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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.
Now, this week BBC Two is celebrating harvest
and, of course, here at Longmeadow this is the season of fruitfulness.
There are fabulous flowers to pick, seeds to gather
and, of course, delicious things to eat.
This week, Carol is in the hedgerows, gathering blackberries...
..as well as visiting a garden
with over 200 different varieties of cultivated bramble.
At this time of year, what we celebrate them for
most of all is this bountiful harvest of beautiful berries.
And we visit a prize-winning vegetable grower in Yorkshire
to see what it takes to be a champion.
It is very competitive.
When you get to the bigger shows they all want to win,
and they're out to win.
Now you can get those. Mind out. Good boy.
This time of year, the apples are starting to ripen.
The earliest ones were ready a couple of weeks ago.
In my orchard, most of them ripen in October.
As you can see, we've got lots of windfalls,
particularly for this tree, which only crops every other year
and then tends to drop its fruit in a great sort of collapse.
I never really know what to do with them, because the fact that
it hits the ground, inevitably, especially on a September floor,
means that it's bruised, and you cannot store bruised fruit.
Don't even try - it will not last.
You can eat them, of course.
They taste perfectly good,
but you might have to cut out the bruised bits.
And what I thought I'd do this year, because I've got so many,
is, as well as eat them, I thought I'd juice them, too.
The first fruit to fall have often been damaged by insects
and are too small and unripe to make good juice.
What I'm looking for are ripe fruit that wouldn't otherwise store
but will make fabulous juice.
Apples don't ripen all at once on a tree,
but when ripe fruit starts to fall
it's a sure sign that the process has begun.
And you should check regularly to pick the fruit whilst it's ripe
but still hanging on the branches, before they all fall and get damaged.
Now, when you've got your windfalls, they're going to be dirty, bruised,
probably covered in Nigel's slobber, so it's worth washing them.
And I've got a bucket here with a little bit of vinegar in.
Just wash them off, chuck some in, they can float.
I can bob for those later...
..and then quarter them.
And the idea when making any apple juice
is to pulp the flesh before you squeeze it,
so you don't put a whole apple in.
And, because they're windfalls,
there may well be bits you want to cut.
If you don't like that,
just take out the really worst of the brown bits,
and that does mean that you've got a chance of salvaging
as much as possible, and what you take out can go on the compost heap.
And then put them in some sort of device that will crunch them up.
I've hired this apple press from a community orchard,
and it only costs 30 quid a day, which seems to be very reasonable
if you've got enough apples to put through it,
or if a group of you get together and get all your windfalls
and make some juice, but you could use a normal juicer.
Anything that will crunch the apples up, and then you can press it.
This is exactly the same system that cider is made by.
And then you take the hopper off.
I'm going to lift that off, like that, put that to one side.
And you have a muslin inside the container.
It's nice having a contraption.
And then just screw down onto it.
That's the last drop squeezed out,
and there's the juice.
Now, it's rich, it's amber-coloured,
it's not been filtered or sieved, it's not been pasteurised,
so it won't last more than a day or so, but...
..completely fresh, and it's turned what was going to be
a waste product - fairly manky windfallen apples -
into fresh apple juice.
Whether it's delicious apple juice, I don't know yet. Let's try.
Quite tart, but nice, really fresh.
Less sweet than you'd normally buy, but very, very refreshing.
And I suspect the tartness is cos they're not fully ripe, but lovely.
That's really good.
And do you know, I've not made juice from windfalls
at this time of year before, but I certainly shall continue to do so.
Now, obviously one of the great puddings of all time
is blackberry and apple pie. I've got the apple,
and Carol has taken to the hedgerows to find the blackberry.
There's a different smell in the September air.
It's the smell of ripening fruit
and, as you walk along the hedgerows,
they abound with all sorts of glory.
But nothing more wonderful than the blackberry -
The blackberry's been foraged for generations...
..and we've all got our own tales to tell of
how we gathered blackberries with our grandmas, with our children,
filling your baskets, coming home with fingers stained,
When we harvest these wonderful fruits, though,
we're not the first creatures to have enjoyed them.
Long before these fruits ripen, the beautiful pink flowers
which precede the fruit have been a source of pollen and nectar.
This is a wild plant, but just down the lane from here is a man
who's invited hundreds of rubus into his garden.
Barry Clarke's garden in Hampshire is home
to an astonishing 200 different varieties of rubus.
And it's a rather obscure sort of group of plants
to get interested in. How did you get hooked?
