Archive for February, 2010

Onions Are Go

Just an update on my multi-plug sown onions, they are up and looking well. I’ve got 35, 72 cell trays with four seeds in each cell. That gives me approximately 10,000 onions (7,500 yellow and 2,500 red), obviously they won’t all succeed though. I’m thinking about sowing some more in the next few weeks!

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Apple Trees

I planted 7 apple trees last week, all M26 rootstock. This means the tree will grow to a height of 10-12 feet with a similar spread. They were planted 9 feet apart. They are a mixture of one and two year old trees. This rootstock can begin cropping in it’s third year although the fourth year is more likely.

I planted two cookers, one each of Annie Elizabeth and Bramley and 5 dessert apples,  two Jonagold, two James Grieve and one Katy. I plan on adding to them every year. The trees were staked with 1.2m stakes and tied with tree webbing. All trees were purchased from Future Forests Nursery in Bantry.

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Seed Potatoes Arrive

My order of seed potatoes arrived today from Potato Services Ireland in Tullamore. I’ll be growing Home Guard and Duke of York as first earlies, British Queens as second earlies and a small amount of Record as a maincrop. I am not growing a large maincrop this year as I do not have the facilities to store them at the moment. Hopefully I will next year.

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Parsnips Started (Well, one bed)

The weather had been pretty dry here for the last week, so instead of watching football, rugby and GAA all day I decided that I’d try to till out a seed bed for some parsnips. The soil was just about dry enough to get a decent seed bed and I managed to get one 1.5m by 50m bed sown. There are 3 rows of parsnips per bed with 18″ between rows.

The pity however is that it’s supposed to rain here for the next 4/5 days so it is unlikely that I will be able to get anymore parsnips sown in the next week as the soil will be too wet to till. No worries though, still plenty of time to get them in the ground.

Just a sidenote here, the camera on my iPhone is pretty poor so from now on I’m going to try and take most photos with a proper digital camera.

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What I Will Be Growing This Year

This is a list of what I will be growing this year (most of it anyway):

1. Beans
Dwarf French Bean – Montano
Runner Bean – Achievement Merit

2. Beetroot
Boltardy
Boston

3. Broccoli (Calabrese)
Kabuki F1
Ironman F1

4. Brussels Sprout
Wellington F1

5. Cabbage
Greyhound

6. Carrot
Amsterdam Forcing 3
Early Nantes 2
Camberley
Autumn King 2

7. Celery
Victoria F1
Celebrity

8. Garlic
Vallelado

9. Lettuce
Little Gem
Cobham Green

10. Onion
Bulb – Rijnsburger 5, Kamal F1
Spring Onion – Eiffel

11. Parsley
Giant Italian Oscar

12. Parsnip
White Gem
Tender and True

13. Pea
Oregon Sugar Pod

14. Potato
Early – Home Guard, Duke of York
2nd Early – British Queens
Maincrop – Record, Roosters

15. Pumpkin
Jack of All Trades
Mars F1

16. Radish
Crystal Ball

17. Spinach
Emilia

18. Butternut Squash
Hunter F1

19. Courgette
Ambassador F1

20. Celeriac
Giant Prague

21. Leek
Zermatt
Longbow
Toledo

22. Swede
Brora

23. Turnip
Model White

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Starting Spring Onions

I started my first seeds of the season yesterday, a spring onion called ‘Eiffel’. I will be growing spring onions using the multiblocking method. 10 seeds are sown per plug and are grown on and transplanted without thinning.

This cuts down on work and makes growing spring onions from seed much easier in a number of ways:

1. Onion seedlings do not grow well in competition with weeds, so starting them as transplants gives them a head start.

2. Transplanting out is much quicker as 10 seedlings are planted at a time instead of 1 individually.

3. When harvest times comes, the onions are already in a bunch ready to be tied together and taken to market.

I will be sowing the spring onions successionally. This means that I will be starting 2 72 cell plug trays every two weeks in order to provide a continual supply for market. The multiblocks will be planted at 6″ spacings with 12″ between rows. I will also be growing leeks using this method, 4 seeds per plug and then planted out with 8″ between plugs and 16″ between rows. The leeks will not grow as large as they would have if grown in their own individual space but I think the time saved in planting compensates for this.

I was just wondering whether people refer to spring onions as spring onions or do they call them scallions. I would think of the names as being interchangeable and would use both in conversation. I’ll start a poll to see what people think.

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Hawthorn Hedge

I spent part of today planting a hawthorn hedge. It’s about 100m long and I am using bare-rooted hawthorn whips from Future Forests Nursery, Bantry. There’s a link to their website on the sidebar. They are being planted at 50cm spacings and although 100m sounds like a lot, they go in pretty quickly. Once the whips have been planted they should be cut to within 30cm on the ground, this encourages root growth and causes the plant to produce more side shoots lower down. This means that once established the hedge is not bare towards the base.

When planting bare-rooted plants it is useful to have something to wrap around the base of those which have not yet been planted (I was using a frost protection fleece in this picture). This prevents the wind and sun from drying out the roots which could prove detrimental to the whips and could lead to gaps in a hedge. It would also sensible to have a bucket of water handy in order to soak any roots which look dry.

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