Saturday, 14 May 2011

leeks, to trim or not to trim?

A showery sort of day but still plenty of time to get things done outside. Anyway, I’d still rather be outside in the rain than stuck indoors. I have some young leeks which have really outgrown their pots so I separated one lot and put them out into dibbed holes in a small patch I had been keeping for more peas.

There’s quite a bit of folklore attached to leek planting. A lot of people say plant them out when they reach pencil thickness but I’ve never let mine get to that size. Some say trim the roots and leaves before planting while others say it’s not necessary. I do trim any long straggly roots as it makes it easier to get them into the holes and I also trim the tops to stop them blowing about in the wind before they get established. I also tend to ignore conventional spacing recommendations and grow them much closer together. These techniques work for me as you can see from the photo.

I’m a keen recycler so I took the compost from one of the potato tubs that was finished, mixed in some fresh, added some BFB and planted out another courgette with some lettuce round the edges. You should always try to get two crops from each lot of compost if you can, especially if you are buying commercial stuff.

Sowed more spring onions in small pots. These will be planted out as clumps whenever and wherever a space becomes available. We usually manage to have spring onions for much of the year by doing it this way with successional sowings. The later sowings can be left in the pots and brought under cover during winter to give an early crop next year.

It’s been quite cool today but not so cool that the bees couldn’t go about their work. Here’s one hovering near a rhododendron flower cluster.
We are surrounded by hills here, even though the Solway plain is very flat. Skiddaw, seen across the estuary to the south, often wears a cap of cloud

and if we look upstream we can see the Pennines in the distance to the east and we also have the Scottish border hills to the north
O.K. geography lesson over for today now back to the garden. The main potato patch is looking quite healthy but these are second earlies so it will be a while before any will be lifted.
The onions in the tub are in a space left by one of the diseased plants I removed and I don't like to have unproductive ground on the plot.

Just to illustrate how quickly things are growing now these pics show a tub of Lollo Rossa lettuce. There are just eight days between the two photos but the plants have bulked up enormously.

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