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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Continued problems with germination

I seem to be struggling with germination on certain things this year I have made some early sowings which are in the propagator some with good results and some not so good it is the Celery that is giving me problems at the moment.  I have now sown 3 lots of 2 varieties Evening star and Red star 20 modules of each variety in each sowing. So far all that has germinated are 6 Evening star all from 1 row of the tray which is also a bit strange.

 I thought I may have sown these a bit deep so the second batch were sown on the top of the compost with some fine Vermiculite on top of the seeds this was over a week ago and nothing has shown through yet hence the third sowing today which is not going in the propagator just in case this is the problem.
I have also sown some more Vento which have had the Green stuff removed purely to see if this makes a difference as it could help next year to know how to get better results from the seed.
some of my Vento that have germinated don't seem to be doing that well either. on a more positive note the onions and leeks are doing well

 the soil testing kit arrived from Lancrop and I will be taking a sample this coming week to send off for analysing more on this when I do it .
oh and I turned 50 yesterday.

Why Pensioners Should Not Drive

Need to be careful where you park nowadays as there are more pensioners than ever on the road the elderly woman driving the Fiat got the pedals mixed up it also goes to prove how tough VW's are as it was a no contest. she was not even on her side of the road the most exiting thing to happen round here for a while.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Snow Joke

Woke up this morning to 2" of snow which put pay to my plans for the day as I intended to set up the mixer and fill some more drums. Instead I turned my attention to the new stump Carrot bed the plan was to raise one of the existing beds In the tunnel.I first dug out all the soil then constructed the new level this is now ready for the sand. I have followed Ian Simpson's instructions and the new bed is 70" long by 36" wide and a depth of 26" this will give me space for 50 Carrots on a 10 x 5 matrix. with a 7" spacing between centres of the bore holes (2 3/4") As this is an additional bed I should have plenty to go at come show time. 
My early sowing of Cedrico has germinated with 100% success rate  Lemon grass is also through and some of my small Aubergine's .
I also sieved some of the ingredients for the Carrot mix 8 Gallons of bagged sterile topsoil this should be enough for all the mix in the new bed I also sieved 4 Gallons of Peat Compost still have another 3 lots to do

it all was put through the new 1/8" riddle and took a while the peat is a bit damp making the task harder. I will do one lot of this per visit to the Garden as I still have a couple of weeks before I sow some of the Stumps for my early shows Ian reckons that Sweet Candle takes 22 Weeks from sowing to Lifting, this is what I am basing my sowing dates on so we will see.I have also sourced some fine grade Vermiculite and will be buying it in bulk to keep down the cost and with a view to supplying it to other growers the size is 1mm to 3mm and the price for a 100 litre bag will be £23.00 smaller quantities by request.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Carrot mix is under way

Spent this afternoon shredding compost and sieving soil ready for the mixing of the magic stuff that will or won't work. I am using Wickes compost again as it is pure Irish Peat and the price is good as well at 4 bags for £13 that's 300 litres their soil also worked well for me last year it is 5 bags for £13 it will need sieving as it contains small stones, Ian Simpson uses a 1/8" riddle for this mine is ordered and on its way from Ebay,
he also said that you must use sterilised soil to avoid the Carrots being marked by the growing medium.

All the Large Onions are performing differently I will be selecting the best 4 to try to beat 10lb
the picture is of the largest which now measures 4" round 
Leeks are moving on slowly with a main stem blanch of  6"

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Chitting it

Started Chitting some parsnip seeds today it may be a bit early but Medwyns article in the garden news stated that it was time to start some off so I have followed his advice and will set 2 drums going and the rest will be in March the earlier ones will probably be good for the early shows.I have placed them in a plastic tubs on kitchen paper with some water then covered them with more paper

I have also sown 2 variety's of Celery Redstar and Evening Star I am a week later than last year which is fine as they were in peak condition for my local shows I will sow some more in a months time so that I have some good ones for Harrogate as it is game on with Mr Smith  and imperative that I beat him
I also sowed the first of my Tomatoes 6 Cedrico and the 2 Giant toms that I got from Dan and some Lemon grass purely for interest.

