Stourport 2010

Stourport 2010
Winning vase 5x 'Sarah Louise'

Friday, 27 January 2012

Down by the riverside

Im still experiencing problems with my laptop so I'm having to do this post from my iPad which, incidentally, will not let me post any photos for some unknown reason.
Anyway it's been a fairly busy week this week and things are moving on fast! The pot leeks I had from a mate, who had them from Jimmy Dirden(a seasoned leek grower), are really progressing well in 5" pots with flags about 1 1/2" across. At the 5" pot stage I start to add loam (sieves molehills) to the mixture just to add a bit of body but also to help prevent the compost from getting too dry. I also had a second lot of cumbrian come in the post this week. They came from John Soulsby though and are now in 3 1/2" pots. These will hopefully cover any later shows I decide to enter. On the topic of leeks, the blanch are pulling nicely now and are a lovely dark green colour which is down to the lights they are under. It is important not to pull the leeks too much all in one go. I've been to see a couple of friends leeks this week sand they seem to have pulled them excessively and they looked a bit sick and spindly. still it's early days yet!
I've potted Peter glaze brooks onions on today into polystyrene vending cups which I find help to establish a strong root system due to the insulating properties of the cups. After I pot any onions on I don't water them for a couple days as it is so easy to overwater onions and I also find keeping them on the dry side for the first couple of days helps the roots to surge through the compost in search of water. David Metcalfes and vin Throups onions are all taking off now and these are in cell trays at the mo but I will be sorting out the strongest and potting those on into polystyrene cups aswell.
All my disbud xanth cuttings have been taken and I just have some sprays to take now but as thes need a later stop there is no rush to get the cuttings took. I've even took a few dahlias cuttings this week as the tubers were growing away early this year.
My first lot of peppers have been sown this week aswell and put in the heated propagator along with several trays of sowing compost to warm up for next weeks sowings.
the sweet peas have also been sown this week, using up the last seed from an exhibitor collection I bought from Malvern last year. the three varieties I'm growing this year are Gwendoline, Misty and Our Harry. All will be grown using the cordon system which is the only way to grow if your thinking of showing them.
I have a very important meeting coming up next Wednesday with several other committee members of our gardeners guild as we try to set up a children's section involving several local primary schools who have established gardening clubs.
Last night was Stourports presentation evening and it's was a shocking turnout and it just shows what an ailing society it is. There was about a dozen people there and five of them was my gang from Stourbridge some 10 miles away. there seems to be no local support or interest from the Stourports locals and it really is disappointing as they hold a really good two day show with a traditional village show feel in a large marquee down by the river. However I came away with 8 trophies so I was happy and weve had confirmation that the two day show will go ahead this year but their local council is now putting pressure on the society with increased rent for the riverside venue and imposing pathetic health and safety laws which are putting the show at risk.
Before I go into a rant I'm going to leave it there and wish you all well for the coming week. And I hope you'll be back next week for my next update. I'll try and keep it weekly seeing as a lot of you were probably smithyveg followers, who is now taking a break from blogging, you will undoubtedly be looking for somewhere else to have a read so I'll try and oblige.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Don't get Cagey!

Hallelujah! My laptop is running somewhat better than before so i'm now able to get this post on the net. Since the last post a fair old bits been happening. With a little help from a friend my new brassica cage is up and running with only the roof netting to go on.

The construction of this cage presented me with a strip of ground running down one side that wasnt doing anything so i took the opportunity to construct a new bed for celery destined for Shrewsbury. I have added about a 12" layer of well rotted FYM and the bed is in close proximity to the mains water so the plants need never dry out.

Last week my onion seedlings came from Vin Throup and this week the onions came from David Metcalfe. They are all undr the light with the leeks that are doing remarkably well and have been repotted twice in the last few weeks.

I put thefirst small collars on the leeks today to slowly pull the barrels as pendle improved strain tends to need early pulling to get the desired length. All are doing very well and the cumbrian pot leeks (which i have forgot to photograph are romping away and are in need of another repot. All the plants are being fed with vitafeed 301, maxicrop and a concentrated seaweed liquid feed plus compost additives. As some of you may know i have pulled out of a couple of local villa shows this year to focus my attentions on Shrewsbury flower show where the midland NVS branch hold their show so i'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed as i take the next rung on the ladder before getting to the nationals at Malvern! Who knows i might be up against Smithyveg in the forseeable future- best get perfecting them tomatoes i think!

Friday, 6 January 2012

It's been A while since my last post as it's been very quite here except for a few odd jobs that needed doing. I hope everybody had a good Christmas and happy new year to you all.
we went down south for Christmas again and so my leeks went to their holiday home where I have a very good man to look after them. I've got them back now and they've been repotted since coming back. I'm trialling my own woe wry compost in their mixture this year and a few other 'popular' additives.
I managed to box up all the dahlia tubers before going away.I've used the old compost from the cucumbers grow bags to box them up in and just given them a light water to keep the compost damp.
My chrysanthemums are throwing up a lot of healthy looking shoots which should be ready for cutting in a couple of weeks time. I shall then be sowing my 8oz onions aswell. I had taken photos to accompany this report but I'm doing this from my iPad and it won't let me upload them for some reason so when I get my laptop working properly I'll post the photos then.
I had a nice surprise when I went and bought my copy of garden news last week as my name was in it under the listing of top tray winners.
I've got a busy week ahead so I'll see you soon.
That's all folks!