at once on a tree,

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but when ripe fruit starts to fall

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it's a sure sign that the process has begun.

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And you should check regularly to pick the fruit whilst it's ripe

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but still hanging on the branches, before they all fall and get damaged.

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Now, when you've got your windfalls, they're going to be dirty, bruised,

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probably covered in Nigel's slobber, so it's worth washing them.

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And I've got a bucket here with a little bit of vinegar in.

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Just wash them off, chuck some in, they can float.

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I can bob for those later...

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..and then quarter them.

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And the idea when making any apple juice

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is to pulp the flesh before you squeeze it,

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so you don't put a whole apple in.

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And, because they're windfalls,

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there may well be bits you want to cut.

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If you don't like that,

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just take out the really worst of the brown bits,

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and that does mean that you've got a chance of salvaging

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as much as possible, and what you take out can go on the compost heap.

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And then put them in some sort of device that will crunch them up.

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I've hired this apple press from a community orchard,

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and it only costs 30 quid a day, which seems to be very reasonable

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if you've got enough apples to put through it,

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or if a group of you get together and get all your windfalls

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and make some juice, but you could use a normal juicer.

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Anything that will crunch the apples up, and then you can press it.

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This is exactly the same system that cider is made by.

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And then you take the hopper off.

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I'm going to lift that off, like that, put that to one side.

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And you have a muslin inside the container.

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Press round...

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It's nice having a contraption.

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And then just screw down onto it.

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That's the last drop squeezed out,

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and there's the juice.

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Now, it's rich, it's amber-coloured,

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it's not been filtered or sieved, it's not been pasteurised,

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so it won't last more than a day or so, but...

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HE SNIFFS

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..completely fresh, and it's turned what was going to be

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a waste product - fairly manky windfallen apples -

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into fresh apple juice.

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Whether it's delicious apple juice, I don't know yet. Let's try.

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Quite tart, but nice, really fresh.

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Less sweet than you'd normally buy, but very, very refreshing.

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And I suspect the tartness is cos they're not fully ripe, but lovely.

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Mmm.

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That's really good.

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And do you know, I've not made juice from windfalls

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at this time of year before, but I certainly shall continue to do so.

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Now, obviously one of the great puddings of all time

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is blackberry and apple pie. I've got the apple,

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and Carol has taken to the hedgerows to find the blackberry.

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There's a different smell in the September air.

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It's the smell of ripening fruit

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and, as you walk along the hedgerows,

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they abound with all sorts of glory.

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But nothing more wonderful than the blackberry -

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Rubus fruticosus.

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The blackberry's been foraged for generations...

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..and we've all got our own tales to tell of

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how we gathered blackberries with our grandmas, with our children,

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filling your baskets, coming home with fingers stained,

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battle-scarred.

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When we harvest these wonderful fruits, though,

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we're not the first creatures to have enjoyed them.

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Long before these fruits ripen, the beautiful pink flowers

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which precede the fruit have been a source of pollen and nectar.

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This is a wild plant, but just down the lane from here is a man

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who's invited hundreds of rubus into his garden.

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Barry Clarke's garden in Hampshire is home

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to an astonishing 200 different varieties of rubus.

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And it's a rather obscure sort of group of plants

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to get interested in. How did you get hooked?

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Yeah, it's a bit of a weird story, really.

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When I was a child I was particularly interested in stick insects.

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And, of course, stick insects feed on brambles,

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or many of them feed on brambles,

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and I was sort of fed up of getting thorns in me all the time,

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so I went to the local garden centre, saw that they had

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a thornless variety there, so I was fascinated by that,

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and then I saw they had other varieties,

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and I just got sort of hooked on them, really.

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So was this the sort of thing that you saw?

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Yes, similar to this, this is one you can still get

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in garden centres today - it's the Oregon Thornless.

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I suppose if you feel it...

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Yeah, completely smooth.

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-Can I have a taste of that one?

-Oh, yeah, please, help yourself.

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Where shall I go?

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It's delicious!

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Mmm. Big pips, but lovely flavour.

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I'm not going to try the leaves, though!

