About Me

Friday, 26 November 2010

postheadericon Pumpkin seed

I have managed to source (beg) some seed from from Mark in Cornwall from a pumpkin that came in at 798lbs. My local school will be having a small pumpkin contest next year so these seed are going to come in handy. I will be growing some plants aswell as the children growing them from seed if they wish. I will sow my seed late April ready to be handed out sometime late May to any children willing to have a go. I may even grow one myself (I would hate to beat the children tho). A big thank you to Mark who very willingly gave me the seed, I look forward to growing them.

Marks pumpkin, pretty impressive huh!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

postheadericon Don't panic

Over the next fews I'm going to adjust the design of the blog, so it will randomly change colours and design etc as I battle to actually make the dashboard work in blogspot without crashing.

Please ignore everything..
Tuesday, 5 October 2010

postheadericon Carrot Abaco

Incase anyone is interested, you can get Abaco carrot seed from here:

Being as I have never liked sweet candle (goes to big) I'd be interested to see how this carrot fairs, now it has some recognition I'm sure it will be a contender and more people will be growing it in 2011.
Monday, 20 September 2010

postheadericon random

Some pictures of things I never got around to posting

Cucumbers growing in my greenhouse at home. Took most of my time away this year erecting this greenhouse. I had to clear the ground of an old metal shed, lay foundations and not to mention the 500+ bricks it took to complete the beds + 2 ton of compost and manure. I grew one cucumber plant that produces half sized cucumbers and got just under 200 cucumbers from one plant and it is still growing strong as we speak producing at least 10 cucumbers a week. At its peak we were getting 25+ a week, never know anything like it.

Managed to show a few sets of Cauli this year due to the amount of sowings I grew, problem is each sowing all comes in at the same time and I was ending up with 10 Cauli a week.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

postheadericon Long carrots

Although not perfect my long carrots were by far the biggest surprise as I honestly can say I did not look after them at all.

For once; as I had no time to spare for a vegetable that normally is so hard to grow good I did not pay any attention to my long carrots in the tunnel. I watered now and then but no where near what I normally would, to the point of them being so dry I thought they must be forked, yet when pulled had loads of bulk.

I have learnt to just leave them alone, even when undercover. I only grew 10 long carrots so I was happy to get a few sets.

When I grew them outside a few years back I didn't water at all, but when undercover you really have no idea when to water.

Sun was so bad I had to cut this picture, sorry but it blinded you, you don't need another picture of my dad either lol.

postheadericon pigeon

I love my birds of prey and despite people hating them they serve us more good than bad. The big problem being the cute little birds sometimes get eaten, but this is nature and nature always knows best.

I welcome these guys, aswell as any other bird in my garden, cats cause more me. I was delighted to see this magnificence bird pluck a pigeon from the tree and eat it right next to me while I stood there with a camera.. whats the odds on that?. I could have saved the Pigeon but this bird works for its food, I would never interfere as they need to eat. This pigeon I'm sure ate many of my cabbages aswell.

postheadericon collection of 3

Won every collection of 3 I did this year, pity you never get anything for them..£100 would be nice.

Had to re-use some sweet candle, well didn't have to but I'm sure we have all done this. I looked at the competition in the collection of 3, decided I had won so changed the vegetables around to ensure victory in both classes lol. I didn't have enough veg to enter the collection of 3 so I pretty much entered anything to make the class up as no one cares if you win this board..shame but true as it carries nothing but a win and a point.

postheadericon collection of 4, sometimes 3?

Picked up a trophy for my collection of 4, what did surprise me is that a collection of 3 (just seen in picture) came second.. Judges..I have so much faith in you.. You can't count or see but you are always correct.

postheadericon collection of 6

Managed a second place with the collection of 6. Probably my worst year ever growing celery, although clean I had to remove at least 15 sticks frome each plant as they had split.

My NVS Amour potatoes were excellent as they were last weekend, really impressed with this potatoe and by far imo better than kestrel.

My long carrots were pretty massive, haven't had that much weight on them for years and to be honest I didn't look after them and hardly did I water them in the tunnels so I was very surprised when I pulled them.

postheadericon more showing

Really is surprising just how much stuff I take to these shows, with all the vegetables packed in the car and then spread about all the tables you don't see the full picture. This is just part of what I took to the show this weekend, I couldn't get it all on the table.

The following weekend I had 18 entries, 15 1st and three 2nds and came no where near most points in show. This weekend again saw any trophies all given to flowers, bar two for vegetables which I took one of them for a collection of 4.

More updates to come...

