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Monday, 27 December 2010

The Shallots Are In and Vento Sown

I Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

My thoughts have now turned to next year, I have read many different peoples Ideas on when to plant Shallots and decided to plant mine in pots of John Innes no 2  in the Tunnel yesterday, there are 61 in total as previously mentioned from 4 different sources.The tunnel has some background heat to guard against frost. The 6 plants at the back right in the photo are Elephant Garlic pips that I have successfully managed to root. I also sowed 40 Vento Onions these are a week earlier than last year which will give them another week to ripen hopefully. when these are through I will not be giving them any artificial light as last year they reached the required size in plenty of time for the shows without any.  

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Shallots Large Onions

I have obtained Hative De Niort Shallots from several sources as I needed to build up my stock. The best ones were from Smithy veg  the next best were from Dobies followed by Plants of Distinction and last of all from M Brereton who advertises in the Garden News these were the smallest but good sound bulbs it will be interesting to see if the size of the original bulb determines the size of the new bulbs. (pictured as mentioned left to right)

The large Onions are now in large square pots and are doing well they are still getting 12 hours of daylight the photo shows them in a double seed tray sized gravel tray this enables them to be watered from the bottom.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ive seen the Light

After speaking to Dave Metcalf on the phone, as I forgot to ask how much light the Leeks needed. I was informed that they only require 12 hours .So as they are in the same place as the Onions I asked him if it was OK to cut down on the light the Onions are receiving he said it was, so everything is now receiving 12 hours of artificial light and ticking along nicely

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Traveled across the Pennines today to collect my Pendle Improved Leeks from Dave Metcalfe. What lovely specimens they are, and what a nice chap Dave is.I learned loads he was very forthcoming with info which I wrote down hastily I now need to make sense of my notes so I can feed out the info.I took a couple of photos below and also one of mine now tucked up in the growing chamber. a photo is also below.

Monday, 6 December 2010


I had a Brain storm today and decided that although the collection of Pendle improved Leeks was imminent I would sow some leek seeds as a banker. I sowed some Robinson's Giant Leeks in Rootainers they are now awaiting germination. It will be good to see which does best at the shows. I was quite successfull with the Robinsons last year considering I was learning as I went along. I am also a month earlier than last year with the sowing. I also sowed some seeds that I saved from my Runner beans and Poppy the pumpkin to check germination, these have now popped through making my first attempt at saving seeds a success. 

Friday, 3 December 2010

My Final 15

I have now selected my final 15 Onions for size, and potted them on in a mix of John Innes no2 combined with a hand full of Vermiculite a sprinkling of Nutrimate and another sprinkling of powdered Vitax.The root system is very strong and they are growing well,there is a small amount of yellowing to the tips of the leaves I have researched this and it could be down to lack of fertilizer. I have also lifted the lights slightly to accommodate them they are still on 24 hours of light.I am hoping to get one over 10lb so we will see what happens.

The first sowing of the Quality Onions are not far behind, and the second sowing are now through and will be potted on this weekend.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Onion Progress and other veg

Still plenty of veg for the table Sprouts Broccoli Sweedes and Parsnips to name a few are all doing well

Not a lot needs doing at this time of year but the Onions are still progressing.The Large ones sowed about a month ago are growing well they will soon be ready to pot into bigger pots.

Not as good results on the Quality Onions I only managed 20 out of the 80 sown (my fault I let them dry out ) the 20 I did manage to germinate are good specimens with at least 4 roots these have now been potted on and are under the grow lights.I have sown another 40 just to be on the safe side

The first sowing of Giants are now in the tunnel and apart from some heat they are fending for themselves the 12 of them are all a good size. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Progress Report

The last sowing of Heavy onions have now come through and today I transplanted the strongest 20 in to John Inness no 2 compost most of them had the second root starting to form.They are now under the grow lights receiving 24 hours of daylight.