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THEY CHUCKLE

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The whole place is just packed with these things, isn't it?

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This is magnificent.

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That's beautiful.

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This is Rubus biflorus. It's commonly called the Ghost bramble.

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-You can see why.

-Yes!

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In the winter, it loses all its leaves,

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and that's when it stands out the most.

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Then, in the spring, as soon as you're finished with it,

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you chop it right back and then it'll start growing again.

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And this is out of this world.

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Isn't that splendid?

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And all covered in these beautiful sort of red hairs.

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I used to be a redhead.

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Yeah, they do reckon that these tiny little hairs

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make the plant slightly carnivorous.

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They're quite sticky, as you probably felt,

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and small flies and that will get caught in those,

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and the plant gradually, gradually ingests

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the nutrients from the dead bodies.

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-So do you actually eat the berries from your own plants?

-I do, I do.

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The best time to eat the berries is when they're going very translucent.

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When they go like that, they're perfect for eating. And that's when they're very sweet.

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Clambering all over the place are resplendent rubus.

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Things like Golden Veil

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that could be snaking around Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

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Or the elegant green foliage of lineatus

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with these chestnut-like leaves.

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I mean, you'd never imagine that this was rubus.

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This is a taiwanicolis from Taiwan.

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It's an alpine species, grows right up to the top of the mountains.

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And you can grow this even in a brick wall.

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-It needs very little soil at all.

-Right.

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It's a sweet little rockery plant.

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The whole genus is really tough

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-and they'll bounce back from a good pruning.

-Right.

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They're very tolerant of shade and light, of dry soils and wet soils.

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Yes, they're very good plants.

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-They're not too fussy about alkalinity or...?

-No, not massively.

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Really, they'll almost grow anywhere.

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HE LAUGHS

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As well as collecting rubus and growing them to perfection in his garden,

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Barry is also really keen on propagating them and making more.

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Sometimes he uses seed, sometimes cuttings,

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or he exploits something that the bramble does brilliantly well,

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they send their shoots forward,

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push the tips into the ground and take root.

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All you do, a pot of compost,

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or you can do it straight into the ground,

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and you just dip the tip of a plant...into the compost.

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Because all rubus have their hormones the other way round from ordinary plants

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and all that power to root is concentrated in the tip of a shoot.

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So just put a staple in it, then it doesn't get knocked around.

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Put it to one side, water it well, and wait.

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It's absolutely magic.

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It's such a simple way of propagating.

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Here's one that Barry did earlier of the same plant.

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You can see here the bit of shoot

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that's been severed from the parent plant.

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And if you tip it out...

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Look at that for a belting root system.

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Really good and raring to go.

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I've been astonished to see the huge variety in leaf shape, form,

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the way these different rubus grow.

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You can just glory in their exuberance.

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But, I suppose, at this time of the year what we celebrate them for most of all

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is this bountiful harvest, this wonderful crop of beautiful berries.

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I love the ornamental brambles and grow Rubus cockburnianus, Golden Vale,

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here in the Jewel Garden. But just one word of warning,

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as Carol points out it does layer terribly easily.

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So everywhere these branches come down and touch ground,

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they layer and make a new plant.

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And they can really quickly invade an area and they're very spiny.

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So what I do is leave them over winter, they look beautiful,

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and then in March pull up all but one or two plants

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that have layered themselves

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and then cut everything down to the ground.

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And that way they reproduce and they don't take over.

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But give it an inch and it will always take a mile.

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One of the aspects of autumn

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is everything is fading with great delight.

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In the Jewel Garden the opposite seems to happen,

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you get a sort of intensifying of colour,

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as though there's a last burst of energy,

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which if you manage it right just keeps going for week after week

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as long as the weather stays reasonably good.

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The reason why the colour in the Jewel Garden at this time of year is so dependent upon the weather

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is that the plants that have got the most intense colours tend to come from near the equator.

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And the truth is, they don't know that winter's coming.

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Now, as long as it's warm, they'll go on flowering.

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And they would flower all the year round if they could -

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it's the first frost that will stop it

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and, literally, nip it in the bud.

