2011 Exhibition Veg bit

Plus the Long Carrots & Giant Onion attempt

 

                                                                            

  

This year I'm going to put all the show veg in one section.

So this year I'm growing specifically for show:

Long and Stump Carrots,Peas,Shallots,Potatoes,Tomatoes,Parsnips and the ever present Onions both the 3 lb class and some more giant ones to see how big I can get one.

              

Here are a few pics from the last couple of years so we'll se how we fare this year. 

January 28th.

Well,here we go again.

I've been a bit late getting my shallots planted as I realised that the ones I kept from last year had rotted apart from about half a dozen so I had to order some by mail order at a ridiculous price which were slow in coming.

                         

The earlier planted ones are starting to sprout but the later ones aren't doing yet.

                         

Over on the Carrot front I've decided to expand a bit and grow a couple more barrels plus the odd one for a go at half a dozen big parsnips to see how they do.

                                           

But more barrels means more sand to fill them,so now it's just a matter of barrowing it 200 yds across the field to fill them.....oh joy !!

Feb 5th.

Today was the day to do the tedious job of mixing my exhibition carrot compost.

                         

I've made a purpose built riddle out of a supermarket delivery tray with the bottom cut out replaced with some 6mm mesh.

Then I suspended it over some timber like a swing.

This seemed to make it pretty easy to riddle out all the twigs and lumps and what's left is fine compost.

                         

After about an hour and a half I managed to get just over 100 litres of fine stuff and about 20 litres of lumps and twigs out.

                   

Then it's a matter of mixing a few other ingredients with the compost thoroughly.

4 parts sieved compost.
1 part sieved top soil
1 part fine vermiculite
1 part sand.

And also adding the following fertilizers and other bits.

To every 30 litres of this mix I add.

4 oz ground up Vitax Q4
2 oz ground limestone
2 oz calcified seaweed ground up
2 oz seaweed meal
1 oz nutrimate powder.

                         

To mix it all together I do it in 30 litre batches in a huge lidded box which I can shake about and really get it all mixed together well.

I mixed around 200 litres in total which should be more than enough for my intended 25 long carrots,40 stump carrots and a hand full of parsnips.

So that's one more tedious job out of the way.

Feb 9th.

I went to my 1st NVS talk ever last night given by Ian Simpson who has been the National Carrot Champion and he gave everyone a clear,concise and interesting description of how he goes about his growing.

I would urge anyone to visit these events as you'll get so much info that you'd never get anywhere else.

It was very interesting in as much as there didn't seem to be any secrets other than growing under cover and using a really fine growing medium.

More by accident than design I found that he uses the exact same mixture as I do but the main difference is that he sieves his down to 1/8th of an inch which results in a really fine mixture and an exceptional skin quality on the carrots.

Also he adds as fertilizer Superphosphates plus sulphate of potash instead of Vitax.

So as a consequence I decided to have a go at his exact method and this evening have sieved some peat through a 3.35mm sieve.

                         

As you can see the mesh is tiny and once I sieved it there was a good 40% that didn't pass through.

It also took an age to do.

                         

The resulting peat was really fine though.

                   

Anyway using my legendary carpentry skills I've knocked up a 2x2x2ft box which will accommadate 16 carrots.I'm going to put this in the polytunnel and see If these are any better than the outside ones.

We'll see.

 

Feb 26th.

I decided that the old Onion beds needed a bit of an upgrade as the wood is over 10 years old and the width is just a bit narrow to give the right spacings between plants.

             

My smaller bed is now a foot wider at 40" which means I can now grow 2 rows of onions at 18" spacings,but more importantly with a good 10" distance from the edge which is important as the edges tend to dry out quickly in summer and this can lead to problems.

                                

And I also widened the main big bed by 12" and lengthened it by 3 ft so now its 15 ft long by 4ft 6 wide which means I can grow three rows at 16" spacings.

So I'm now happy with the onion beds and I can grow 50 at optimum spacings.

Only trouble is that now the paths between are only 6 inches wide I look like a constipated catwalk model walking between them.

                      Parsnip Boring Time.

I used the 1st sunny day for weeks to make a start on my 1st attempt at growing some giant parsnips.

