Covering the Top Vegetable Shows in 2004
27th Oct 2004
Covering most of the top vegetable shows this year has been really hectic but also exhilarating at the same time.
RHS Autumn Fruit and Vegetable Competition
The last show for me to report from was the RHS Autumn Fruit and Vegetable Competition which is always a spectacle to see. Just to see the large Lindley Hall in Vincent Square full of quality fruit and vegetables was a truly amazing site. The RHS Garden from Wisley, under the supervision of their fruit Superintendent Jim Arbury, did a phenomenal job of organising the arranging of 200 baskets of fruit to celebrate the RHS Bicentenary year. A magnificent sight to behold.
Silver Knightian Medal
The Silver Knightian Medal for the most meritorious exhibit in the single dish classes for vegetables was awarded to Gerald Treweek from Brimington Chesterfield for a dish of three parsnips. They were an excellent clean white set and a brand new variety from the Tozers stable called Albion. An F1 hybrid which has excellent colour and carries it's weight slowly down the whole root, this will be available in my new 2005 catalogue.
Nottingham and North East Derbyshire District Associations
Gerald was part of the keen contingent who, together with the south Wales growers, have become the mainstay of the vegetable section. It certainly takes real dedication to travel down to London leaving Nottingham at the unearthly hour of 3.15 in the morning in order to be there by 7am to do their staging. The bus is organised by the Nottingham and North East Derbyshire District Associations and the exhibitors then have to be back on the bus by 2.30 the same afternoon for the long drive back home. A happy man on the return trip would have been David Thornton, who won the class for three long carrots with New Red Intermediate.
When you have attended as many shows as I have it becomes extremely difficult to compile a report without mentioning the same exhibitors on more than one occasion. This certainly applies this season to Charles Maisey who has really had one of his best years ever at National level. His dish of Gold Star was again of outstanding quality and won from a total of 13 dishes as well as being in contention for the most meritorious dish in the show .
Back at Home
It is now time to start clearing up a little as my garden is certainly not looking the part at the moment, the hoe hasn't been working as hard as it should and there are a few weeds to be taken care of. However I must first be getting on with pricking out my leek bulbils from my own re selected stock of the Welsh Seedling leek. I am doing them later than usual as they seem to mature a little too early for me causing splitting etc.
The weather this year was kind to my leek heads and they are, even now, apart for a little dying back at the tips of the head looking nice and fresh. This means that I have an excellent chance of getting each and every one to root. They are then simply pushed about ¼" deep into some F2S Levington Compost in half trays and well watered in.
It is though important, before you start to strike them in the compost, that you have a good look at the root plate of each bulbil that you take off the head. You are looking for freshness and a pearly white colour to the base, no signs of any corkiness and definitely no sign of any redness or pinkiness around the root plate. This would be a sure sign of fusarium and once it gets into the plant and then into your beds it's very difficult to control and even more difficult to eradicate.
If any of you have problems with White Rot in your onion bed, then Roy Criddle from Neath South Wales seems to have found his own solution to this evil disease. He removes his pipes and polythene from the bed then makes and indentation at very location where an onion was growing and soaks the hole with Armillatox at 100 to 1 dilution, 1½ gallons in each planting hole where the onions used to grow. He then uses his calor gas flame gun and directs the flame into each hole until the mixture is boiling.
Last year Roy had over half his bed of 50 onions destroyed by White Rot, this year he only had three and he's confident of eradicating it completely by next season. I wonder if this solution would do the trick for those of you suffering with fusarium as well. Another tip he told me to pass on to those of you suffering in your gardens or allotment with the White Rot is to grow a variety of onion called Golden Bear, Roy is convinced that this variety can withstand the ravages of this disease. If you try, or have tried it, I would love to know how you get on. The seed are available from Kings, phone for a catalogue or list on 01376 570 000 - email email@example.com