Shallots are sprouting an will need to be planted out soon

Mixed fortunes with the Vento as some of the foliage seems to be dying and some are OK with 2 true leaves I will just have to see what happens later on  I still have more plants than last year at the moment

I have managed to gather 200 litres of molehill soil each day this week in my lunch break  1000 litres in total it is lovely stuff and my Onion beds are now full and ready to be tilled with my Mantis tiller I will then have both beds analysed and correct the growing medium accordingly.I intend to grow Leeks in one and Onions in the other.

spuds are coming along nicely

The Alliums that I bought from Harrogate show have sprouted after only a week

I have also been working out my sowing dates for Carrots and Peas after Ian Simpsons talk this week His times for Sweet Candle and Show perfection Peas are as follows Carrots 22 weeks from sowing  Peas first pod reaches Optimum size 86 days from sowing date
I intend to sow 2 lots of Carrots and 3 lots of peas to cover the Shows that I intend to exibit at. I am also buying some 10 foot canes to grow the peas on using Ians method more on this later as the first lot of peas will not be sown till May I also e mailed Ian regarding the type of lime in the mix and his reply is below also there is an an amendment to some information that he gave at the talk he has asked me to feed it out to all concerned
Hello Paul,

Although I use Garden Lime it may be worthwhile trying a few with Dolomite Lime to see if it makes any difference. I’m a great believer in trying something different when I can but only experiment with a few just in case.
If you do try any with the Dolomite Lime I would be keen to find out how they turned out. Please let me know.
Rgds Ian

P.S. During my talk on the Peas I mentioned that I grew a variety called Juno that was Mildew resistant. This was an error on my part as it was a variety called Dorian that was Mildew resistant not Juno. I had also grown Juno that year as well as Dorian and my reselected Show Perfection.
Dorian produced a reasonable Pod but the main characteristic was its total resistance to Mildew, hence my suggestion regarding trying to cross Dorian with Show Perfection. Dorian is sold by Thompson & Morgan.
As for the Juno Pea, it was very disappointing and in my opinion will never make a “ Show “ variety.
If you could let people that attended the Talk know this then that would be appreciated. Many thanks.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Sweet Kendle

As you may have already read on Simon Smithyveg several of the blogging community traveled to the Westmoreland DA of the NVS monthly meeting for a talk on growing stump Carrots by Ian Simpson who has won the Nationals twice with stump Carrots. I must say that it was well worth the trip as I gained a vast amount of knowledge from this excellent speaker, and with that in mind I shall be building a new stump root bed in the next 2 weeks in order to try to grow some stumps following his method as closely as possible.I also bought some of the Garlic Wonder that Ian swears by he claims that it prevents Carrot Fly to the extent that he does not use Enviromesh. At the meeting it was on sale for £3 what a bargain.As an added bonus Ian also gave a talk on growing Exhibition Peas which was equally interesting and informative I will also be using his method for my Peas I bought 2 packets of his Show Perfection Pea seeds 100 seeds per packet £2 per packet another bargain in my eyes.
It was also nice to meet some new faces, Paul and Linda Wlodarczak and James Park  and even nicer to be bought a pint by Smithy,but in true Yorkshire fashion Dan undsworth bought nowt in the way of drinks for anyone. Well done Dan for keeping up the Yorkshire traditions!!!!
I am sure both myself and Simon will be filtering down some of the information as the season progresses so keep watching. And thanks to the Westmoreland DA  for making us welcome.I will be back.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Rain stops Play

If it rains anymore I am going to build an Ark. I have not been able to get anything done this weekend, apart from having 2 tons of topsoil delivered to fill up the raised beds in the tunnel,in  readiness for the Onions to be planted in to their final positions in mid March. I would like to get them finished and the growing medium analysed before then.The only other job I managed was to put 80 onion sets in to compost to get them going before planting out.I also ordered 100  14litre pollypots in redness for planting out the potatoes.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Large Onions

Had another check of the large Onions today one in particular is far larger than the rest it is now in a 7"diameter by 8" deep pot and has 9 leaves mine last year were only this size in mid May so they are 14 weeks ahead of last years 6lb attempt.
I will be selecting the 6 best next week and will be planting them in 100 litre pots come March to try to break Dans record I also received 2 giant Tomato seeds in the post also from Dan we are going to see if we can grow a big un.

Pumpkin Seeds

Today I recieved some Pumpkin seeds from Wyoming, I found the contact from big pumpkins . com, all they cost me was the price of the postage they even came with a detailed desription of each and growing instructions. I intend to grow a couple this season due to space I am aiming for 500lb plus if we have a good summer.