                         

As you can see I have a wide array of different containers for all the carrots and parsnips but I'm using the 45 gallon drum with an extended collar to grow the parsnips in.

Firstly as with the carrots the drum is filled with coarse sand and then allowed to settle for a few weeks,then using a 3" dia. drainpipe or similar a core of sand is removed right to the bottom by plunging this down into the sand and then removing it.

Then if all goes well the sand sticks in the pipe and the borehole is formed.

                         

The you can use a metal bar,or in my case the handle of my rake to make the bottom a bit deeper and then rotate it to make the top a bit wider and the whole hole slightly conical.

This gives me about 4ft6 of total depth.

                         

Then it's just a matter of trickling the compost mixture into the hole using a funnel and every foot or so just slightly compressing it with a cane.

                         

So that's about it , 7 stations done ready to sow the seed in a couple of weeks or so.

March 5th.

                    

I'm slowly but surely getting the show carrots bored out and filled with compost even though I'll only be sowing the seed in April,I'd rather get it done in good time and covered up just in case we get another month of solid rain in the next month.

I did a bit of a video below so click play if you want to see it.

 

 

                         

As I'm growing some show parsnips this year I'm pre chitting the seeds as all the people in the know seem to do as parsnips can be hard to germinate in cold weather.

This simply involves placing the seed between two sheets of wet kitchen towel and keeping them in a warm place until a tiny little shoot appeares called a "Radicle" and then these seeds are then planted out in the soil.

It's been 5 days now but nothings happened yet ??

March 12th.

Well, after 10 days the Parsnip seeds started to sprout and 2 days later I had enough sprouted to sow 3 per hole in the barrel.

                         

So that's my single test barrel planted out and with the spare seeds I planted a few into 5 ft tall 6" drainpipes to see how they fare.

March 21st.

                

The show shallots are doing well now after a late start and all appear to be splitting into either 3 or 4 bulbs which means no thinning out needed.

                   

Finally finished my carrot,parsnip and long beet growing part and have now added a windbreak which can be pulled round the entire thing if gales are forecast.

I also had a bit of spare mix left over so I've filled 6 5ft 6" dia pipes to grow some in too.

                         

Also after saying that I was never going to try to grow a 10 pound onion again,fellow blogging show veg grower Paul told me he had some spare plants.

So off down to CleckHuddersFax I went to pick 'em up.

As you can see they're a fair old size for this time of the year,so maybe this year.

I've planted them in huge 65 litre pots filled with 4:1 compost and topsoil.

And just guessed at the fertilizer by adding 5 oz Vitax and a sprinkle of slow release pellets,a couple of ounces of Calcified Seaweed and the same of Nutrimate.

March 22nd.

Well, after having the best sunny day for about 6 months and seeing that the temperature in the polytunnel hit 90 I decided to plant out the Shallots as the forecast is for much of the same for a few days, this high temperature might cause them to bolt later,so I thought better out than in.

                  

Surprisingly they are further on than last year even though they were planted as late as the end of January,a full month later than last year.

I suppose the fact that they weren't frozen solid over December and January may have helped.

So I planted 27 in all a foot apart each way into soil that I added about 5-6 oz of Vitax to a week ago.

Did a video as ever,not very interesting.

 

 

March 28th.

Well,amazingly after taking around 12 days to chit and a further 10 or so days to fully germinate I now have 100% germination in the Long Parsnip barrel.

                         

I've plonked half a 2 litre plastic bottle over the seedlings to give them a bit of protection.

                   

I also planted out the two cracking Leek plants I got from Paul last weekend into some 50 litre pots of topsoil and compost mixed about 3:1 with 6 oz of miracle grow slow release fertilizer added.

I haven't got a clue when it comes to leeks so these two are going to be my 1st foray into growing them.

 

 

April 9th.

Well,some good news and some bad news ?

Managed to sow all my Carrots tonight,I sowed all the Long ones last weekend plus about 20 stumps for my earlier show and all the rest today which gives them the apparent 22 weeks ideal growing time.

                            

Also the single barrel of Parsnips is up and running.

                   

And on the downside,over on the giant onion plants I got from Paul..In perfect condition I must add,I seem to have a strange problem.

