All the onions are now germinated at the greenhouse in Bangor with Peter Glazebrook’s World Record breaking onions have just been pricked out into 60 cells using Levington F2S. It really is quite amazing how a well lit and well heated glass house can bring on plants without any hindrance whatsoever. The greenhouse they are growing in is a really modern, state of the art structure with automatic venting as well as thermal curtains in the roof that slide open when there is no frost and the weather is cloudy and conversely close when the temperature drops too low or the sun shines through too strongly. The onions were all sown in the new Levington F1S compost and covered over with our new Superfine Vermiculite which is really beautiful stuff to cover seed over with as well as to add to peat based composts to open it up a little. When covering seed over with Vermiculite never try and water the seed trays with a watering can and rose as the material is so light the water will simply wash the material off the face of the compost or pile it up on one end which useless. I always gently float my trays in water in the large sink that’s in the potting greenhouse at the University, I can fit two large seed trays inside it. This way the water is taken in through the holes at the bottom of the tray and capillary action then brings the moisture right through the compost to the surface. You will know when the tray is fully charged as the colour of the vermiculite will change from a pale creamy colour to a darkish grey. After this point the trays can then be watered with a watering can.
The new structure built only last year from wood to support the barrels to grow parsnips in was well rotted by the end of this season with the sand around the base of the drums being kept quite moist for most of the time. The sides were built up with planks two inches thick and the cross pieces to support the edges of the drums were, supposedly, tanalised roofing battens. This was really a bad idea as they weren’t really strong enough to take the weight and one collapsed just after we had pulled the parsnips. I decided to scrap the lot and re start from scratch with a concrete block bed with the edges of the drums also supported on concrete blocks which have yet to be done. The clockwork was done by my grandson, Owain, who works for a landscape company and this was his first job on his own, I thought he did a pretty good job of it. I’m hoping to have the lot completed before the end of January and all filled up with fresh clean concreting sand. The drums will be divided to growing long carrots and parsnips with most of the parsnips being the new Victor which I rate very highly with two drums to grow the sister variety Viper. The quality, in every way, on both of them is first class with Viper being slightly later maturing than Victor.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Peaceful and Happy Christmas as well as a very Healthy New Year and a productive ‘REd CARD’ season from all the team at Medwyn’s