Dig It - Discussions on Gardening Topics

Informal and lively discussions on gardening.

Chris Day and Peter Brown from Buckingham Garden Centre talk about their gardening experiences, what to do in the garden, seasonal gardening advice and interviews with horticultural experts.

English Cider

Season 1, Ep. 15
English cider interview with Michael JonesIn this podcast Peter Brown chats with local apple enthusiast Michael Jones about his passion for producing cider from an 11-acre community orchard in North Buckinghamshire. In the podcast we learn that cider is basically fermented apple juice however the process from apple to bottle is far from simple! You need plenty of buckets, different apple varieties and the necessary kit, but it’s fun and you are always learning from the process.From selecting the apples, to getting the correct flavour balance, Michael explains his methods with plenty of great advice along the way. We look at the best varieties of apples you can grow, plus hints and tips on getting the best quality from your cider and orchard apples. Michael also chats about creating his cider making courses – based on his own experience. Hopefully these courses will resume in 2022 but Michael provides us with a wealth of reference points to get us on our way.Choose your cider apples – the mix is critical. Apple ‘Dabinett’ is a good variety but needs additional flavour. You need to experiment with the varieties, and this comes from experience, however a mix of ripe cider (a mixture of bittersweet and bittersharps) and orchard apples usually provides a good balanced cider.Avoid early fallers – they are not worth it – leave those for the birds. The later the better with apple collecting says Michael. When half have fallen then shake off the rest from the tree if you can|Cider types: Sharp cider apples have high acidity and low tannin and include varieties such as ‘Crimson King’, ‘Brown’s’ and ‘Frederick’; Bittersharps have high acidity and high tannin so varieties like ‘Kingston Black’ and ‘Foxwhelp’ would be found in this group. Sweet apples have low tannin and low acidity and the name usually gives it away – ‘Sweet Coppin’, ‘Sweet Alford’ and ‘Morgan Sweet’ and the Bittersweet with low acidity and high tannin ‘Somerset Redstreak’, ‘Yarlington Mill’ and ‘Ashton Brown Jersey’.Apples ‘Spartan’, ‘Egremont Russet’ and Cox’s Orange Pippin - all have good flavour and balance and always use very ripe apples for best results.Must have apples for your orchard would include heritage varieties such as ‘Dabinett’, ‘Chesil Jersey’, ‘Camelot’, ‘Kingston Black’, ‘Tom Putt’ and ‘Harry Masters Jersey’.Apples to avoid for cider making: Use cooking apples sparingly, ‘Norfolk Beefing’, early apples don’t work like ‘Beauty of Bath’ or ‘Morgan’s Sweet’.Products mentionedPulpmaster5.5 Litre Ferrari Aluminium Cross Beam Fruit PressHydrometerCider YeastWestons Cider TourThatchers Cider TourMichael’s book recommendationsCider Apples: The new Pomona by Liz CopasCraft Cider Making by Andrew LeaReal Cidermaking on a small scale by Michael Pooley and John LomaxMichael’s Desert Island Cider Apple would be Apple ‘Dabinett’, use as a monoculture cider or can be successfully mixed with others too.Useful linksThe Orchard Project helps develop resilient communities with the skills to plant, and care for fruit trees; helping us all to rediscover the pleasure of eating home-grown fruit.People’s Trust for Endangered SpeciesEast of England Orchard GroupGloucester Orchard TrustRoyal Horticultural Society Fruit GroupSmall Woods are the UK organisation for woodland owners, workers, supporters, and social foresters. The Mid Shires Orchard Group aims to conserve and promote enjoyment and use of the local orchards and rich top fruit traditions of the four 'mid-shires'. Our Scion Graft and Grow Day is planned for February 2022, follow us on Facebook to find out more.Apple Day originsSarah Juniper is a keen apple grower and enthusiast.All about Long Ashton Research StationCider apple varieties and identification (archive).Music by Chiltern Music Therapy

