Friday 31st August 2012
Thankfully it’s a really lovely morning here which makes the job of lifting and washing long carrots a lot easier. I have entered three in the long carrot class at the Welsh Championships which is on tomorrow and Sunday at Bryngarw Country Park Bridgend CF32 8UU, just in case you fancy a run over. My problem this morning is pulling sufficient to get a decent set whilst at the same time being conscious of the fact that I have a big display to put up at Malvern in a month’s time. This of course is a problem we all have as exhibitors as we always seem to have another show just around the corner!
I actually pulled 10 to get a set of three that I think is good enough to take down there. Whether or not their good enough to get one of the four card places is something else. They were just over 8 inches around the shoulder and the longest was 45 inches. One thing was very apparent this year, the sand needs shifting out and clean sand brought in. This is the worst scenario for me as my garden is at the back of the house and everything has to be wheel barrowed up a gradient to the front of the house where I shall put it on a trailer and scatter it over the land. I can tell you now I won’t be doing a lot of it myself, I shall leave that to Alwyn and his friend Del, the younger generation!!
Sand is getting quite expensive these days and I will probably need in the region of 6 to 7 tonnes to fill up all the barrels. The carrots were also starting to get a little rough so I shall also temper my mix a little next year by adding a little more Fine Grade Vermiculite to it. The carrots were sprayed a few times with our Liquid Nutrimate which we have registered as ‘Liquid Gold’ which seems to have helped as the colour was excellent on all of them. We used it this year as well to supplement the slow release fertiliser in our hanging baskets around the house and they have been very florific considering the horrible weather we have experienced on the Island here.
Breaking News 24th August 2012
We now know for a fact that Medwyns Liquid Gold (Liquid Nutrimate) allows you to grow Cauliflowers and cabbages on Club root infested land. We all know how devastating it can be when one day you go to your vegetable plot or allotment only to find the leaves of the brassicas are flopping around lifeless or even laying down flat on the ground.
A farmer in Belgium this year was devastated to find that his 5 hectare field of Cauliflowers had all succumbed to the dreaded Club Root Disease. He was advised by his Agronomist to try spraying, as a trial only, a hectare of the field with Medwyns Liquid Gold (Liquid Nutrimate). The result was astonishing, within a matter of days the foliage were reinvigorated with the result that the farmer was able to harvest 35 tonnes of marketable cauliflowers.
The reason for this astonishing about turn is the fact that Medwyns Liquid Gold (Liquid Nutrimate) closes down the stomata when the plant is under stress, thereby allowing the plant to restore the root shoot balance. The plant then produces new roots above the infected part of the stem structure
The dose is 10ml per litre after the plants have been settled into the ground followed by another 10 ml when half grown and a final 10 ml when the curd is just developing. Medwyns liquid Gold is available in our current catalogue at £9.99 per 500ml bottle, but just for one month only from the above date I am prepared to sell it at Half Price. A bottle will now therefore cost you £5.00 plus the usual P&P of £5.99.
In our New catalogue for 2012 – 2013 season, we will also be selling a new type of liquid tomato Feed. This will have the usual high quality nutrients for growing top class tomatoes but it will also be enhanced through the addition of our exclusive Medwyns Liquid Gold (Liquid Nutrimate). Liquid Gold with its high levels of Fulvic Acid is able to transport nutrients much better and faster throughout the plants vascular system. This means that you will have a stronger root system and the plants will be better able to cope under stressful conditions. The combined liquid feed will also be excellent for drought tolerance by reducing transpiration through the leaves which will certainly help towards preventing blossom end rot as well as improving the swelling of the fruit.
My Blog 23rd August
I’ve had a rather hectic time of late which is on par really with every other year as we are now in the middle of the showing season, hence no Blog of late. There is no doubt that the dreadful weather conditions we have experienced has had a dire effect on the quality of the vegetables as well as their quantity. I have been judging at Tatton Park, Tullamore in Ireland and at Haworth, the famous Bronte sisters village and all of them had lower entries than previous years.
Tullamore has many classes but there’s no doubt that the main competition and the most prestigious one is the All Ireland Quality Potato Class. The schedule asks for ‘six potatoes of any variety and the variety to be correctly named. each tuber to be free from skin blemishes, be true to type and weigh approximately 6ozs. ‘170g.’ Another section of the rules states ‘This being a quality championship, the adjudicators will favour floury, high dry matter varieties which are popular with the Irish consumer’ To enter you must first qualify at other shows prior to this championship. The prize money is certainly worth all the effort as it amounts to €600.00 with the winner taking home €250.00. The judging criteria is extensive with marks given for different merits in each dish from a total of a 100 points with one potato from each dish being cut in half to determine its High Dry Matter Content.
