Stourport 2010

Stourport 2010
Winning vase 5x 'Sarah Louise'

Friday, 24 February 2012

I core believe it..............

How do folks. Decided i'd prepare my boreholes ready for the parsnips this week. I'm only doing four barrels this year and i'll slowly add more each year until i've got about a dozen. I had made a very complicated piece of equipment which i have now had copyrighted and is coming to a department store near you! Its my new fangle-ultimate-blue-super-duper-holey-thingymebob- for all those of you desperate to see how talented i am i have taken a photo so you can see such brilliant engineering:
Anybody interested in such a gadget they are now retailing at £14.95 RRP £55.95.
As it happened, the day i chose to do the parsnip barrels, it was red hot and coring each station i was sweating my cobs off! They're done now anyway and ready for the chitted seed.
     Most of the blanch leeks have been taken out from under the growlights and are on a well-lit bench in the heated greenhouse.

These are due for a bigger pot which i shall do next week on my days off. As for the pot leeks, these are romping away in a 2ltr pot again, these will probably go up to a 4 or 5ltr pot next week. They are still under the lights as you can see from the photo below. Take note that i am spraying all the leeks and onions with a weak solution of Dynamec for the control of thrip.

Credit to David Metcalfe- his strain of onion is a growing away nice and strong. In fact they are that strong they hardly require their supporting wires. I've moved them up from 12 cells to 4" square pots and kept them under 12hr daylight.

All xanths are now potted up and set out on the bench. As usual i'm incorporating rockdust into the compost mix as i've found this does make a difference in the final plants when it comes to planting out time.

Last but not least, my first batch of celery has germinated well and i intend to prick out next week (gonna be a busy week next week!) By doing two sowings i'm hoping to get a good set for Shrewsbury show and any others i can use for local shows and they always come in handy for collections being one of the 20 point veggies.

Well...another week gone and March less than a week away! It seems the older you get the quicker time goes- in which case Simon Smith's (smithyveg) time must be speeding along!!! -Love ya Si!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Pot Luck...

Finished the preparation of the new pot leek beds yesterday...
...5L pots inserted into the bed where each leek will be planted
A good scattering of slug pellets before the ploythene goes on...

Black underneath to keep down weeds and retain moisture and warmth. White on top to reflect light back onto the plants...

Then finally...cut out a hole where each 5L pot is. All i do then is when it comes to planting out, remove the empty 5L pot and replace it with the pot leek. Hey presto...a pot leek bed!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

I've gotta sand it to ya!

Had two tonne of sharp sand arive this week for my long carrot setup which meant an early start up the allotments. The company said between 7-9am so i got there at 645am, still dark i might add. I lit the fire and had a warm for a bit before doing a few odd jobs whilst i waited. What time did it arrive...yep..9am! Could have had another bloody hour in bed! Anyhow the sand has been shifted and the long carrot setup is...setup! The usual blue barrels ar placed on top of a raised bed of sand and the barrels themselves are filled with sand. This is how it looks at the moment:-
Had some sand left over so i emptied and refilled the parsnip barrels, topping them up as required.

Whilst on the subject of root crops, ive nearly moved all the stump carrot barrels over to my other plot. Theres only two left to move and refill. - I should add that every time i refill my barrels i thoroughly disinfect the sand every few layers. Im moving them so they are inside mynew netted enclosure to giv them protection from the wind more than anything.

Ive reglazed the polycarbonate greenhouse again after the winter gales blew them all but a few out. With more 'W' clips used, im pretty sure that those poly sheets are firmly secured and arent going anywhere. Behind the polyhouse my two ne raised beds have had their final preparations and all thats left to do is to put black/white polythene down but theres plenty of time for this.

Heres a shot taken of the inside of the polyhouse. All that i'll grow in here is onions. The 20ltr pots are for peter glazebrooks strain which are coming along nicely and in front of these 20ltr pots i shall plant straight into the bed with some of V throups and David Metcalfes.

The pot leeks have been potted on in 2ltr pots nowa but i havent had chance to take a photo. Most of the blanch leeks have ben removed from under the growlights aswell. Thats all for now...roll on spring!

Friday, 10 February 2012

That's Shallot...

It arrived this morning! A package addressed to Mr Adam Greathead. I knew what it was and i was strangely excited by its arrival- in it was a packet of Jim Thompsons french bean seed and 18 shallots- the strain that won at Malvern last year. This package that made me feel as though christmas had come early had been sent by a very kind couple (Denise and Ray Ingram). They had heard about my misfortune concerning my crop of hative di niort which had fell into mums hands and then onto the plate! Thank you soooooo much Ray and Den- i owe you! So today i potted them up into M3 + perlite and put them into the cool part of the greenhouse.
Went out this morning to fetch some essential supplies: peat and dolomite lime. These two things completed my list of sundries that were required for my onion mix. A bit of peat and good quality sterilized loam; dried blood; calcified seaweed; viresco; osmocote and others have all gone into the mix this afternoon. Now its all bagged up ready for when i need it. I shall use this mix to fill my 20ltr pots into which i shall plant my onions.

I'm trying to get all these jobs out of the way whilst the ground is frozen and theres little else to do. The next BIG job is sieving the peat for the spud bags. I need about 700ltrs of peat so alot of sieving!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Mix it!

Guess what i've been doing this week...
...answers on a postcard!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Spuds are a go go!

Its official- the spuds have arrived from Iain at JBA seed potatoes. I've knocked winston on the head this year and opted for twice the amount of sherine so my varieties are as follows:-
20x sherine
10x Amour
10x Bluebelle.
All will be grown in peat in polypots with added calcified seaweed (although i've thought about using seaweed meal instead) and to the trench they sit in i will add potato fertiliser and FYM.
Now i have my laptop in 100% condition i'm able to post some progress photos now which i did promise in a previous post. So these are some of the Peter Glazebrook onions that i sowed just before christmas- all grown in polystyrene cups which help to insulate and encourage a strong root system.
And.. these are the first batch of pot leeks 'Cumbrian' which are of Jimmy Dirden's strain. These are fast strong growers and are due for a bigger pot.

These are the later batch of 'Cumbrian' pot leeks which arrived last week from John Soulsby. These should be right to cover the later shows from September onwards. These have been potted straight into polystyrene cups to initiate a good root system.

The blanch Pendle Imp from David Metcalfe are progressing nicely and have their first collars on to force them upwards. This variety of leek needs to be 'pulled' in the early stages as its notoriously difficult to pull later on unlike others such as welsh seedling. Despite this i reckon pendle imp is the best leek to grow for a quality exhibit.

Pricked out my vento onions today destined for the 8oz classes. The germination has been fantastic this year since medwyn decided to ditch the seed coating from last year. A number of growers complained when their onions failed to germinate successfully and this was due to the seed coating that seemed to inhibit germination if a sufficient moisture level was not met. As you can see- like a patch of Stourbridge Fc turf!
Earlier than any other year, my dahlias are throwing some decent cutting material so, i've bit the bullet and started to strike some despite it being early. They are a bit like sweet peas- the more cuttings you cut the more they grow! So a later batch will cover me for most of the shows.

Last but not least...this week i intend to some my sprouts for the august shows. I always like to add a stick to my vegetable basket exhibits for something a bit different to what others put in them. Also, one of my shows has introduced, amongst many, a new class for 10 sprouts so these should be just fine...

So thats roughly where we're at at the moment. Now my laptop is up and running again there should be some more photos in the coming posts. I've got the new long carrot set up pics to post and the new onion and pot leek beds, then theres the new polyhouse for the cucs and the list goes on...and on...and on...and on... See you next week!