Yeah, it's a bit of a weird story, really.
When I was a child I was particularly interested in stick insects.
And, of course, stick insects feed on brambles,
or many of them feed on brambles,
and I was sort of fed up of getting thorns in me all the time,
so I went to the local garden centre, saw that they had
a thornless variety there, so I was fascinated by that,
and then I saw they had other varieties,
and I just got sort of hooked on them, really.
So was this the sort of thing that you saw?
Yes, similar to this, this is one you can still get
in garden centres today - it's the Oregon Thornless.
I suppose if you feel it...
Yeah, completely smooth.
-Can I have a taste of that one?
-Oh, yeah, please, help yourself.
Where shall I go?
Mmm. Big pips, but lovely flavour.
I'm not going to try the leaves, though!
The whole place is just packed with these things, isn't it?
This is magnificent.
This is Rubus biflorus. It's commonly called the Ghost bramble.
-You can see why.
In the winter, it loses all its leaves,
and that's when it stands out the most.
Then, in the spring, as soon as you're finished with it,
you chop it right back and then it'll start growing again.
And this is out of this world.
Isn't that splendid?
And all covered in these beautiful sort of red hairs.
I used to be a redhead.
Yeah, they do reckon that these tiny little hairs
make the plant slightly carnivorous.
They're quite sticky, as you probably felt,
and small flies and that will get caught in those,
and the plant gradually, gradually ingests
the nutrients from the dead bodies.
-So do you actually eat the berries from your own plants?
-I do, I do.
The best time to eat the berries is when they're going very translucent.
When they go like that, they're perfect for eating. And that's when they're very sweet.
Clambering all over the place are resplendent rubus.
Things like Golden Veil
that could be snaking around Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
Or the elegant green foliage of lineatus
with these chestnut-like leaves.
I mean, you'd never imagine that this was rubus.
This is a taiwanicolis from Taiwan.
It's an alpine species, grows right up to the top of the mountains.
And you can grow this even in a brick wall.
-It needs very little soil at all.
It's a sweet little rockery plant.
The whole genus is really tough
-and they'll bounce back from a good pruning.
They're very tolerant of shade and light, of dry soils and wet soils.
Yes, they're very good plants.
-They're not too fussy about alkalinity or...?
-No, not massively.
Really, they'll almost grow anywhere.
As well as collecting rubus and growing them to perfection in his garden,
Barry is also really keen on propagating them and making more.
Sometimes he uses seed, sometimes cuttings,
or he exploits something that the bramble does brilliantly well,
they send their shoots forward,
push the tips into the ground and take root.
All you do, a pot of compost,
or you can do it straight into the ground,
and you just dip the tip of a plant...into the compost.
Because all rubus have their hormones the other way round from ordinary plants
and all that power to root is concentrated in the tip of a shoot.
So just put a staple in it, then it doesn't get knocked around.
Put it to one side, water it well, and wait.
It's absolutely magic.
It's such a simple way of propagating.
Here's one that Barry did earlier of the same plant.
You can see here the bit of shoot
that's been severed from the parent plant.
And if you tip it out...
Look at that for a belting root system.
Really good and raring to go.
I've been astonished to see the huge variety in leaf shape, form,
the way these different rubus grow.
You can just glory in their exuberance.
But, I suppose, at this time of the year what we celebrate them for most of all
is this bountiful harvest, this wonderful crop of beautiful berries.
I love the ornamental brambles and grow Rubus cockburnianus, Golden Vale,
here in the Jewel Garden. But just one word of warning,
as Carol points out it does layer terribly easily.
So everywhere these branches come down and touch ground,
they layer and make a new plant.
And they can really quickly invade an area and they're very spiny.
So what I do is leave them over winter, they look beautiful,
and then in March pull up all but one or two plants
that have layered themselves
and then cut everything down to the ground.
And that way they reproduce and they don't take over.
But give it an inch and it will always take a mile.
One of the aspects of autumn
is everything is fading with great delight.
In the Jewel Garden the opposite seems to happen,
you get a sort of intensifying of colour,
as though there's a last burst of energy,
which if you manage it right just keeps going for week after week
as long as the weather stays reasonably good.
The reason why the colour in the Jewel Garden at this time of year is so dependent upon the weather
is that the plants that have got the most intense colours tend to come from near the equator.
And the truth is, they don't know that winter's coming.
Now, as long as it's warm, they'll go on flowering.
And they would flower all the year round if they could -
it's the first frost that will stop it
and, literally, nip it in the bud.
