About Me

Hi I'm JAMES 60 and married with three daughters all left home now, daughters that is not the wife.I enjoy Gardening /Football and working on my Farm.The picture above in the header slot is where i live and work.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Well they said it would snow and they were right

Today has been a no go as far as getting out and working in the garden because of all the snow, I thought of taking a picture but hey everyone seen plenty of snow so I didn't bother. I did pot up some Begonias that i thought I would try this year mind as i found them in poundstrecher at 4 for a pound I am not expecting to much but we will see and if I find them interesting I might get my hand down a bit further in the future its just they say they grow reasonably well in light dappled shade and I have an area that could just do with a bit of brightening up in summer. The last batch of shallots went in on monday just popped them in 3" pots so will defiantly need planting out later in year, also the first of my dahlias that have been set up since end of December needed potting on they were some spare pot tubers that Jack Gott of Milnthorpe gave me they had just been growing in sand all 2011 in a 3" pot so were fairly small and to be honest I wasn't to sure if they would be OK but he assured me they would be fine and how right he was he said that he had put 5 cuttings in the pot in the spring and sure enough I now have 5 plants coming on the variety is Weston Corsaire I took the chance to check the rest of my dahlia tubers this afternoon and they seemed fine it only seems 5 minutes since they were lifted as it was such a mild back end but I reckon in another 3 weeks i will start setting them up. Just got everything sorted in time to watch England v Scotland in 6 nations good result must say they need to improve but a wins a win and can only help them get better, surprised that their was no snow at Murryfield thought it all ways snowed in Scotland and as a bonus United beat Chesterfield 2-1 keeping our promotion push on track, and just so no one misses it Brentford V United is on Sky Sport 1 on 20th Feb 7.30 should be good.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Windmills at Killington

As I travel around the county of Cumbria most days I thought i would take my camera with me and last Tuesday 17th I snapped this picture at M6 junction 37 it was a great winters day crisp and bright and hardly a cloud in the sky, A bit different to today! Not everyone cares much for the windmills but I think they look quite a feature as you are driving on the M6. Just for the record I set up 30 of my shallots in to some 3 litre pots and put them in my cold frame, usually I keep them in the greenhouse but somehow Judys got her 6 hens settled in their early december , mind they are under eviction orders to be gone by the end of february. I may try growing the shallots in the pots right through as a trial and use the ground that I normally grow them in for something different this year but there again I might change my mind come spring and just grow them as normal.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Leeks and lights

I thought it about time to pot on my leeks again as they were looking like they were in needed a change. I decided I would try some different pots this year as I hope to encourage them to root a bit deeper, with the standard size pots it always seemed that the roots hit the base quite quickly then just went round in circles so with an extra 2"of pot to grow into I hope to see some extra benefit. I do find it a bit of a fidley job ( it took me from 11am to 2-30pm to get 21 done) staking and slipping on the collars which are at up to seven inch and with another inch underground they are a fair bit ahead of the ones I grew last year. The mix I used was 3 parts levington No 3, 2 parts peat saved from last years potato bags and 1 part vermiculite it looked nice and open so I thought I would give it a try. On tuesday I was at our NVS meeting and John Soulsby from the north east talked on growing leeks with artificial lighting some of it was fairly technical but still fascinating to hear the different requirements and options that are available, but I was pleased that he thought Envirolights like I have are a decent compromise for the hobby gardener like me, One thing that I picked up on was that onions need slightly different light spectrum than leeks seemingly if you use a 600 Watt sodium light with dual spectrum and a proper reflector hood is essential, it encourages longer plant cell development giving a more shapely and upright onion than if fluorescent type light is used, so now I know why I am hopeless at growing onions from seed. Last summer I grew some Kelsea onion seed into sets after reading about it on the NVS forum and I am going to try planting them this spring my main thought was that it would save a lot on heating and lighting from Christmas to March , I know it may be not for the purists but if it works I may stick with it so watch this space and see how I go on.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Hello again

Hello and it is nice to be back, as it is just over a year since i last updated i thought it time to get back on the blog trail again. I didn't really mean to leave it so long but I guess I just ran out of things to write about.
I grew A bit less Veg last season and as we had such a wet and cool year it was probably not such a bad thing, got to the usual shows and even managed a couple of best in shows with my potatoes (Amour) and another best in show with a pair of marrows, and I had a go last season at showing Dahlias with some success even getting a bronze medal at Ingleton show with some Weston spanish dancer, and I even put an entry of a trugg of vegetables in at Harrogate which won a second. So thats a quick round up of my 2011 growing year now it's time to look forward to this season.
I have got some nice pendle improved leeks that i got from David Metcalfe in November coming along at the moment, they are under lights 10 hours a day in my growing room with just a small amount of bottom heat. I am trying to take them on nice and steady, last year I think I may have pushed them to fast to soon and they seemed to stall a bit in late May early June and never grew with much vigour after that.
I have plans to get some more stump and long carrots barrels set up so as to get enough to cover an extra show plus I am having a go at long beet this time never really grown them before so I will have to give a bit of thought as to the best way doing them, and as a bit of extra interest I fancy trying to grow some beans for the longest runner bean classes I used to manage to compete with just the longest of my stenner variety but the opposition have upped their game and I have been falling short the last couple of years so this time I have sourced some special seed and, well this time I mean business.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Start of another years growing

Well we definitely had a white Christmas this year and I thought I'd take a picture as they don't (thankfully) come along that often. The snow may not show up too much on the picture but believe me it was chucking it down, and we got another 3" on top of what we already had, luckily it turned to rain on boxing day and now we are having quite a rapid thaw. It's not possible to get on with anything outside but at least it is heading in the right direction.

So yesterday seemed a good day to get on with potting on my leek plants, I was given a nice head of pips (Pendle Improved) at our local NVS meeting in November and after a slow start they have started to do well, recently I think they weren't getting enough heat so I notched it up a bit and put them on to 24 hour daylight. I intend to knock them back soon to 12 hours once they have settled from repotting. If you look closely you can maybe see some of my shallots in the background they are not on any heat but it was a bit rough to put them out in to the greenhouse, so I have started them off inside the box and intend to move them into the greenhouse as soon as a couple of trays of Kelsea Onions and one tray of Pot leeks germinate that I sowed this morning. I don't think my shallots will take a lot of harm if it gets cold out in the greenhouse, if it does get really cold I will pop them on my heat mat at a low temperature and put some fleece over them. Below is a shot of the grow box I knocked up late summer when I was a bit out of sorts and needed something to keep me busy. It's built into some old industrial shelving I had, I lined it with 1" thick hardboard all round and covered it all with reflective foil. Then set 2 separate lengths of heat cable into 4" of sand so now I have enough room to hold 6 standard seed trays with the option of heating just 3 or all 6 depending on whats needed, the lights are 125 enviro lights. The main thing I made sure of was that there was plenty of headroom to raise the lights as my leeks grow. If you look closely you might be able to see a bottle of provado, as yesterday when I was potting on the leeks I noticed there were a few black flies on the leaves which I suspect may have been hibernating on the shallots and the warmth has woken them up so I gave them a quick blast and today they seem clear.