Monday, 6 September 2010

postheadericon Something else

Something to brighten the place up while we wait to see what happens next. Took my eye while browsing through my camera.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

postheadericon Sweet Candle

Can't seem to find the photo I took of my "best in show in the vegetable section" of my sweet candle, so here's a few from my board.

I would say this year it was much harder to get a set, and I had to discard perefectly good carrots as they had what I call stretch marks on them half way down. Again the dry spell has not helped carrot growers at all this year and tap water is just not the same.

To get a really good set of 6 took 20 carrots... last year? only about 9. I must say tho all 20 carrots were good, but I'm so fussy and wanted a perfect set.

Skin finish on the carrots this year was superb, I still have these carrots and even now they look no different and I have left them uncovered. I cleaned them with a soft pad using water and washing up liquid, gently going around the carrot. The tops I always clean with an ear bud. The washing up liquid really does help and gets rid of that almost ingrained dirt you sometimes have when they dry out on the bench.

I probably won't be showing sweet candle at my next show, as I have especially grown some small red core as everyone moans they are not short carrots at this show.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

postheadericon Runner Beans

To be honest I grow runner beans for eating and if they make it to a show and get a card its a bonus.

Not a great year for allotments with no water supply resulting in poor plants. With a class that normally see's so many entries only having 6 you know it must be global warming,runner beans will probably be extinct by next year.

I was surprised to win this class to be honest, but longer beans don't always win if they are uneven.

postheadericon 250g Globo Onions

Good year for onions? I suppose if you have good ground and maybe the odd bit of watering here and there you could say it was. All my onions grown outside were better than I have had for some years and I didn't water them at all. No mildew this year on them aswell, so they should store ok.

Quite a few entries in the onion classes so I was happy to win with my Globo.

postheadericon Best in show?

My granfather on a regular basis would get "Best in Show" and he has plenty of medals to prove it.

Since we took over from him we have never won any, which just shows how bloody good some entries are at these shows. We have come close, last year with the garden news tray, and 2 years before that with parsnips.

Again tho we took "Best in show in the vegetable section" but its just not the same. I personally feel it is impossible for us or anyone else infact showing vegetables to win "best in show" at any show I enter. The flower classes are so well contested and there is pretty much no way a judge will choose a vegetable over flowers. I have had and seen pristine, superb, best I have seen veg that didn't even get a look in.

I still have not worked out how my sweet candle got best in show for the vegetable section as my parsnips I personally feel were much better, but who cares.

(Pictures here later of almighty great flowers that always beat me), mind you they do give me some flowers to take home so I will forgive them.

(Best in show far right, I can't remeber how many times he has won, probably a good 15 years on the trot.
Monday, 30 August 2010

postheadericon Asters

Well it all started at this show last year after seeing some fantastic asters on display that I decided to grow some using the vouchers I won at this show for the Garden News Tray.

Normally I grow bog standard asters but I was so impressed with the show variety I gave them a shot.

Out of everything at the show I entered this meant the most to me as I had grown some flowers for a show (which I never do) and they were a good standard and even won.. Shame we had so much rain just before this show or I'm sure we would have seen a lot more as I was the only entry

postheadericon Parsnips

Pulled 7 parsnips to get 4, with 5 being good, one canker and the other forked..So pretty good going.

Pleased with my parnips this year, cleaned up very well and came an easy first.

I'm useless at taking photos of parsnips, so I had to take them at home.

postheadericon 1st Show. Collection of 6

Over the comming days I will post some pictures and updates up of my 1st show this season.

Collection of 6 result: 1st

Not the best of pictures as I forgot to re-adjust the display after the judges had messed about with it, parsnip slipped down a bit and leek had moved forward. Trust me they were much more even before everyone touched them.

Friday, 6 August 2010

postheadericon Howz it growing.

Well few ups and a few downs, to be expected as I have not payed any where near the attention I normally would to my veg this year. I have tried my best to give them as much attention as possible and I know what needs to be done but it's so hard to find the time to do it right.

I really will do my best to get some photos up of everything below, maybe before Monday.

Parsnips: Noticed first signs of spider mite a month ago and some have already been hit hard but I have so many I'm sure the odd one or two that have gone yellow won't be a big deal. I have been using Predatory mites to help control the situation and so far they have done a good job, I opted for 2000 of them so plenty to work there magic.

Leeks: most got footrot or onion fly maggot, the remaining leeks look superb until a week ago when a mass of spidermite got on them and ruined most of the flags. Sprayed with everything you can get (no joke) every single day for a week with no luck. In the end I killed most of them with my fingers running them up and down the flags, Predatory mites would be to late now as it would take 4 years for them to be eaten. Tonight I tried some 79% linseed oil based insecticide.

