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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stocks Away

Just looked at my drums tonight and the one containing Ian Stocks seed has germinated with 100% results at least 2 per station Medwyns still have to show themselves.Also no sighn of Sweet Candle yet.
My over winter Onions that i planted in November are doing well after the spell of good weather the plan is to be able to lift them a few weeks earlier to get a good colour and finish in time for the Early shows.I need one good set of 3 for the Onions grown from setts class which I won last year along with the best exhibit in the Onion class.I am now the hunted lol.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Who's Been A Busy Boy Then

This Weekend I have made great progress All my Quality Onions are now in their final positions I planted 30 in total at 14" centres. Ideally they should be at 18" centres but due to space I have gone for 14".I also looked back at Dans blog from the year he grew his best ones and he spaced them at 12" so I reckon I should be OK. I am a little concerned they are a bit long in the neck but we will have to see what happens.
The tunnel has frost protection so they should be fine.They have been watered in using Bio Magic to give them a boost.

I also planted out 60 Shallots also at 14" centres in double rows with 2 foot between each the bed was dressed with bone meal and tev 4 before planting I did this a week ago

the remaining Parsnip seeds that had chitted but I did not need for the drums were put in to toilet roll tubes on my return from working in Aberdeen most had germinated and the root was already at the bottom of the tubes so I hastily bored some holes in one of the beds outside, these were filled with leftover Parsnip mix and the Parsnips duly planted these will be destined for the table. Interesting concept Mr Smith, yes we actually eat veg as well as show it.

The biggest Onion for size has also now been planted in to its final position in the tunnel, it looks in good order and I have another 3 not far behind I let Dan have the rest so 10lb may be on the cards for one of us this year.

First lot of Parsnips have all germinated in the drums but no sign of the carrots yet.

Another trial is something I heard on local radio, Joe Maiden who has a couple of gardening shows each week on radio Leeds,suggested using leftover Onion setts and planting them in a pot as close together as you can the idea is that you use some for spring Onions and as you thin them you get bigger salad Onions finishing up with a few larger ones, worth a try.

The Leeks are moving on nicely they are now over 2 foot tall with a 12" blanch I will be planting them in to the bed in the next couple of weeks as I need to build something to support the flags first.

The first lot of Celery are now coming on nicely as are the Giant Cabbages 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Onion Beds and Team Yorkshire meeting

Over the last 2 days things have been moving on I have now finished my Onion beds I topped them off with some more manure and a scattering of tev 4, Dolomite Lime & Seaweed Meal I then tilled the beds with my Mantis Tiller (other tillers are available) It is a brilliant piece of kit for smaller areas I have half shares with Ted. we bought it last year. I recommend these tillers as you get a fine well mixed medium with little effort.All it took for each bed was 5 mins.

I also created a raised bed of 100 litres using half a Blue drum to grow my largest for weight Onion. I am trying to beat 10 lb.

Today also marked the first meeting of team Yorkshire,  Dan  Visited me today for the first meeting of team Yorkshire, who will be competing with smithyveg at Harrogate We needed to formulate a plan of attack to ensure that we get the 1 - 2. Said plan is now in place without Tomatoes which are easy to grow, watch this space.Smithy.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

First Carrots Sown

On Monday I sowed a drum of long Carrots plus 15 stations of Stump rooted ones. These are for my early shows and the Varieties are Sweet Candle and Ian Stocks own long Carrot Seeds which I acquired from Kendal.It is now just a waiting game till they come through Hopefully. The Long Carrots were planted 5 to a barrel and the core holes are 4" I will try another barrel with 3" cores to see if there is any difference, the Stumps are in 3" holes 26" deep the drum has been covered with bubble wrap and the stump bed with fleece.

I now have loads of Celery as all my sowings have now germinated finally. Tomorrow I intend to finish my onion and Leek beds in the tunnel as it will not be long before I plant them in to their final positions as we are now at the 12 hours of daylight stage they can come out from under the lamps and in to the heated tunnel without getting a check in growth.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Boring Day

It has been a boring day in more ways than one I spent half of it at a wedding fair with er in doors as she is a wedding planner. I did manage to escape at around 2 and started coring and boring the Carrot beds and drums.I need to sow some seeds this week for my early shows as Sweet Candle take 22 weeks from sowing to showing, my first show being on 13th August.I have now done half the new stump bed and will do the rest tomorrow. one thing I did learn was that the surface of the sand needs to be damp ti stop it falling in to the newly cored hole.I used   2& 3/4" pipe and moved it around in the hole to give me 3" this was then filled with the mix which is as follows
4 parts sieved compost
1 part sieved bagged topsoil
1 part fine Vermiculite
1 part silver sand
to every 20 litres I added
2 oz tev 4
1 oz garden lime
1 oz seaweed meal
1 oz ground calcified seaweed
the whole lot was mixed in the mixer for half an hour to ensure proper mixing.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Slawit Royals

