About Me

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

postheadericon Onions sown

My Kelsea onions for the dressed class were sown on the 28th of December this year and my Giant Onion's P.G. Selection were sown about 16th December (rather late with this variety but had to wait for seed to be ready).

My Peter Glazebrook selection, which is a re-selection of the Billy Lamb onion has germinated and is ready to be pricked out into 60 cells. I will then move them out of the propagator into my grow room.

My grow room this year is slightly different as I am using T5 fluorescent grow lights, cheaper to run and so far are proving to be effective with my welsh seedlings growing under them. I'm running a 4 tube set up, 54 watt per tube but this will be replaced in a week with the 8 tube, 54 watt per bulb. Note these tubes are designed for growing, not your standard light tubes but they may work just aswell.

The surface area is reduced this year as the lights will only transmit light directly below. I will have to be more harsh about selecting what I want to grow on and chuck the rest.

Hope you all had a good Christmas, I will post some pictures when things are moving on a bit more, bit boring looking at seed and compost.
Thursday, 19 November 2009

postheadericon Still alive...Just nothing interesting.

Just about cleaned, sterilized my greenhouse and have got past the 2 weeks of stinking of armillatox as it never comes off so that's one job out the way.

My onion beds have been prepared already so I'm chuffed with lots of manure and peat going in. The soil is still very light and crumbles very easily which most people would love, but the water just drains out instantly and onions I think prefer something a bit more solid so I will be adding a load of topsoil aswell as some grit.

All my seed orders have been made with cheques being written with my eyes closed as it does hurt to see the amount of money I spend.

Only one thing that is botherting me and I'm undecided on is shallots. They are a lot of work and expense, I can never store them and I hardly ever get anything great from them.. are they worth the effort?. I hate the thought of not growing them but I can't justify growing them either. I would be more interested but I can never ever store them, they just rot and I have tried every place I have free.
Friday, 25 September 2009

postheadericon I hate this time of year

Everything sounds so easy in these magazines suggesting this time of year is an ideal time to clean and tidy the greenhouse and garden..Yeah right, with 3 poly tunnels and a large greenhouse with a shed full of 1000s of pots, and an allotment that you could fit two football pitches on I find it pretty hard going. I will work now until January getting these jobs done with the main task's being my onion beds and getting the greenhouse cleaned ready for winter.

Talking of onions; I will sowing some seed from a 14lb onion in late October which I will grow on under my new lighting system that is yet to be built.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009

postheadericon More trophies

Finally managed to steal a few more trophies from the hands of those greedy professionals who should all be banned, just kidding barry micklethwaite.

Anyway the show I was going to enter this weekend is now a no go as my car blew a headgasket and the radiator. So this weekend instead of scrubbing veg and picking up shiny metal and cards with singing and chitchat, I will be lifting heavy lumps of metal about covered in oil and swearing at the top of my voice.

Trophies for:

Most points in members
Most points in open
err.. I will tell you this one when I remember what it was for lol. 6 trophies in total this year.

postheadericon Peppers

Despite the Turkey attack on my prize peppers I still managed to stage these 3. They were by far not my best, every pepper I looked at to make a set I was one short because a turkey had pecked it. I picked two perfect shaped fat peppers and knew I had the third to go with it, I could have bloody killed them all there and then when I picked the third one. Never mind they came in handy for my salad dish.

The other enoying thing about it, non of this was my fault as I always remember to put the polytunnel mesh down but no one else has the brain power... either that or they don't care.

postheadericon More entries please

Couldn't understand how a class such as "salad dish" could get so little entries, surley everyone grows some sort of salad?.

First time in quite some years that I have grown ridge cucumbers which I trained next to my marrows outside. Produced rather a lot of nice cucumbers and I didn't bother to look after them either, I almost forgot how good they do grow outside with little or no care.

Monday, 7 September 2009

postheadericon Sweetcorn

Best sweetcorn I have ever had this year, I used some at my local show in the "Any other veg class" and it got a 1st. Fat and ripe right to the very tip, perfect for eating raw just how I like it straight from the field (I mean large allotment).

Saw a lot of newcomers this year making mistakes using sweetcorn, either stripping it back or removing all leaves. I never touch mine, instead I pick two corns off the same plant the same size and open one to check if its ready, the untouched one goes to the show, its a gamble but judges seem to prefer this as they will peel it back.

