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Monday, 26 September 2011

Next year starts here

Sunday was the day when my overwinter Onions went in to a bed in the tunnel,I have had great success for the past two years with a perticular class at my local show for 3 onions from setts dressed. I find that growing overwinter onions allows me to lift early which in turn allows them to ripen properly and also frees up the ground earlier for other crops.As you can see from the photos below of the last two years winning ehibits you end up with lovely ripe onions.And by the way Richard to save you looking back i have planted Radar, Shenshyu, Red Electric and Shakespeare
I have also started taking apart the ill fated long carrot an parsnip house I intend to use the sand from the barrels once sterilised in the new stump bed  that I am adapting from  an old bed which was used this year for purple haze carrots and a few parsnips this will give me another 50 stumps which I will need if i am going to have a go at the national next year.I intend to have all my ingredients for the mixes sieved and ready by the end of November so that it will just be a case of mixing them come sowing time.

I also sorted the onion grow room in readiness for sowing  my giant onions the first week in November 

I have been experimenting with the leek grass purely for research purposes this year, as I am going to be buying leek plants in again from Dave Metcalfe in December 
I was asked by some of my followers to show the process step by step so here goes 
only select your best leeks to use for producing grass,as Pendle improved is a hybrid the seed that is produced is not true to strain so you need to produce grass which will be a clone of the original plant hence picking your best ones for this process. After the show cut the leek down to 6" and trim the dead roots leaving the root plate intact  then place the leek in a bucket of weak Jeyes fluid mix for 20 minutes,after this pot it up in to a good soil based compost  and the leek will soon start to grow new foliage 

Keep the plant frost free over winter and by may the following year a seed spike should appear, this will need supporting as it grows 

at the end of July cut off all the flowers which forces the leek to produce grass mini leeks on the seed head 
the object now is to keep the seed head alive as long as possible,the stem will start to rot in October so you will need to cut it off the plant leaving as much good stem as possible the head then needs to be placed in a bottle of water and change the water every 3 days to stop the bottom of the stem decaying ,keep checking for decay and if you see it trim the damaged part of the stem,the object is to keep the seed head and grass in good condition for as long as possible the ideal time to remove the grass is early November 
I had a go a couple of weeks ago on one of my seed heads from the ones that went to seed in their first year and the results so far have been good 

  grass from head ready to start rooting
rooted grass after 2 weeks

Monday, 19 September 2011

Next years Onions

Today I cleared a bed in the large poly tunnel in readiness  for the planting of the over winter onions which I use in a particular class in our local show,the idea is to get them up earlier allowing them to ripen more than spring planted ones I have successfully done this for the last 2 years and won the class and the trophy.I also had an e-mail from Dan regarding next years quality onions he pointed out that he only uses Mr fothergills Kelsae plants which are delivered in April and still gets good shaped decent sized onions which was confirmed by his second place card at Harrogate,I intend to follow his advice and sow some Fothergills Kesae seeds at the end of November and see how I do. I was not going to grow large onions next year but have weakened and will be sowing some Peter Glazebrook seeds on the 18th of November  to see if i can get in to the teens now I have managed to beat 10lb. I also ordered my Leek plants from Dave Metcalfe and will also be trying to grow some of my own plants from grass that has been produced from the ones that went to seed earlier in the year,I will be testing the theory that If they go to seed in the first year and you use the grass the resulting plants will follow suit and go to seed also. we will see if this is the case in due course.
I have put my 2 large onions and the giant marrow on display in our local veg shop  follow them on facebook

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A trug kind of a day

I have to mention the excellent trug produced by Leesa Smith and staged by Simon it beat me out of the cards and earned Leesa 20 quid which she is struggling to prize out of the clenched fist of her gobby husband Simon the same person who won the Bullshit bloggers Chalenge (there could never have been any other winner of a bullshit challenge we had no chance against the king of bullshit) I also took a photo of my grandson with one of my heavy onions this morning it is nearly as big as him this is something else Simon will struggle to do unless he borrows an onion from me.Only joking Smiff a great experience and a card in the Northern to boot we are now looking forward to the nationals next year and another challenge
Make sure Leesa gets her 20 quid you tight get.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Harrogate The BBC and More

After staging at Harrogate last night and finally getting to the Wedding that I had been invited to it was a long wait till this morning to find out If I had won any cards and more importantly who had won the challenge in the 6 x1 collection  between Smithy veg Dan and myself named the BBC. I had staged Onion ,Leek,Potato,Stump carrot,Runner bean and Celery.The idea was to stage as many 20 point veg as possible,if I am honest I had used all my best veg in my local shows and did not think I would be anywhere near although after seeing Dan stage his collection I thought it may be pretty even as he also did not have enough 20 point veg,Smithy did not turn up to stage till after we had left but had indicated what he would be staging. If any of my veg were going to let me down it would be my Celery which was small and not well blanched but I had to go with it as the caulis one of which i had planned to stage had gone over a week ago and all my Parsnips had suffered from canker and where un show-able.
I also managed to stage in another 18 classes in the hope of any kind of card at Harrogate and still did not hold out much hope.
This morning I left home at 9 am it was not long before the phone rang it was Smithy asking where we were Linda answered as I was driving and did not want to know the results till I got there. Upon arrival I made my way to the section where the collections were staged I first checked mine and Dan's to discover I had narrowly beaten Dan,I then went in search of Smithys exhibit which consisted of Leek Celery Potato long carrot parsnip and runner bean. the points were as follows Smithy 79.5 pts Me 75.5.  Dan 74.5 so it was fairly close and as predicted my Celery let me down only scoring 10 to Simon's 13 I've included a photo below of the 3 of us with our medals expertly taken by Linda you may have seen it before.

