Planting leeks and onions into their final pts
I had rather a busy time last week which was a good thing after having hardly done anything over the festive season. The Peter Glazebrook onions were all transplanted out into 60 cells a fortnight ago and I finished doing all mine last week. The Leeks that I had struck from bulbils during the middle of August, with the intention of staging them at Chelsea, are really doing well now. The onions were also sown during mid August for the same reason. However as I have pulled out of Chelsea owing to a lack of sponsor I am now concentrating on staging a display at The RHS Tatton Park Show.
The gamble I have taken is that the Pendle Leek, the Cumbrian Pot leek and my own selection of Kelsae onion, will hold until the middle of July before bolting. I decided therefore last Thursday that they were all going to be planted up in their final pots. The 32 onions were planted in 25 litre pots and the 17 Pendle leeks went into 30 litre ones. The reason the onions were planted in 25 litre pots was to able to fit them all on to the same bench.
The Pendle leeks will now be left to establish themselves before I put my first nine inch collar on them. The six pot leeks were planted up in a bottomless 5 litre pot on top of a 30 litre one. A sort of ring culture system that allows me to harvest the pot leek and the bottomless pot and re potting them into another proper 5 litre pot. This way I can stage them as if they had been grown in that pot throughout. The mix was – 70 litre bag of Levington M3, 20 litre pot of sieved soil that came from my celery bed and stored in my polytunnel to dry out. Finally another 10 litre of Vermiculite was added to open up the mixture and to allow more air in and around the root system.
This was the maximum volume I could get into the mixer, added to the whole mix was 100 grams Medwyn’s Osmocote Exact Standard 5-6 month release with an NPK of 15+9+12. This should make sure that the plants will never be lacking for nutrients and they should grow away without having any stress which will hopefully prevent them from bolting too early for me. Also added to the mix was 100 grams of Nutrimate powder to ensure the roots are best able to partake in all the nutrients available to them.
Watering is critical when growing in pots in this manner, and particularly on a bench where they can’t root into any other medium. They were given a fair amount to begin with to make sure they were well bedded in, from now on they will only be watered around the inside of the pots rim and never over the plant in the centre. I will keep you informed as they grow on.
Towards the back end of last year I had a terrible infestation of White Fly and I have now managed to keep it well under control. The main way was by using large size yellow sticky traps with a grid marked out on each in inch squares. You can clearly see how bad it was and by laying the sticky tarp flat on some pots, rather than hanging them, they do a better job. The thinking is that the fly has to drop down at some point and the larger yellow surface area will attract them faster than the foliage or a hanging trap.