I did not mention on my previous blog about my stock plants as there were no heads showing at that time, however in the last few days, I have seen heads galore on my stock onions, and the first heads appearing on my leek plants.
I must say, some of my stock plants were still of exhibition quality up until May, being very clean, still a very good size and really solid. The best I have had in many years. Peter Kerry remarked they were as good as stock he had seen in 50 years.
On the downside, you have heard me say how good Peter’s new hybrid Pot Leek is. Unfortunately he has informed me that they have not faired well through this hard winter. Peter is now looking to keep this hybrid for another year and not release for 2018 as he is looking to keep perfection within this leek and has destroyed any stock plants not looking perfect. This leaves him short on numbers. He will grow stock on for another year before releasing to anyone and I have a lot of respect for him for this.
Sorry there has not been any info put on here for 2 months. My workload has been very heavy and I have worked 16 hour days, 7 days a week since the end of March.
Looking at plants in general in my workplace, I thought growth was poor up to the middle of April. We had cold, dull days until then but as we started to get some sunny days, the greenhouse temperature lifted and the growth rate improved of all my basket plants and perennials. They seem to have caught up with last seasons growth. Hanging baskets started to flower right on target and things were back on track.
In my greenhouse at home the plants were looking great. Leeks and onions all into 5 litre pots and bang on the size I had hoped for. With my compost having exemptor added, all plants were very clean and healthy.
I mentioned in my last blog that I had taken one polytunnel skin off to let the winter work on the trenches. Unfortunately I was very late in getting a new skin put back on and my leeks suffered through being crammed onto the greenhouse benches. Most leeks were pulled too long as I did not get any pot leeks planted until late May. This is 5 or 6 weeks later than I would have liked. The weather conditions at this time were varying from one extreme to the other (approx. 30 degrees Celsius to freezing cold within 24 hours) which took its toll on my plants. Blanch leeks suffered and showed they were unhappy by yellowing at the ends of the flags but should recover as they make root into the trenches. I was fortunate as my onions were the last to be planted and I missed the extreme difference in temperature. I am happy with things considering the late planting dates. My blanch leeks at the end of May were averaging 18 inches to the button and 5.5 inches around. My quality onions stand around 11.5 inches with a neck length of over 12 inches. The Cumbrian pot leeks averaging 7.5 inches around and my JSN around 8 inches.
I have decided to drop the buttons on one trench of JSN’s. To do this I have to cut 5 or 6 buttons to drop them to 2 inches in length. They look pretty sick but I have done this before and they will recover by late July and hopefully still make the September shows.
I have not yet had time to visit any other growers but I am told there are some really big leeks and onions around. Along with size and hot weather, I hope this does not backfire with plants splitting or going double centred. I have found with larger plants at this time of year, you are more prone to problems later in the year. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope to see some real good quality with good size at the shows.
One last word;
A very good friend of mine passed away on May 16th. Many of you will know and miss Bob Greasley from Wolsingham.
I would also like to mention the sad passing of another friend Roly Gray from Hawdon, Black Hall.
Both of these men were top growers and lovely gentlemen who will be sadly missed by many. May you both Rest in Peace.