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Now, to keep that colour going as long as it remains reasonably warm,

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you do need to keep deadheading and that will promote more flowers.

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But at this time what I like to do is to deadhead really quite early on

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as a flower fades and keep those as cut flowers for the house.

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So if you take a dahlia like this.

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Here you can see there's one that's getting a little bit faded around the edge.

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So if I cut that...

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..that will promote new growth, but will look fine in a vase.

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And, in fact, I can even have one or two that are slightly less good than that.

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Here we've got fading petals.

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It's a bit rough, but if I cut that off...and this one here.

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Go right down.

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And the same applies to any of these plants

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that come from nearer the equator.

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So Cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus, I can cut one or two.

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And there are masses of buds here you can see waiting to flower.

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And if I take out some of the older flowers, that's going to stimulate and encourage them.

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I've got...zinnias here.

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Looking a little rough. It's a little sad.

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I suppose the point about this is this is a harvest that is private.

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You wouldn't necessarily give this to somebody because none of them are perfect

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and it might look a little bit raggedy.

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But put this in your house,

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put it by your bed or put in the kitchen and it's a joy.

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And you can really get the full benefit of what you're growing

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both outside and inside, and know that at the same time

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you're actually stimulating even more flowers.

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BIRDSONG

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That's a nice little cucumber. They've been fantastic this year.

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And we've had dozens, scores of them.

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And, by the way, I know this is ready to eat because the end is rounding,

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which means it's filled out.

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Whereas I've got another one here which is about the same sort of size

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and you can see it's got a distinctly pointy end.

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And that needs to grow into its full shape.

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And these are all the same variety, it's marketmore.

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And they've been delicious. It's been a really good cucumber year.

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Now, I grow them at this end of the greenhouse screened off from the rest because there's more humidity.

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With the mist propagator, the air in here never really dries out,

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and they love that, it's a bit hotter.

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So if you're growing cucumbers with tomatoes there's a bit of a conflict,

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cos tomatoes need more ventilation and actually a bit less heat too to thrive.

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A good tip is just get some bubble wrap and screen off a corner of the greenhouse.

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Now, I grow these for taste, I don't mind how big they are,

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whether they're crooked, all I want is a delicious fruit.

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But a lot of growers grow cucumbers

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and a whole range of vegetables for competitive reasons

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and they want them perfect every time.

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And we went to meet a champion grower as he prepares for the Harrogate Autumn Show,

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which is the biggest show of the year.

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BIRDSONG

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I'm David Peel.

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And at the moment, I'm the National Cauliflower Champion.

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The year before, I were French Bean National Champion.

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And also I won at Harrogate the National Potato Championships

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for the last two years. We're preparing for the Harrogate Show,

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that's a very important show because that's the National Championships,

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so to win them means you're the National Champion of the British Isles, really.

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So that's the ultimate, what you're aiming to be.

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When we cut the peas what we need for the show, we can put 'em on top of the nettles,

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which saves the bloom from rubbing off.

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The bloom is like a powder what's on top of your peapod

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and you need to have that on for showing, rather than polished.

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Yeah, I get stung now and again but it's worth the pain

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if you see that red card at the end of the day.

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We're looking for a full set of peas in a pod.

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Hopefully, one with ten or 12 in.

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So, what I would normally do, when they are just starting to grow,

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hold them up to the light, count the peas in the pod

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and then I can mark them up with a bit of string, how many has

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got 12 in and how many has got 11 in, with different coloured strings.

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When he comes to judge your peapod,

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what he would do is split your pea open.

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This should have had 11 peas in.

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It's only got ten and one small one so, unfortunately,

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if you'd have exhibited that, this would be the end of your show

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and you would have no prize.

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Dedication.

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It all started when my wife got an allotment.

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We took 92 bags of weeds to the tip

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and there was just a little bit more digging left to do that we couldn't

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get through and David decided he'd come down and give us a hand.

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And that was it - he got hooked and took over, basically.

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In my defence, there were about a quarter of this allotment dug over

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when I came down and I dug loads of it over and out

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of them 92 bags, I probably filled about 80 of them with all the weeds.

