About Me

Thursday, 26 June 2008

postheadericon Medwyns GoldStar tomato gone plum

Hmm I emailed Mr. Medwyn about this strange problem regarding his Goldstar vegetative cuttings he sent me as two plants seem to have turned into plum tomatoes. Now I'm not fussy and have plenty of tomatoes growing on but I'm sure to some growers with limited space this would have been a disaster and quite a cock up if i do say so myself. The other three plants are totally different and have round tomatoes so Medwyns advice of maybe they will go round is doubtful but who knows?.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

postheadericon Celery

Celery is probably the hardest of the veg to grow to perfection for showing (dont mention cauliflowers). They are notorious for pest damage and cultural problems such as heart rot. As you can see from my last update once your celery is planted out it really does grow fast in good well manured ground, especially with collars applied. The secret with celery is generally look after it really well and remember originally it was a bog plant so water well. I soak the bed every day and ensure it never ever even becomes slightly dry. Always spray with insecticide, insects can cause massive damage to the stems and apply slug pellets and slug clear every two weeks for show celery. I also spray for leaf minor and use fungicide to keep away any blight or other nasties. Every week i also water the heart of the celery with calcium nitrate to help prevent the young shoots from the centre burning off know as heart rot. I feed every week with Chempak No. 2 and switch to no.8 during july, also if needed i may foliar feed with liquid nutrimate. Collars are increased in length as and when needed to help pull the celery upwards and also blanch the celery. Any suckers, weak, cracked flags are removed regularly which helps conserve energy and promotes new growth from the center. Near the end of the season i will also check to ensure that the sticks are tightly bunched and string the top for a week to bring them together, any longer than a week could encourage heart rot. Covering your celery and giving them extra shade is also a great help on really hot days, hench why these are near a hedge and my carrot pipes also help, but extra netting is also applied.

Clean heart (at the moment)

postheadericon Show cauliflower

Here you can see the four stages I'm at with my show cauliflowers.
I have my 4th sowing in the tray which will be up in about 2 days time, and then you can see my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sowings growing away.

postheadericon cauliflower (not show)

Check this out, a cauliflower growing in a 3inch pot.. I wonder how big it will get.

postheadericon More on the disaster onions

Well i see Dan over at "The alloment diary" has had some problems also this year with his onions going double necked so heres some more pics.

Decent onion...Yes i have 1.

What the top of the onion should look like..

What the top of the onion should not look like..

Onion outside that is actually one neck and growing well..

Out of this lot i only 5 that are not double..cry.

postheadericon Tomatoes

To be honest I havent had much luck this year and i can name at least one thing that has gone wrong with every vegetable that I'm growing. While trying to keep everything alive and do my best to combat gods will I think i'm doing a pretty good job.

Now another problem.. Blossom end rot. This can be caused by:

Imbalance of potash and calcium
Compost/soil/grow bag drying out

Now this is more common when growing tomatoes in grow bags and to be honest i do expect this to happen. I normally do lose a few fruit each year, but this is the price i pay for growing tomatoes in bags that i do find produces overall better quality fruit.

I have been watering the crap out of my tomatoes and feeding once a week, so now I am going to feed twice a week and give them a foliar feed with calcium nitrate. You do need to be careful tho when feeding and ensure you dont use a high potash fertiliser as this can make it even worst.

postheadericon Parsnip update June

Hmm something funny is going on with my parsnips as my later sowing by 1 week are looking lush and healthy, yet my first sowing are looking a bit sick. Im not sure why this could be and havent ever had this problem before. I can only think that the shading at the far end of the tunnel has helped my second sowing along.


Not so good:

postheadericon carrot update june

Well most of the carrots are now starting to grow even tho they are some way behind this year. I should still be able to get something from them.

Some of the carrots seem to have got scorched as we had rain and full sun for a few days last week..either that or someone has been spraying weed killer next door and caught the tops of my carrots.

scorched or weed killer? hmmm. Thankfully only 3 have gone like this, more than likely its aphids or some unknow killer virus that Im the creator of and no one else has ever had.

Stump carrots all have a 5 inch pot with no bottom around them now filled with compost to avoid any green carrot tops.

postheadericon Leeks comming on nice

Well with all the worry of footrot and god knows what else i have had this year with my leeks they are (touch wood) looking clean, healthy and now really starting to grow on. I was a bit worried last week as a few of the leeks had copper streaks running down the barrel but this disapeared once the flag was removed (hopefully just water damage).

The leeks in this bed now measure 7 inches around and 12 inches in length to the button and are roughly all the same which is good. The pendle leeks i have kinda gave up with as they have to many problems, but are larger.

Hopefully these leeks will reach at least 15 inches in height, 18 ideally.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

postheadericon Pineapple plant growing

Wow my pineapple top finally has decided to do something and its been planted since last summer. I've been trying to grow my own pineapple for some time now from the top left over on the fruit. Many tried and tested ways did not work, so i just cut the top off and plonked it some Ericaceous compost and left it there for months just watering now and then. You can see the baby plant has just popped up..nice, we will see if i get anything out of this.

To be honest I'm not sure what to do next, so will have to do some research, but i prosume eventually i need to remove the mother plant and grow on the baby and wait for it to shoot a new pineapple.

postheadericon Cauliflower update

Here you can see my first sowing of beauty cauliflower that i have just potted up. In the background you can just see my second sowing that has been up for a few days now. My third sowing went in this weekend, and another two sowings will be made in 10 day intervals. I normally plant 15-20 seed per sowing and they do germinate very fast, normally 3 days. I will squash all my cauliflowers in every space i can find inside, some in pots and the rest under some cover outside.

postheadericon Growing leeks from bulbils update

Just a quick follow on from my previous post about growing leeks from bulbils. Here you can see one of my Peter Clarke leeks that i kept back from last year that has just opened up. Already it has a few grasses showing from the bottom. I will leave this a lot longer before i cut all the seed off the head to produce a head full of grass/bulbils. You really want your bulbils showing sometime late Novemeber ready to take off and plant up, timing is crucial.

