Gardeners' World: Monty Don warns against 'overfeeding' plants
Gardening expert Monty Don often shares tips with viewers on looking after indoor and outdoor plants. As England goes back into lockdown, most Britons will be spending more time at home and in their gardens. For those looking to embark on a new gardening project, expert Monty Don has explained how to grow your own gherkin plant.
Monty explained how he loves pickled gherkins and that he hoped to grow a lot of them from just one plant.
He explained: “Gherkins are essentially a small cucumber and they’ve got warty skins.
“Of course, they pickle really well and I love pickled gherkins.”
The gardening pro explained that you should use rich compost for gherkins.
“I’ve mixed up a fairly rich potting mix of peat free compost with some sift garden compost and a bit of grit in it to add drainage,” he said.
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However, Monty said he is going to make the compost “even richer”.
He lifted up a massive pot that is about double the size of an average bucket in width.
He said he is planning to put one plant in the pot as gherkins tend to grow “vigorously”.
The pot he is using has been re-used for around 20 years to cut down on his plastic use.
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He joked: “I think it’s good for another 20 years!”
For those looking to cut back on their plastic usage too, Monty said the best way to cut down is to simply re-use it.
Monty then described how he drilled into the bottom and side of the pot to create drainage holes.
Surprisingly, Monty said not to put the rich compost straight into the pot but to put a layer of neat garden compost at the bottom.
He explained: “That will have two functions.
“Obviously, it will enrich the roots when they reach it but also more pertinently for the gherkins it will act as a sponge.
“It’ll hold moisture because gherkins, like cucumbers, like lots and lots of water.”
Monty then added the rest of the compost to the neat compost and mixed it together.
If you wish to grow your gherkins outside, you can, but Monty said they do “love heat”.
“If you’ve got a greenhouse then it’s a good way of using it,” Monty added.
He explained further that one big pot will only home a singular plant of a variety called “partner”.
He then showed viewers how a plant, which has been in a small pot, can look anaemic as it uses up all its goodness.
Monty added: “It will grow six foot tall or even more. These are vigorous plants so I will support it.”
Monty put three six-foot canes into the soil around the plant at different angles and then tied them at the top.
“Train the gherkin up and it’ll have tendrils that will attach to it with these little fruits hanging down.
“Pick them regularly. I’m going to put this pot into the greenhouse.
“Don’t forget to keep them well-watered. The more water, the better really and I expect to be harvesting the first of the little fruits in about two to three weeks time.”
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