This year I'm going to put all the show veg in one section.
The Show Onion section is in another bit.
So this year I'm growing specifically for show:
Long and Stump Carrots,Shallots,Potatoes,Parsnips and French Beans,plus I'm going to attempt to grow a 100lb+ Marrow so that should be fun.
Well,it all starts now.
The first job I've done this year is to empty all the sand out of the carrot and parsnip barrels and boxws and refill again.
The sand's been frozen solid for over a month so this has been the earliest I could do the thankless task.
I've extended my barrels upwards to give extra height as I was snapping the tap root off the parsnips last year as they grew into the soil below.
So I now have 5ft depth for the parsnips and 4ft 6" for the carrots.
I've decided to try 2 barrels in the polytunnel this year as they were disasterous last year outside,and all my stump carrots will be grown in there too as they grew so much better.
So I'm growing about 30 long carrots,16 Parsnips and about 72 stump carrots this year.
With that horrible job done,now the job of mixing my Carrot growing compost.
Instead of taking photos I did a video instead and as you can see that this year I'm not adding any extra fertilizer to the compost after a trial run last year with a single test box resulted in the best carrots I've grown so far.
Video below,click to play.
Time to start to bore out the Parsnip growing containers and filling with the growing mixture.
I used a 3" pipe to core out and then a stiff pole to widen the hole at the top and make the whole hole conical in shape.
With the barrels done next thing is to "Chit" the seed as sowing directly outside in these cold temperatures the seed would just rot before germinating.
The process just involves placing the seed on wet tissue and covering with more,then leaving this in an airtight container somewhere warm until the seed starts to sprout.
Then the sprouted seed is planted out into the growing barrel and growth is guaranteed.
Did a vid of the coring and boring process below,click to play.
Just as the weather forecast is set to be a week of Arctic weather my Parsnips decided to sprout a bit prematurely.
So as soon as the tiny little shoot emerged I planted 3 of these to each borehole and covered with some pvc to keep the moisture in and hopefully the cold out.
So that's all my parsnips planted out,maybe too early but given the weather these days If you waited 'til it warmed up you'd never grow anything.
Did a vid of the chitting process below.
Well,I've just about given up on the Parsnips outside.
After I planted the chitted seed we had this Arctic weather for the last 3 weeks and I'm sure this will have killed them even before they could emerge.
So I'll need to chit some more seed and repeat the process.
On a better note I did sow the first batch of Stump and Long Carrots for my earliest show in September.
These are under the protection of the polytunnel so will be fine.
I sowed 12 long and 16 Stumps.
All the Parsnips are now germinated and I'll be thinning them down to one plant per station shortly.
Similarly with the long and stump carrots,all are now through so I'll be doing the same with those soon,
The carrots are all now growing their first true leaves and they are all thinned down to one per station,the few Hative de Nioort shallots I planted are growing but very slowly.
I managed to plant up 16 bags of show potatoes.
I planted Kestrel and Amour,I've cut back on the amount grown this year because I only enter about 2 classes all year and the cost of peat and compost is getting too expensive to justify doing it.
Anyway I did a video of the process,click to play,Cheers.
Carrots growing well in the tunnel in the relative warmth.
Parsnips and long carrots are all up now and ticking over too.
Parsnips seem to be doing well under the windbreak.
Plus the netted roof managed to keep the recent hailstorms out which would have battered the leaves to bits.
Update on the carrots and parsnips.
Stump and long carrots growing well in the tunnel.
Watering about 20 litres over the 3 boxes and 2 barrels every 4 days.
Outside the parsnips are ticking away slowly.
And finally, the fun bit.
Planted out the 2 giant marrow plants under their own mini tunnels.
These were from 78lb plants so If I can match that I'll be happy.
In the last 2 weeks things have really started to grow.
The carrots in the tunnel are flying along now with some amazing top growth.
Compared to the ones outside they are way ahead.
At long last the potatoes "Kestrel" and "Amour" are growing.
