Monthly Archives: September 2011

NVS Hampshire D.A. Show

Following on from my last post when I showed you my latest carrot growing success I put the 3 long carrots on the showbench at our NVS Hampshire DA mini-show last night. It was really interesting to hear newly appointed NVS Chairman Barry Newman’s expert judging feedback and he gave my carrots some favourable comments and 2nd place to Mr Blick’s superb set that also took overall best in show. Considering it’s my first attempt and I only had 3 long carrots to choose from I’m pretty happy with that. Pictured below you can see how great Darren’s set is and they would have graced any showbench at any level. No wonder he’s smiling and a nice little trophy for the mantlepiece too! You can follow Darren’s progress over at Blicky’s Blog.

So that’s it for this season. Good luck to all those entering the Midland Championship at Malvern a week on Saturday. Next year it’ll be an all out assault on the NVS Southern Championship at the New Forest & Hampshire County Show for me. I’m going to busy over the winter planning for that!!

What’s Up Doc? Revisited……

Last year you may remember my pathetic attempt at growing carrots. Well this year I think I’ve cracked it. Why? Well last month I pulled my best ever carrots for my Summer Show.

And ahead of tomorrow nights NVS Hampshire District Association mini-show I thought I’d pull the 3 long carrots I had growing in the pipes. I meant to pull these for my local show but decided to enter some smaller ones and leave these for the DA show. So they are 1 month overdue but I was really pleased with the results.

Don’t get me wrong there’s a few things wrong with them from a showing perspective, like a blind date you’ve met in a bar there’s plenty of imperfections when you get up close to ’em! But after years of trying in vain I can finally say I’ve grown a few decent carrots this year at last!!

All in a line now!

I was interested to read the Patient Gardener’s post on Allotment Style recently and thought I’d show you my shared plot I tend in the next village. When we grow our veg there are a few approaches we all fit into, be it the regimented straight rows, raised beds or a more cottage garden style. Well the shared plot is definitely old school, long rows, sowed and planted using a straight-line string. Plenty of cabbages, brussel sprouts etc……you get the picture! The plot is actually the garden of an 84 year-old friend of mine and has been done this way for around 80 years, by his father at first and then, over the last 60-70 years, he has taken over. You don’t argue with that sort of experience so straight lines it is then. There’s no raised beds, no soil brought in, we’re growing on stony chalky ground and doing very well. When I first started I was raking all the stones away, some quite large lumps of flint, as I would do at home, only to be told I was wasting my time and would just end up with a pile of stones to shift with more appearing at the surface on a daily basis. So I stopped worrying about it and got on with sowing and planting. Two things I learnt is you can grow veg with loads of stones in the ground and veg will also grow even if it’s a bit weedy. This plot doesn’t get the daily attention I give my raised beds at home which are pretty much stone and weed free. The veg has to fend for itself a bit more but returns are still good. Below is a photo of most of the plot, 2/3rds is on a slope with the other 1/3 to the left of the path on the flat. There’s brassicas, beans, spuds, onions and shallots mainly and I’m using the extra space for squash and sweetcorn.

Quite different from my own beds at home.

Whatever approach you take there are pros and cons but whatever you do at this time of year there will be plenty of veg to eat. Have a great weekend everyone!

Sir Alf Ramsey

This is the latest Dahlia in my collection, the large lilac flowered Sir Alf Ramsey.

Whilst quite a small plant this year it’s producing 3 or 4 large blooms and will be a real stunner in the Dahlia border next year.

For the first time in ages I watched GW last night and actually saw a couple of jobs that I could be getting on with over the weekend. So this morning the summer fruiting raspberries have been organised by removing last years canes that bore this years fruit and tieing in this years new growth which will bear next years fruit. There was about four new stems per plant once I removed the weaker growth and about 25 stems in all which should give a decent crop of fruit next year. They’ll be joined by half a dozen autumn fruiting plants that I’ll move over once they finished cropping.

And I realised that I should be removing some of the stems from my celeriac which are starting to bulb up. It’s the first year I’ve grown them after being given some seedlings from a friend on our Hort Soc committee. They’ve done really well and now by removing the stems this will hopefully encourage the bulb-end to swell further.

Whatever jobs you decide to get on with this weekend I hope you have a good one!