Seed or Bulbils from your Stock Leeks

13th Nov 1996

If by now you have removed all the seed heads containing either seed or bulbils from your stock leeks, there is one other task you can carry out prior to throwing away the old growth. If you look very carefully around the base of the leeks, you may well find some young growth coming through at the side of the old stem. This is another opportunity for you to be able to continue the same leek selection that gave you this years bulbils. Carefully empty out the pot or container that they were growing in; on either side of the leek stem you will see a couple of small bulbs that look very similar in size and shape to a tulip bulb. They may well have already started to throw up some flags if they haven't, check that the bulb are still firm and not rotting away.

Potting

Gently tease these away from the old stalk with as much roots as the bulbs have developed, you can now pot these on into a ten inch pot, two or three per pot is sufficient. Use some good quality slow release compost such as Levington M3 to ensure that they will have sufficient nutrients to carry them through to next year. As the temperatures are now dropping and the day length is shortening it will pay you to take them inside your cold greenhouse or polytunnel so that they can establish a root system in clean compost well before the ravages of the Winter months.

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Artifiicial Lighting

It will soon be time for the leeks and the onions to have their period of artificial lights if you are to have any chance at winning any of the major competitions. Both my greenhouses have been really cleaned out this year and there is no better time than now if you are to carry out any construction work for your lighting cabinet prior to the greenhouses filling up with plants. Over the last few years I have retained the light timber frame work and aluminium angles over one of the main benches so that all I need to do now is to cover it over with light reflecting material.

Growing Cabinet

I have used for a number of years the black and white polythene with the white obviously facing inside the cabinet. This year I intend to make some more permanent panels from hardboard that will fit every year into place around the cabinet framework. I have been able to get hold of some very lightweight emergency type blankets that are used to wrap around patients when they are suffering from a drop in body temperature. I"m not sure what they are made from but they are certainly very reflective and will be perfect for bouncing the artificial light into every corner of the growing area. They probably measure about 6 ft by 4ft when opened out, but when packed up they are only the same size as a tobacco pouch. These will be glued on to the hardboard and will be fixed at the back and both ends of the structure.

The roof and the front will be constructed from the same material but will be placed loosely so that I can get easy access into the cabinet to attend to the plants and to the Philips SGR 200 SON T aggro lamp which will be my source of lighting once more. You must be very careful when constructing such a cabinet that you have a way of controlling the excess heat that can easily build up inside with the lamp pushing out a constant 400 watts over a regular 24 hour period.

Heating

I already have one fan rigged up at one end of the cabinet fixed to a reverse thermostat so that when the temperature is at 70 F it will switch on and blow the excess heat away. To improve on this setup, I am looking for an old Expel Air fan to fit into a pane of glass at the end of the greenhouse which will also switch on at the same time removing any excess heat completely from the cabinet. That's my theory anyway; if anyone has an old nine inch fan for sale I would love to hear from you.


If by now you have removed all the seed heads containing either seed or bulbils from your stock leeks, there is one other task you can carry out prior to throwing away the old growth. If you look very carefully around the base of the leeks, you may well find some young growth coming through at the side of the old stem. This is another opportunity for you to be able to continue the same leek selection that gave you this years bulbils.
Other 1996 articles of interest

· Planting leek bulbils or pips
· Seed Heads - Large Exhibition...
· Artificial Lighting and Heating...
· Seed or Bulbils from your Stock...
· Winter Solstice - Shallots
· Re-selecting Seed for Long and...
· Re-structuring the Back Garden
· Christmas - Sowing your Onions

View All Articles from 1996
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Kosma White Skinned Onion
Concept F1
Hurst Greenshaft Pea
Prize-winning exhibition vegetable seeds give you the advantage whether growing for show or just for the family. You can see our range of top quality selected seeds and horticultural sundries in our online shop