About Me

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

postheadericon N.A.S?

Well as stated by myself and Simon over at smithyveg a collection should really be "Distinctly different types".

At two of my show two sets of potatoes were entered on the same board with the schedule stating "A collection of 6 different types of vegetables as scheduled" as scheduled means chosen from the list of vegetables in the schedule itself. The problem being is the schedule lists potatoes twice, sometimes three times: class for whites, class for colours, and a collection of 3 plates any varieties.

This was truly bought to my attention at my second show when a very experience judge who goes along to all the shows (not judging either show mind you here) stated that the board should have be disqualified. He argued for some time with the steward about it eventually quoting "If you were making dinner and wanted to use 6 different types of vegetables you wouldn't peal a coloured potato and then peal a white potato and mash them both separate. The argument was the wording on the schedule can be misleading but as he said "If you read it correct its not". The big word being "TYPES", two sets of potatoes are in the schedule but they are not Distinctly two different TYPES of vegetables.

The worst part is the boards on both occasions were awarded first and at one show the judge had even written "you need a sixth type of vegetable, two sets of potatoes". So in theory I've lost out a few times this year by poor judging.


I'm not bitter, but next year they might have a shock when i enter 3 dishes of 5 potatoes, 1 dish of white a dish of coloured, 9 large shallots and pickling shallots with some onions.. I may even stick the top tray on top as that was also listed in schedule.

postheadericon Ideas for next year: 1. Parsnips

Well my 4ft pipes were not long enough for my parsnips this year so I have started on my plans on how I may be able to overcome this. The one problem I have is I cant just get 8ft pipes and sit them on the ground, I don't have the head height room in the tunnel for that. I also don't want to buy any more pipes as they cost a fortune (not that i payed for any of mine, donated by my father who had some going spare that were 24ft long).

So I'm pretty much stuck with digging down, but with one problem to overcome is, how to stop the pipe from sinking down further than you actually want them to. My first plan includes a wooden board for the pipes to sit on with a hole in each board for the bore hole to go down further into the sand below. The pipes will be supported via another 2 foot of sand on top of that to hold them in place before we get to ground level. I'm also considering using pipe extensions which not only gives me extra height but also i can remove these when my parsnips are ready and have a look at the first 10 inches or so before I even pull them. I'm hoping to add in total at least 3-4 ft extra to what I had this year, about 7-8 foot in total should do it.

Another problem I have to think about is watering, with a board in the way getting water down at the bottom will be difficult, so I will probably add an extra hole in the board at intervals with hose pipes so I can easily water the tap root.

The lengths we go to...

Saturday, 13 September 2008

postheadericon Final pics of everything

p.s I forgot to mention, the flowers in this picture are not mine, kindly donated for effect by a great grower.

postheadericon Thats it folks

Well my last show is over and now I will spend the rest of my time sorting everything out for next year. I need to move one of my poly tunnels and modify it to suit my onions and leeks and erect my greenhouse. I also have to reset all my parsnip pipes, remove all the sand outside to allow the rain to get at it to wash away any nasties and remaining mixture. Everything also has to be sprayed with armillatox to keep things clean and sterile, I will also let off a few bug smoke bombs in the tunnels over the next few months to kill off any breeding bugs that will hibernate over the winter.

The first real job of the season as far as growing vegetables is concerned is when the leeks arrive in December and the onions from seed get planted. I hope everything is in place by then to start a fresh season.

Didnt have much left for this show, but I did pretty well considering.

Didnt show the really big parsnips in this pic as they were just to huge so lacked in quality.
Friday, 12 September 2008

postheadericon Second show results

I forgot to post my final results from the last show, so before my 3rd show starts here they are:

This includes members and non members, the reason why you see some veg crop up a few times in this list:

Veg collection 4 kinds: 1st
Potatoes (any): 1st
Sweet peppers: 1st
Tomatoes: 1st
Carrots Long: 1st
Table marrows: 1st
Shallots large: 1st
AOV: Celery: 1st
Carrots short: 1st
Tray 3 veg: 1st
Onions 3 (from seed): 1st

Leeks: 2nd
Courgettes: 2nd
Onions 4 (sets): 2nd
Tomatoes: 2nd
Runner beans: (9) 2nd
Potatoes: 2nd
Runner beans (6) (again) 2nd
Carrots short: 2nd
Tomatoes cherry: 2nd

Beetroot globe: 3rd
Beetroot globe: 3rd (again)

Two trophies: Most points and one for the veg collection.

I still have one more show to do but I wont be entering much, I'm really just going along to see what everyone else has. I will try next year to grow more for this show but I do find it a bit late for my liking as i grow most of my veg for August.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008

postheadericon Celery

Well all the hard work with the celery this year payed off. I have staged celery at both my shows so far which i was very happy with. Despite my celery being behind by about 3 weeks for my first shows because my first sowing all died, Im pretty happy with the outcome. I would say next year I will try and improve on the blanching as i think the reflective foil, as its double sided also reflects light into the celery. This problem will be solved with using black damp proof sheeting as an internal layer with the reflective foil on the outside.

Many people at the shows ask how I keep it so clean, and the simple answer is you have to spray every 5 weeks and slug pellets every time you water if they are washed away. Most people turn there nose up at this and don't like the fact you grow your veg for the show bench rather than eat it. The only veg I don't eat in the beds (in the garden area) is the celery due to the vast amounts of spraying. I don't care as every professional grower does this, and I'm not going to show celery half eaten alive and full of rot to please people I don't even care about. One tiny bite turns into a small brown mark, this gets bigger and bigger and turns into a big brown rot on the sticks that renders it useless.

I have a massive allotment full of veg that is organic for eating, with wildlife patches that are untouched, so I do my bit for nature on ground that we pay for.

essentials for show celery:

Calcium Nitrate: You cant always get hold of this, but the normal calcium in a blue box you get up the garden center is just as good. Used once a week, watering down the heart of the celery and around each plant to help avoid heart rot.

Liquid deris and alternate with Provado to prevent pest damage.

Slug pellets/slug clear: obvious one, slugs love celery and will gather in there 1000s.

Dithane fungicide: spray from june onwards to prevent celery leaf spot, celery leaf minor (small maggots form) celery blight etc.

Feed: Chempak No. 2 and switch to no.8 during july. I feed once a week as soon as they are planted out. In August any celery in pots get fed twice a week, and the end of August the celery in pots get fed every other day.

Finally any celery you pull up should be composted, i use a shredder and put it back in the bed for next year to produce even better celery.

Monday, 1 September 2008

postheadericon Second show success

The weekend at my local show had quite a turn out considering its size. The quality was very good as usual, commented on by the judges who were impressed compared to other shows they had judged at.

This show to be honest the same person takes all the trophies every year except normally second most points (ours) and the veg collection which we also normally win. This year was different with the trophies being split by many with more competition. I finally got my hands on that most points trophy and won both boards for the first time ever. This year they also gave "Best exhibit" medal but I lost out on that, being awarded to some very nice runner beans. Anyhow more specific updates later heres a few pics.


Tray. 3 veg:

Tray. 4 veg:

Everything i showed: