After coming through some adverse weather conditions in February, the main difference has been the sun rising higher in the sky and now shining full on to my greenhouse. This makes such a difference to the plants. I was pleased with my leeks early in Feb but since potting on, the natural sunlight now shining directly onto them, I must say I am really happy with the growth rate. They are now growing very fast and seem to have doubled in size in the last 2 weeks.I did notice when potting, the health and cleanliness of all plants was excellent with really thick white roots and beautiful coloured foliage. This is now paying dividends and I hope they stay in such good condition.
The leeks I shortened by nicking the button are now nice and short and looking very good, but as plants are now growing fast I noticed others are splitting and keeping short naturally.
I introduced my first collars to the blanch leeks as I moved into 5 litre pots. I used pipe lagging cut to 12 inches in length then introduced a split cane and wrapped with 12 inch of damp course. This will have to be checked every 2 weeks and loosened or maybe increased in length as plants grow.
Some not so good news on my laboratory produced virus free leeks;
In September I provided a laboratory producing merry stem cuttings with 10 plants of Cumbrian strain leeks. These plants were cut down and dissected into minute segments from the growing tip at the centre of the root plate. These cuttings/cells were placed into sterile containers containing a hormone gel and placed into a constant temperature and growth cabinets. After 10 weeks the first single plant started to grow but it took another 6 weeks for the second plant to grow which was very weak and spindly. After another couple of weeks I was informed the first plant was being cut and dissected and the process started over again. It looks like it will be a very slow process and I only hope we end up with a superleek for the future.
With the National Pot Leek Society having to postpone their annual general meeting because of heavy snow in early March and the North East Horticultural Society having a low attendance because of more snow the third week in March we wonder what the future weather will bring. I personally removed one poly tunnel cover before the winter ste in to allow my trenches to take full weather conditions and be flushed to reduce conductivity and salts. The frost would also have helped kill and rid bugs which would normally have enjoyed the protection of the polythene cover. The only disadvantage is, this late weather condition has stopped me from recovering with polythene and my trenches will take longer to raise in temperature, delaying planting by a few weeks.
Lets keep our fingers crossed the weather improves soon and our season gets back on track.