July is underway and what weather we are having! I cannot remember a year like this before; with a very cold and wet start to the year, turning very hot and dry for the last 2 months. This is most growers nightmares and I am hearing of lots of problems with leeks running to seed and splitting, which is caused through stress on the plant. The cold weather is bad enough, but extreme heat is more stressful and will take its toll if the hot weather continues.
As you may remember, I had to reduce the length of some of my plants by splitting the button on several flags. The leeks looked awful at that time, but they have now just about fully recovered. The trench of JSN leeks that were planted with short buttons and left alone are looking very good at the moment. They are still only 2 inches to the button and around 14 inches in circumference. There is a natural lift on these leeks. The leeks that I did split are approximately 4 inches in length but no lift on the flags. The circumference of these are now 13 inches. 2 of my JSN leeks bent for no apparent reason and I removed both from the trench and binned them.
I have only planted 12 cumbrian, from 2 different sources. 6 are straight barrelled and look very good, about 13 inches in circumference, and the other 6 are tapered, a bit longer and also 13 inches around. My blanch leeks are making growth too quickly and they have started to split. The length has come down from 19 inches down to around 15 inches; not a good sign. They are also yellow and burnt and looking very stressed. I have heavy shading on these poly tunnels.
It is this month you need to be vigilant about red spider as they love the hot weather. Make sure you keep a regular spray but never in full sunlight and also never overspray. Always make sure just to mist your plants and never saturate them.
Moving onto stock plants, most of mine are showing very strong stems with fine seed heads. All were still covered with the sheath at the beginning of July but are now opening quickly as flower heads start to swell. I have noticed a few stock plants producing grass as well as flowers. I hope these do not come too early. I will hold off shaving my stock plants until the beginning of August. This will hopefully give me fresh grass to start setting in October.
My onions are looking really nice. Very clean with a good shape and all about 19 inches in circumference. This year I have grown all my stock onions at the nursery and this has made a massive difference as the commercial greenhouses are very high with great ventilation and thermal screening which can be opened and closed at the touch of a button. My onion seed heads are just starting to plump out and look full of seed.
That’s all for now folks, enjoy the sunshine!