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.

Work in Progress


All the onions are now germinated at the greenhouse in Bangor with Peter Glazebrook’s World Record breaking onions  have just been pricked out into 60 cells using Levington F2S. It really is quite amazing how a well lit and well heated glass house can bring on plants without any hindrance whatsoever. The greenhouse they are growing in is a really modern, state of the art structure with automatic venting as well as thermal curtains in the roof that slide open when there is no frost and the weather is cloudy and conversely close when the temperature drops too low or the sun shines through too strongly. The onions were all sown in the new Levington F1S compost and covered over with our new Superfine Vermiculite which is really beautiful stuff to cover seed over with as well as to add to peat based composts to open it up a little. When covering seed over with Vermiculite never try and water the seed trays with a watering can and rose as the material is so light the water will simply wash the material off the face of the compost or pile it up on one end which useless. I always gently float my trays in water in the large sink that’s in the potting greenhouse at the University, I can fit two large seed trays inside it. This way the water is taken in through the holes at the bottom of the tray and capillary action then brings the moisture right through the compost to the surface. You will know when the tray is fully charged as the colour of the vermiculite will change from a pale creamy colour to a darkish grey. After this point the trays can then be watered with a watering can.

The new structure built only last year from wood to support the barrels to grow parsnips in was well rotted by the end of this season with the sand around the base of the drums being kept quite moist for most of the time. The sides were built up with planks two inches thick and the cross pieces to support the edges of the drums were, supposedly, tanalised roofing battens. This was really a bad idea as they weren’t really strong enough to take the weight and one collapsed just after we had pulled the parsnips. I decided to scrap the lot and re start from scratch with a concrete block bed with the edges of the drums also supported on concrete blocks which have yet to be done. The clockwork was done by my grandson, Owain, who works for a landscape company and this was his first job on his own, I thought he did a pretty good job of it. I’m hoping to have the lot completed before the end of January and all filled up with fresh clean concreting sand. The drums will be divided to growing long carrots and parsnips with most of the parsnips being the new Victor which I rate very highly with two drums to grow the sister variety Viper. The quality, in every way, on both of them is first class with Viper being slightly later maturing than Victor.



Concrete blockwork for barrels to grow long roots.
Concrete blockwork for barrels to grow long roots.


May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Peaceful and Happy Christmas as well as a very Healthy New Year and a productive ‘REd CARD’ season from all the team at Medwyn’s


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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11 thoughts on “Work in Progress

  1. All the very best to you and your family.

    1. Thanks Paul, I haven’t met up with you for a couple of years so I will probably see you at The NVS National Championships in Dundee next year as I’m one of the judges there. Trust you are still growing good vegetables and picking up some Red Cards on the way.

  2. Medwyn . I have just potted on my first batch of p.g. onions into 5 inch pots they look good with fantastic germination. Also some good cumbrian x pot leeks yorkshire giants and llanberis blanch leeks .all potted in m2 with added nutrimate and a bit of charge mixed in which everyone seems to be using now .I have just retired last week after forty years at f.c.c. no excuses now for not growing some good veg .I hope to come down in the spring for a look around .best wishes for the coming season

    1. Well done on your retirement Bill, the highways department will never be the same again!!. Just so that other bloggers can get the information, and who were not at my last Masterclass Weekend, where do you get ‘Charge’ from and how do you propose to use it and at what sort of ratio. Now that you have retired you have plenty of time on your hands to answer these questions! Love to Trish and I will look forward to seeing you down the land in the Spring.

  3. Morning medwyn ; it is a bit strange having lots of time to potter about and do things at my pace not having to cram everything into the weekend worrying about call outs and burials .the charge is available at most hydroponic shops and instructions are on the bucket a medium bucket is around twenty pounds ‘john bebbington has also put me onto a very good product called seasol a seaweed feed that can be found on google this is a fantastic foiliar or liquid feed .I am just making a larger grow cabinet as the onions will need a lot more room once in larger pots .blanch leeks and pot leeks are also liking the charge in the potting mix and the seasol feed .I am following gareth camerons advice and treating all beds in the polytunnels with compost tea which can only improve things .heavyweight onions p.g. seed are still on 24 hr light with the leeks on 10 hrs .I am trying the yorkshire giant pot leek for a heavywyeight hopefully for malvern show and the cumbrian cross for quality .are you doing an article soon on how tony glover produced the world record onion .many thanks to all the growers who have provided leeks and onion seed for the coming season all delivered to your excellent veg weekend long may they continue .best wishes to all growers for 2015 season .bill jones .

  4. Hi Medwyn i would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Happy growing New Year.

  5. All the very best for Christmas and the New Year to you and your family

  6. All the best for Christmas and the New Year to you and your family

  7. Dear Medwyn

    Could I possibly use your excellent site to do a quick plug on my new novel Carrots at Dawn? It’s about the dark art of growing to show so I’m sure a few of your customers might find it a fun read. I’m sure it must be the first ever novel where vegetables are the stars of the show? I do have to warn folk that the language is a bit ‘medieval’ so it’s not for the faint-hearted!


    1. Hi Craven, I have actually read the book on my Kindle just before Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The ending is quite clever, it didn’t pan out the way I thought it would. Thanks for mentioning the NVS as well let’s hope we pick up a few members from it. The language wasn’t that ‘medieval’ just a bit of good gardening banter!! It’s a book that I can really recommend. I bought it on Amazon.

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