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-You so didn't.

-SHE CHUCKLES

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We'll have to agree to differ on that one, I think.

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David is definitely more the vegetables.

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He does more vegetables than me. The flowers are more my passion, really.

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It is quite competitive, yeah. Well, it is very competitive.

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Once you get to the larger shows, especially,

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cos you've got everybody who, when you get to the bigger shows,

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they all want to win and they're out to win.

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The first time we entered a national,

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which were at Llangollen, we entered 15 French beans.

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Cos we went thinking, "Any prize, any card would be a bonus."

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We came back and the first thing we saw

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when we walked down the steps was this red prize card on those

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French beans, which we were absolutely elated with.

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I think everybody in the tent heard me screaming.

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I threw my arms around the judge and kissed him.

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I was just so proud of him because, you know,

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I know how much work goes into it and I just thought,

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"He's done it. First ever national and he's won a first."

0:21:180:21:21

From then on, we just wanted to enter those sort of competitions

0:21:210:21:25

cos it was the ultimate

0:21:250:21:26

and you were actually winning the best in the country.

0:21:260:21:29

When I clean for the Harrogate show, I'll be cleaning 30-40 potatoes

0:21:350:21:40

and it could take me 3-4 hours.

0:21:400:21:44

What you've also to be careful of when you're doing it

0:21:450:21:48

is that you don't skin the potato,

0:21:480:21:50

take some of the skin off your potato.

0:21:500:21:52

Gently rub across it, very slowly,

0:21:540:21:57

and it will remove that piece of muck out of the eye, like such.

0:21:570:22:02

I'm just tying the cauliflower leaves round together to stop

0:22:060:22:10

the light getting onto the cauliflower, the small cauliflower.

0:22:100:22:14

And that way, then, it keeps your cauliflower white

0:22:150:22:21

and you don't get a yellow cauliflower or any blemishes on it.

0:22:210:22:24

For showing purposes, keeping them light is paramount.

0:22:250:22:30

After I've planted them,

0:22:300:22:31

three weeks later I generally put a nitrogen feed around them

0:22:310:22:35

which makes the leaf grow a lot bigger

0:22:350:22:38

and gives you a better cauliflower

0:22:380:22:40

cos it's the leaf that produces your fruit at the end of the day.

0:22:400:22:43

What we're looking for in this cauliflower is roughly seven inch

0:22:530:22:56

across the curd, a nice, small dome and no major bumps.

0:22:560:23:02

Just have it nice and smooth across.

0:23:020:23:04

There we have our collection of vegetables.

0:23:060:23:09

And all that in a local show

0:23:100:23:12

will probably get you a first prize of £2.

0:23:120:23:15

Sometimes I can be down here with the sweet peas

0:23:240:23:28

and David can be at the top with his runner beans and an hour can

0:23:280:23:31

go past and we haven't even spoken. But it's lovely, it's peaceful,

0:23:310:23:35

you're out in the fresh air, it's free - what could be better?

0:23:350:23:38

A good hobby. And then you can eat it.

0:23:380:23:42

-After it's won.

-After it's won.

0:23:420:23:44

It's amazing,

0:23:510:23:53

the detail and the care that people put into growing these champion veg.

0:23:530:23:59

We can see if David won, because the Harrogate show

0:23:590:24:02

is starting today and goes on for the rest of the weekend.

0:24:020:24:07

David, if you're watching, good luck.

0:24:070:24:10

Well, none of my fruit or vegetables are remotely champion,

0:24:100:24:14

but most of them are delicious.

0:24:140:24:17

With sweetcorn, what you're after is that delicious sweetness.

0:24:170:24:21

If you get them too early, the sugars haven't developed.

0:24:210:24:24

If it's too late, the sugars turn to starch and they get mealy.

0:24:240:24:27

The easiest way to tell if they are ready is from the beard.

0:24:270:24:30

You can see that this is hanging down and it's dark

0:24:300:24:34

and that means that it's ready,

0:24:340:24:36

whereas this one here is still pale and the sugars haven't developed.

