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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Potato problems leek lagging and more

It Seems appropriate that on strike day I should discover what appears to be black leg on 3 bags of my spuds I was watering the bags when I discovered 3 bags in the middle of the rows which had a problem which was obviously was terminal i quickly removed them just in case it spread. The Three bags were all Celine and have now been burned the rest seem to be unaffected.
I also lifted the rest of my Garlic which is now drying I need 3 for Harrogate they are a decent size so I may be in with a chance if i can match 3 
I have also been experimenting with coloured caulis for harrogate as there is a class for 2 other than white I have been sowing 6 per week for the last 3 months the first of which has produced a decent cauli this week 
the variety Purple Graffiti 
The Pipe lagging arrived today I may have been a bit optimistic on the size when ordering as it is bigger than I imagined,if the Leeks fill this they will be bigger than Smithyveg roll on Harrogate.I have cut them in to 20" lengths which will give me a longer blanch. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Carrot and Celery concerns plus update

 I noticed the other day that some of the outer leaves on the long Carrots in the drums were going yellow so I took an executive decision to pull one to see if there were any underlying problems, fortunately there seems to be nothing obvious the root was a nice shape and unmarked. I have another 20 to go at so should be able to stage some good ones at Harrogate.

On the Celery front I have now managed to collar the front row with 18" material and the next 2 rows with 14" leaving 2 rows with 10" which will give me a good spread for the shows.the blanch is already much better than last years attempt, the only problem seems to be some brown bits on the leaves which I think is Celery Leaf Miner I am removing these as I spot them as it is not too bad at the moment I also received a tube filled with Sizalkraft vapour barrier from a fellow blogger Neil White check out his blog the material is perfect for the job as it is a stiff brown paper with foil bonded to one side.I have asked Neil where it can be obtained and will pot the answer in due course.Thanks again Neil

I had my first proper harvest on Sunday for a family meal there were enough things ready to cook the full meal all I had to but was some Meat.
My Leeks have now started to force the 45mm lagging apart so I will have to order some larger yet again,I will probably go for 54mm as opposed to the next size up which is 48mm and hope that they fill it before the shows.I have found that is the cheapest and has the best range of sizes.

Vento Onions are very slow to bulb up I am probably 2 weeks behind last year 
The New potato experiment worked a treat with all these from one bag
The head gardener popped in this weekend to check out the Strawberries as you can see they passed the taste test.

Finally some photos of the flowers in the garden,not really my thing as you can't eat them but nice to look at all the same.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


The predators arrived this morning 25 sachets in all they have now been placed in the relevant places I am thrip clear at the moment and hope that they keep it that way.
I have had a look at my celery this morning and am pleased with the blanching process they are already much better than last years attempt I will be moving the 14" collars back on to the next row and replacing the front row with 18" collars then all they need to do is bulk up ready for my first shows.
My trial Brokali seeds that came with Simply Veg magazine are now mature and cropping well
My normal Broccoli  is also now ready to start harvesting

Monday, 20 June 2011

Predators Leeks Carrots Parsnips

I have ordered the Amblyseius predators 25 sachets in total which should keep my Leeks and Onions thrip free
it cost 20 quid so I hope its worth it they are supposed to eat thrips and young spider mite lets hope they are hungry!!! I obtained them from the only thing that worries me is that they are from down south and may not be tough enough for our northern pests.

I have now replaced the collars with 45mm ones as the leeks were forcing the 35mm collars apart and the light was getting in resulting in a Green stripe down the barrel I will now have to order a larger in readiness for the next change which will not be long at this rate.
Strange thing happening with my ripening Shallots,some have got an odd root growing back up the bulb under the skin I spoke to smithy who in turn spoke to Dave Thornton, neither of them have experienced this but Dave did come up with a scientific answer with some big words in it still not convinced though.

I have not shown my drums for a while so here are some photos Long Carrots Long Beet and Parsnips all seem to be growing well but you can never tell till you pull them at showtime.

Sunday, 19 June 2011




Friday, 17 June 2011

Progress Tomato and Cucumber troubles

This week has been quite wet with sunny intervals which has meant lots of growing going on both inside and out

I entered the tunnel the other morning to find a trail of slime towards my Carmen cucumber  seedlings only to discover one of them had had the growing tip eaten out presumably by one of Dave Thornton's snails that will teach me to laugh at other peoples misfortune. I still have one healthy plant and 3 more have been sown to cover later shows

Also my Cedrico tomatoes seem to be suffering from some kind of complaint which seems to be similar to the problems Smithy is having with his it only seems to be my Cedrico that are affected

On a better note my Leeks are now filling the 32mm lagging which will need replacing with the larger size in the next few days the blanch is now approaching the desired 18" which is very pleasing.I have also been looking in to getting some Amblyseius which are Thrips eating predators to keep the flags nice and clean and unmarked.More on this when I receive them.

Celery is moving on well and the centres of the first 5 to be collared are now starting to blanch,I will be replacing the 10" collars with 14" ones this weekend and collaring another 10 plants with 10" foil insulation as they are now tall enough and ready so start blanching also.

I had a root about in a couple of the Potato bags to check on progress the one in the photo is a Blue Belle tuber which came away in my hand it looks as though I should have some nice ones in a few weeks.

Giant Pumpkin is at last finding its feet and starting to grow

My 3rd sowing of show perfection peas has just popped through and will be planted out in a couple of weeks 
the first sowings are now shooting up the canes,as they grow I have been cutting off all the side shoots and securing them to the canes with plant rings I will nip out the growing tips when they reach the top of the 8 foot canes.This is the method that Ian Simpson uses to grow his national winning peas.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

21 Today

My largest Onion is now taping at over 21" with its ugly sister about an inch behind, thankfully the splitting seems to have stoped,They also have 21 leaves each.I had a message from dan the other evening and he reckons 23" weighs roughly 7 Lb so hopefully I may break the 10Lb mark if nothing goes wrong.

Harvested my Garlic this week as the tops were falling over I am pleased with the size of the bulbs considering I bought the ones I planted from a normal veg shop as I did not get good results from seed garlic last year so did not want to waste money this year I will save 3 or 4 bulbs to re plant for next year as I have read that if you keep growing the same strain in your land it adapts to your conditions and the results are better every year.I will save the biggest ones as these may come in handy for a collection of veg under 15 points which there is a class for in leeds in September.

After lifting my overwinter Onions I topped up the raised bed with some compost and a couple of barrows of good top soil donated by a neighbour who was going to dump it anyway this was then tilled to a fine texture with the Mantis Tiller I intend to grow Beetroot in this bed.Hopefully the soil mix is nice and fine and deep to allow the tap root to penetrate and keep straight.I have planted 2 earlier sowings of Pablo in to this bed and have 2 more sowings to follow on giving me a good selection to pick from.
Top tip it is a great idea to grow Courgettes and marrows up trellis or posts but remember to secure the trellis to something firm to avoid this happening.
Finally just seen on Blickys blog that he has already lifted his first vento which started to panic me as mine are nowhere near ready measuring only 6" round,so I looked back at last years entry in the blog regarding Vento lifting and realised that i did not lift mine till the end of June at 9.75" panic over,as you can see from the photo they are doing just fine.