Now, to keep that colour going as long as it remains reasonably warm,
you do need to keep deadheading and that will promote more flowers.
But at this time what I like to do is to deadhead really quite early on
as a flower fades and keep those as cut flowers for the house.
So if you take a dahlia like this.
Here you can see there's one that's getting a little bit faded around the edge.
So if I cut that...
..that will promote new growth, but will look fine in a vase.
And, in fact, I can even have one or two that are slightly less good than that.
Here we've got fading petals.
It's a bit rough, but if I cut that off...and this one here.
Go right down.
And the same applies to any of these plants
that come from nearer the equator.
So Cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus, I can cut one or two.
And there are masses of buds here you can see waiting to flower.
And if I take out some of the older flowers, that's going to stimulate and encourage them.
I've got...zinnias here.
Looking a little rough. It's a little sad.
I suppose the point about this is this is a harvest that is private.
You wouldn't necessarily give this to somebody because none of them are perfect
and it might look a little bit raggedy.
But put this in your house,
put it by your bed or put in the kitchen and it's a joy.
And you can really get the full benefit of what you're growing
both outside and inside, and know that at the same time
you're actually stimulating even more flowers.
That's a nice little cucumber. They've been fantastic this year.
And we've had dozens, scores of them.
And, by the way, I know this is ready to eat because the end is rounding,
which means it's filled out.
Whereas I've got another one here which is about the same sort of size
and you can see it's got a distinctly pointy end.
And that needs to grow into its full shape.
And these are all the same variety, it's marketmore.
And they've been delicious. It's been a really good cucumber year.
Now, I grow them at this end of the greenhouse screened off from the rest because there's more humidity.
With the mist propagator, the air in here never really dries out,
and they love that, it's a bit hotter.
So if you're growing cucumbers with tomatoes there's a bit of a conflict,
cos tomatoes need more ventilation and actually a bit less heat too to thrive.
A good tip is just get some bubble wrap and screen off a corner of the greenhouse.
Now, I grow these for taste, I don't mind how big they are,
whether they're crooked, all I want is a delicious fruit.
But a lot of growers grow cucumbers
and a whole range of vegetables for competitive reasons
and they want them perfect every time.
And we went to meet a champion grower as he prepares for the Harrogate Autumn Show,
which is the biggest show of the year.
I'm David Peel.
And at the moment, I'm the National Cauliflower Champion.
The year before, I were French Bean National Champion.
And also I won at Harrogate the National Potato Championships
for the last two years. We're preparing for the Harrogate Show,
that's a very important show because that's the National Championships,
so to win them means you're the National Champion of the British Isles, really.
So that's the ultimate, what you're aiming to be.
When we cut the peas what we need for the show, we can put 'em on top of the nettles,
which saves the bloom from rubbing off.
The bloom is like a powder what's on top of your peapod
and you need to have that on for showing, rather than polished.
Yeah, I get stung now and again but it's worth the pain
if you see that red card at the end of the day.
We're looking for a full set of peas in a pod.
Hopefully, one with ten or 12 in.
So, what I would normally do, when they are just starting to grow,
hold them up to the light, count the peas in the pod
and then I can mark them up with a bit of string, how many has
got 12 in and how many has got 11 in, with different coloured strings.
When he comes to judge your peapod,
what he would do is split your pea open.
This should have had 11 peas in.
It's only got ten and one small one so, unfortunately,
if you'd have exhibited that, this would be the end of your show
and you would have no prize.
It all started when my wife got an allotment.
We took 92 bags of weeds to the tip
and there was just a little bit more digging left to do that we couldn't
get through and David decided he'd come down and give us a hand.
And that was it - he got hooked and took over, basically.
In my defence, there were about a quarter of this allotment dug over
when I came down and I dug loads of it over and out
of them 92 bags, I probably filled about 80 of them with all the weeds.
-You so didn't.
We'll have to agree to differ on that one, I think.
David is definitely more the vegetables.
He does more vegetables than me. The flowers are more my passion, really.
It is quite competitive, yeah. Well, it is very competitive.
Once you get to the larger shows, especially,
cos you've got everybody who, when you get to the bigger shows,
they all want to win and they're out to win.
The first time we entered a national,
which were at Llangollen, we entered 15 French beans.
Cos we went thinking, "Any prize, any card would be a bonus."
We came back and the first thing we saw
when we walked down the steps was this red prize card on those
French beans, which we were absolutely elated with.
