Well the weather is switching between high summer and winter, the weeds are growing and the slugs attacking in force. You don’t have to be mad to be a gardener, but it helps! A bit on the leeks.
Earlier in the year, soon after the plague swept the land and we went into hiding lest the bug find us, I bought some leek plants from a local garden centre. They were running a delivery service so we bought a selection of bedding plants, some compost and some leeks.
Normally I wouldn’t buy in plants but I’d lost my pack of seeds and didn’t know when I’d be able to get some. The big seed suppliers were in barely controlled chaos as everyone decided to use lockdown to grow their own and buy loads of seeds.
So the plants arrived and I realised how few I was getting for my money. They worked out at 50p a plant! OUCH! In fairness, they were excellent quality. Organically grown in Germany in soil blocks. They’re doing well though.
Growing in Soil Blocks
I’ve tried growing in soil blocks many years ago but I’ve never got to grips with the system. Usually the blocks disintegrated instead of holding together. Probably the compost wasn’t right, too wet or dry or not the right composition. I don’t know, it was a long time ago and I just remember they fell apart.
Everything about the block system makes sense in theory. No seed trays, no root bound plants, no transplant shock. But, theory and practice don’t always agree. If I was operating commercially, I’d certainly give the system a trial and get the compost right. Maybe I’ll give it another go next season.
Leeks Grown in Bustaseed
I did eventually get leek seeds shortly after the plants arrived, many thanks to Medwyn who popped some in the post for me along with a forum friend who also posted some.
I’ve been using the Bustaseed module system for a while now and on seeing the leek plants in their blocks decided to give the Bustaseed modules a go with leeks. Now I’m a bit cross because I took a photo of them in the modules before planting but the file’s mangled. At least you don’t have to pop into Boots to drop off the roll and go back a week later to pick up the prints nowadays.
The plants were not as good as the ones supplied in blocks or as good as the ones I transplanted from seed tray into troughs but they were not far behind. I’m hoping that, like the block grown, they’ll take off quickly and do well as they’ll have no root disturbance on being planted out.
I’m seeing how these will do in the deep raised I’ve got in the polytunnel Unfortunately the compost/soil mix in there is very light and it washed into the holes when I watered them in. We’ll have to be a bit careful to wash them before using as some bits will get into the leeks. More on these in a few months!
If you’re wondering about Bustaseed there’s a good video showing them here: Bustaseed Video on Twitter
The Trough Grown Leeks
These are doing well and not really that late considering all the panic about getting the seeds here. Bringing them on the greenhouse and the hot weather seems to have helped a lot. These will be planted out where the climbing French beans were planted in the walled vegetable garden. The slugs have eaten the beans. 🙁
There’s a video of me planting out leeks on the site here: Planting out Leeks – Growing Leeks
Although the video was made about 12 years ago, I’m still using the same trough, watering can, dibber and measuring stick!