Celery: Mixed bag, some great, some ok, some rubbish. Have had a few problem with some strange like scale maggot (never seen this one before) eating right in the heart of the celery causing a few plants to stress and consequently get heartrot.

Some of the celery got shaded by my potatoes that decided producing 7 foot halms would be a good idea, so again consequently have not grown aswell as expected.

The first bed of 6 is fine and most of bed 2 is also fine so I should be ok and these are now all on 18inch collars. Typical tho that my best two sticks of celery have split 4 sticks in so I had to remove at least 7 sticks from each plant to get the split sticks out. Way to hot for celery this year and with the lack of rain despite the watering it has been hard going.

Potatoes: Halms are massive, but I feel they are a tad shaded by the hedge. My kestrel should be near ready and a test bag showed 4 excellent spuds. My other test bag that is in full sun were ready but showed very slight scab but superb potatoes. I'm hoping the ones in the shade will be fine as they don't dry out like these other bags. I have been watering these bags every single day ever since they started to tuber, sometimes twice and they still got scab.

Carrots: All good, lost a few to willow aphid etc.

Tomatoes: All look fine, cedrico tho has some massive tomatoes on them which I have never had and some don't even look like cedrico so i'm not happy, poor strain this year.

Cauli: picked a good 40 so far, all been pretty darn good..Pity I marked my diary wrong or these would have been perfect for the shows.

Runner beans: Plants small but man some great beans already.

Beetroot: Rubbish.

Onions: Rubbish, have a few.. Onion fly had them all. 250g globo onions all pulled now and should make a decent set.
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

postheadericon Final late sowings

Extending the growing season is important if you want as much fresh vegetables as you can get.

Getting in your last late sowings now will be ideal for crops in Oct-Dec.

I will be sowing:
Carrot: paris market - golf ball like carrot.
Carrot: Autumn king 2 - good banker for some decent carrots late in season
Pea: Blauwschokker - very productive if we get good weather and kept moist. Almost black/purple pods but green peas.
Dwarf bean - Roma - Never tried this one, so giving it ago.
Savoy cabbage - (can't remember the name, buts its a small pointed version, so crops quicker and can be planted very close.
Baby beetroot - kestrel: This is the beetroot I eat fresh and boiled as all the rows of other early beetroot would have been pickled as we love the stuff.
Broccoli - Raab 60 days - Quick growing mini heads like broccoli. I have seen the stuff before but have never grown this dwarf variety so will be interesting to see what I get off it.
Christmas potatoes - Maris Bard and Pentland Javelin

This little lot will all get planted this week now we have finally had some rain I can get sowing.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010

postheadericon allotment pictures..part 2

allotment continued..

4 rows of carrot, 2 beet and 1 lettuce

Chrysanthemum.. All exhibition varieties but grown just for cut flowers unless they do so happen to flower early then I do show the odd one. 90 asters are next door to this surrounded by wire to keep the rabbits off.

I'll add some more stuff when I have time.

postheadericon allotment pictures..part 1

I hardly ever post pictures of our allotment, so here you go..something different.

Show Cauli looking to early, what with me watering them non stop and this warm weather they just took off. Hopefully the later sowings at the other end will come in for the shows.

Cheery tree is loaded, picture taken a week ago and opon checking today I have a good couple of hundred ready to come off.

Onions from sets are nearly ready to harvest, I have been bending the tops of any that I feel have stopped growing and using any that went to seed.

Potatoes: First early potatoes are ready and have been digging as new potatoes for a few days now. Could do with another week to make it worth while.

Broad beans and peas: Broad beans went in late this year so are still not ready (ones in garden are) Peas are no where near like they were last year, lack of water has resulted in lower plants, still we have peas.

Still have loads of cabbage ready for picking in the garden, but these are my later ones. No need to cover as I spray with "grazers" birds will still test them, but they soon give up and eventually the cabbage grows perfectly well. As you can see the ones on the far left of picture went in first and now have near no damage. Cabbage whites are not a problem either as I also have a spray that keeps them off.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

postheadericon onions

Not getting my hopes up, I have a mixed bag again of decent onions, smaller onions and destroyed onions. If all my decent onions don't get foot rot I will fine.

postheadericon Tomatoes

Tomatoes are growing well, despite the lack of attention I have been giving them.
Again I took some side shoots from these as I had great results from them last year. I potted them up and they are growing in my other greenhouse about 2 foot high at the moment. I find the side shooted plants will only be two weeks behind these which is ideal for me.