October in the Garden

Season 1, Ep. 14
October in the Garden Show NotesIn this autumnal edition of Dig It, Peter Brown and Chris Day discuss the recent September Chelsea Flower Show and how a change of season has created a very different event. Elsewhere the demise of the front garden and the lawn, the concerns over our failing tree population and how moths are being affected by the change from sodium to LED street lights.The Dig it team also look at those vital tasks for the month including making leafmould, protecting tender plants from Jack frost, putting the lawn to bed with the last feed of the growing season and making sure those last plantings of onions, shallots and garlic are completed.Plants and products mentionedAdiantum, Asters, Runner Bean Enorma, Cordyline, Calendula, Chamomile lawn, Cacti, Comfrey, Datura (Brugmansia) Honesty seed, Echinacea, Helenium, Fagus (Beech), Silver birch, Hostas, Musa (Banana), Dahlia, Garlic (varieties listed below) , Strawberries, Clematis from Raymond Evison, Nephrolepis, stags horn fern, Rudbeckia Goldstrum, Pieris, Rhododendron, Ornamental grasses, hardy ferns, Herbs, Kniphofia, Thymes, Quercus (Oak).National tree planting launched at Chelsea – The Queen’s Canopy – plant a tree for the Queen’s JubileeFrench Garlic Germidour, Thermidrome and Topadrome. Garlic Garcuat. Garlic Elephant - Garlic Early Purple Wight, Garlic Carcassonne Wight and Shallots Griselle and Jermor.Onion Sets Autumn Champion, Electric, Radar, Red Winter and Senshyu Yellow.Feeding the lawn for winter Miracle-Gro® EverGreen® Autumn Lawn Care Fertiliser analysis: Contains iron sulphate. NPK 6-5-10. Available in store.Displayed and beautifully lit at Chelsea - Malvern Garden Buildings also on site at the Garden CentreFrost protection products Fleece Jackets from Haxnicks, horticultural fleece and Environ mesh Bubble wrap for greenhouse insulation and surrounding glazed pots.News storiesChelsea Flower Show 2021 in September. Gardens featured at the show on the RHS websiteOne in three trees face extinction in wild, says BBC news reportBest ways to keep spiders out of our homes this autumn, including conkers. We’d love to hear your tried and tested ways of keeping the spiders out hereLED streetlights decimating moth numbers in England news story September 23rd - October 23rd Seed gathering season tips from the RHS 1st October International Coffee Day We have spent coffee grounds available at our restaurant and these are ideal to help deter slugs and snails, apply around your bulbs to deter squirrels (apparently they don’t like the smell) and you can use the grounds to increase the acidity in your soil but use sparingly.6th October Masterclass on growing Trees, Shrubs and Hedges for Smaller Gardens at the Garden Centre21 October Apple Day – how it started Useful linksSome of the best UK gardens famed for their autumn colourBuckingham Centre article on the importance of moths, how to record moths using traps and a look at the best plants to encourage moths into our gardensCreating perfect leafmouldLayering of bulbs or lasagna planting videoMusic by Chiltern Music Therapy

Bulbs for Spring

Season 1, Ep. 13
Show Notes for Spring Bulbs with Ian ClarkIn this podcast we talk to Ian Clark, Business Manager from Taylors Bulbs. Our chat covers the history and overview of Taylors Bulbs, a look at the commercial aspects of growing bulbs in the field and how spring bulbs continue to rise in popularity with gardeners.Ian discusses the best ways of growing bulbs, how bulbs can help and encourage wildlife into the garden and the best bulbs for indoor forcing and scent.New bulb introductions are discussed, plus a look at how you can maximise your bulb displays using the lasagne method of growing and the fact that these bulbs can be upcycled for future years.Dig It hosts Peter Brown and Chris Day look at popular spring bulbs including the history of the humble Daffodil, sharing a reading of the famous William Wordsworth’s poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, more details on how to create the perfect lasagne planting, plus some tips on prolonging your cut daffodil flowers.A look at the Dutch bulb growing industry, including the inspirational garden at Keukenhof, and our pick of the best UK snowdrop gardens also features.Bulbs mentioned (available in store): Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, Anemone blanda Blue (Flower Bulb of the Year 2022), Camassia, Colchicums (naked ladies), Crocus hybrids, Crocus sativus (Saffron Crocus, autumn flowering), Fritillaria Crown Imperials – ‘Aurora’ and ‘Lutea Maxima’. Galanthus (Snowdrops). Narcissi ‘Carlton’, ‘February Gold’, ‘Fortune’ (Daffodil of the Year 2022), N. obvallaris (Tenby Daffodil, RHS AGM), N. Poeticus plenus ‘Tamar Double’, N. pseudonarcissus lobularis (Lent lily), N. ‘W P Milner’ and N. ‘Tête-à-tête’. Nectaroscordum Siculum (honey lily). Tulips including ‘Angelique’, ‘Red Riding Hood’, Darwin Hybrids (Impression range), T. ‘Lilac Wonder’, ‘Triumph’, ‘Honky Tonk’ and ‘Praestans’.Cutting garden contenders: Tulips, Dahlias, Lilies and Gladioli (short varieties perfect for pots and smaller gardens).Prepared (heat treated) bulbs for earlier indoor growing: Hyacinths, Narcissi ‘Paperwhite’, Amaryllis, Muscari (grape hyacinths) and Tulips.Fragrant bulbs: Hyacinths, Tulips (Paeony types such as ‘Antraciet’)Bee friendly bulbs RHS Plants for Pollinators: Alliums, Crocus, Nectaroscordum, Muscari, single flowered dahlias and Snowdrops.Plants mentioned: Winter hardy bedding plants including Violas and Pansies for top planting.Best feed for bulbs after flowering: Organic Tomato FoodTaylors You Tube video demonstrating lasagne planting.Music by Chiltern Music Therapy

