The Plot

The Plot

Monday, 11 August 2014

Black Isle Show 2014 Results

 Sorry for not up dating much this year but been flat out with work and not had a lot of time.  On Wednesday 7/8/14 was the black Isle show where we had a really good turn out of Veg exhibitors. I had 13 entries in gaining 3 Firsts, 3 Seconds and 3 Thirds. So well pleased. The over all best exhibit in the Fruit & Veg and in the whole Flower show was Steve Halifax with his Leeks. These were a lovely matched pair measuring 10.75 inch i girth and 19.5 inches to the button.

Steve's Winning Leeks 
 My first prize beetroot "Pablo"
 My second prize white potatoes "Harmony"
 My third prize collection. Pacific Parsnip, Carmen Cucumber, Kelsae Onions, Sweet Candle Carrots, Maxine Potatoes. 
 My second prize collection of potatoes. Kestrel,Amour,Harmony,Maxine. Was really pleased with this as there were 6 collections in. 
My first prize salad box

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I managed to get my Parsnips in during the week. So that's me got Pacific in, and hopefully get Panarama in this week. Here is photos of the two batches of Leeks I've got going. The ones on the left are Pendle Improved, I got them up from my good friend Neil Muirhead after the NVS Scottish Branch AGM last week. I've got 7 inch collars on them and will pot on this week. The ones on the right are off my own head and I believe are Welsh Seedling. I have no colars on them as I've been told not to draw them too early. They are averaging about 5.5 inch to buttom and about 2.5 in girth. I will pot them on this week and hopefully they will continue growing on.   

Here is a selection of my 250 gm onions that I got up from Niall Currie. They are growing on strongly and again will be potted on into a M3 mix in the coming week.  

I hope to start some stump carrots away this week in an attempt to get them ready for the Black Isle on 6th of August.  I've got Sweet Candle and Match so hopefully 20 weeks will suffice.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Leeks & Onions

Hi folks sorry for the lack of posts but been busy with work and trying to play rugby, (thats another story). Any way I've got some of my Parsnips sown.  This year I've got Pacific in and hope to get my Panarama in at the weekend.  After listeninmg to a talk by Uan Stocks NVS Scottish Branch Chairman I changed how I make my stations. I now just use a Pinch bar and bore the hole with out removing and of the material from my box.  I must say it was quicker and I did not use as much compost mix when filling the station as they are now naturally conical shaped.
So above and below are pictures of my Kelsea onions. They are in one ltr pots and to my eye growing on quite strongly.  They are now in M3  compost with Perlite to keep it open and free draining. They get a spray of SB invigorator once a week. In addition to thier normal water requirements once a week they are watered with a Maxicrop solution.  This works out that 2 in 5 waterings over a 14 day period are with the Maxicrop solution. As you can see from the picture below they are thicker than my pinkie but not as thick as my fore finger.  They chamber they are in is getting lights from 6.00am to 8.00 pm. and hopefully not dropping much below 12 degrees through the night. 

Below is my leeks, they are in 2 ltr pots and on average are about 2. inch in diameter and about 5.5 inch to the buttom.  They will be potted on this week into 3 ltr pots and I will reselect with the the ones not choosen for show going to a local school.  They will be kept going in the green house without any further additional heat or light.  The Leeks are also on 14 hrs of light and get sprayed once a week with SB invigorator. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Running out of Space

This was taken this morning and as you can see I've had a fairly good germination of my "Globo" onions (blue) plant label with a near 100% take.  I'm delighted with this as prior to purchasing my variable control propagator I had struggled to get my onions etc to germinate well.  The "Matador" shallot seed (Red) plant label has not germinated as well with only 18 out of 30 cells having a seedling in them just now.  I'm not to concerned about this as it was 2013 seed and I'm only looking for about 15 strong plants to plant out.  There is still time for more seeds to germinate so I'll keep them in the propagator for a wee while longer.