Some of the leaves are turning almost fluorescent yellow in colour and I am at a  loss as to why.

So I either have some dodgy compost or top soil,the recent hot spell and cold nights has affected them, or I added too much fertilizer to the mix.

But to be honest 5oz of Vitax in 65 litres is hardly excessive.

So we'll just have to see what happens.

April 16th.

Well nearly all the Long carrots have now germinated after 2 weeks but not a single Stump carrot.

                         

This is really odd as last year it was the complete opposite,the stumps were through quickly and the long 'uns took an age ????

Anyway I managed to fill most of my show spud bags ready to plant next week.

Did a video of the procedure below.


 

April 22nd.

Well,this remarkable weather is great outside but is murder in the polytunnel.

                                                         

So deciding to plant out the Exhibition Kelsae Onions was a big mistake as the temperature hit 40c today.

They look pretty feeble at the moment but believe me these should be around the 3lb mark by Mid August if they don't fry in the heat.

I planted them 18" apart each way and I put a small metal hoop around them just to support the leaves.

                   

I had to rig up a 40% shade net up just to try to give them a bit of protection.

                         

Planted out the Giant Tomato plant into a big 30l pot and we'll se how it progresses,the thought of removing every tomato bar one on the truss to get just 3-4 huge ones on one single plant seems a bit crazy but I'll give it a go.

Planted out all the potatoes today,9 Kestrel and 9 Cassablanca plus 2 of each in 35l pots as a trial run.

                                                    

Had a quick look at the leek today by taking off all the blanching stuff and it seemed to have a pretty decent stem,although as I know absolutely 'nowt about 'em who knows.

                   

And over on the Giant Onion front,after a dodgy start they seem to have perked up a bit after I gave them a feed of some high nitrogen liquid feed and this seems to have done the trick.

Sending out plenty of decent green leaves now so we'll see how it progresses.

May 1st.

Well,I've now got all the smaller Kelsaes planted out,48 in all.

The hot sunny weather we've had recently is really holding them back though as the daytime temperatures ar well over 90 every day in the tunnel with all 4 doors open and this just stops them growing.

                         

Where as outside where the temperature's been a steady 60-70 for almost a month now the shallots are growing away really well and are all splitting.

Luckily I dont have any with more than 4 bulbs which means no thinning required as up to 4 per plant is the ideal number,but on the other hand some only split into 2 which means a bit of a shortfall in the numbers.

                         

Over on the carrot front I now have 99% germination,only 0ne stump station is bare out of the best part of 120 sowings.

The downer is the almost gale force Easterly Winds we've had for 3 days which was wind rocking the hell out of the carrots and parsnips,so I had to deploy the old windbreak which was about as much use as a Fart in a Space Suit !!! 40% windbreak my arse !

                                       

One success though is the resurrection of the giant onion plants.

The biggest bulb is around 7" tall with 14 leaves on and a circ. of 8" at the base.

This is about 2 weeks ahead of the onion I grew to 9lb a couple of years ago so hopefully I can manage that extra pound,then I'll never grow another heavy onion again.

May 10th.

Things still seem to be growing well without any hitches so far.

                                                 

The two leeks are going well considerind I don't have a clue what I'm doing,I have now realised that I had the blanching material too long so I shortened it a bit so that the top's about 2-3" above the growing point.

Even so I'm pleased at the length of shaft I have already (and the ones on the leeks aren't to shabby either !)

                                                     

Over on the Kelsaes I'm pretty pleased with their progress so far.

Most are now sending out the 5th leaf which is a couple of weeks ahead of last year and almost on par with the best ones I ever grew back in 2009 which were all roughly 3.5-4 pounders.

As I only need these to be a max of 1.5 kg or about 3lb 4oz by mid to late August they seem to be on track.

                                       

And the big onions are still doing well and adding new leaves,15 so far,and slowly starting to bulb up a bit.

Over on the carrot front I've now thinned all of them to 1 per borehole as they all had the second true leaf,my parsnips are flying along,the long beetroot are a bit patchy germination wise,Giant tomato is like a shrub and the shallots are all going well too,plus all the spuds are coming through.

