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.

Leeks, Carrots and Runner Beans.


Leeks, Carrots and Runner Beans.

There’s about two and a half weeks to go before my last harvest for Malvern Show as we shall be travelling down on the Wednesday to stage our display on Thursday and Friday. There will be six of us working on the stand this time and I’ve just had a look through my leeks for the central position on the stand.  I have been bothered badly this year with both Red Spider Mite and Thrips, and before I knew it the damage had been caused.

Leeks Pendle showing Western Flower Thrip damage

A number of exhibitors now use Admire to control The thrips on Leeks, you use it as  drench with enough to cover the surface of a 2 pence piece in 2 gallons being the correct amount. However it didn’t seem to work with me as I was probably too late with the application and I could clearly see the Thrips crawling around on the leaves.

Leeks Pendle showing Western Flower Thrip damage

The next thing was an application of Dynamec and this seems to have done the trick as there are no more pests visible on the leaves.  Dynamec is good also on Red Spider Mite. Next year I shall use Admire early on when still in the pots in the greenhouse and then further control after planting out using Dynamec.

Leek Pendle showing Secondary growth between flags

Another problem that I have had with my Pendle leeks is secondary growth appearing between two sets of foliage or flags.  This is the first time for me to get this phenomenon and I’m convinced it’s to do with the plants metabolism when the plants are close to bolting.  From 34 leeks planted I now only have ten left which haven’t bolted and enough to cover my last display at Malvern.

Leek Pendle showing Secondary growth between flags

Those that haven’t bolted are also now throwing up these side shoots and they must obviously come from the root plate.  It won’t affect me with the display but for anyone showing on the bench it could be a serious matter.

Leek Pendle showing Secondary growth between flags

The reason for this is because as the growth increases in strength it will change or alter the shape of the barrel of the leek as it pushes outwards in between the flags.

Sweet Candle bed at home sown mid May

I was late sowing my final bed of Sweet candle Carrots at home, in fact it was bored and filled by my grandson Owain and I simply the sowed the seed, (he does come in handy at times!!) This was around the middle of May and I thought then they might come in useful for the kitchen later on or I could possibly manage a few for my stand.

Sweet Candle at home sown mid May

As the picture shows they are much better than I thought they would be with no trace at all of any fly with beautiful fresh green foliage on them.  Whether the bottoms will be rounded is something else but that criteria certainly won’t bother me when I’m eating them!

Runner Bean Jescot-Long-Un 28 inches long

In one of the beds next to the leeks I have a row of Jescot-Long-Un (Cat N0 3200) Runner bean growing away ( even though they were also severly hit with pest damage) and the longest at the moment is 28 inches long.  This is showing no sign of beaning and it will certainly grow longer than that.

Runner Bean Jescot-Long-Un 28 inches long

I grow these at home as I don’t want them to cross pollinate with the my 800 plus Stenner bean plants growing in the fields for seed production which is about 4 miles away.  What is more, this is a fantastic bean to eat provided you pick it when it’s still young, it’s very fleshy and tasty.



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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9 thoughts on “Leeks, Carrots and Runner Beans.

  1. Hi Medwyn, i’m going to try some leeks in pots under cover next year and was wondering what size your pots are please. Managed to get a Jescot to 27in this year, but only grew 2 plants and they’re over now. Trying to keep my stenner going for Malvern. I’ve got a great set of 15 x 17in now, but 2 weeks too bloomin early. I’m watering regularly to try and keep them going, is there anything else i can do to stop them going beany please?

    1. Hi Marcus,
      What a lovely weekend we are having, why couldn’t it have been like this in June through to August! My leeks and Onions are all now grown in 30 litre pots and they seem to be doing OK. I will have leeks on the display nearly 9 inches round and 18 inches to the button. The best thing about growing in pots is the fact that you have a fresh mix every year, my mix this year was a bag of Levington M3 plus 15 litres of sieved Top soil from my land plus some Osmocote Exact Standard (slow release fertiliser 5-6 months) with the following NPK 15+9+12. We can give you a quote on the pots if it helps you.

  2. Thanks for that Medwyn, i’ll be in touch. See you at Malvern.

  3. I had that secondary growth problem on my Pendle last season. Looks like they’re sticking their tongue out at you when you walk past them! Is this a particular problem with Pendle or have youhad it happen on any other leek strains in past years?

  4. Hi Medwyn, were you able to show anything at Malvern or did setting up the stand make exhibiting a practical impossibility?

    1. Hi John,
      I never did show anything at Malvern, there is so much involved in setting up the display It isn’t really practical. We have to leave the land on Wednesday morning as they are judging just after lunchtime on Friday, so trying to keep everything fresh for the competitive classes would be too much.

  5. I can well understand that. I am looking forward as usual to the latest catalogue which I assume will be out in a few days. How have you found the new aprsnip compares to Polar. I was pleased with Polar this year after struggling with Pinnacle.

    1. I don’t think the new parsnip I grew this year is going to be as good as it’s replacement Polar. However we do have 17 new varieties on trial with different growers and when we have recieved all the reports a couple of these may well be available for sale in our on line shop only. Our 2013 catalogue will be sent out in the next two weeks to those customers who ordered with us this year.

  6. Hi Medwyn, if I grow some of the long beans will they be fine growing close to other runner beans?

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