Now to the rest of my exhibits In total I managed to get 19 on the table Dan was stressing over about 6. 
Classes entered 
Chard , Lettuce,Rhubarb,Trug,salad potatoes,6x1 collection,3x2 collection,collection of 4 veg under 16 points giant marrow,longest runner bean, heaviest onion, french bean other than green,runner bean ,stump carrots,onions under 250g,jar of mixed herbs,cherry toms,White potatoes and Garlic.
out of all the above I managed 7 cards 
I did not think i would get any,My best achievement was a fourth in the northern branch championships out of 10 exhibits for a dish of Vento Onions

the rest were in the North of England Horticultural  Society Championships and were as follows
Second, Beans other than green
Third, Herbs,chard ,lettuce,rhubarb,
Fifth,for heaviest marrow  
I have officially grown an onion which when trimmed to world record spec weighed 10lb 6.5oz it was the 12th heaviest at the championships and puts me in the 10lb club all in all I surpassed all my expectations and will be back next year in search of a Red card.dream on. lol.another strange thing is that I had a couple of people come up to me and say hello Paul I have no idea who they were but can only think they may follow this blog thanks for the support. 
will post more pics on Sunday
Oh I was on Calendar news as I was stood next to Peter Glazebrook when His onion was weighed and beat the world record well done Peter,I had just bought a packet of giant onion seeds from him they must be worth a fortune now,timing is everything. link below

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Harrogate update

I pulled the rest of my carrots tonight and have a few possibles for the 6x1 I have also sorted my runners and beetroot. The giant marrow has been covered and will be cut from the vine tomorrow I had to cover it as we have frost forecast tonight tomorrow I will pack the van and head for the show I intend to arrive at 5pm before the southerners and escape before they arrive.I should be ok because I will be able to hear them coming from miles away

 Sweet Candle
 Purple Haze
Giant Marrow

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Today's Harrogate update

Today I prepared my Vento onions and garlic for the following classes
Garlic1 dish of 3
Onions 1 dish of 5 not to weigh more than 250g
and more vento a collection of 4 kinds of veg 1 dish of each min 2 specimens of each 16 points or under
these have all been selected and are now wrapped well ready for the journey I will post photos when they are staged
tomorrow I will turn my attention to selecting Beetroot  beans courgettes and Marrows
photos will be added later to avoid the competition changing their plans even though it is only a bit of fun lol

Monday, 12 September 2011

Harrogate countdown

Regular readers will be aware that several of us will be competing in the 6 x 1 collection at Harrogate with a little side bet to boot I have been sorting the Onions today and will be selecting the rest over the next couple of days
I have entered a few more classes including the heaviest Onion which I hope gets in to the top ten but we will have to wait and see I am also taking my giant marrow although it is only about 50lb
my runner beans have had a beating over the last couple of days with this wind, The chance of  getting any more is slim now as some plants have uprooted and the remaining beans are limp I have 14 already picked and safely in the fridge i have gone for 17" and rejected any that have uneven ends  to avoid staging some like the ones below I have no chance of winning as the winner will be the unbeatable Mrs Plumb but you have to have a go.
I have also grown lettuces chard colored beans and Pink fir apple spuds for some of the classes on the Horticultural society side of the show.
The final Onion selection a 7lb for the 6x1 collection 
and 2 plus 2 spares for the 3 x2 collection
more to follow tomorrow 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Today was the day when I finally got round to deciding what to enter at Harrogate a week on Thursday, it was a case of looking at what i definitely had ready and second guessing what I may have for the other classes.In total I have entered 23 classes forever the optimist, I sent both entry forms recorded delivery to make sure they get there, the reason for 2 forms is that there are 2 championships, the NVS.Northern branch championships and the North of England Horticultural Society championships.I will wait to receive my passes and confirmation.

My overwinter onions arrived today and will go in to the large tunnel after Harrogate, the varieties I have gone for this year are Radar, Shenshyu, Red Electric and Shakespeare. (that is for you Richard) I grew most of these varieties last winter and we are still using them for the kitchen.the best ones have been used for a specific class in my local show for onions grown from setts there is a trophy for this class and I have won it for the past 2 years the setts were purchased on eBay for a bargain price a picture of the invoice is below again for you (Richard) so you do not have to ask yet again.

I also took delivery of a GSM Alarm this week again from eBay this is a great piece of kit it is wireless, and when you put a Sim card in to it it will phone you and tell you it has been activated, this will be useful as the garden is 3 Min's from home. The reason for the purchase is that a couple of other people on the site have had intruders recently. The other useful function is that if it is activated you can speak to the intruders through your phone and tell them to f off and leave things alone etc, with no wiring required and 2 remote controlls it took 20 Min's to install.and it only cost 40 quid