Leeks and Onions

by on January 14, 2016
in Vegetable Growing

Unless the weather improves quickly it’s going to be very difficult to get the soil cultivated down on the land, it’s simply sopping wet right through. We have had the rare odd day when the sun has come out but as soon as it happens it starts to rain once more. I was thinking this year of having half a dozen or so rows of New Potatoes planted during late January to early February as we are, if anything, capable of higher temperatures than they have down in Pembrokeshire early on in the year. The idea was to cover the rows with very fine commercial Wondermesh netting which would help to keep off any frost. We are lucky on the island here being geographically on the Gulf Stream and any frost we have is never around for too long.

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when Bill jones from Wrexham and his lovely wife Trish called down on the land with a great present for me – half a dozen wonderful large onion plants, some from Bills own reselected seed and others from a sowing of Peter Glazebrooks seed. I also had three Betty Black Pot Leeks, this is a fairly new pot leek with huge long flags that did really well for Gareth Cameron last season. I shall give them all a good go with onions in particular having special attention. I would really like to have a display staged at Malvern with six ten pound plus onions bang in the middle of it – dream on Williams!!

Six large onion plants from Bill Jones

Six large onion plants from Bill Jones

My blanch leeks last year, The Pendle Improved, were probably as good as any I have ever grown and even now I have ten of them left over that would still get some very high points if they were judged.

Pendle leeks from last year, the ones not good enough at the time to be shown on my display at the Malvern Show.

Pendle leeks from last year, the ones not good enough at the time to be shown on my display at the Malvern Show.

They are 19 to the button and 9½ inches around.

Pendle leek mid January 2016 still very straight barrel with signs of bulbing and has never been been fed since last September when they all had a high potash feed.

Pendle leek mid January 2016 still very straight barrel with signs of bulbing and has never been been fed since last September when they all had a high potash feed.

They will go to seed around the middle of May and they will make brilliant stock for next year. One noticeable thing about this selection of Pendle is that there are no suckers pushing out between the flags and the barrel which can really spoil your chances at the shows. I won’t be cutting the barrel down on these, I shall just leave them to grow on as they are controlling the rust as well as keeping my eye out for any Thrips when it warms up. With so much green material around as flags the plant will be stronger and the seed head will be bigger with the resulting bulbils much stronger. I know this because I kept six like these two years ago and the heads were the best ever.

Pendle stock with powerful strong heads, pips were taken October 2012 shown 2014 season and throwing seed heads in May 2015

Pendle stock with powerful strong heads, pips were taken October 2012 shown 2013 season and throwing seed heads in May 2014

My shallots are now all planted up in 3½ inch pots using Levington M3 with the idea being to multiply the stock up to such a stage that I can sell them again. Aristocrat as well as the Hative de Niort are notorious for rotting off in store before you are able to plant them up so it’s a nightmare trying to multiply enough to sell whist at the same time keeping enough back to continue again the following year.

My heated and artificially lit glass house is getting very full now with a range different types of leeks as well as two types of onions, my own reselection of the Kelsea as well as Peter Glazebrooks World winning stock.

Greenhouse now getting quite full of leeks and onions

Greenhouse now getting quite full of leeks and onions

Comments

3 Responses to “Leeks and Onions”
  1. Marcus says:

    All looking great Medwyn, the Pendles are fantastic… I have 7 pendles that I’ve put down for grasses, so hopefully I should have some of my own grasses for 2017 🙂

  2. Bill Jones says:

    Medwyn hope the six onions are doing o.k. for you , I have just put 19 pots 110 ltr into tunnel .All filled with onion and leek compost and pots set in tubs same size as onions are growing in , filled around these to make planting easier .Will add mycorriza and Nutrimate to holes and plant out onions tomorrow , will have to heat tunnel for a few weeks as weather is going to be cold .

  3. Bill Jones says:

    Medwyn glad to see the onions that I brought you are doing o.k. my best are taping around 190 mm at present .Waiting for sun to arrive , keeping heating on in tunnel and giving 11 hours lighting during day .

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