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!!
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.
They are 19 to the button and 9½ inches around.
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.
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.