My first lot of spuds went in today these are International Kidney from J.B.A. Seed Potatoes  these are the early variety that are grown in Jersey and called Jersey Royals, you are only allowed to call them this if you grow them in Jersey hence the name Slawit Royals (doesn't have the same ring to it though) they will be grown in bags in my heated tunnel to avoid any frost that we might get.I am hoping for some lovely new spuds sometime in June fingers crossed. I have planted 3 to a 35 litre bag and the growing medium is Peat based compost with added Tev 4 (Vitax q4) seaweed meal and calcified seaweed. I am growing 6 bags in total this way.The spuds have now been covered with compost and watered I will top up the bags as they grow.
I also planted some Onion sets in to their final position after chitting they are Stutgarter Giant 40 in total I only need a set of 3 for my local show so these or the overwinter ones which are in the tunnel should do the trick.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Vento Shallots Parsnips Celery

Due to the poor performance of the Vento I decided to buy some plants from Medwyn to top up on numbers, these arrived today and they are far better and further on than mine he must not put the snot ball round his seeds as he has managed to germinate his they were not cheap at nearly a tenner for ten but well worth it I think.They have now been potted up and are under the lights.The Vento I took the green casing off and sowed as an experiment have all germinated 100% as have Smithys.

I have spoken to Smithyveg regarding my Shallots of which some are getting quite large he has advised me not to plant them out just yet so I potted the largest ones on today in to 11 cm pots to keep them going a bit longer as you can see from the photo they have a cracking root system
Finally got some Celery to germinate I am about a month behind last year but as last years were ready for my earliest show in August I am not to worried as my main focus is for the collection of 6 at Harrogate one of us needs to prove Dave Thornton wrong.

I have also planted a couple of drums with chitted parsnip seeds the variety is Pinnacle these are also for the August show in Huddersfield I will be sowing some more in a couple of weeks time for the later shows 
after much deliberation the mix i used is as follows 
75 litres of compost 
50 litres of topsoil
25 litres of silver sand 
25 litres of fine vermiculite
to this I added 
2 oz seaweed meal
2 oz calcified seaweed
4 oz vitax Q4 
2 oz garden lime 
everything was passed through a 1/8" sieve the calcified seaweed and vitax were put through the blender first to powder them.The whole lot was then put in the mixer for half an hour, this is something I learned on Tuesday from Ian Stocks, he reckons there is no point in only mixing for a few minutes as the mix may not be evenly distributed.  

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Kendal part 2

Travelled to Kendal again last night for another informative talk this time it was on  Long Carrots by Ian Stocks, there was a lot to take in and I think that what he had to say will influence what nutrients I put in my Carrot mix. His mix differs considerably from Ian Simpsons.I shall be trying a mix derived from both of theirs and also bearing in mind what I used last year as well.I will decide over the weekend what to include and hopefully get it mixed soon. One thing he does do is bore each hole and fill with the mix then sow the seeds all on the same day which means the pressure is off slightly as the ingredients have already been sieved.
I also bought a packet of his Long Carrot seeds and will be trying a couple of drums to compare with Medwyns.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Weekly update

Got most of my drums filled this week, next will be the mixes most of the ingredients are sieved so it will be just a case of adding the nutrients. I am not going to do this till I have attended the talk on long Carrots in Kendal by Ian Stocks as I am still unsure as to what to add due to different opinions from various sources.
I also managed to get some 12" collars on my Leeks to extend the blanch which is now 10"

my first sowing of Cedrico are doing well

the Vento that have caused problems for loads of people are now starting to pick up so I may have 20 to plant in to their final positions which is more than last year.
Parsnip seeds are not chitting don't know why I orered some more seeds this week and when they arrived they were Polar rather than Pinnacle my mistake dont buy seeds after you have had 3 bottles of wine I will try these in a couple of drums and have ordered some Pinnacle tonight. I have also ordered some Bonica Aubergene plants for April delivery after reading Smithys blog. 

The head gardner visited the allotment today after we took him to get his first pair of wellington boots he found them a bit of a struggle to walk in lol

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

50 Carrot Bed

Got lots done yesterday 2 tonnes of sand arrived and was duly barrow ed to the new stump root bed it took nearly all of it to fill to the top I will now let it settle ready for coring next week.

The mix for this bed that will take 50 stumps has now been prepared as the vermiculite also arrived although the vermiculite was fine grade I still sieved it through the 1/8" riddle to keep everything even. The texture is identical to the mix that Ian Simpson showed us at the talk in Kendal if it is good enough for him it will do for me.

The Onions and Leeks had a day out in the tunnel and got some natural light for the first time