Tag Archives: NVS

After the show………

A photo of the long roots, trophies and rosettes from the New Forest Show that finished today.

Veg & trophies

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!

Trophies

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!

NVS Southern Branch Championship at the New Forest Show

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.

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.

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.

Long carrot display

It was a well contested class too with nine entries.

I also took a third place for my beetroot.

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.

Potatoes open side

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.

Holderness Fork for parsnips

The Holderness Fork for parsnips.

Bob & Ann Brown Trophy for Long Carrots

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!!

Show Rejects

Busy day today in the rain, I had to start early with my prep for the New Forest Show, there’s no way I would have fitted it all in tomorrow.

As always there’s a few reject. Here’s some of the roots that didn’t make the grade……

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I have a good set of long carrots – there was 11 to choose from and I had a set for this show and I also “laid down” my second set to see if they will keep for the local NVS DA show in mid-September.

Cleaning the carrots is always a time consuming task. First a hose off to remove any soil and also use the hose from the top to get rid of any soil that may be between the leaf stalks. Then using a soft sponge clean around the carrot (not up and down) and remove any hairs. Then using a tooth pick carefully clean around the top and wipe clean. Then store in damp jay clothes and keep wet and out of the light.

The stump carrots were ok to enter in the Open side but nowhere near as good as Darren’s.

And with the parsnips I had the usual shower’s problem, with only a couple left I had three matching pairs – unfortunately I couldn’t get a third for my largest pair which are the best set I’ve ever grown but I did get a match for my medium pair so I stopped there leaving the smaller ones to grow on for the DA show. Cleaning parsnips is similar to carrots however they need to be bone dry after cleaning wrapped in kitchen towel and again kept in the dark.

I also cleaned up a couple of sets of beetroot wrapping in wet clothes.

Tomorrow – another full day with cleaning 14 potatoes, sorting out 12 french beans, and picking the peas and cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are my only doubt just not sure I’ll get all 15 perfectly ripe that I need. We’ll see tomorrow evening.

Potato prep

I mentioned in my last post that the potato bags had been moved under cover 10 days ago to allow them to dry out and the skins to harden. With so much to do this weekend I wanted to get them emptied and sorted today to see whether I had any sets or not.

I’ve entered two classes in the NVS side of the New Forest Show – white and coloured potatoes, five of each – and I’ve also entered the open side which is four of any variety. There is also a South of England Potato Championship but I don’t grow enough potatoes or enough varieties to attempt this section.

spud set up

The first thing to do was to empty the bags one by one. At this stage I’m keeping any between approx 5 and 8 ounces separate burying them in peat to keep them in the dark and fresh. Any under or over this size go into the eating box to be transferred to hessian sacks and the seed potato / plant material goes into the green recycling bin. Finally the used compost is bagged up for next year.

kestrel

Once all the bags are emptied the potatoes are lined up according to size and as I don’t grow many it’s relatively easy to put a set together. The group at the bottom is a possible open side of the show entry and the group above is the NVS entry. The Kestrel were a bit under sized in general whereas the Winston had been left too long – some of them were massive, with one weighing in at over a pound – good for jacket spuds but no good for show. That said I also managed to get a set for the NVS and a possible set for the open from the Winston as well.

winston

Arranging the Winston.

spuds in peat

Then the sets are marked up in boxes of fresh peat until Monday when they will be cleaned and wrapped in dry kitchen towel ahead of staging on Monday evening.

Potatoes aren’t really my speciality and with 20 bags grown in total it’s not many to select from but you never know we’ll see what happens on the day.

One week to go

The New Forest Show is just a week away now and I have a few potential entries coming along nicely.

carrots July 2015 (3)

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.

beans July 2015 (2)

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.

peas July 2015 (1)

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!!

Core Blimey!

Lovely sunny day today so, with a day off work, I decided to crack on and core out for the long carrots. It’s the same approach as the parsnips, which went in three weeks ago. The carrots occupy a second sand box which is right next to the one with the parsnips in. The box is 3 foot square and approx. 5 foot high filled with 2 tonne of grit sand. This has been allowed to settle for a few months before coring. I planned to get 16 holes done which takes about 4 hours to complete. Starting off with a 1 1/2″ pipe I take out the sand to the required depth then move on to a 2 1/2″ pipe before cleaning the hole out with the final 3″ diameter pipe and going back to the smaller pipes to hoover up any sand that doesn’t come out with the 3″ pipe. It’s quite a laborious task and I core out 4 holes at a time before filling with the mix, then moving on to the next four.