Photos later.

Things seem to be going a bit too well to be honest,It can't stay like this it never does,some king of catastrophe must happen sometime.

May 14th.

Just a few pics of some of the stuff.

                         

Parsnips doing really well in the barrel and pipes,I had to puy an extension on the barrel to keep the wind off.

To be honest I don't think they'll survive the wind all season when I have to take it off.

                         

All the carrots thinned to 1 per station and the long ones in the pipes too.

                         

In the polytunnel the carrots are way ahead of those outside and the kelsaes are still doing fine.

May 26th.

Well,with all the rain we've had up here recently the spuds are off and running.

                         

The Parsnips are really doing well,but I had to put some wind break around the barrel in the form of another section of barrel stuck on top.

                         

The carrots are growing away well so far in their various barrels,boxes etc and the box of stump ones in the polytunnel is romping away compared to the outdoor ones.

                   

I've had the windbreak around the root beds for 3 weeks now due to 40mph+ winds but it does seem to have helped as none have snapped off.

                         

The giant tomato plant is growing well and should be a really big one eventually judging by the thickness of the stem and the length of the leaves so far.

And I decided to sow the seeds from a 120lb marrow and a 700lb squash that Paul donated to me,don't know where I'm going to plant them yet though.

                         

I'm pretty happy with the Kelsae  Onions so far,they now have 7 leaves which is on par with 2009 when I grew my best ones to date,and as I don't need any to be heavier than 3lb 4oz these should be fine.

I've put all the final 12" wide hoops over them at a height of 15" to support the leaves and keep the necks straighter while they grow.

                   

Over on the big onion and leek front I managed to make an adjustable leaf holder out of an old portable clothes hanger that I was going to chuck out and it should work fine.

The big onions are ticking over.

June 5th. 

Well,the Kelsaes are doing pretty well and now have 8 leaves on and are getting on for 2ft in height,so I'm satisfied with these so far.

                         

The Giant Onions have plenty of leaves on but just don't want to bulb.

Biggest is now 12" in diameter.

Leeks seem to be ok,got a 13" stem and 2" under the soil so overall 15" so far.

                                                     

Not sure if that's good or not ?

                  

Carrot and parsnips seem to be doing well outside despite the persistent gale force winds.

Did a quick vid below,click to play,cheers.

 

 

June 18th.

Just a quick update.

                                        

The big onions are starting to bulb up a little,probably around the 3lb mark but I added too much fertilizer to the compost and overwatered which caused the soil conductivity to rise too much and premature leaf "kill" of the lower leaves hence a smaller bulb.

Totally my fault and stupidity by adding too much fert. DOH !!

                         

Where as the Kelsae onions for the 3-3.5lb class are doing really well so far,plenty of big thick green leaves and just starting to bulb.

I've got about 8-9 weeks to get them to 3-3.5 lbs so they should do that ...touch wood.

Not a single pest yet,no thrips,no botrytis.

                         

My giant tomato plants are a mystery to me.

They got to 2 ft tall then split into 4 growing points and produced 8 trusses of flowers like a bush variety.

Don't think I'll be breaking any records with these.

The giant Pumpkin/Squash plant seems to have taken outside but hasn't grown much in the cold weather.

                         

Spuds seem to be doing well and the shallots I pulled last week are slowly drying under cover outside.

                         

Carrots and parsnips seem to be doing well so far.

                   

Realised that I had forgotten to thin out one carrot so I removed it,to find a decent length,especially as it was a stump root.

So the tap root's getting down deep and another 3 months or so of bulking up and they should be pretty good.

June 25th.

Well things are still ticking over nicely over on the carrot front and the parsnips are huge.

                         

So,so far no sign of any pests or disease.

I keep spraying with the Garlic spray and also given one sprayong of Provado Ultimate Bug Killer like last year.

                                         

The Kelsaes are starting to bulb up now and are looking pretty good.......BUT !

And it's a big But !!

                                        

One of them has gone double necked,just one but It's a worrying sign.

Mind you it is an odd looking one with no bulb to speak of just a big thick neck and massive leaves,so hopefully it's a one off and the others will be OK.