As you can see below my grow chamber is now very congested and with my Globo and Matador seedling needing into it shortly I've decided to construct another one either this weekend or during the week.  With that in mind I order another plug in temperature controller like the one on the right of the picture as you look at it.  This is a must for me as it is a thermostat which I use to control my tube heater which is at the bottom of my chamber.  I set it at 12 degrees C and this helps my to at least keep the night time temperature at that level. The heat off the lights does push the day time temp up to closer to 15-18 C depending on how warm it is outside.  I ordered my ET05 plug in thermostat on Tuesday afternoon over e-bay and it was delivered on Thursday morning great service.
If you look closely you will see that I have some siting on top of the onion and blanch leek pots.  This shows how tight for space I am.  These small pots are some "pot leek" plants I received from Neil Drummond our DA Chairman. I have never grown Pot Leeks before and Neil was keen that I tried them as the classes up here are not that well supported. 
I had resolved this year to restrict what I grow and try to make a real top job of it, however it is always good to try a new veg.   

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Shallots, Onions & NVS DA meeting

As previously posted the newly formed North of Scotland DA (NoSDA) held its second meeting on Thursday 30th of January.  There was again a splendid turn out with 19 people attending.  John MacKay from Golspie gave and excellent talk slide show of some of the local shows along with pictures from the Nationals at Dundee some years ago. John then gave a talk on growing parsnips.  This was followed with a Q & A session where the members from the floor asked a number of questions of three "wise men" on the platform.  The panel consisted of John MacKay, Stevie Halifax and myself.  I must admit I felt a bit of a fraud sitting with the other two growers given the experience they have.  However I found the whole night thoroughly enjoyable and to cap the evening of we had a raffle and sales table which raised £68.00
I also picked up my exhibition onions on Thursday evening.  These had made the long trip North from the Island of Bute, where fellow grower Niall Currie had kindly started them off for me.  These are Kelsae onions from Alistair Gray's strain.  I must say the seem to have travelled well and are now in my grow chamber with lights on for 11 hours which will go up to 12 next week.  

I'm also delighted to say that my Shallots have finally decided to start putting up some top shoots.  It is over a month since I planted them up. (These also came from Niall)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Onions,Shallots,Leeks & First Show Schedule

Well pushed on this week and sowed my Globo onion seeds and I'm trying some Matador shallot seeds as well.  The Globo onions are for the under 250 gms class.  I've grown this variety  for the last two years and have had some success with it. I particularly like the shape and straw coloured finish that I've managed to achieve.  So here's hoping I can get some good size specimens for the NVS branch show in September, plis Dufftown and Nairn. 

I also re potted my leeks this week and they are now in 1 ltr pots. I've reselected my plants down to 20 from 50 and the rest will go to our NVS DA meeting tomorrow night Thursday the 30th January at the Chiefton Hotel To the plant sales table to raise funds for the DA.  My leeks are now as thick as a pencil and seem to be growing on quite strongly. They are getting 10.5 hrs of light just now which I will slowly increase over the next few weeks.  As you can see they do not have collars on to draw them but  are coming away by themselves.  The tallest are about 20 to 21 inches to the flag tip and the leaves are started to widen out.

The first show schedule dropped through the letter box this week.  The Black Isle Show is held in-conjunction with the annual agricultural show.  This is a two day show and is very popular in the North of Scotland.  It is on the 6th and 7th August which is early for veg but does attract a number of the top growers in the area.  I'm aiming to plant/sow a number of veg with it in mind and will keep you informed of their progress.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

North of Scotland DA (National Veg Society)

Not a lot happening with my plot at the moment.  Leeks are still ticking over and are starting to grow on after repotting them.  They are now on 10 hrs of light per day.  This is probably a lot less than some growers but I had a really problem last year with all my leeks running to seed so I've decided to take things a bit slower this year.  I will be on leave over the last week in January and I hope to constuct new beds and sort out my growing mixes then.

On Sunday we had the first comittee meeting of the newly formed North of Scotland District Association of the NVS Scottish Branch. All committee members were present with the exception of one who is unfortunatly is unwell just now.  We set our sylabus for the coming year with proposed meeting dates and hopefully a away day in July.

With this in mind our first open meeting will be at the Chieftain Hotel Inverness on the 30th of January at 19.00.  There will be a slide show presented by J MacKay showing some of the main shows in our area plus pictures from the 2013 Scottish Branch championships. This will be supplemented with a panel night in the form of a Q & A.

This is open to all interested parties, there is no requirement to be a NVS member so please feel free to come along and enjoy the night.