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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tenerife tomorrow

Today I watered everything thoroughly and switched the trays around under the lights.Despite the shock that the onions and leeks received last week everything seems to be in good order.Ted reckons the pipe lagging around the leeks probably kept the frost off. Tomorrow I will be heading to my Villa in Tenerife for the week as the lawns need cutting.

Giant Onions


 Progress on the van front as you can see below, work is well under way with the engine swap should be done tomorrow so I am informed so fingers crossed it is.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Not the best of weeks

As I write this I am travelling back from a week in Scotland the land of the pea and carrot champions. The train journey was not the planned method of transport
 but was forced upon me when my van decided to put a piston through the side of the engine 40 miles south of Glasgow. I had to have it recovered home by the AA and continued my journey with a colleague, little did I know it was the start of a week of disasters.
I had a desperate phone call on Tuesday from Ted to say all the lights had gone off in the onion pad overnight and as it turns out so had the heaters meaning leeks and onions were treated to -2 deg. He managed to get them all going again but they may have suffered a check and may go to seed, only time will tell as Simon Smithy and Dan reckon they can stand some frost. I may have got away with it I have decided not to start again at this stage and will keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday evening saw the arrival of an email from Ted saying someone had sawn the lock off the garage where my mixer and shredder are kept, so I feared the worse but luckily both are still there and said garage has now been re secured.

Before I left last Sunday I potted up the first batch of Vento and potted on my Leeks everything looked to be in good order as you can see from the photos below.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Today between the showers I managed to get some manure in to the onion and leek beds in one of the poly tunnels. I will now leave this on the top for a week or 2 before putting the tiller through it in readiness for planting them in to their final positions around the 21st march weather permitting in other words if it is warm enough I will also add some more soil to top up the bed and give them a watering with Armillatox to kill any underlying nasties.Before planting.

My first sowing of Vento are now poking through the compost, these were from a bulk sowing in a seed tray.I will not be doing this again as it makes transplanting harder.I have sown another 40 in modules today and will grow all of then on under the lights in the hope of getting bigger plants to put out thus getting them to size earlier.This will help me to get them to a better colour come show time.I still have some of last years vento left and they are a lovely colour and condition so this years should keep well .

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The First Pull plus Parsnips

Today I decided to start lengthening my leeks which is reffered to as pulling them,a different kind of pulling than the pastime carried out by Loughborough residents. I use 15mm  pipe insulation and the thinner Green garden canes to start with. I have used 2 different lengths as Dave Metcalfes leeks are not quite as long as my own Pendle improved so 5" on Daves & 7" on mine, they are all about the same thickness on the barrel and by planting out time Dave's will have caught up. I have Linda to thank for collaring them all up and marking each plant.

While Linda was at work on the leeks it me time to attack the new parsnip bed / box which I managed to get built outside. All that remains to be done with it now is to fill it with 3 ton of sand,another job for Linda when the weather permits. I chose to build a box rather than use barrels because barrels being round take up too much space and also I had little success last year with barrels while on the other hand I had some cracking specimens in my first year from a box outside,it remains to be seen what will happen this year but it is worth a try. The internal dimensions of the box are 40" x 77" so I should get 24 in there comfortably at 12" spacings.
The whole thing is about 6 planks deep as some are buried underground from the original bed

We also had a visit from Harley who now likes to tell the chickens to go to bed regardless of the time of day.The giant cabbages also got inspected although I am not sure what to do with 2 of them which are approaching 100lb each in weight.

I have also been booked to do a talk at the Huddersfield Allotments Federation I was asked by Jane the secretary who has the allotment next to mine, she has witnessed my progress and asked me if I would be prepared to come and share some of my experiences with the society. I have given a lot of thought to subject of the talk and finally came up with growing for collections. There are a few reasons for this firstly there is more subject matter to go at given that you need more types of veg for a collection, also I attended a good talk last year on collections so I already have a few pointers.Also I won best in show at the Huddersfield Allotments show with a 3x2 collection so hopeful will not be out of my depth. The talk will be on the 19th of March 745pm at Turn bridge working men's club Huddersfield HD1 6SB  all welcome no hecklers.Also if anyone reading this has any good photos of collections for my power point please could you email them to me
cheers in advance.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Mediocre sense of direction

Well after waiting in most of the day yesterday Mr mediocre himself finally turned up for his leeks.I think he was delaying it as long as he could giving him less time to make a mess of growing them on, he did ask me if he could pick them up in August but I had to tell him where to go on that one.The reason for his late arrival was that he missed the exit on the M62 TOSSER.Good job he has an office based job at least he cant get lost.

Now I have re gained some space I have been able to pot on all my leeks and onions I was surprised to find that my leeks were on a par with the ones from Dave Metcalfe. I also phoned Dan to ask how many Giant onion plants he wanted but he also could not be arsed to answer so I made the decision for him.1 only kidding


Giant and Kelsae transplanted

My Leeks
Daves Leeks