Over the weekend I picked up 4 trophies with 19 1st place cards and even got a few 2nd places with flowers. Not quite a new record for 1 show as I have been know to take 33 1st but I can live with it. I will post some pictures up later.

postheadericon Shallots

Has been a very bad year for me as far as shallots are concerned. Mangaged to stage a set eventually, (even came first) they just would not dry.

I won't be keeping any stock as they rotted anyway excpet 20 or so. The problem I had was they needed pulling but it would not stop raining when it came to havest time. I will be growing jermor next year as they are cheaper per bulb and if I get something off them it will be a bonus. I saw a lovely set of jermor at my first show and they beat everything else that was there, sow worth a try.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

postheadericon Flowers

This is why I don't show flowers at the shows near me. The quality of the flower classes is amazing and this is just a small snippet at what was there; with over £700 in prize money to won it is very popular with dedicated top growers. Good job they split the trophies individually for veg and flowers or I would never have won Best individual vegetable exhibit.

Sorry was so packed I couldnt get any decent photos of it all without including lots of people that might moan at me for being on the internet.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

postheadericon Tomatoes

I have always grown good tomatoes and lots of them as we love to eat them, but this year's are close to the best plants and tomatoes I've ever had. Each plant is just full of tomatoes, even the top trusses have large fruit on. To be honest we didn't take much time picking them, we just pulled off 20 and cleaned them on the way to the show lol.

Cedrico is by far the better tomatoe imo comparing to Goldstar. I have trialed Goldstar for 3 years and hardly got a tomatoe for a show. They just seem to produce uneven fruits and turn red when they are very small, eventually the top trusses start producing bigger tomatoes later in the season.

Monday, 31 August 2009

postheadericon Carrots

Sweet candle really was my banker after I pulled the first one I knew I was in for something special. I made two pretty near perfect sets and the left overs made a nice set for the single class as I didnt want to pull to many.

Long carrots are back and hopefully to stay after the rubbish I had last year I'm happy.

postheadericon Long carrots

Pulled two sets of long carrots and after the good germination they have proved to be a decent size this year. I have had better but with recent years problems I'm very happy with them. Not many entries this year in the carrot clases as everyone seemed to suffer from carrot fly, shame we normally see some excellent carrots.

Just over 4 foot and with lots of weight carried, I'm sure you can work out which ones are mine in this picture (and no they are not them small diddy things)

postheadericon Collection of 6

Well I finally managed to win both trays at this show, something that me nor my grandfather has done for 25 years. Infact we have never once won a trophy at this show as it is so well contested and today we picked up two.

My collection faired well and the big boys went down for once with the judges actually considering the damage on there monster leeks. I always try to enter good quality and sometimes I am disappointed to lose to larger but poor quality. Today I was happy as the judges went in my favour.

Onions points; 16 1/2
Celery; 18
Potatoes; 17 1/2
Parsnips; 18
Tomatoes; 17 1/2
Carrots; 19. Dropping only 1 point from a maxium 20, chuffed with sweet candle.

1 celery
3 onions
2 parsnips
5 Tomatoes
3 Stump carrots
5 potatoes

postheadericon Top Tray

The judges were very impressed with our top tray and actually said it was the best tray they have seen for some time only dropping 5 points out of 60 with a total of 55 points and was stated by both judges as a national standard tray. They were so impressed they personally talked to us about showing for bigger money.

points awarded
Carrots/size shape colour; 6 out of 7
Carrots/condition; 6 1/2 out of 7
Carrots/Uniformity; 5 1/2 out of 6
Total 18

Onions/size shape colour; 6 out of 7
Onions/condition; 6 1/2 out of 7
Onions/uniformity; 6 out of 6
Total 18 1/2

Tomatoes/size shape colour; 6 1/2 out of 7
Tomatoes/condition; 6 out of 7
Tomatoes/Uniformity 6 out of 6
Total 18 1/2

Total 55 out of 60.

This tray missed out on best in show by a split decision by the judges who actually had to ask someone else in to decide, there was quite a debate but I'm not worried about that.

Best in show that beat me to it;

postheadericon Taster

Quick taster of what I put in at the show today pilled on this table awaiting my freezer.

More specific updates over the next few days, but all went very well.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

postheadericon Day before the show.

