Sunday 24th June 2012
Having just returned from giving a talk for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir I have to say that I am reasonably pleased with most things in the garden. That is mainly due to my son Alwyn and my daughter in law Alina, they have really taken to this gardening hobby and they both take a lot of the weight from my shoulder these days. The onions were again planted a little late and the necks are too long for my liking, I don’t think they will make very large specimens. However, having said that, the best measured today 15½” around. These are primarily intended for my displays with the first one coming up at the Royal Welsh in a month’s time. At this time of year you should and can expect an onion to expand at the rate of a ¼” a day, let’s say an inch a week. This hopefully should allow me to harvest a set, though a little green, at around 18 to 19 inches in circumference, 15 of them should look reasonably good on my display.
My leeks, Pendle Improved, for Malvern and possibly the Welsh Championships at Bridgend on the 1st and 2nd of September are on 18 inch collars and looking well. I have reverted this year to my old way of blanching by starting off when the plants were in 5 inch pots and much younger. I do find with the Pendle that if you let them put on too much weight with a small collar, they are very reluctant to pull upwards when you are late putting the 18 inch collar on with a couple of flags yellowing, rather than extending.
I pulled my first ‘Centro’ onion yesterday, this was the biggest in the bed, as I normally do, I like to find out what measurement I should be pulling up the remainder at. It so happened that after cleaning the onion down to one whole skin, removing the top, leaving a stem of about two inches also trimming off the roots, the onion was 10.625 in circumference. This is 10 and five eighths and as you can see, it weighed in at 246 grams, just about as good as you can get The remainder will now be harvested at this size.
This ‘New’ Centro onion certainly looks as if it could be a serious challenge to Vento, it’s got a nice shape and I have plenty more to harvest in the days ahead from the Link-a-Bord beds of nearly a hundred. To be honest I was a little greedy when planting out and I have too many in reality growing in a square metre. Most will make good onions but I do struggle now that the foliage is so powerful, to get in amongst them to clean up the dying and split skins..
My long carrots are about the best I have had for a number of years and this lot is expected to be ready for the Royal Welsh as well as possibly the Welsh Championships. The stalks are strong and they have good colour and when I try and pull them gently by the foliage, they seem to well rooted in their bore holes. The same applies to my new parsnip to replace Polar, this has very strong stalks and should have some heavy roots below, given time! I was speaking to John Branham who also grows this new selection and he thinks it’s possibly the best he has grown so far, time will tell.
Finally my stock plants of my own selection long carrots from New Red Intermediate are the best ever with plenty of large heads which should yield some of the best and biggest seed from well set heads. The bumble bees have now realised they are there and they certainly help to make every flower set as seed.