July 1st.

Into july and only 9 weeks until the 1st show.

                         

The carrots outside seem to be doing really well,both the stumps and the long ones.

No pests or disease yet.

                         

The ones I'm trying in the polytunnel have got really thin spindly leaves but a quick scrat about to reveal the carrot was amazing,over an inch across at the top and the smoothest ridge free skin ever.

Seems that Indoor growing is the way to go,but at this rate they'll be far too big by September I think.

                         

I sowed two batches of peas a couple of weeks ago a week apart to try to get the timing right.

I decided to grow the variety "Dorian" or Mr Big as apparently according to Ian Simpson at the talk he gave these aren't succeptible to mildew at all,and given that all my shows are in September and you can set your watch by the arrival of Mildew on the peas to the 1st day in September up here,then this variety might be a goer for a change.

                         

My shallots have pretty much shrivelled up outside so I topped and tailed them and placed them in some trays of wood shavings to dry out even more.

                                   

Got a couple of fruit set on the giant tomato plant but seing as the plant is only 2 feet tall I can't see them making a decent size.

And the giant onions are slowly bulbing,but not as I'd hoped due to my excessive fertilizing of the soil.

                         

Over on the Kelsae front the majority are now bulbing up nicely.

But....I have a new problem...namely Onion Shanking.

A bacterial disease that is soil borne and causes the central leaves to die and the bulb to liquefy and produce an awful stench.

 I noticed 2 had this a week ago but no more since,and also no more have gone double.

So,hopefully this is the extent of the disease and no more will get it.

 

Anyway I decided to have a go at producing my own Giant Onion Sets for next year as this will be so much easier to do.

So I gave it a try and did a bit of a video of the basics below.

Click to play,Cheers.

 

July 9th.

Well,the supposed giant tomato plant I have grown has set a couple more fruit and some wierd shaped ones too so I have limited it to these two fruits to see how how big they'll get.

                                     

The couple of Leeks I'm growing are still doing OK so far,although quite a few folks seem to have gone to seed,my blissful ignorance of how to grow them seems to be working,

                         

Over on the Kelsae onion front,another week and no more problems to report.

No more double necks,no more shanking and still not a single thrip in sight.

They are around the 12" diameter in size now,and I'm hoping for anything between about 16-17.5" in about the next 5-6 weeks for a crack at the set of 5 at Harrogate.

That'll give me around a month to dry them off.

                         

Carrots still growing away nicely with no sign of pests or disease and finally my long beetroot have started to grow a bit.

                         

Spuds romping along and my parsnips are enormous,with the leaves the best part of 3 feet tall.

July 22nd.

What an utter F#cking tw#tting B#stard !!!!!

Well I was all ready to give you some photos of my Onions bulbing up nicely and being 14.5 inches now as I took the photos on Wednesday.

                         

These were taken on Wednesday and were all fine and hunky dory.

14.5 inches and only a couple to go and a good set would have been on the cards.

The last 10 days we have had over six inches of rain..I kid you not and this was enough to flood my polytunnel and no doubt saturate the beds lower down.

This together with absolutely no sunshine meant that the onions have been sat in pissed wet through soggy beds for over a week and I'm putting this as the reason for the next pics.

                                                      

So,about ten of my onions in the space of just 2 days have started to go double.

This means they start sending leaves out not from the centre as normal but to the side and eventually the onion goes misshapen and splits into two.

This is usually caused by excessive feeding of nitrogen (not done that) or overwatering (not done that either) but the flooding of my tunnel and the beds seems like a reason for it.

I might get the odd one do this every year but for 10 to do it all at the same time has pissed me right off.

If they'd just kept growing for another 3 weeks I'd have had a set for Harrogate but now this seems doomed.

                   

And just for good measure my leeks have both bolted too,so I snapped the seed head off and we'll see what happens.

So all I need now is the six inches of rain to have made all my carrots outside split and I'll have a full house of disasters !

July 31st.

Well just a quick spud update.

                         

Emptied out all the bags today,just 9 of each,Kestrel and Casablanca.

So to get about 4 reasonable sets of 4 and the odd set of 3 for top trays etc is pretty good.

