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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Full of Beans

I had another productive morning yesterday the first batch of Broad Beans are now planted out and staked
 (40 in total) they should settle in nicely once this wind drops. I have another 40+ plants which will go in next week when I decide on a location.

I have also planted out my first batch of 12 Enorma Runners for my first show on the 13th of August hopefully  I have got the timing right .

I also have some prince and Ferrari dwarf bean plants ready to be planted out.

The last of the spuds have now been earthed up 
Below is a step by step guide to the method I find works best
First I empty the compost in to a large container,then I add the nutrients.In this case as I am only earthing up I add some Tev 4 (vitax q4) I then mix it up well getting rid of all the lumps.The brown pot in the photo is then filled with the mix.
Then after unrolling the bag to its full size I carefully hold the foliage to one side then add half the pot of compost then I move the foliage to the other side and repeat the process

Job Done 100 bags in total

I planted12 caulis in the tunnel after learning at the Talk in Derby  by John Branham that he had tried it with good results so why not give it a try.
The over winter Onions are now 3.5" diameter I will harvest at 4" in a couple of weeks giving them loads of time to ripen.
Shallots are also getting very near harvesting as I don't want to push my luck by leaving it too long and them starting secondary growth the largest now measure 43mm I will lift at 46mm and they should swell to 50mm when ripening which I will be more than happy with.
Stumps are coming on nicely 

Thursday, 26 May 2011


First setback of the year my largest Giant Onion has decided to split on me. I am not sure why as I have been very careful about watering.At the moment it is only the first 2 layers that have split so I am hoping that if I stop watering altogether it may stop,I have emailed Peter Glazebrook for some advice and he also said do not feed or water so fingers crossed as it now tapes at over 16", I do have another 3 but they are quite a way behind.I would rather loose the Giants than the Quality Onions as it was just an attempt at  growing one over 10lb and there is always next year.

On a lighter note I have some lovely Broad Bean Plants which will go out tomorrow hopefully.
 Also my first sowing of Enorma are due to go outside one of them appears to be a throwback healthy plant but strange colour.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Giving support

Today I had a closer look at my Vento Onions which have been left to their own devices I realised they were in need of some serious tidying and sorting. I set about removing all the small supports and replacing them with some new larger ones which has now straightened them up.I must say that they look a dam sight better for an hours attention.


I also had 15 drums given today and he even lent me his pickup to move them I now need to decide what to use them for.

My Giant Pumpkin plant has been planted out today I would have waited longer but it was getting too big to handle it is in an adjoining plot which the owner has kindly given me the use of  thank's John
I have covered it with some mesh for the time being
The saga of alliums going to seed continues.Several of my spring planted Onions have gone to seed and also one of my Shallots I have planted this plant in a tub and intend to save the seed.I am not sure what the results will be but it is worth a try.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Wats up with the Weather

We have had a few days of high winds which have hampered progress on the plot.Yesterday I had to work inside due to the weather we even had hailstones across the valley.I got out my Mantis Tiller and went over a bed in the large tunnel I also added some slow release fertilizer and Perlka which is a high nitrogen fertilizer that combats club root I added this to the bed because I intend to plant some Caulis fir Harrogate.Once this bed was prepared I planted my last 5 Pendle leeks in to one end they are in good order and measure 30mm in diameter which means they are pushing the 22mm pipe lagging apart ,I have ordered some 35mm and some 48mm today so I can increase the size as they swell outwards I also learned at the talk in Derby that if you keep the collars tight it helps to keep the barrel of the Leeks straight.

While I had the tiller out I also prepared the bed for the Celery in which I intend to grow 25 at 18" centres to this bed I added loads of manure and some slug pellets. I have today planted my first 5 plants for the earliest of my shows these are in 6"diameter pipes which are 10" deep these are just to lengthen the plants before wrapping them to blanch them more on this when I wrap them.The canes are just to keep the pipe in place and are not through the area where the roots are.

I picked the first of my Courgettes today and they have now been eaten.

I also had a tidy up in the Onion tunnel and put some gravel on the floor the Onions have also been tidied up with all the dead leaves and skins removed.

For some reason I am unable to reply to comments using my id, the only way to comment is as anonymous if anyone has any ideas why please enlighten me. 

Friday, 20 May 2011

An Event full Week

Monday was spent up in the Yorkshire Dales building a dry stone wall.
Wednesday I took Linda to her first NVS meeting. as usual we were the youngest there also Linda was the only woman in attendance I'm not really sure what she made of it as she is not into veg growing but at least that is her holiday out of the way for this year. The speaker at the meeting was John Branham he gave a talk on collections which was very interesting as I am competing at Harrogate against Smithy Dan and a few others with a collection of 6 one of each type of veg there is a few quid on it so I need to be on top of my game.
Thursday I had a visit from Richard (Veg Patch Blog).He can visit any time thanks for the beer by the way Richard. I gave him a couple of Pendle Leeks and am already getting texts for advice on what to do with them.He is a really nice bloke for a southerner.
Today I earthed up some of my spuds planted out some sprouts they are Crispus which are club root resistant they have a great root system already. I staked every plant as we have had lots of wind lately.