I also sowed my quality Onions today 84 in total,they are now in the propagator I am aiming for 50 to pot on fingers crossed.I also continued with deepening the Onion bed in the Polly tunnel once this is done and filled I will be having the soil analysed to correct the pH and find out what nutrients are required.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Heavy Onions

My first sowing of Heavy Onions  is now under the Grow light there are 12 plants growing well, I have set the temperature to 50 deg and the growlight at a height to give 17000 lux at plant level. The Onions are receiving 24 hours of daylight at the moment. I have also inserted a soil warming cable to give bottom heat this should hopefully produce a big one.

I also sowed another 40 Vin throup heavy strain Onions a week ago, these are in the propagator and should be through soon all being well. . I will be sowing my Quality Onions also from Vin in the next few days. I have ordered some plants from Vin also to collect in January, this will enable me to pick the best 50 to grow on for a set of  5 for Harrogate.

My Over Winter Onion Sets which are now covered by the new Tunnel are also doing nicely, I need as set of 3 for my local show.The plan is to lift them earlier than the Spring sown setts giving them more time to ripen.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Poppy the Pumpkin and Blackpool

Took the head Gardener to see the Blackpool illuminations last night the highlight of his visit was going to the pub just like his Grandad.He then spent most of the time looking out of the wrong window at the hotels instead of the lights.

Today me and Linda have been digging out a path in to the plot where there is a hill I just wanted to level it out and get some more soil for the Onion bed
I have also carved Poppy the pumpkin ready for all the trick or treaters photo below

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Today I finally managed to get the cover on the tunnel with the help of Ted and Linda, it was quite windy but it went well without any major problems. This will enable me to grow much more under cover next year. I am now going to make all the beds another plank deeper to give the roots of the crops more to go at. I also intend to start my bags of spuds off under cover i have been reliably informed that this is what some of the top growers do so i will give it a try.

I managed to swap a large bag of Onions for 12 Blue plastic drums a couple of weeks ago, some of these will be placed in the large tunnel for Parsnips and long Carrots. I will be taking delivery of my Pendle Improved Leeks from Dave Metclfe at the beginning of December. I have the grow lights rigged up already and this week purchased a soil warming cable to give bottom heat to them and my Onions. I will be sowing some Onions mid November and have some plants ordered from Vin Throup for collection early January
I have also received some seeds from a grower of giant veg in Cornwall they are giant Cabbage which can grow in excess of 70 lb some Marrow seeds from a 111 pound er and some from a 707 pound Squash which should be interesting. thanks again David

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


As previously mentioned I called in to see Iain at JBA on Monday what a top bloke, he Gave myself and Linda a full guided tour of the Farm I have never seen so many Spuds in one place. it was not possible to take any photos due to all the Spuds being stored in the dark to preserve them. I also got loads of advice on growing techniques plus dare i say it some free samples of Potatoes who said Scotsmen were tight.I also bought some Fertilizer and some Nutrimate to help with the growing of my crops next year. All in all a very worthwhile visit thanks again Iain.
I shall be attempting to cover the polytunnel this weekend weather permitting it was a bit too windy in the Pennines last weekend.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Pumpkin Progress

A quick update on Poppy the pumpkin there has not been any growth for the last couple of weeks so I have now harvested it at around 50lbs.The head Gardner can be seen checking it out below.
As for the Tunnel the polythene has arrived and will be fitted this weekend weather permitting I am also planning to call in at JBA seed potatoes on Monday as I am working north of the border again next week

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Grand Day Out

Had a day out in the Yorkshire Dales visiting a good Friend of mine here is a link to his site not veg related.  he lives in a marvelous location with magnificent views I have put a photo of the view from his decking on this post.

Now for the best bit, on my way I called to see Vin Throup Legendary Yorkshire Onion Grower, to buy some seeds for his magnificent Onions. I also ordered some plants for January collection. What a lovely informative Bloke I picked up loads of tips and had a good look round his set up I could have stayed all day. He showed me his Onion store brilliant the largest ones weighed 14+ pounds and the Quality onions around 6 pounds each can't wait to start growing them next year. 