                         

Even though they've been growing for 14 weeks they were a touch smaller than I'd have hoped.

Once again ,like last year I only watered them once or twice during the 14 weeks as the roots seem to grow through the holes in the bags and into the soil beneath,and as the soil is pretty moist they seem to get all the water they need without me needing to water.

I found that this year almost half of the Kestrel had scab but not a single one of the Casablanca had any at all,so Casablanca seem a good substitute for Winston which are really prone to scab and totally inedible as well.

                         

I had a bit of a thought about storing the spuds this year in Vermiculite instead of peat as last year some developed scab in storage,so I asked the question on the NVS growing forum and to my amazement the esteemed John Trim replied that he actually stores them in a similar fashion.

So if it's good enough for him then it's good enough for me,I'm storing them in layers of vermiculite in polystyrene boxes and then putting the lid on and keeping them in a dark spot.Let's see if it works.

Finally got a fruit on the Giant Marrow plant that I got from Paul but I had to search for a male flower to pollenate it.

August 4th.

Well,after the Onion problems of late I still have about 5 growing at about 17" Circumference and another 5 at 16.5" so hopefully I'll give them another 7-10 days and they should get to the 17-17.5" target for my 1st attempt at 5 Onions between 1-1.5kg at the North of England Show.

                         

If this happens then they should be about the right size, albeit at the lower end of the weight range,so we'll see.

 

August 10th.

Well,with my 1st show just over 3 weeks away i decided to lift all the show onions tonight.

                   

Considering all the recent trouble with some starting to grow double I managed to get a good selection from the remaining sound ones.

                   

And my worries about making the weight of 1-1.5kg for the class at Harrogate came to nothing too as this one was 1.46kg and I have another 7 within 40 grammes.

                         

So overall I'm pretty pleased all things considered.

The only problem is that some of the necks are a little thick but these should shrink down in the next 3-5 weeks.

So I'll leave these to ripen on a duvet with a fan blowing on them throughout the day which should speed up the drying process.

August 21st.

Well,2 weeks until my 1st show and no major disasters as of yet.

                         

First things first,the big onions I was growing badly in pots were pulled up this week and the biggest was just over 6 pounds and the other two about 5 and a bit.

If I'd not added so much fertilizer initially then I'm sure they'd have been much bigger,my stupid mistake.

                         

The new variety of peas to me "Dorian" seem to have been timed about right for my show and they seem to be pretty big judging by the 1st unfilled pod.

I grew these specifically because they are supposed to be highly mildew resistant and so far not a speck.

                        

The long beetroot I'm growing seem to have loads of giant leaves but what lies underneath is anyones guess.

                         

Carrots and parsnips still ticking along nicely although i do seem to have a bit of leaf spot on the parsnips due to the recent damp weather.

Again they look good above ground but what's underneath ?

                         

Finally managed to get a giant marrow set all be it a bit late but It's growing at a fair pace,this is just 2 days after it set.

                   

And finally after about 10 days the onions are starting to shrivel in the necks and I've placed them sideways now to get some air blowing on the bases to try to get them ripened up more.

The 8 I've got earmarked for the 5 set at Harrogate seem OK except one which has decided to start turning bloody red !

August 26th.

Well,just a quick update on the Onion front.

20 days until Harrogate and just over a week until my 1st local show.

I can honestly say that these are the best quality onions I've ever grown and would be happy to enter them at this stage.

                   

They are ripening really well and another 3 weeks and they should look great.

                   

So I have about 7 or 8 to choose 5 from.

But there's still a lot can go wrong in the next 19 days,but hopefully,just for once,It wont.

September 4th.

Today was my local Horticultural Show.

Biggest turnout of entries and quality stuff for as long as most people could remember.

So anyway here's the Ego massaging bit,my results.

                         

1st and 2nd in the Stump carrots,1st in the 4 onions from sets dressed.

                         

1st in the white spuds and best spuds in class for the 3 kestrel,small but perfect.

                         

1st and 2nd for the long carrots but only 2nd in the 2 dressed onions.

                                             

1st for the long parsnips and 1st and best in Bean Classes for 6 french beans.