Done a few hanging basket tomatoes this year aswell, I'm pretty impressed with them so far..we shall see how they taste.

postheadericon leeks

Not such good news for my leeks, but then its to be expected. I suffer from foot rot and once you have it you will always get it year in year out. This also effects my onions and by the end of season at least 75% would have been chucked.

postheadericon Parsnips

Best parsnips I have had for many years at this time of year, I put this down to one thing and that is spider mite. Normally my parsnips have spider mite on them when they are 6 inches high and its all down hill from there. Controlling this pest is near impossible and they cause so much damage the parsnip just stops growing. It's always an uphill battle to keep them at bay, normally I have millions and this year I have non. This is partly due to the harsh winter and keeping my parsnips covered in fleece the whole growing season has helped, I just hope they stay away. I have sprayed 4 times with a fungicide, yet insecticide has not touched them yet.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

postheadericon Leeks

Not happy with my leeks, I just feel it has taken way to long for them to move since I planted them out. Maybe its just me, but when I look at them, take the collars off etc I don't see any difference from a few weeks back. Obviously a concern as this happened last year and the leeks just didn't do any good. I think the leeks do not like this ground, fingers crossed they will start to grow soon.

postheadericon Tomatoes

Tomatoes planted out about 4 days ago, again same as last year I have planted them really deep. These plants were twice the height of what you see in the photo. Planting so deep encourages new root growth from the stem that is below ground, resulting in a sturdy strong plant that has more roots to pick up nutrients and water. Don't worry about removing any lower leaves, I have taken a good two or three off each plant already.

As the plants get going I will support them, spray them for blight, and remove the lower leaves.

postheadericon runner beans

Disappointed that non of the 10 or so longest runner bean strain germinated, must have been bad seed for them all to fail, especially when all my others have either come up or are just showing in the compost.

I shall plant another 60 or so beans this weekend in the hope of picking them a little later in season.

postheadericon Celery

All my celery is now sitting outside, especially due to the fact its been so hot inside the greenhouse. Very happy with this batch and I shall plant them out at the weekend.

postheadericon Onions

Pretty much the size I'd expect my onions to be at this time of year. All pretty much the same size, the really hot days have not helped.

Monday, 17 May 2010

postheadericon Parsnip warning signs

My parsnips are growing great despite being covered in fleece to keep bugs at bay...But look closer; at this time of year you may well start to see the first signs of leaf spot. Yellow-green spots that appear that will eventually destroy your parsnips, as the spots enlarge turning brown and almost burnt in apperance. I will spray mine now every 10 days or so for a month at least with a good fungicide as I have noticed a few spots. No spider mite as yet.

Picture after being sprayed.. What I find interesting is the size of my parsnips compared to last years. If you view "2009 May Parsnips" pictures you will see that the above parsnips are actually better and bigger despite going in a good month later. I think this is mainly due to the fact I have no spider mite (yet?) and this time last year I had plenty. It goes to show how much damage they can do, the hard winter combined with the fleece must have helped keep them off...for now.
Thursday, 13 May 2010

postheadericon potatoes

Managed to get most of my potatoes in today..Gee i'm pretty late this year but I'm sure they won't be fine anyway so who cares.

I have planted
12 NVS Sherine
12 NVS Amour
12 Kestrel

and if I can be bothered I will plant 12 harmony on Friday.

Slightly different to last year, I'm still using 17 litre polypots but I have put a layer of Peat Plus in the bottom (its like manure really and holds moisture extremely well). Peat plus stinks so bad its worst than putting your head inside those dog shite bins on the side of the road, its not for the faint hearted. On top of all this I have a mix of peat and multipurpose compost.

I have found a supplier local to me of a multipurpose compost called Erin that contains peat (thank the lord) and I was so impressed by it I decided to add it to my potatoe mix. Erin comes in a green bag and has 70 litres of compost in it..yes 70 litres of compost, not 70 litres of bark. When I opened the bag you could see the peat in the mix, it just fell apart in my hands. It is such a light airy compost, nothing like the crap I normally have to use because of peat free zone around here. Even pure peat these days is mostly rubbish and fury things, I sieved the erin compost with minimal waste, and even the waste broke up in my hands..Yeah I have fallen in love with a green bag of compost.

Anyway back to potatoes... In the end I decided to sieve all my compost and to this I added about 1 handfull of vitax q4 and 1 handfull of calcified seaweed (because measuring is boring and Simon said it works so he must be right lol). I think everyone has gone crazy with the sudden OMG dont use calcified seaweed as its lime and potatoes hate lime...err we have been doing it for years with no problems, if you are worried then jump on the bandwagon and use seaweed meal.