Now is the best time to order your seeds, plants and sundry items for the coming growing season. I try to take advantage of whatever discounts are on offer and it’s worth checking what seed company your local gardening club / Horticultural Society is affiliated to as they tend to receive large discounts.
For example my local village club is linked to Dobies and with our online code I received just over 50% off my seed order (also 10% off plants/sundries) which is a great saving. I’m also a member of the National Vegetable Society which is linked to Marshalls who offer a straight 10% off orders over £30.
I had plenty of seeds left over from last season which are still viable so only needed to stock up on a few such as leeks and squash. I’ve bought some strawberry plants and a few extra raspberry canes – Marshalls added 5 free strawberry plants as I had just over £20 of soft fruit and with a few sundry items I received the 10% discount for an over £30 spend. I know these offers are there to tempt you in but if you were going to buy the items anyway it’s worth shopping around.
One final recommendation at this time of year is to visit a local potato day if you can. They are a great place to buy cheap seed potatoes – all of which can be bought as singles or in packs so you can try out different varieties very cheaply. Plus they have lots of veg growing related stalls – my local Potato Day is the Hampshire one based at Whitchurch, well worth a visit.
A photo of the long roots, trophies and rosettes from the New Forest Show that finished today.
I will put the carrots down to seed as I did last year. The parsnips are F1 seed so may not come true so I will just eat them instead!
As I mentioned in the previous post my mate Darren also did very well at the show. We decided to have a joint pic of our haul….a successful week all in all!
Well with all the prep and staging complete today was the big day! And after the morning’s judging was complete I was very pleased to be among the cards. As I mentioned in previous posts at the New Forest Show there are two sides to the vegetable competition – the National Vegetable Society Southern Branch Championships (NVS rules) and the New Forest Open (RHS rules). I had entries in both sides and I was particularly hopeful with my long roots – both the carrots and parsnips.
On the NVS side first up was the parsnips and I was amazed to see I won a red card – first place – the first year that I had grown long parsnips in the sand box.
Next up was my favourite class – the long carrots.
And another red card! I was really chuffed to win 1st place for both the long root classes. This was the first time I’d entered the long roots in the New Forest Show – last year we were in France and with the carrots I entered in the NVS south west DA show maybe I’d have won the New Forest Show if I’d have been there. So I knew I could grow a decent specimen and this year they did the business.
It was a well contested class too with nine entries.
I also took a third place for my beetroot.
On the Open side I was surprised to see I’d won first place for my potatoes – a set of the variety Kestrel. I thought they were a bit on the small size but the judge must have favoured their uniformity and condition over size.
I didn’t realise but there was also prize money attached which was a bonus and at the presentation dinner in the evening I picked up a couple of trophies.
The Holderness Fork for parsnips.
And the Bob & Ann Brown trophy for long carrots. It was carrot seed from Bob that got me started in the first place so I’ve come full circle now winning his trophy.
There were a few entries that didn’t get anywhere. On the NVS side white potatoes, coloured potatoes, french beans and peas and on the Open side stump carrots, beetroot and cherry tomatoes.
Finally it was good to see the Hampshire DA members well represented and in the cards particularly Darren who has given me a lot of guidance and helped me prep my entries. You can read Darren’s post on the show which has loads of extra photos here. A great day!!
The New Forest Show is just a week away now and I have a few potential entries coming along nicely.
My favourite show veg are the long carrots and parsnips which look good at the moment. Of course you never know what the quality is like below the surface until they are pulled but judging by the top growth they should be good enough to enter.
The dwarf French beans are going crazy at the moment with loads for the kitchen and the best ones starting to be cut and saved for the show. I have 25 plants in a 6′ square area and any excess beans will go in the freezer for the Autumn.
This year is the first time I’ve grown peas for show and have a lovely crop at the moment. The bottom ones will start to go over now but I will have plenty to select from on the day.
There’s two sides to the vegetable competition at the New Forest Show – the “Open” side which anyone can enter and the National Vegetable Society member’s side which is the NVS Southern Branch Championship. Classes are slightly different on each side. For example the Open side does not have long root classes but does have cherry tomatoes which the NVS side does not.
I’m entering potatoes, stump carrots, beetroot and cherry tomatoes on the Open side and long carrots, parnsips, white potatoes, coloured potatoes, peas, french beans and beetroot on the NVS side.
So this weekend will be a busy one. The potato haulms were cut back a week ago and the bags moved under cover. I wanted to leave them as long as possible to allow them to grow but also needed to give them enough time to dry out and the skins to harden. This allows cleaning without the skins breaking the day before the show. If they are lifted and then cleaned straight away the skins will break. This is the one thing that can give the edge at Village Show level as most entries will not be cleaned to the same extent as the bigger shows.
On Saturday I’ll take a look and see what the potatoes are like, hopefully I will be able to group them into sets and have the three entries I need. On Sunday I will pull and clean the roots and beetroot – keeping them wrapped in wet cloth (or dry cloth for the parsnips) right up to putting them on the show bench. This leaves the potatoes to be cleaned on Monday morning and wrapped in dry cloth with the cherry tomotoes and peas to be picked last thing. Hopefully by then I will have enough French beans cut to choose a set from.
Then on Monday evening its off down to the show to stage which takes place between 6pm and 8am on Tuesday with people travelling a fair distance to enter. Then it’s judging time with the anticipation of a possible card come lunchtime on Tuesday. We’ll see……….there’s a lot of work to do before then!!
Posted in Grow Veg
Tagged beetroot, Carrots, cherry tomatoes, Dwarf French Beans, long carrots, National Vegetable Society, New Forest Show, NVS, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Stump Carrots