I'm really happy with the Parsnips as I'd given up on them in March after planting the chitted seed, then we had the cold snap and nothing emerged for a month.
But now they look good.
And finally the Giant Marrows.
I'm pleased with these too so far, and they've really shot on in the last 2 weeks
The show potatoes "Kestrel" and "Amour" are growing away well.
It's important to keep them well watered to try to reduce the possibility of scab forming as this tends to be worse in dry soils.
The Parsnips "Pinnacle" are the biggest I've ever grown at this stage and have really strong tall tops almost 3ft tall already.
So, happy with these so far.
The long and stump carrots in the tunnel are growing really well too.
And finally the giant Marrows are really growing well and almost outgrowing the cloches and windbreaks.
Getting on for 10 ft long now so there may be an odd fruit forming before too long.
And finally on the giant onion front 18 of my 30 onions have gone to seed so now I'm only really left with the 7 monster ones being grown purely for weight which haven't bolted.
A real disaster, but the giant ones look good so far.
On a different note I constructed a Slug & Snail electric fence around the plot to keep them out, and boy does it work.
Did a video of it below, click to play, Cheers.
The carrots, stump and long seem to be doing amazingly in the polytunnel, been really watering well in the recent hot weather.
Outside the Parsnips are the biggest I've ever grown and if they're as big below as they are above ground I might have some crackers.
Same with the long carrots outside, seem to be growing really well so far.
The giant Marrow plants have been loving the heat and I now have 4 fruit set.
These are the biggest two after just 14 days since setting fruit.
Got to be approaching 20 pounds already so maybe I'll beat my record of 53 lb this year.
And the biggest of the big onions is still growing well.
Maybe 5lb now but don't think I'll be breaking any records with it.
Did a video of the whole plot and the other veg below.
Click to play, Cheers.
Quick Marrow update.
Smallest of the four at 25 days.
Second smallest, it's long but too thin at the back end.
Did a fortnightly plot tour video below, click to play.
Had a sly pull of a slightly reject cracked carrot to see how big it would be.
Erm.....a bit big.
Did a quick video.
Click below to play, Cheers.
I apologise in advance for the following Show reports and the blatant ego trip.
My local Show was the first of the 3 and I did really well getting 15 red cards and best in show with my stump carrots.
These were grown using the simple technique I now adopt and an idiot proof soil mixture straight outa the bag.
So really chuffed with the results of my local show.
The next show was last Tuesday at Kendal, a step up in class and I just entered 8 exhibits as Harrogate and the National Show was the following Thursday.
After 13 years of showing here I finally managed to win best in Show with my Top Tray.
Again the carrots being a good part of it but the Onions which looked to be a disaster 10 weeks ago remarkably came good.
So absolutely over the moon with this result.
And finally This Weekend, The National Vegetable Show at Harrogate.
I only entered 2 exhibits in the National Show which were 5 Stump Carrots and 6 exhibition onions.
So this is what you're up against at National level, 40 entries of quality.
And Bugger me this is what happened !
I got 3rd at the National. that's like a Bronze medal at the Vegetable Olympics.
So absolutely mid blown at that result.
But for me the Onions were more of a miracle.
To get 5th place in the National Onion Champs given that they all went to seed back in June, and it was only my pig headedness to just see if they'd still grow bigger instead of just binning the lot.
They did amazingly, and then to go through the process of drilling out the seed stalk so the neck may dry properly and thinking they'd all rot.
They didn't amazingly.
So to me this is a Nil Desperandum moment, when all looks to be crap just try something totally off the wall and it may just work.
And it did amazingly.
So that's all the Shows done for this year and it's been my best year by far, mainly due to the carrots which you can grow so easily using my method in the show veg bit, it's simple and no tricks whatsoever.
Here's a video of all the Exhibits at Harrogate.
Click to play, Cheers.
I've got myself a Facebook Page click the link if you're interested,Cheers.