0:24:360:24:41

If it's withered away completely,

0:24:410:24:43

the sugars will have turned to starch.

0:24:430:24:45

That's ready for picking and they're very easy to take.

0:24:450:24:48

You just pull them off like that.

0:24:480:24:51

If I open it out, I hope it's looking good.

0:24:510:24:55

It's not very big, but it looks great and I know it will taste good.

0:24:550:25:00

Now, the really important thing with sweetcorn is to

0:25:000:25:04

cut the time between harvest and eating to as short as possible.

0:25:040:25:09

So I don't pick them normally until the water is boiling

0:25:090:25:12

and then straight from the garden into the kitchen,

0:25:120:25:15

put them in the water - when they are ready, eat them.

0:25:150:25:18

And they are fantastic. You may not grow sweetcorn,

0:25:180:25:21

but here are some other jobs you can be doing this weekend.

0:25:210:25:24

It would be lovely to have fresh mint all year round

0:25:270:25:30

but it does die back in autumn.

0:25:300:25:32

However, if you dig up a section of plant now,

0:25:320:25:35

pot it up into fresh compost and water it well

0:25:350:25:38

and put it into a warm, sunny place like a windowsill

0:25:380:25:41

or a greenhouse, you can extend its harvesting season well into autumn.

0:25:410:25:47

Climbing beans are rapidly going to seed.

0:25:510:25:54

However, they still make a great harvest.

0:25:540:25:56

Leave the green pods to dry on the plant but pick the brown ones

0:25:580:26:02

as soon as they have dried off.

0:26:020:26:05

These can either be husked later, or take the beans out now to store.

0:26:050:26:10

They'll provide seed for next year's crop

0:26:100:26:13

and also a delicious ingredient that will keep for months and months.

0:26:130:26:17

It's time to start planting garlic.

0:26:270:26:29

It's best to begin with either elephant garlic or hard-neck garlic.

0:26:290:26:34

Both of these types benefit from a long growing season.

0:26:340:26:37

Plant them at least twice their own depth,

0:26:380:26:41

which, in the case of elephant garlic, is quite a big hole,

0:26:410:26:43

and be generous with your spacing.

0:26:430:26:45

They should have a sunny position with well-drained soil.

0:26:460:26:50

Once they are in the ground, you can more or less leave them

0:26:500:26:53

and they'll be ready to harvest around the middle of next summer.

0:26:530:26:56

There are still lots of salad leaves and I like to try

0:27:110:27:14

and have a fresh salad every single day for as long as possible.

0:27:140:27:19

But you don't have to just stick to lettuce.

0:27:190:27:22

You can decorate them with edible flowers.

0:27:220:27:25

Some taste as you might expect.

0:27:250:27:27

Chive flowers, for example, taste exactly of chives.

0:27:270:27:30

Nasturtiums are famously peppery.

0:27:300:27:33

Some, like these pinks...

0:27:340:27:37

..to be honest, don't taste of much at all.

0:27:400:27:43

But they look great and it just adds a touch

0:27:430:27:47

of celebration to a salad, to add a few petals and make it look pretty.

0:27:470:27:51

A surprising number of garden flowers are edible.

0:27:540:27:57

In the cottage garden alone, I have these pinks

0:27:570:28:00

as well as calendula, courgette flowers and sunflowers.

0:28:000:28:04

By the way, if you are worried about the toxicity of flowers,

0:28:050:28:09

cos some are poisonous, then go to our website for further information.

0:28:090:28:15

Well, that's it for today.

0:28:150:28:17

Following us is Harvest 2013

0:28:170:28:20

and I'll see you back here at Longmeadow next week. Bye-bye.

0:28:200:28:24

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:350:28:38

As part of BBC2's Harvest, Gardeners' World celebrates the bounty our gardens have to offer at this time of year.

Carol Klein is out and about gathering a wild blackberry harvest from the hedgerows and discovering a surprising number of more domesticated brambles that we can grow in our gardens. We join a champion vegetable grower in Yorkshire as he prepares for the biggest show of the season and Monty Don is at Longmeadow enjoying the fruits of his labours.


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