I must give a certain Smithyveg some thanks for these because once I followed his bean straightening technique they really did look beautiful.

                        

1st in the 2 onions as grown plus best in Class and 1st in a tray of 3 veg.

So Overall out of 30 entries I managed to get 13 firsts,8 seconds and 2 thirds.

4 Cups,Most points in Veg classes,most Points in Local Section,Most points in Onion & Shallot classes and finally a new cup this year for most points in Carrot and Parsnips for which I recieved an engraved Glass Beer Tankard to keep.......forever.....wahey !!!!!

So overall a brilliant result for me today and I'm well chuffed !

                   

Cheers !

September 10th.

Not much to post this week other than I've got two more shows next week,Westmorland Show and the biggie,the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show NVS Veg Show and NEHS Show.

Bit out of my depth there but I'll post a load of pictures and any miraculous results that happen.

In the mean time here are a few videos of me harvesting some of my show carrots and parsnips.

 Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

September 16th.

Well,what a week.

On Monday night I entered my veg into the classes for the Westmorland Horticultural Show.

I decided to just enter the collection classes this year as Harrogate was later in the week.

                 

I was happy to win the Top Tray class even though my carrots were a bit rough and the spuds a little small.

                  

I also just managed to win the collection of 4 veg for the 1st time by the slimmest of margins...half a point.

                                      

I also managed to win an interesting class of one big onion,one onion under 250g and a shallot.

So overall,only entering half a dozen classes I was really chuffed to get 3 firsts,a cup and a medal.

Now all thoughts turned to the NVS Northern Branch Champs and the North of England Vegetable Championships.

Harrogate

 

Well,entering a few classes into Harrogate this year was to say the least, a monumental step up in class for me.

I always thought I could grow reasonable onions around the 3 pound mark and It's been my aim for the last few years to actually enter a set.

This year they were the best I've ever grown so I decided to have a crack.

                   

So on Thursday night I got there early and staged them before anyone else.

This class doesn't usually get many entries due to the difficulty in matching up 5 but this year I found out that 14 had entered,expecting the usual 4 or 5 I drove home feeling I had no chance.

                   

When I arrived today I had a look across at the huge entries of onions and saw the red ticket on someone elses and some other coloured ones on another two and thought I'd got nothing,then I saw a light coloured card near mine and honestly thought it was a N.A.S card or something.

When I actually found out it was a second place card i was absolutely over the moon.

Most shows the prize cards are all bright colours but not the NVS.

                  

So,I'm absolutely chuffed to bits at that one.

                         

I also entered the Tap Root collection and was reassured when i was only one point away from a fourth place card as I know I can grow better long carrots in future and I only grew 6 parsnips all year.

My set is to the right of the 1st prize set,so It's not a million miles away.

                                                      

I also entered the National Carrot Championship which requires a set of 3 stumps plus a set of 3 long carrots,I thought my entry would look stupid  but It didn't and I came 9th and beat a handfull of people and was just 2 places away from the prizes.

Also the Stump class,I came nowhere but I seem to have the size but I need to grow 'em a bit straighter and find a set that match up better.

So overall the Onion 2nd was absolutely fantastic for me but to find out that I'm not a million miles away in the root veg stuff is encouraging given that most of the winners grow theirs under cover in polytunnels and I just grow mine outside without any protection.

                          

Another part of the show is hosted by the North of England Horticultural Society so I decided to put my mental chilli plant in.

And bugger me It came first.

 I can now call myself the Chilli King of Northern England...Wahey !!!

So overall this show season has been the best ever for me and to step up a level and win,come second and not be too far away in some other classes has given me some more ideas for next year.

I'm proper chuffed.

P.S we did have a competition amongst us fellow veg bloggers in which we would all enter into the 6 vegetable class.

The less said about that the better, and incidently I came 3rd and we collectively came 8th,9th & 10th !

 

 

 

October 7th.

Well,I decided to cut the giant marrow tonight and see how much she weighed.

                  

Needless to say I was well chuffed at the size considering I only sowed it late and only got a fruit to set well into August.

                                       

And the weight was........amazingly 51 lb 12 ounces !!

So if I can get some seeds again next year I'll be having a go at a 100 pounder.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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