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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Parsnips method and mix

Saturday saw me remove the mixer from storage and commence mixing my parsnip mix. I have decided to simplify things this year due to lack of time because of work commitments,the basis of the mix is seived irish moss peat which I obtained locally in 200 litre bales it is lovely fine stuff with no twigs or rubbish in it
The recipe is as follows
Peat sieved 10 litres
Silver sand 10 litres
Fine vermiculite 10 litres
Sieved bagged topsoil 5 litres
Westland no 2 10litres
To this I add
4oz review 4 or vitax q4 ground up
3oz seaweed meal
3oz dolomite lime
2oz nutrimate
another important factor is to weigh all the fertilizers accurately to avoid getting different mixes,I use a digital scale for this

Each mix is then thoroughly blended in my mixer for half an hour. This is to ensure all the fertilizers are evenly distributed giving a uniform mix to produce uniform roots once I had enough mix I started the coring and boring process. Firstly I core out a 3" hole using old plastic drain pipe I then use a ling metal bar to deepen the hole and rotate it to make the top wider,this leaves a cone shaped hole which takes 6 litres of mix to fill .I use an old measuring jug to do this and when the holes are full I place a 4" plastic ring on top which helps with watering later on .

.I will be starting to chit my parsnip seeds this weekend,more on this when I do it
Also a mention to my mum and dad for keeping it all weed free and all the water barrels full while I have been away I would struggle without them, below is a picture of the weed free plot.
not a weed in sight 
More at the weekend when I get back up North

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Onions and Leeks plus Parsnip bed disaster

Yesterday I went on to the garden with the intention of  planting my leeks and onions in to the tunnel only to find that the weight of the sand plus the heavy rain on Friday night had caused one of the corners to split.The prospect of empting 3 tons of sand and re filling after the repair did not put me in good spirits.I hatched a plan to use a heavy duty ratchet strap to try and force the boards back in to place,Fortunately this worked and with some larger screws all is well again and boring will be undertaken next weekend.
After wasting most of the day repairing the box I finally got the leeks and some of the onions planted in to their final positions the leeks now have a 12" collar which I hope to change in a couple of weeks.The tunnel has frost protection just in case the weather gets colder 

On the giant onion front I planted 2 in to their final positions I only intend to grow 2 this year mainly for fun as I have no chance of getting in to the prizes at harrogate. This years are way behind last years which made 10.5lb if I can get a 10 pounder this year I will be more than happy

Monday, 12 March 2012

Shallot time

Sunday and the lovely weather saw me putting in my shallots which have been sat in pots since Christmas. they have lovely top growth and a nice root system has developed.I swore I would not grow Shallots again due to the lack of success in previous years,it is not growing them that is the problem it has been keeping them after lifting.
I decided to have another try with 24 bulbs purchased from the GN. and after reading Medwyns article in aforesaid publication last week I decided to get them planted out.
I sowed some Broccoli this week its a new variety for me which is Aquiles F1 Dan has grown it before and swears by it it has the same characteristics as Smithyveg not very tall with a big head.
Calabrese, Aquiles F1 Seeds
S: February-April or September H: June-September or May
Can be over-wintered if desired for an extra early crop of top class, tightly domed heads. It can also be planted closer together than many others, making the most of garden space. Once the central head is cut, delicious smaller side shoots are produced. Plants are highly resistant to foliar downy mildew.
Calabrese, Aquiles F1 Seeds
D.T. Brown Choice
60 seeds
Code: 12560

I also bit the bullet and ordered a tablet computer this week great for taking on the garden and blogging  activities
Back to more serious things the new parsnip bed is finally full of sand 3 ton in total.I will be boring it out this coming weekend and also starting to chit my seeds i will go  more on the mix ,chitting and boring as I do it.
I also put the tiller through the onion and leek beds in the tunnel in readyness for planting them in to thier final positions after tilling in sone tev 4 fertilizer and some slow release mirracle grow both beds were watered with Armillatox to kill any nasties.I intend to plant these up in the next couple of weeks once we reach 12 hours daylight .
My over winter onions and spring cabbage seem to be really starting to grow now not long till we start eating the cabbage 

Finally I managed 9 40 litre tubs of molehills from Sunderland last week so the Brassica bed is filling up nicely I hope to get the same again this week from Bristol 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

ltchy feet

Saturday saw my 51st birthday and the event was marked by a morning shopping for garden related items both in town and online.I than spent the rest of the day on the allotment joined by Linda,Kara my daughter and Harley the head Gardner and now fully fledged chicken herder.
My first task was to unload the van which was full of 40 litre tubs of mole hill soil 7 on total gathered from the grass verges around the north east where I have been working this week.I try to collect 250 litres a week as I need a substantial ammount to fill a new raised bed In the large tunnel,which I am hoping to use to grow show brassicas in a club root free enviroment,as the rest of the allotment is full of the desease which is nigh on impossible to eradicate.This new bed is 20foot long by 6 foot wide and 2 planks deep. I am hoping to have it filled for the end of march.

I then started sorting all the onions that are under the lights with the help of Kara we got all the Kelsae potted on and supported.The Vento were all re potted in to the same size pots,the object of this was to change the growing medium as they were in some B&Q compost that claimed to be John Innes numbr 2 it was total shite  never again. They are now all in Westland and looking much better.

I have been eager to get going and sowed my first propper batch of seeds yesterday,these are mainly Brassicas for kitchen use. I did however sow a few Goldstar and cherry tomatoes,the giant sweede seeds sown last week are through already and have been potted on along with a few chillie plants.
I also recieved some pot leeks from Dickie Walton on Thursday theseare Cumbrian and have now been potted up and are under the lights,There are no pot leek classes at the shows I attend but they are always a good bet in the any other veg class.
The spring cabbage in the large tunnel are doing well hopefully we will be eating them in a few weeks