Today is the day the swear pot gets full up which helps pay for seed, compost and sundries next year. With the show on Monday I need to start pulling, picking, cleaning and as always some things will be great and others a disappointment.

This is just the life of growing veg, one year you think you have cracked it and the next something will go wrong. A good example of this was my parsnips, last year they were 4-5ft long and carried a lot of weight but the pipes were not long enough resulting in stumpy ends. This year I made the pipes longer, but the compression in the pipe has stopped them gaining weight and I pretty much gave up after I got yellow fleck virus and then spider mite is mass. I still think I will have some decent long parsnips but with no weight.

I'm happy with my tomatoes, been a good year for them.

Shallots have been rubbish, just way to much rain before havest destroyed them. Leeks all got foot rot again, onions not great again but I have some.

I think my best veg will come from my carrots and I have a few decent sticks of celery.

The cauli I planted to come in for my last show in 3 weeks time are just hearting up, shame these seed companys can't tell the difference between Calabrese and cauli's
Friday, 28 August 2009

postheadericon Sweet Candle test pull

With all the rain we have over the past few weeks and then a dry week with a massive down poor I was worried about my stump carrots spliting. Today I checked them all and they seem ok, I found this one with a damaged top so decided to pull it.

Gee they are massive, I planted them as advised and I have looked after them well keeping them moist at all times. I thought at first it was a long carrot as it came up.

Picture really doesnt show you how big this thing got, see If i can get a better one.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

postheadericon Flowers

I don't really show flowers as I don't have the time to prepare and stage them. I do like to grow them tho, and today I went through and picked everything with an open center or that looked like it may well be going over to keep them flowering. I still have about 60 plants to do so my mum will be getting a lot of flowers this week.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

postheadericon sweet candle carrot

My sweet candle stump rooted carrots have looked good from day one and apart from the odd one suffering from aphid attacks they have grown very even. Uncovered a few and they are looking pretty big, these are the batch that were grown with nutrimate in the mix and they have grown better than my other bed for sure, time will tell when I pull them.

Monday, 17 August 2009

postheadericon weeding

Well I have a few weeks off so I spent 9 hours weeding today, it was hard going as most of it had to be done by hand as I decided to do the Asters, which to most people would be the equivalent of there entire allotment.

Picked off all my runners beans aswell, a few large sack fulls which I will give away and freeze. I'm getting around 2 hessian potatoe sized sacks a week of runner beans and if i tried I'm sure I could fill plenty more. With 2 weeks left to the first show I'm leaving all the small ones on and they should be about right.

I'm down to my last 6 rows of carrots, good job they are 30ft long and next on my list is to get the remaining 12 rows of potatoes in and stored.

Removed all the peas today aswell after I had the last crop. My show perfection pea again did not germinate enough to warrant to leave it in the ground, so I won't be showingg peas. Not to worry they only cost £5 a packet and the cheap crap I buy in bulk all came up. All the show perfection peas that were decent plants with peas on I pulled up and have them hanging in the greenhouse so I can get my own seed from them, the pods were massive.
Sunday, 16 August 2009

postheadericon aubergine, peppers, chillies

Again all much better than last year, and it looks like I will be getting a pretty big crop from this lot.

postheadericon potatoes

Potaotes have been much better this year, well my kestrel are great and I have plenty. My winston being over sized I will probably only be able to stage 2-3 sets. Had a test clean on a dodgy one today and it came up really nice.

Potatoes stored in dry peat in boxes

postheadericon Tomatoes

My show tomatoes are comming on nicely and I have plenty of decent sized tomatoes further up the plants so hopefully they will last. Yes they have been sprayed which is why they look blue, don't worry it comes off and if I didnt spray you wouldnt be seeing these tomatoes today as everyone round here got blight.

postheadericon Celery

Haven't spent as much time as I would like on my celery this year but I never really had the energy ever since the poor germination of the seed making my celery at least 3 weeks late. Still its looking ok and I should be able to show it at a few shows.

postheadericon Onions

Mixed results from my onions; Had a real good set of large 6, two of them split 3 days before I lifted them, and one went soft of me while drying.

I think I will be able to make a couple of decent sets from the medium ones, but would have been nice to stage just 3 large on a board but now I only have two =(. Pretty sure if the ground was ready on time I would have had more even growth, these grow on no manure at all.