September in the Garden

Season 1, Ep. 12
September in the Garden Show NotesSeptember is the month of mellow mists and fruitfulness and in this month’s Dig It podcast Peter Brown and Chris Day look at how the gradual change in seasons is beginning to affect what we harvest, plant and sow in our gardens.Sowing a new lawn, a look at the best edible flowers and how to get the best from your green waste are discussed. Plus, a look at the different cyclamen options available at the Garden Centre, keeping hydrangeas in tip top colour and battling with leaves in our ponds.Buckingham Garden Centre hosts its special Apple and Honey Show Weekend over 25th and 26th September so we find out more about this annual celebration of apples and the Bucks County Honey Show on the Sunday.6th September is National Read A Book Day’s read is Treatment Free Beekeeping by David Heaf (published by IBRA & NBB)Chris’s book is Bulbs For All Seasons by Kathy Brown (publisher Aquamarine)Check out Bramblecrest’s Portobello Double Hanging Cocoon Chair- a perfect reading spot for your garden!Apple and Honey Show Weekend 25th & 26th September (10am-4pm, both days), Gerry Edwards, The Mid Shires Orchard Group, BBOWT, plus Bucks County Honey Show on the Sunday.RHS Chelsea Flower Show 21-26th September. The BBC will be covering it as usual.Recycle Week 20-26th September Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.Peter has been lifting his ‘Desiree’ potatoes from his allotment. For more information on blight resistant potato varieties, please refer to our earlier Potato podcastWhat to sow / plant now:Veggies Broad bean ‘Aquadulce’ and ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ and Pea ‘Feltham First’ and ‘Douce Provence’, Radish and Turnips (for Christmas). Planting onion sets in autumn means you will get an earlier crop next year. Choose a variety that’s ideal for autumn sowing, such as ‘Autumn Champion’ ‘Radar’ or ‘Senshyu Yellow’. Salad crops mustard leaf, winter salad mixes, or mizuna. Winter lettuces such as ‘Winter Density’ can be sown under glass. Spring cabbages and spinach can be sown now for picking next spring.Edible flowers Borage, Cornflower (seed sow now), Courgette, Squash, Marrow and Pumpkin (deep fried in batter), Lavender, Nasturtium (seed), Hollyhocks, Pansies (seed), Pinks, Pot Marigolds, Rose, Sage, and Sweet violets.Comfrey which is sterile (so no free seeding) is Symphytum x uplandicum Bocking 14Florist cyclamen vs Mini cyclamen vs Hardy cyclamen (available in Garden Centre)Blue Hydrangeas, you need a good quality ericaceous (acid) compost to keep them blue and if you have pink Hydrangeas then a Multi-purpose John Innes Compost is fine.Westland Hydrangea colourant (500g) available at Garden Centre. Hydrangea feed for blue flowersSowing a new lawn from seed and the types of grass seed available.Composting bins and GarottaBird food and suet balls.Useful linksHow to make comfrey tea by Chiltern Music Therapy

