Monthly Archives: August 2013

Pure Gold!

By far my best results this year are the Sungold tomato plants.

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There’s 8 plants in the cold greenhouse and 4 outside. We’ve been picking two full kitchen cullenders per week from early July which should go on until the end of October. They’ve been easy to grow with no real maintenance required other than pinching out side shoots, watering and a weekly feed. The children love them and so do we! In fact I’m lucky if I even get to eat any they go so fast!!

Stonking cabbage

This is the largest cabbage I’ve grown to date weighing in at 35 pounds. The variety is Ramco and it’s gone to a friend at work as we have another one still to harvest. Whilst we like cabbage there’s only so much we can eat!!

Cabbage

Corsley Show

Today was the Corsley Show, near Warminster, Wiltshire which played host to the NVS South West of England District Association show. This is open to any NVS member, particularly those in the south-west and there were two or three of the exhibitors who would be considered at a national standard.

I managed to stage 4 entries – mini-collection, 3 long carrots, 8 exhibition shallots and 9 pickling shallots. There is also an Open Show side which is basically a village show of veg, flowers and handicrafts but I didn’t enter anything. In addition to the Horticulture marquee there was a funfair, horse show, dog show, heavy horses, falconry etc., a really good day out for the family who had to endure an early start so I could get my veg staged before 9 a.m. As an exhibitor I had a complimentary ticket to the show also.

We finally got back into the marquee at 12.30 p.m. after the judging had finished and out of the 4 classes I picked up three cards, a second and two thirds. Considering I already knew I hadn’t won the mini-collection as one of my two large long carrots had split I’ll call it three cards out of three entered! I was particularly pleased with the two shallot classes which I’ve never entered before apart from the 5 shallot class in my local village show.

Shallots pickling

These were my pickling shallots. There were quite a few entries as you can see below.

Pickling class

And my exhbition shallots did quite well also. What they lacked in size they made up for in uniformity.

Shallots exhibition

Below are the first prize winner (bottom) and the second prize winner in the class.

Shallots winner and second

I was third in the long carrot class (my set is the second from bottom, with the second place just above mine and the first place is two from the top).

Carrot class

The best exhibit went to Mark Hall’s long carrots which were part of his large collection entry and were easily the best veg exhibit in the marquee.

Large collection

There were also some good entries in the onion and potato classes.

Onions

Onions small

Potatoes

I picked up £13 in prize money. All in all a very nice day out and I must say a big thank you to all the NVS SW DA organisers who made me feel so welcome and gave me some good tips and advice. I hope to come back with more entries next year!!

Rejection

is never easy to take. But these guys weren’t good enough to make the cut for tomorrow’s show. The parsnips had diagonal splits down the root so I’ve obviously done something wrong there – won’t affect the roasting process though!

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So the few entries I’ve got for the show are –
Mini-Collection, 3 different veg, 2 of each kind which will be long carrots, potatoes & shallots.
3 long carrots.
8 exhibition shallots.
9 pickling shallots.

That’s it, I have very low expectations – at the very least it’s a family day out and you never know I may get something.

Hope you’re all having a good Bank Holiday weekend!

Scab…….

Not a post about the 80s miners strike………my potatoes are covered in SCAB!

Scab

These are a mixture of Amour and Kestrel. Whilst fine to eat they are not going to win any prizes so I’m scratching around for my show entries for Monday!

Why is the question? They were grown in 17L polypots of a specially designed compost mix. I’ve saved the mix in bags to use again – does that present a risk of transfer? At present I don’t have the answers but if you do please leave a comment! Thanks.

Whilst I’ve been away………

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly due to a two week holiday in France (Brittany), and the heatwave beforehand which meant I was spending the vast majority of my spare time in the garden rather than on the computer!

Whilst I’ve been away my father kindly built me a potting shed so I can spend even more time in the garden!

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This was a “dead space” between the north-end of the garage and the greenhouse which didn’t get any sunlight. It’s protected from the elements with an outside light and power socket with a workbench to do various odd jobs on. Handily placed for the greenhouse and garden I think it’s going to make those winter sowing and potting on jobs so much easier. I was very impressed when I returned from holiday to see the finished result!

Carrots

I picked some carrots recently, these were grown in a couple of dustbins and the best three went as part of my Top Tray entry for my local Horticultural Society Summer Show. I wasn’t going to enter having just got back but I managed to stage a few entries in the end.

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And my shallots won first prize and best exhibit in the veg division as well which I was very pleased with. Would like them a bit bigger but they were a good shape and colour.

Dahlias

I also won first prizes for 3 of the 4 Dahlia classes I entered – I forgot to take the camera to the Show so these were taken the day after. They include Pink Giraffe which I’ve nurtured from a small tuber kindly sent to me from a fellow veg blogger. The Dahlias fill my main flower bed to the front of the house which is in full bloom at the moment against the deep purple backdrop of the tall, Red Orache running through the centre of the bed.

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I’m also pleased with my bedding plants this year which I purchased at the NVS Hampshire DA plant sale in May and potted on. This is one of the hanging baskets full of flowers.

Lots of veg coming off the plot at the moment. Our favourite by some distance are the Sungold tomatoes both inside and outside of the greenhouse. Amazing flavour and eaten like sweets straight off the plants! And the courgettes have been fruiting like crazy which we love roasted with onions and peppers. Fingers crossed the veg will keeping on going well into the Autumn. It’s not all been good though, a lot of scab on the potatoes – not sure why – and cucumbers almost died whilst I was away – they had plenty of water but turned yellow although they are starting to come back now. So as always with grow your own a mixed result but the successes far outweigh the failures. The cherry tomatoes we’ve bought in the past from our local supermarket are a million miles from the flavour we have from the homegrown ones – well worth the effort!