Friday, 1 October 2010

Tunnel Overwinter Onions Vin Throup

Construction is now well underway with the new Tunnel I have decided to put mesh round the bottom and Polythene round the top this should help to keep it cooler and still protect the crops within. I scrounged the mesh found the pipe so the cost for the frame stands at around £100. The polythene has been ordered today at another £100 so the finished article comes in at £200 not bad for a 30foot by 15foot Tunnel

My over winter Onions arrived this week I have chosen 3 varieties which Radar Autumn Champion & Senshyu Yellow the plan is to grow these in the new tunnel and hopefully they will be ready earlier than the spring planted sets giving them more time to develop a good colour in time for the early shows as there is a class for 3 Onions grown from sets in all my earlier shows. These are now planted and i have spaced them 6" apart and 12" between rows 30 of each variety in the bed.

Spoke to Vin Throup the Legendary YORKSHIRE Onion Grower last night, and will be meeting him next week to obtain some Onion seeds ready for sowing mid November. 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

NVS West Yorkshire District Association show & Smithy

First of all I will get it out of the way and congratulate Smithy on beating some Welsh veg Grower who's name escapes me at Malvern, well done Mate. My fortunes yesterday were not as good. I decided to stage my onions and a few other bits at the West Yorkshire NVS district association Autumn Show in Leeds the home of Leeds United. On arrival it became obvious that I may be a little out of my depth but as I had spent £5 on petrol I decided to table my exhibits. The classes I entered were Onions under 250g twice, 5 potatoes Coloured , 3 different varieties of Potatoes 3 of each,Tomatoes, Cucumber,and a collection of four veg on an 18" X 18" base not to exceed 16 points. I chose Garlic Peppers Beetroot and French beans at the time I was under the impression that Garlic was a 15 point veg, it would appear my advisor from the Midlands got it wrong! this cost me a card only a third but it would have been the only one of the day. The onions looked as good as the rest mine are the ones on the front Left in the photo so I was disappointed with the result on them. All my other exhibits were well beaten by far superior veg. I would say that the whole thing was well organised and supported with Quality veg and Flowers but then it was in Yorkshire. enough said

Saturday, 18 September 2010


Visited the Harrogate Autumn show today what an experience, there was one thing that really caught  my eye in particular it was a stump root Carrot called Abaco. The photo is from the 3 stump and 3 long Carrots class there were around a dozen exhibits on the table all the stumps were Sweet Candle except for these which scored the highest points (17) I duly went across to Exhibition Seeds Stand and bought some seeds.
I will still grow Sweet Candle to see which I prefer they are not as long but are a really nice shape with a smoother  finish. there were some cracking leeks and Onions I now need to get some Pendle Improved from somewhere and some decent Onion seed.
I did gain some confidence in the fact that had I exhibited my Vento Onions they would have almost certainly got a card there were in my opinion none to touch them so I will be entering them next week at the NVS West Yorkshire da. show next week and will se what happens.
there were other areas where I may have picked up cards and I will be concentrating on these next year all in all a cracking day out some snapshots of the day can be seen below.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Zoo Magazine

I have had a veg picture published in this weeks Zoo Magazine page 31. This must be a first it is a valid excuse for you to buy it

Monday, 13 September 2010

Weekend Baking and SAS

On Sunday I considered baking a cake but thought I would leave that to the Southerners. Instead I spent the day tidying up a bit and continuing with the construction  of the new Tunnel I have decided it will have mesh around the bottom to about a metre then Polythene above. I also pulled some Parsnips from the Kitchen bed they were massive shame about the canker, tasted OK though went well with the Sunday roast. Poppy the pumpkin is still growing and is 5 foot round now so won't be a record breaker
Also check out the link below re my work, its in the News of the World so no longer secret. I work on the same team as this Guy !!! real men work with the SAS and do not bake cakes lol

JBA potatoes Potato Growing Forum

Iain at JBA Seed Potatoes has launched a new Potato growing forum well worth a look
check it out .

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Last weeks Show Photos

Back from Ireland I have been on to the Garden briefly today between the rain I was hoping to carry on with the new tunnel but the weather stopped that happening I hope it is better tomorrow. I have some good under 8oz Onions that I may enter in a couple more shows with anything else that looks good from the garden at the time.
below are some photos from last week as promised.