Thursday 30 June 2011

Tain Horticultural Show

For my sins, I suggested that my home town should host a Horticultural Show last year and although a lot of people were keen on the idea, I organised the whole thing by myself. It was however deemed a great success and as a result the second show (August 20th) has been adopted by the local gardening club, though I still head up the committee. Anyway we had a meeting last night at my place and we have now finalised the schedule, and the poster design etc so we're well on the way. Last year I won best veg exhibitor and overall best exhibitor, though to be fair, none of the veg in the show was actually grown for exhibition purposes, and I entered a shedload of stuff as I was worried about entry numbers. And was rewarded with 8 firsts, eight seconds and 6 thirds. I also enetered veg from gardens that I work in and they got a further three firsts, 4 seconds and a highly commended.  This year is different - I am at least attempting to grow some decent show veg as are a couple of others and we have promises of attendance from a couple of local boys who have been showing for a long time.
However I still want to win the trophy for best veg exhibitor. Here is piccie of it -it's made entirely from glass and is quite simply outstanding -thanks to Brodie at Glasstorm for taking the time and making the effort to go above and beyond - especially with the hand blown carrots!
Why am I posting a pic of a trophy I won 10 months ago - because I have only just got it ! The carrot foliage sits proud of the edge of the glass bowl and one snapped at the show. It was put in for repair and they asked if they could keep it for display at their open day - no problem. The carrot foliage got snapped again!!
It is quite delicate.
Anyway, I fully intend to try and emulate last year so hopefully there'll be another photo like the one below, though there may be either slightly less hair or maybe more grey hairs!

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Ups and Downs

Apologies for not posting for a wee while - there just don't seem to be enough hours in my days. So here is a wee update on what's happening.
Over at the tunnel, the tomatoes are continuing to grow apace - they don't look the best as they are quite badly heat stressed, due to the very high temperature today when I couldn't get across to open the tunnel doors until late afternoon / early evening, but they are healthy enough and continuing to put out trusses. They are currently fed every second feed with tomorite and a comfrey tea alternately. I removed some of the lower leaves this evening as I have done every year I have grown tomatoes - more energy into top growth and it also aids ventilation to the plants.

Next we have the aubergines which are looking really healthy -especially as last year their leaves were reduced to lace by earwigs and it took them a long time to recover. Behind the aubergines ( to the right in the photo) are the Stenner runner beans which have now all started to wrap themselves round thier canes and are heading skywards, and dotted along the back of these canes are some baby cauliflowers, with some Jalapeno up against the tunnel wall.

This next photo shows the first planting of cauliflowers - the idea being that once the cucumbers clad their frame, they will provide some shade for the curds (similarly the runner beans will provide shade for the second sowing of caulies.

The last photo from the tunnel shows the current state of play with Medwyns Giant Marrow - it's beginning to get up speed and I am gently wrapping it round itself with bent wire hoops securing the stems. It has the required two fruits set as I mentioned before, but one of the original fruits dropped off (????) so I let another one start to take it's place.

Other than that, the chillies are starting to show their first flowers, I have now harvested 11 of the 12 Hispi Cabbages - one remaining and I started taking central heads off the calabrese this evening, as well as picking another Cucumber Petita and some courgettes - oh yeah and a couple of punnets of strawberries from the bed outside.
At home in the garden, the potatoes are putting on a huge amount of top growth - the shaws are now at least 4ft high - lets just hope tht this translates into some good tatties below ground, The Casablanca have flowered ( a small white flower with a yellow centre) but the rest are still reaching for the sky.
The Sweet Candle seem to have regained their composure after I lost one to something unknown and are growing well, as are the parsnips. Mt beetroot are concerning me a wee bit as they seem to be getting away ahead of themselves and may need to be lifted well in advance of my local show - though I may eneter them in the Sutherland County show on 23rd July), when I also hope to enter two Carmen Cucumbers. The Snowball turnips are having a bit of a growth spurt, the broad beans are now not only flowering but also finally setting some beans. My shallots have been poor doers this year. I only have sixteen left in the ground that are still growing (albeit very slowly) - the rest seemed to go over all at the same time. There is no sign of secondary growth so I shall leave them in the ground as long as I can to see if these reamaing specimens will get any larger. The Festa red lettuce is looking very nice too. My Show Perfection peas were unfortunately devoured by sparrows within hours of being planted out and have never recovered, so these are a non starter this year.
In the greenhouse the leeks are still growing though I have the three of them in 5 litre pots and the roots are clearly visible at the bottom of each pot. If anyone can advise whether or not to leave them in this pot or pot them on again into a largere pot I'd be grateful as this is the first time I have grown leeks other than for culinary use.
The Dwarf French Beans are now all in 5 litre pots and seem to happy in them - first flowers were produced yesterday and the plants go out in the morning and in at night.