Picture of Medwyn Williams

Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

An update on the growing

New bench mainly made from waste timber, i intend to grow all my onions and leeks in 30 litre pots on this bench
New bench mainly made from waste timber, i intend to grow all my onions and leeks in 30 litre pots on this bench

Parsnips germionationg and ready for thinning.JPG shallots hardening off 020314Things are easing off a little now on my Catalogue side of things so I hope to have some time to keep you informed of what’s  going on.  Again this year, three new parsnip varieties were sent to me for trial from two different breeders. One is an early variety whilst the other two are main crop, the breeder of one rates it so highly that he has no immediate plans for any future breeding work.  I have sown the new seed I had of this one for exhibiting at the September shows, in particular to have then on my Malvern Display.

None of the parsnips are yet named and I have sown the early variety for our Tatton display in July. This first sowing went in on the 16th January in my large glasshouse on the land, Five 40 gallon drums with 4 bore holes in each.  On the 22nd January 10 of my grey pipes on the land were also cored, bored and sowed with three stations in each pipe. This is the earliest that I have sown parsnips for many years. Five pipes had the new early type with the other five having the main crop variety. The bottom of every bore hole was filled the a 2 litre pot full of the mix below with added 300 grams of 11-11-18 slow release. The mix was as follows –1 bag F2S, 10 Lit Fine grade Vermiculite, 10 lit sieved soil (quarter inch mesh),  200 gram finely sieved bone meal and 300 gram sieved calcified seaweed.

The first lot indoors have all germinated and are now nearly ready for thinning down to one. I don’t expect the outdoor ones to germinate yet as they have no glass cover on them at all and no doubt they will take another week or so yet. With all the severe gales we have had here any cover I would have placed over them would have been blown away anyway. An example of the strength of the wind for you was that the roof of a large shed about 100 metres from our boundary flew off and landed in our field. It flew over the polytunnel, missed our glass house and landed a further 200 yards away, smashed to smithereens!!

The leeks and onions are again  going to be grown in 30 litre pots, most will be on the new wooden bench in the large greenhouse as well as in my polytunnel at home. The leeks and onions are all currently at the university glass house in Aber and will initially be potted up there before being moved down on to the land.

The shallots were moved outdoors yesterday to harden up a little before planting them. The long carrot bore holes for Tatton Park show should be completed this coming week, there are three 45 gallon drums with 7 cored holes in each and 2 smaller blue plastic drums with 4 in each. This will give me 29 to select 12 from. I am hoping that I might get a set for the Welsh Championships from these as well. The long carrot mix this time is as follows –  one bag of Levington F2S  plus 10 ounces of Finely ground Calcified Seaweed and 8 ounces of our own Complete Base Fertiliser (the exact equivalent to Q4).




Growing Parsnips

25th July 2007 I am often asked what is the best method of growing both long carrots and parsnips for the show

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5 thoughts on “An update on the growing

  1. Hi Medwyn, good to see that you’ll be updating the blog more now. Did you notice the NPK change on the F2s Compost. The Phosphates have been reduced significantly this year. I have added some extra superphosphate in to my carrot/parsnip mixes this year to counter balance this.

    1. It was Ian Stocks I believe who first noticed that the NPK levels within the F2S had altered with the Phosphate levels being lower. In order to try and balance things out I am now adding some very finely sieved bone meal to the root mixtures where F2S is the growing medium.
      The N-P-K ratio of bone meal is generally 4-12-0, though some steamed bone meals have N-P-Ks of 1-13-0. Bone meal is of course an organic material and therefore being bone, can be slow in releasing the phosphorous, hence the need to have it sieved as fine as possible. I actually have a sieve that I managed to hang on to from some old ones that were at the university in Bangor when they closed down the greenhouses and when most things were dumped.
      I shall email Steve Hughes from Everris later on to ask why the boffins at Levington decided to lower the phosphorous levels in F2S and possible in F1 as well. I shall also ask what do they suggest we add, and in what quantities, to get the levels back to where we were before. I shall keep you posted as soon as I have a reply.

  2. That’s great. Many thanks Medwyn 🙂

    1. Regarding the lower phosphate levels in F2S as well as other mixes, I have now had an official reply from Dr Jim Smith on how to increase the levels to what they were last year. All the products are of course completely fit for their intended purpose just as they are and that is the way I intend to use them. If you want the liquid feed mentioned below it’s in my catalogue – Item N0 0029 I intend to use this a couple of times this season on just a couple of barrels just to see if there will be any noticeable difference.

      The F2S has as stated on the bag a reduced phosphate level compared to product produced a couple of years ago. This is due to the old fertilizer no longer being manufactured and our new factory having fewer fertilizer feeders. The phosphate level is still more than adequate for seedling propagation but may be not enough for prize winning vegetables grown to maturity. You can add more phosphate to the compost. If you want to get back up to the same level using superphosphate then you will have to do a small calculation to determine the amount required. On the fertilizer bag it will state the N P K levels.

      Take the p level (usually between 8 and 10) and multiply by 10 and then multiply this figure by 0.44 to change from P2O5 to P. This gives you the mg/l of phosphate in 1kg of fertilizer. You want 200-73=127 extra mg/l of P.

      Example where P on the bag is 8
      8 x 10 = 80 x 0.44 = 35.2 mg/l P divide 127 by 35.2 = 3.6g
      This would mean you need to add 3.6g to each litre of compost or 3.6 x 75 litres = 270g per 75 litre bag of compost.

      The other way of increasing the phosphate levels is to liquid feed with a high phosphate fertilizer such as our 10+52+10 at 0.5g per litre of water and apply every time you water.

      Hope this helps

      Dr Jim Smith BSc(Hons), PhD

  3. WOW!! That’s a lot of phosphate to make it up to the original mix Medwyn. Must be saving Everris a fortune… 🙂

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