I think everybody in the tent heard me screaming.
I threw my arms around the judge and kissed him.
I was just so proud of him because, you know,
I know how much work goes into it and I just thought,
"He's done it. First ever national and he's won a first."
From then on, we just wanted to enter those sort of competitions
cos it was the ultimate
and you were actually winning the best in the country.
When I clean for the Harrogate show, I'll be cleaning 30-40 potatoes
and it could take me 3-4 hours.
What you've also to be careful of when you're doing it
is that you don't skin the potato,
take some of the skin off your potato.
Gently rub across it, very slowly,
and it will remove that piece of muck out of the eye, like such.
I'm just tying the cauliflower leaves round together to stop
the light getting onto the cauliflower, the small cauliflower.
And that way, then, it keeps your cauliflower white
and you don't get a yellow cauliflower or any blemishes on it.
For showing purposes, keeping them light is paramount.
After I've planted them,
three weeks later I generally put a nitrogen feed around them
which makes the leaf grow a lot bigger
and gives you a better cauliflower
cos it's the leaf that produces your fruit at the end of the day.
What we're looking for in this cauliflower is roughly seven inch
across the curd, a nice, small dome and no major bumps.
Just have it nice and smooth across.
There we have our collection of vegetables.
And all that in a local show
will probably get you a first prize of £2.
Sometimes I can be down here with the sweet peas
and David can be at the top with his runner beans and an hour can
go past and we haven't even spoken. But it's lovely, it's peaceful,
you're out in the fresh air, it's free - what could be better?
A good hobby. And then you can eat it.
-After it's won.
-After it's won.
the detail and the care that people put into growing these champion veg.
We can see if David won, because the Harrogate show
is starting today and goes on for the rest of the weekend.
David, if you're watching, good luck.
Well, none of my fruit or vegetables are remotely champion,
but most of them are delicious.
With sweetcorn, what you're after is that delicious sweetness.
If you get them too early, the sugars haven't developed.
If it's too late, the sugars turn to starch and they get mealy.
The easiest way to tell if they are ready is from the beard.
You can see that this is hanging down and it's dark
and that means that it's ready,
whereas this one here is still pale and the sugars haven't developed.
If it's withered away completely,
the sugars will have turned to starch.
That's ready for picking and they're very easy to take.
You just pull them off like that.
If I open it out, I hope it's looking good.
It's not very big, but it looks great and I know it will taste good.
Now, the really important thing with sweetcorn is to
cut the time between harvest and eating to as short as possible.
So I don't pick them normally until the water is boiling
and then straight from the garden into the kitchen,
put them in the water - when they are ready, eat them.
And they are fantastic. You may not grow sweetcorn,
but here are some other jobs you can be doing this weekend.
It would be lovely to have fresh mint all year round
but it does die back in autumn.
However, if you dig up a section of plant now,
pot it up into fresh compost and water it well
and put it into a warm, sunny place like a windowsill
or a greenhouse, you can extend its harvesting season well into autumn.
Climbing beans are rapidly going to seed.
However, they still make a great harvest.
Leave the green pods to dry on the plant but pick the brown ones
as soon as they have dried off.
These can either be husked later, or take the beans out now to store.
They'll provide seed for next year's crop
and also a delicious ingredient that will keep for months and months.
It's time to start planting garlic.
It's best to begin with either elephant garlic or hard-neck garlic.
Both of these types benefit from a long growing season.
Plant them at least twice their own depth,
which, in the case of elephant garlic, is quite a big hole,
and be generous with your spacing.
They should have a sunny position with well-drained soil.
Once they are in the ground, you can more or less leave them
and they'll be ready to harvest around the middle of next summer.
There are still lots of salad leaves and I like to try
and have a fresh salad every single day for as long as possible.
But you don't have to just stick to lettuce.
You can decorate them with edible flowers.
Some taste as you might expect.
Chive flowers, for example, taste exactly of chives.
Nasturtiums are famously peppery.
Some, like these pinks...
..to be honest, don't taste of much at all.
But they look great and it just adds a touch
of celebration to a salad, to add a few petals and make it look pretty.
A surprising number of garden flowers are edible.
In the cottage garden alone, I have these pinks
as well as calendula, courgette flowers and sunflowers.
By the way, if you are worried about the toxicity of flowers,
cos some are poisonous, then go to our website for further information.
Well, that's it for today.
Following us is Harvest 2013
and I'll see you back here at Longmeadow next week. Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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.