Monday, 16 June 2008

postheadericon Celery planted out

My main batch of celery that has been planted out in the raised bed at the weekend are looking strong and healthy. Before planting out i applied a good amount of vitax Q4, and stripped all the celery back to the strongest sticks to promote more growth from the heart. Small, cracked sticks are useless and will only be pulled off later so I'm pretty savage about it, and will continue to do this thought out the season. I water all my plants with slug clear once every 2 weeks along with some slug pellets. My celery is also fed everyweek with chempak no.2 high nitrogen feed and also some calcium nitrate. I will switch to a low nitrogen feed no.8 in about a months time.
This celery will be collared when i feel its ready, maybe a weeks time it grows pretty darn fast.

The celery in pots with there first collars on. Yes i collar from an early stage, others prefer to leave it a lot later but this method works for me. On hot days i will remove the collars and provide them with extra shading to help avoid heart rot.

postheadericon Onion update

Well most of my onions have gone to pot to be honest for a variety of reason, mainly due to the weather and i might struggle to make a decent set up this year. Next year i really need to think about planting all my onions inside in a well ventilated structure. The few I have planted inside are looking pretty decent, I just hope i can get enough of them.

The main problems i have had this year are the onions going double necked, being as i had no re-selected seed from last years crop and couldnt buy any due to the rains we had destroying crops, I suspect the shop crap is to blame.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

postheadericon All shallots lifted

Well i have lifted the remaining of my shallots and have had a count up, and have over 160 to choose from. This sounds a lot but you would be surprised how many you need just to make a really decent set up. Not all of these shallots will make the grade and i suppose i have at least 90 that are perfect size and shape, anything under 4-5 inches around i wont really consider.

I also have a fair amount of pickling shallots, could have done with some more but my shallots really didnt split much this year with only 3-4 bulbs on each cluster.

Why do i keep the foliage and roots on my shallots as they dry?. Well i have seen this technique used by Graeme Watson, a master at growing shallots and if it works for him it must work for me. I do find keeping the foliage on helps the bulbs to swell out evenly, even when drying a slight imperfection can grow out as the goodness from the foliage goes into the bulb. I leave the roots on simply as i find they come off much cleaner when fully dried avoiding any marks.

The only concern i have about the shallots this year (so far) is some have roots that have decided to grow upwards while they were growing in the bed into the skins. Thankfully this has only happened to a few of them.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

postheadericon tomatoes

These are looking a tad early mainly due to the fact I'm growing them in a different tunnel this year and I have not grown this variety before not realising they grow so fast.

I have 10 or so cuttings of these planted in the other tunnel incase these are to early to get the best tomatoes, along with 6 cherry and 5 Goldstar.

These tomatoes have had all the side shoots removed, been tied up and also all the bottom leaves have been cut off to save energy for the top growth. Bottom truss of fruits are set so i have been feeding at least once a week, maybe twice as the season progresses due to the fact these are in grow bags.

postheadericon First shallots lifted

With all the heavy rain forecast I decided to lift most of my largest shallots to avoid disaster. The problem being is the sudden uptake of nutrients from the rains can destroy your shallots in a matter of days.

The main problems being:

*Extra risk of botrytis, neck rot and slug attacks
*Uptake of nutrients at such a late stage causing double growth, bulging (pregnant bulbs)
*Bulbs generally being to big and out of shape.

The shallots that i felt were still growing and needed a few weeks i left in.

Most of the shallots measure 5-6 inches around, a pretty good size. I could have left the shallots in for a lot longer but this year i really dont want to risk them going out of shape or even worst losing them all for greed.

A few of the shallots measuring 7 inches around have gone out of shape so i think i have timed this perfect but until they dry (as they keep growing when drying) i wont know for sure.

Perfect size and shape 6 inches around:

Slighty out of shape 7 inches around:

Pickling shallot:

postheadericon Welsh seedling leeks outside

Well the leeks outside are looking pretty good now, amazing what a few days of rain then sun can do. These leeks are a good 3 inches in the ground and even tho they are well behind the pendle leeks i feel these will be the leeks i select for the shows. (Yes i weeded this bed after i took the photo)

postheadericon Some celery planted

My first sowing of celery (yeah the ones that didnt die) have been planted out in some large pots that is bascially a john innes no.2 mix with added manure. Its not really ready to collar yet but i might stick some small pipes over them for now. The rest of my decent celery which is my second sowing will be planted in the raised bed in a couple weeks time and any left overs will be planted in more pots.

postheadericon cauliflower beauty sown

My first 20 or so cauliflower's have been sown and the variety is "beauty". I will sow 20 seed every 10, then 5 days for the next month to ensure they don't all come at once. Cauliflower's normally take 100 days to mature depending on your growing conditions and variety, some are ready in 70 days. I just squashed all these with some water, so don't worry they aint dying.

postheadericon Long carrots finally decide to grow

A lot of growers this year had problems with carrots, especially getting them to germinate. The combination of extremely wet, extremely hot and extremely cold I'm sure contributed to this. Mine are finally starting to grow. Last year we had massive long carrots but to be honest they were a bit to big for my liking, maybe these will keep longer and have better quality as they are a good 3-4 weeks behind.