Wildlife in the Garden

Season 1, Ep. 11
Wildlife in the Garden Show NotesIn this episode we chat with Ed Turpin, Community Wildlife Officer East (Buckinghamshire and East Berkshire) from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).As concerns over preserving our wildlife become more important, we talk to Ed about his role as a wildlife officer. We chat about the impact of global warming on our precious wildlife habitats and we also touch on the big peat debate and how we need to change our compost buying habits now peat-free alternative composts are becoming available. We also discuss the importance of introducing water into the garden as a magnet to draw in more wildlife, plus a look at how we can help preserve our dwindling hedgehog population. Garden birds, spiders, squirrels, foxes and rabbits come under the wildlife spotlight together with how growing wildflowers can impact on our own gardens in a positive way.Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust is Buckingham Garden Centre’s charity of the year and you can chat with a BBOWT representative at our forthcoming Apple and Honey Show Weekend (24th and 26th September, 10am-4pm).Plants MentionedBirch, Hazel, Field Maple, Dog rose, Wild Privet, Hawthorn, Holly, Brambles, Heathers and GorseAnimal species mentioned Red Kites, Butterflies - Common Blue, Cabbage White and Painted Lady, Grass Snakes.Butterfly and moth friendly plants include Lavender, Sage, Thymes, Primulas, Forget-me-nots, Bugle (Ajuga), Hedera and Stinging Nettles (for caterpillars).Plants rabbits tend to avoid include: Peonies, Hellebores, Foxgloves, Narcissi, Snowdrops, Lavender and RosemaryProducts mentioned: Bird feeders, Squirrel proof feeders and bird food – Niger seed, Bird boxes, Graziers animal deterrent (in store only). Sunflowers, Teasel and Wildflower seeds.BBOWT Actions page - has lots of great activities and tips for making your garden wildlife friendly.BBOWT How to create a mini-pond - Some great tips on creating a small pond in your garden.The Freshwater Habitats Trust - There are some great tips and some quite comprehensive articles on their website which are great for wildlife ponds.Hedgehog Street is a national campaign that is run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES for short) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). There is some great information on the website and you can sign up to be a Hedgehog Champion. You can also register hedgehog sightings in your local area which all works towards helping understand how hedgehog populations are looking nationally.Wildlife Gardens worth a visit Notable gardens include Cambridge Botanic Garden, Chartwell House and Garden (Sevenoaks, Kent), Great Dixter (Rye, Sussex), Hidcote Manor (Gloucestershire), Longstock Water Gardens (Hampshire), Lost Gardens of Heligan (Cornwall), Thenford Garden and Arboretum (Banbury, Oxfordshire), and Waddesdon Manor (Buckinghamshire).RHS Wildlife in Gardens adviceWildlife watch for childrenUK top ten birds, latest RSPB Big Bird Watch resultsMusic by Chiltern Music Therapy

August in the Garden

Season 1, Ep. 10
August in the Garden Show NotesIn this episode Chris and Peter discuss National Allotments week and their drive towards sustainability helped by using water butts and mulch to conserve water.Find out about National Plum Day, Pershore and the Vale of Evesham including the Victoria Plum and how it grows and fruits on North facing walls. We discuss Waspinators and wasp traps to keep the wasps away from your Tea and cake! They also share the difference between High Tea and Afternoon tea.August is the time to check your potatoes for Blight. Find out what to do if you have it and how to check whether your potatoes are ready to lift. Garlic, shallots and onions are nearly ready for harvest too and we have a tip on how to get the bulbs to mature.Learn of the benefits of the Hozelock Growbag Waterer for growing tomatoes and using good fertilizers like Phostrogen to stop blossom end rot.There’s still time to plant Lettuce - lollo rossa, Radish – French Breakfast, and for next year it is now time to plant your, Spring onions – White Lisbon, Spring Cabbages Offenham Spring, Swiss Chard – Bright Lights, Pak Choi. We discuss how to use Cress seeds to mark out your rows of slow sprouting vegetables like Parsnip and have the bonus of delicious Cress seedlings.In case you haven’t yet seen it the informative Whartons rose video is well worth a watch (discussed in more detail in our Celebrating Roses podcast)Chris and Peter discuss their favourite fruit, the Strawberry, and the Strawberry Alpine.It’s time to start taking softwood cuttings from semi hardy plants like Argyranthemum just in case your specimen plants get killed off by harsh winter frosts and we explain how to use rooting powder and gels and what to plant your cuttings in, including the benefits of mixing in some Perlite or Vermiculite. Buckingham Palace Gardens are open until the 19th Sept and we chat about what the gardens have to offer. Other gardens to visit more local to you and across the country can be found at National Gardens Scheme.Peter's Broad bean Dip recipe:250g - 300g of shelled (or frozen) broad beans 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic25 ml of olive oilretain a small amount of water the beans were cooked inSprig of RosemaryListen to the episode to find out how to make the dip.Music by Chiltern Music Therapy