The winner from 20 entries was Raymond Higgins
from Athlone but who now works in Canada and came over specially for the show. The interesting thing is that modern technology played a big part in all of this. It was Raymond’s Mum and Dad who looked after them by taking the lap top computer to the garden and using Skype, Raymond was able to tell them how to treat his twenty bags of ‘Rooster’ he was able to see them clearly on his Lap Top in Canada.
At the Haworth Show last Sunday I awarded the Best Exhibit in the show to Brian King
from Ridddlesden nr Keighley who staged a really good, evenly matched dish of three Cumbrian Pot Leeks. The barrels were very parallel, clean and smooth with no signs of disease or pest damage on the flags. These were grown directly outdoors with no cover whatsoever in raised beds a foot or so above ground level. The bed was emptied out towards the back end of last year and old green waste from his garden, up to six inches in depth, was laid in the bottom. This in turn was covered over with well rotted manure before the soil was placed back on top. The leeks were planted out from 7 inch pots with the button at least 4 inches into the soil. This means that Brian never had to revert to collaring as most growers do when they plant their leeks on the surface.
I emptied my potato bags out yesterday hoping tom have a set or two for the Welsh Championships as well as possibly for the World Championships at Dundee which has been very kindly sponsored by JBA seed potatoes. It seems the entries are well down this year with the two top growers at the competition, Sherie Plumb and Alistair Gray both struggling with Sherie I understand unlikely to travel up there. I realised when I was half way through that I was never going to get the World Potato Championship requirements of 6 plates of 6 distinct kinds.
I appreciate that it’s the World Championships, but I really think it’s asking a lot of amateur growers to produce such a quantity. Why not reconsider and go for either 6 plates of four or four plates of six, what do you think? It’s better to have a table full of exhibits rather than 4 or 5 entries for such a prestigious competition.
I was very pleased indeed with one potato in particular that I harvested yesterday and I do feel that when it gets generally released, it will definitely make it on the show bench. The variety, that I grew on trial is called ‘Bute’ a white oval with shallow eye and an excellent cropper with super skin finish. Look out for this one when it’s released. I had an excellent pull with both my parsnips and long carrots for the Royal Welsh Show which means I still have plenty left to pull for Malvern.
I am therefore thinking of entering a set of both in the Welsh Championships on Saturday and Sunday September the 1st and 2nd
if they ‘Pull’ reasonably well. The carrots appear to be the best I have had for some years and they certainly appear to have a heavy top on them. The proof of course will depend whether or not they have gone down far enough to give me a decent length of body. The parsnip is the new variety to replace Polar, it certainly has some really heavy top on them and having gently cleared around the top of one parsnip they are big as well.
Thursday 9th August
After using my first batch from a dozen Pendle Improved leeks for the Royal Welsh Display at Builth Wells I was left with a further 32 at Home that I was hoping to use in the Welsh Championships as well as in the National at Malvern. That will not now be happening as well over half of them are bolting or going to seed. I hate it when I open up the leaves in the centre only to find that there is no young leaf coming through, a sure sign that the leek is about to bolt.
It could be a combination of the fluctuating temperatures with far too much difference between day and night. They were also left in the pots a little too long prior to going into their final 30 litre containers. The infuriating thing is that last year I was struggling to get my leeks to bolt for the production of bulbils, so I treated them dead rough. I gave them no water for days on end, kept them outdoors in low temperatures and they were kept so pot bound they must have been near to dying, yet none of them would bolt or throw up a seed head. Yet when given good growing conditions the buggers decide to bolt – that’s growing for showing for you.
One thing is very clear this year, the leeks that are left should be my best for a long time as they are already on 7 inches around and 17 inches to the button. I made a deliberate effort this year to revert back to my old method of collaring the leeks earlier. In fact they were on 12 inch collars when still in 5 inch pots and I now know that the Pendle Improved likes to be collared early to extend the blanch. Last year I wrapped 18 inch collars on the Pendle after leaving them too long on the 12 inch collars, they just would not lengthen and though very bulky I was lucky to stage them at just over 14 inches to the button.
Last November I was given a dozen young rooted new leeks from David Metcalfe, yet to be given a name, this is another of his crosses and looks like being a particularly useful leek for the Intermediate class if not as a blanch. This is a class for leeks measuring between 6 inches and 14 inches to the tight button. Because of the above problems with the Pendle bolting, I may well have to revert to using these on my display stand at Malvern. They have now just had fifteen inch collars put on them and potted up to 30 litre pots using Humax John Innes N03. They are also around 7 inches in circumference but whether or not they will pull up in time in the next 7 weeks, time will tell.