With the days now lengthening and Spring just round the corner, there will be plenty of things to do from now on. My Pendle Improved Leeks for the Tatton show are in their final 30 litre pots as are eight of the Cumbrian Pot Leeks. The Pendle’s are on 15 inch collars which I put straight on them owing to a lack of time earlier on. My suspicions are that they won’t pull as well as I would like so time will tell on that score.
As I now only rent the glasshouse from the University for 6 months of the year, November to April, The leeks were moved from Aber to my own glass house two weeks ago and on to the new benching. Growth will undoubtedly slow down as it’s a cold glass house but luckily, at the moment, we haven’t had any serious drop in temperatures. My large onions are doing well and they were potted up into 4 litre pots a few days ago and are still in Aber for another month or so before they will also be moving home.
The parsnips are doing really well, the ones for Tatton are now about three inches tall and very even in height and the long carrots have just been thinned down to leave two in each station.
The parsnips for the later shows have also been thinned down to leave two and these are in my grey pipes outdoors completely without any cover. They were sown on the 22nd of January and took over six weeks to come through. Five of the pipes have a new numbered variety which is supposed to be early whilst the other five have another new numbered variety from the same breeder but is a main crop. Now they are both through you can tell the difference even now with the seedling leaves being more advanced on the early variety.
On Friday I planted my potatoes for the middle of July in my polypots and left them inside my polytunnel. I have planted just six varieties this time concentrating on quality rather than some of the more novel types. I have planted up 15 pots of each and the ones I have gone for are – Kestrel, Bonnie, Amour, Blue Belle, Winston and Bute. I have great faith in Bute as I’m sure it will win many shows when it becomes more available.
I was fortunate at my November Seminar last year to get some rooted stock of David Metcalfe’s new blanch leek. It’s a new cross that he has created, crossing the Pendle Improved back with the Welsh seedling. It is certainly different to the Pendle with the foliage being thicker and standing upright for longer.
David did stage a set at Harrogate last year but I know he wasn’t happy with them as he perhaps had to learn again how to grow this one. Thrips are always a problem for me and even though I use admire as a drench at every potting stage it just seems that once you have Thrips it’s a devil of a job to get rid of them. They seem to be made from Cast iron!
We finished sowing all the ‘Other than Long’ carrots for Tatton last Thursday 20th March, two large orange boxes have over 120 stations of Sweet Candle in, the other three Link-a-Bord boxes have 180.
They consisted of a new yellow carrot called Solar yellow, another is Flyaway as it makes a lovely stump end, also another new Lilac carrot called Purple Sun. Finally I have a new stump Nantes variety that stumps early with supposedly a very smooth skin called Poseidon, watch this space regarding this one – could it perhaps offer a challenge to Sweet Candle?