I also have my smaller onions for the under 250g class, 6 inch ring class etc.

postheadericon pumpkin

Pumpkins doing well this year, last year they were rubbish as it was just to wet for them.

postheadericon Marrows

Here' my marrow construction, every year it gets bigger and I change certain things to improve how they hang, lots of idea for next time but it does the job with what little time I had to make it.

As you can see this is a white marrow, but you can also see it is prodcuing green marrows which it shouldn't.

Table dainty, always a mass producer, handy to plant this variety incase your other marrows don't come on fast enough.

postheadericon sweet corn

Sweet corn has been good this year and I suppose Im averaging 2-3 per plant, some have 5-6 which I have never had before. so I'm pretty happy with it. May even use some as any other veg in a show.

postheadericon Runner beans

As you can see I have a few runner beans yet come show day I will be lucky to make a set of 9 I bet you. Mind you, they are not all Stenner, some are just bog standard eating runner beans that just taste better so I grow them.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

postheadericon Marrows

Few weeks back I went through all my marrows and picked off anything that felt would be to big for my first show by the time they were ready. It really is a shame that you get so many decent marrows and yet come show time you have a job to find a pair. I picked this one tonight to hopefully bring on some more, its just under 12 inches in length which is required for all my shows. I have have 6 others like this and they taste pretty good aswell.

Some I picked off 3 weeks ago and have since been eaten. I would imagine it will be my table dainty that produce a set as I have plenty on them. I think something has gone wrong with one table dainty plant as it is also producing the same marrows as above with also the normal table dainty stripe marrow. Then again all my my marrows are producing some strange things and it will be intersting to see what I get.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

postheadericon potatoes

Emptied my bags out tonight and gee I have a lot of potoatoes. Unbelievable amount of potatoes in each bag, after I finished I had filled 5 big hessian bags of potatoes and they were just the ones not worth keeping for show. I kept over 70 that I felt were ok for showing, but light was getting bad so I have not finished.

My winston were a bit disapointing as every bag I emptied were just to big, I'm talking every one over a pound in weight. One bag had 8 potatoes over a pound and still had 8 medium in it lol. Great for eating but as far as showing they were just massive. It is strange, I did a test bag 2 weeks before lifting and they were tiny, and now I have 2 bags of some monster potatoes.

My Kestrel were perfect and every bag produced some nice speciums, I'm not talking anything major national standard here but better than anything I have ever grown, good size, shape and colour.

I'm pretty happy with my potatoes this year and I have improved on last year, some of the bags did have some scab, 3 bags I think so I hope they all keep ok. Scab can be hard to see if its only slight but worthless for showing after cleaning.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009

postheadericon Where I'm at

I will upload some pictures when I get my camera back later.

My onions are now all lifted, some of my large onions were lifted 2 weeks ago as they were getting to big to make a set. I have a variety of sizes and if they stay solid and he skins dry nicely I will be pretty happy.

My celery is on its last collar and I have 14 really nice sticks and 8 not so good, so mixed results.

My long carrots are looking really good as are my sweet candle which look ready. I pulled one of my sweet candle about 3 weeks ago and it was an amazing site, it came out so easy, dead straight and looked just like a short long carrot with a massive tail, they have 5 more weeks to stump up, plenty of time and I think they may well be the best veg I have this year...Fingers crossed.

With all the rain it was a hard choice on whether to lift my potatoe bags or not, after a forecast of another 2 weeks of rain I lifted mine last Friday and they are sitting still inside the bags in the polytunnel. The tubers are poking out of every bag all over the place so I hope I have something decent in them.

Beetroot, runner beans, marrows, peas, - been picking them for a good 3 weeks now and I have had loads. Very impressed with my marrows and the construction I made for them, I have a few varietys and I'm pretty excited to see what I will get for the show. The marrows I have been picking have been amazing, especially the white ones.

Parsnips; mixed results here, some have yellow felck virus and are small, some are ok and some are way to big so I prosume they have forked.

Tomatoes; excellent size, looking very healthy, some large tomatoes ready; others look spot on time for the shows. Cherry tomatoes have been comming thick and fast and I have picked rather a lot, I have a variety that is producing like 200 tomatoes on one truss alone.

Aubergine's have been exceptional this year, I have 6 plants so I hope they keep prodcing for the shows. My peppers also have just been so productive and I have chillies comming out my ears.

Leeks - given up on them.. end of story.