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This picture shows the first few holes cored out with the 2 1/2″ pipe in shot.

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I use a tractor diesel funnel to get the mix into the hole, tamping down with the handle end of a hoe every so often to make sure the mix is settling properly. A small piece of pipe is then placed on top of the filled hole. This serves a couple of purposes early on – to mark where the hole is and to allow additional mix to be banked up around the emerging seedling so protect it in the early stages of growth. Once well developed the piece of pipe can come off.

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I then dampened the mix, sowed four seeds in each hole and covered the boxes with fleece and polythene. I’ll keep an eye on them every 2-3 days to keep the mix moist and check for germination. The seed is a reselected strain of New Red Intermediate from former NVS National Champion Bob Brown who lives over the hill from me and is kind enough to pass on his growing knowledge and spare seed.

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I also sowed some stump carrots (Sweet Candle) last weekend in an opened ended plastic container about 2 foot deep that I sat on top of one of my raised beds on a few layers of weed membrane. I filled it with grit sand and cored out a dozen holes 12″ deep. I’m hoping this will give me a few decent specimens in time for the New Forest Show at the end of July.

Glad that’s done, the roots are one of the big early season jobs which is great to get out of the way. I’ve also sowed chillies, peppers, aubergines and tomatoes in the heated propagator. Things are gathering pace now, time to draw breath for a couple of weeks before sowing cabbage at the beginning of March and then potatoes mid-March. Looking forward to milder and longer days to fit all of this in!!

NVS Hampshire District Association Show

Today was our District Association show which, for the first time, we’ve moved from the Tuesday evening “mini-show” format to a full blown day show. We weren’t sure what response we would get but we weren’t disappointed with the turnout and the standard of entries was excellent, a really good competition.

A couple of people we’d met at the Corsley Show last month – Ray Scrivens and Harry Godden – came down for the day which for Ray was a 70 mile trip from Gloucestershire, great to see the word was out and they’d made the journey down.

Show

These pictures will give you an idea of the entries. Everyone was tucking into food, teas and coffees during the staging and through the judging. This made it a great social occasion and a good opportunity to share ideas and pick up tips. Afterwards there was a chance to quiz the judges and get their view on what they look for on certain exhibits which I’m sure gave people some pointers for next year.

Veg

My favourite class is the long carrots which I won last month at the NVS South West District Association show. I managed to get a set of three from the final half a dozen or so I had left although they weren’t as good as Darren’s who was showing for the first time this year because his carrots were held back by conditions earlier on. I was pleased with a second place.

Long carrots

Pickling shallots

The pickling shallots were the same I entered last month and I picked up a third place.

Shallots and onions

There were some good quality entries in the shallot and onion classes.

Tomatoes

The surprise was my cherry tomatoes – Sungold – the only non-red tomato in the class – which picked up a second. I’d only picked ten the evening before and entered the best six. There was not much to choose between them and the first place but, as I wasn’t expecting anything, I was pleased with the result.

Tomatoes (2)

The tomato entries.

Collection

The collection was hard fought with only half a point between Darren and Harry Godden. The class was for three twenty point veg – 1 of each. Darren and I both entered a long carrot, a parsnip and a potato. I was a few points off the pace with 45 out of 60 and out of the places. Darren won with 53.5 points and picked up the NVS Silver Medal for winning this class. He also picked up a first for his set of parsnips proving he is hard to beat when it comes to the long roots, a great show for him when you consider the upheaval of the last year getting set up in his new place.

Stumps

The stump carrots was another good class.

Any other veg

Any other veg was won by Harry with his leeks – last month at Corsley he won best in show with leeks.

Beans

The bean classes.

Potatoes

The potato classes.

Best in Show potatoes

Best in show went to Heather with a great set of Kestrel.

Dahlias

There was also a flowers and pot plants section which included quite a few classes for my favourite flowers – Dahlias. I only wish I could grow them to this standard, they were superb and here’s a few pictures to show you what I mean. You will be pushed to find better as there were some top level Dahlia growers involved.

Dahlia1

Dahlia 2

Dahlia 3

Dahlia 4

So the end of the season from a showing perspective. I picked up my first NVS red card last month and today I had three more places picking up some nice rosettes. Not bad considering I didn’t have a huge amount to choose from. Unfortunately the exhibition shallots, potatoes, stump carrots, beetroot and any other veg entries didn’t come anywhere but it helped make the show and it’s good to see many classes with 6 or more entries in.

I’m sure this show will go from strength to strength now and be one of the best in the area. It is open to all so if you fancy having a try come on down it would be great to see you next year.