Week 31 (2019) Update

The final planting (week 25) of the Japanese stocks is in flower this  week and vase life tests are being undertaken on all of the varieties (huge thank you to Laura Tebby at Superflora for doing this for us).

The second flush of Veronica is now coming into flower (see left hand photo) but powdery mildew is just starting to creep into the crop (see left hand photos) so the spray programme has now been stepped up to weekly sprays.

The hot weather this week has meant that the Scabious have overflushed meaning it was very hard to keep on top of the cropping.  We have decided to cut back half of each variety to determine if this will generate a vigorous flush of fresh stems in a few weeks time when the area not cut back will be starting to lose its vigour.  We will report back on this trial later in the season.

Week 30 (2019) Update

The NPD trial of Echinacea was in full flower this week and some of the varieties look quite encouraging.  However further work on yield and vase life is required before this crop can be commercialised.

Despite budding up very early, the Lepidium “Green Dragon” is now growing away vigorously and look like it will produce a good stem length (see left hand photo).  However as a word of warning don’t forget that Lepidium is a member of the brassica family and as such is very attractive to flea beetles which did in fact catch us out a bit this week (see right hand photo) even though the stocks have not been attacked this week.

And finally for this week, the week 23 planting of Japanese stocks is now in full flower (with the week 25 planting not far behind) and the Scabious and Astrantia continue to flush prolifically (see harvested flowers in right hand photo).

Week 29 (2019) Update – OPEN DAY

Most of this week was taken up by this years Open Day which was earlier than normal because of the emphasis on column stocks.  As usual we had a superb turnout with attendees being able to view a wide range of trials, many of which where at their best this week.

However on a negative note it is worth noting that despite having a weekly spray programme for downy mildew on the stocks and maintaining a favourable environment by ventilating the sides of the tunnel, DM was still present in our trials.  This serves to demonstrate that the new aggressive strain of DM seen last year is still with us and it would seem that twice weekly sprays of the most appropriate fungicides are still required to keep the crop clean during high risk periods.

Week 28 (2019) Update

This year was a week of sending samples to various places including the Great Yorkshire show and RHS Tatton Park Flower Show where Jonathan Moseley continues to do a fabulous job of promoting UK flowers.

The T34 trial was assessed this week.  The results were not as marked as we would have liked but an assessment of 24 individual stems (ie 3 rows in the middle of each bed) has shown that the plots treated with T34 had a lower level of Fusarium infection.  This trial was undertaken in a tunnel with a high level of disease pressure using very susceptible  varieties and more significant results may have been obtained using less susceptible varieties.  It was also interesting to note that in the variety trial the plots a lisianthus again did not succumb to the stock strain of Fusarium. (see photo below).

Based on what we are seeing at the CFC, the P&D to look out for this week are aphid, spider mite, flea beetle and downy mildew.

Don’t forget our Open Day next Wednesday the 17th starting at 5.15.

Week 27 (2019) Update

The week 19 planting of “Japanese stocks” was ready to harvest this week.  Assessments were undertaken on 10 stems of each variety with the overall stem length and weight being measured and them all trimmed to 45cms and then weighed again.   The data is yet to be analysed but to summarise, all of the Jap stocks had longer stems than the traditional varieties but once trimmed to 45cms, the weight of the Jap varieties was similar or less than the traditional varieties.

The Fusarium susceptibility variety trial has produced some superb results this year and all of the assessments have now be completed. The photos below shoe an overall shot of the trial and a close up of the  worse and best plots.

The scabious is now in full flower with some of the new varieties showing real promise – see Focal Scoop Purple in the middle picture below.






Week 26 (2019) Update

The first flush of the overwintered Veronica was cut down this week.  The trial was originally planted at a density of 25 per sq/m but they have now been thinned to 12 per sq/m in order to ensure more air movement and hence make powdery mildew control a little easier.   The stem length (over 1m) and stem strength have been excellent but powdery mildew has been an issue.  This flush also suffered from a high degree of fasciation (see top right hand photo) with around 30% of the pink showing the problem. We would be interested to hear from anyone else who has seen this problem this year because it does seem to have been an issue with garden plants as well.

Downy mildew has been a bit of an issue since the wet weather last week and growers should ensure that they maintain an appropriate spray programme as per the guidelines given in the CFC/AHDB technical note produced last year which can accessed vis the link below.