Cabbage again has been great, I don't grow any cabbage for show.. I like to grow them so I can get them in and havest them before the caterpillars have them. Never worth all the hassle of covering, spraying, blah blah, get them in early and enjoy them while you can.

Thats about it, will see if I can get some pictures tomorrow.
Sunday, 28 June 2009

postheadericon work load

Way to much to do with no time, sorry I really havent had the time to update this blog but I will get round to uploading some pictures of where I am at so far. Every thing seems to be going wrong this year despite the amount of time I put into my veg, I really cant handle the amount of work involved working every hour I can spare really gets on top of you especially knowing you have at least 2 hours of watering to do every day.

I wont be doing this again next year, I'm not retired and can't keep up with it all. I instead will be concentrating my efforts on the allotment and growing one vegetable to a high standard. As it stands its no fun any more as I just get stressed at the amount of work required. I'm still undecided on which vegetable I will grow, I enjoy growing my parsnips and carrots and after the intial work load they are quite easy to keep going (except this year lol).. I really cant be bothered with onions and leeks any more, so I may well choose celery.
Monday, 8 June 2009

postheadericon Well, shallots grow fast

I was considering pulling my shallots at the weekend, but I had another look tonight and gee I wish Id pulled them yesterday. With all the rain they have grown so fast in just 1 day, I did say i was going to pull them smallier this year to avoid them going out of shape but I'm sure I have lost quite a few that had started to double shoot. Never mind we will see once they are dry, I have a few sizes so fingers crossed.

postheadericon blah

Well the last couple of weeks haven't gone exactly as planed and there has been a few disasters and casualties. My two turkeys with splayed legs had to go at the weekend, my parsnips are suffering from yellow fleck virus despite constant spraying, I lost one long carrot that just flopped and died on me, and 3 onions went double and have been removed. Also one of my cherry tomatoes fell over and snapped and is now useless.

My celery is way behind, so are my leeks and 3 shallots also went double from the amount of rain we had. The rest are looking good and I am thinking of pulling some this weekend.

My potatoes are still alive and I will spray them at the next sign of a few dry days to help avoid blight along with my tomatoes and celery.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009

postheadericon Turkeys for Xmas

I know this inst veg, but is part of my life and infact everyones life if you eat turkey for christmas, just in a different way I suppose. I strongly believe in rearing and looking after animals for eating, knowing they will taste better and had a better life...

Well I have had my turkeys now for two weeks and they have really taken a lot of my time, mainly due to the idiot who hatched them.

I recieved 3 with splayed legs that should have been corrected at birth by splinting there legs (basically taping the legs together at the correct spacing. These 3 also have curled twos, again can be corrected when first hatched using tape and carboard to make a shoe.

I had to humanly kill/cull one that had no chance and the other two are currently in seperate cages with legs taped, but really don't have much chance. Thankfully the rest look really good and are putting on loads of weight, twice the size they were 2 weeks ago. In this picture you can see the brown one with splayed leg. In total I had 14, now 13. I will do my best for these guys but they are not like chickens who may well live a decent life like this, these guys can weight 30-40lbs and wont carry that weight. Will keep you posted on how they get on.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

postheadericon Bordeaux mixture cheap

If you need it in bulk like I do then it's worth buying it from here, you can just buy 1 but its £4.99 p&p so wouldnt work out very cheap. Considering its £3.50 near me a bottle, and only £2.00 here, saved me quite a bit.

postheadericon Tomatoes

Tomatoes grow so quick, I decided to plant mine out inside the tunnel as they were getting rather big. I planted these really deep and will cover with fleece or let them die. 5 Gold Star and 6 Cedrico. I filled my other tunnel with peppers and tomatoes for the kitchen.

postheadericon shallots

My show shallots comming along now;

Shallots in the allotment..yes we have had some really bad wind.

postheadericon Potatoes

All my show potatoes are in, decided on 15 Winston and 15 Kestrel, plenty for me to look after. I also put a few rows of potatoes in front of them to form a slight wind block and also planted 10 other rows in the allotment.

postheadericon Parsnips

Still growing well, the ones in the barrels look much greener and lush.

postheadericon Onions update

My onions are still growing which is good news, never get your hopes up tho as they go from great to disaster so quick. What happens, happens, all I can do is look after them as best I can.

I have been spraying with SB Invigorator, seems to do a good job.