A Stroke of Aubergenius

Covideo-nasty has, potentially, put the mockers on this years roster of horticultural shows. Thus you’d expect most competition growers to be at home licking their giant vegetable wounds. No tears from Dale Toten though, just like an AutoPot, he’s not about to waste the water. There’s work to be done and Dale’s the man with the eggplan-ts.

Above: What happens when Dale gets the bit between his teeth – loofahs grown last year in easy2grow

At Ston Easton Hall he’s proposing an immense organic-fed artisan grotto, under full lights, packed with hydro/horti growing techniques, and set to be hung with gigantic aubergine baubles of incomparable quality. Marvellous! Despite the scale of the aubergines he has planned, Dale is taking a micro view in the gardens and greenhouses this year. As with many growers there’ll be a smaller selection of fruit and veg than usual. But why should that be a negative? The entire, concentrated force of your growing prowess can be brought to bear on a few high-value targets – you’re a laser-guided gardener!

Above: Paths to glory, despite the closure of the hall there’s still stacks to do for Dale

Owing in part to coronavirus, the Hall, whose gardens Dale manages, has closed. However, the Palladian majesty of the grounds are no less in need of management and, happily, Dale remains on the staff there. Elsewhere in this month’s news we refer to the idea that gardens and greenhouses are dynamic places, ever-changing and suggestive of future potential. Therefore it’s really important and hopeful that people continue to maintain green spaces through the bad times – whether for their own peace of mind or that of others.

Above: A warm, sheltered wall in the fullest splatter of the sun – previously occupied by loofahs, should be perfect for aubergines

Dale has a red-hot blueprint for his greenhouse purple patch. The aubergine is a right little heat junkie and likes nothing better than lounging against a warm, sheltered wall in the fullest splatter of that piping hot golden pancake – the sun. Yep, the sun is flat too – wake up people! Levels of sunlight on these U.K. shores have, traditionally, made aubergines a mildly tricky proposition. New aubergine cultivars are more suited to the British climate and this fact, combined with the appeal of aubergine as a home-grown meat substitute, has seen its popularity swell. Although regular plants are now relatively easy to grow, giants require a little more oomph. Hence Dale will be using both lighting and a watering system in order to respond to the plants needs and more closely replicate the aubergine’s native, semi-tropical milieu. As aubergines thrive in hot, dry conditions regular misting and biological control in the greenhouse will be de rigueur.

Above: Pepper-ation, pepper-ation, pepper-ation! Dale’s exquisite attention to detail has won him gongs galore down the years.

Organics are very much the name of the game these days and Dale emphatically does want to play the game with organics. He’s another lucky chap who’s got his hands on Mills brand-new, as-yet-unreleased, full-organic range. We’ve got some at APHQ and are thoroughly impressed. On duty for watering will be Dale’s Spyder Squadron – the AQUAboxes with which he’s enjoyed such success in the past will take on aubergines in his raised beds for the first time.

Above: AQUAbox Spyders – perfect for feeding and watering raised beds

Elsewhere at Ston, taking care of extraordinary fruit and veg every day, there’ll be Auto9 XL, Auto8, and 1Pot XL modules for kitchen-garden basics. Staff and permanent residents need to eat and they need to eat well. You can’t do much better than homegrown fruit and veg nutrition. Happily the AutoPot Watering Systems that Dale has allow him to continue growing a plentiful supply of tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and peppers with minimal maintenance as he works the grounds of the Hall. 

Above: This year the Auto9 XL SmartPots, Auto8s and 1Pot XLs will be growing every-day fruit and veg for staff and permanent residents

It just goes to show; you can have it all – a career and gardening glory. Many people are at home right now enjoying the diverting and satisfying pursuit of horticultural nirvana with a bit of home growing – but what about when they go back to work? That’s the joy of AutoPot. The plants help themselves to water and nutrient as and when they require it. If you’re cultivating fruit and veg then they’re almost literally making your dinner for you! Worried about switching everything off before leaving the house? No problem, AutoPot is 100% power-free. You get to enjoy your plants with zero-stress.

Above: Dale continues with upkeep for the walled gardens

Finding out what Auber-Genies such as Dale are up to can really help make your own eggplant wishes come true. Given that travel and shows are a no-no right now where better to get across what people are doing at the moment than Insta – think of it as a virtual garden show! Follow Dale’s progress @Ston_Veg

Comment using Facebook, Twitter or WP