The trial Brokali  Calbrese and Swedes have settled in nicely.
Some of the spare Leeks still in pots are splitting the 22mm pipe lagging and are doing as well as the ones planted in the bed.I will try to get them planted in to their final positions this weekend.
The Peter Glazebrook Giant Tomatoes that were grown from seeds that Dan sent me have started to form trusses and I have noticed that some of them are double this must be what produces the Giant toms.I have heard that you should only leave one tom on each truss.with this in mind I contacted Peter for advice this was his reply:-
usually find the largest Tomato grows on the third truss, so the first can
be removed, the others are thinned out to leave perhaps one or two per
truss depending on how they set. Finally if I have a large tom. growing
which will be timed for the show, I may remove all other fruit and trusses
so that the plants energy is concentrated on the remaining one.
I have lost about 4 more Over Winter Onions this week from going to seed, but still have 40 left so hopefully they will survive for a few more weeks and I will get a set op 3 after all as they are bulbing up nicely. 
I also got my first text and e-mail from the  British Potato Council this week they run a free service which warns you when there is a risk of blight in your area which is worked out by a formula devised by a blke named Smith (yes they get everywhere) Blight forecasting has often been based on the occurrence of "Smith periods". A "Smith period" is a 48 hour period in which the minimum temperature is 10°C or more and the relative humidity exceeds 90% for at least 11 hours during the first 24 hours and for at least 11 hours again during the final 24 hours. However, any period of warm, humid weather increases blight risk.They also have spotters and informers who report any Blight in your area

Sunday, 15 May 2011

More on Shallots plus Celery

On the advice of smithyveg I cleared all the soil and stones from underneath my Shallots to stop the skins being damaged. I also thought about making a
cheap simple cardboard gauge named after the original inventor from Loughborough, instead I purchased a digitalVernier from eBay for under £6 delivered, I will be using this for the 250g Onions as well.At the moment the largest of my Shallots measure 36.5mm,I did not intend harvesting any Pickling Shallots but as I have loads I may have a go at them, Smithy reckons that they need harvesting at 27mm, ill measure some this week and get them harvested.

 On the Celery front I have again potted on my largest 5 they had quickly outgrown their pots and are now in 2 litre pots I also removed all the suckers and stray outer leaves to tidy them up.This is also supposed to generate growth.
Thinnings from 1 plant

I also got some Red cabbage and Some more Swedes planted out under netting

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Progress and future Recipes

I have finally got round to putting the Paellia recipe on the blog as I am down in Derbyshire with not much to do. I have had a request from Dave Thornton via Smithyveg for the recipe  of his favourite French classic dish of E'scargots with Parsnip crisps. this will follow shortly.I believe he is not short of Snails but maybe a bit short of Parsnips.
I managed to escape yesterday evening back to Yorkshire for our D.A.meeting in Leeds with Trevor last giving a talk on Celery which was very interesting more to follow as I follow his method. He also covered Cuecumbers but I had to leave early and missed the second half .

Progress on the plot is very pleasing with shallots now measuring 38mm and growing well after the recent rain and a feed of high Potash soluble fertiliser

The Giant Onion now tapes at 14" round

most of my Spuds are now through and will need earthing up this weekend

the rain has also given the Brassicas a boost and they are motoring along nicely.

Recipe and method Paella

Finally got round to typing up the recipe for my magnificent Paella
First warm the pan with a good amount of olive oil
Then add chicken pieces I like to use thigh as it holds together better than breast,at the same time add 2 Onions roughly chopped plus 4 cloves of Garlic crushed  and fry for about 5 Min's till coloured.
Then add 1 chopped red Pepper and chopped Squid

And some strips of white fish I use Haddock

Next add some frozen Peas and 2 tablespoons of Paprika 
Then it is time for the rice I use a Spanish rice called Brilliante,unfortunately it is not available in the UK which means I have to bring some back when ever I go to Spain I used 2 Kilos in this Pan
you need to make sure each grain gets covered in oil this helps it not to stick together so give it a good stir

Then comes a full bottle of cheap dry White Wine
Next the most important bit in my opinion is the stock I make a good stock out of Onion Celery a whole Chicken some stock cubes and Pepper to this I also add the Saffron which gives the colour
the better the stock the better the taste of the finished dish as the rice soaks it up.The stock also needs to be boiling when you add add it I also keep topping it up as the rice cooks.Keep trying a grain of rice till you can tell it is cooked.

Once the rice is cooked and nearly all the liquid has been soaked up I start adding the shellfish
Mussels,Clams and 2 types of Prawns  shelled and un shelled.

cover with foil and cook for a further 10 Min's till all is cooked
Serve and enjoy