NVS Championships 2001 and Weekend Seminar
20th Sep 2001
The National Vegetable Society Championships were a great success once again this year, this time being held in Wales at Margam Park. How lucky we were as well to be able to stage the exhibits within the fabulous Orangery building, it was so hot on the Bank holiday Monday that had it been held in a marquee, not only would the produce have suffered the exhibitors would have wilted as well.
I had a good show, probably the best that I have had for a few years coming away with a total of 6 cards with two Firsts amongst them for Tomatoes and a Mini Collection. I have to say that winning the Mini collection for three kinds of 20 pointed vegetable, two of each kind, was a great feeling as it was the first time ever for me to win it having been placed on numerous occasions.
I managed to get Fourth Prize with my Peas which had grown really well this year, the main problem however seemed to be the speed at which they were growing, I have never had them maturing so early from a 90 day sowing. Had I sown them on 80 days I would have had a far superior amount of peas to select from. The main reason was that as the peas were showing flower I had to remove them as they would have been much too early. The consequence of that was that the Peas I exhibited came from the very top of the canes and even though I have a six foot high wall along the back of the garden near to where they grow, the winds still played havoc with them.
The pods I exhibited were 7 inches in length and an inch across with a minimum of 11 peas per pod. My main concern throughout the month of August was whether or not they would stay free of the dreaded powdery mildew which seems to fall overnight like a blanket over the plants. Control seems to be awfully difficult and I know of no chemical to suggest to the amateur grower to use. I would dearly like to know if anyone out there has been able to keep the mildew from their peas and if so, how.
It seems to start mainly on the lower leaves and then works it's way upwards finally getting on to the actual pods themselves. The problem is that it will start off as a tiny white blotch on the pea pod which makes you think you can very carefully rub it off. If you do however, you will find that the tissue underneath will have turned black and any decent judge will be on the look out for this tell tale sign. As the disease spreads amongst the peas it can actually work it"s way through the pods and into the actual peas themselves destroying any chance you may have of keeping them for the following year.
When I have harvested all the best and disease free Peas from the plants, towards the early part of next month, I shall then remove the canes and ties and hoe through the peas. The top foliage will be dug back into the ground together with the roots which have nodules on the end of them which release a good supply of Nitrogen into the soil. Once the canes have been gathered in they will be left to dry for few days before being bundled together and the ends left to soak in some Armillatox to make sure that no disease spores can overwinter in or on the canes and possibly create havoc next year.
Weekend Seminar for Keen Vegetable Growers
My Fifth weekend seminar for the keen vegetable grower is being held once again this year from Friday the 9th November through to Sunday 11th. There is no doubt that this weekend has earned it's place in people's diaries as the amount of information that can be gleaned from top growers over the weekend is phenomenal. I would sincerely like to think that those novice growers that have attended past weekends have won more red cards as a result of that knowledge. We have the following speakers this time, Jeka McVicar on the Myth and Magic of herbs. Ron Macfarlane on how to grow onions for the under 250 gram class.
Saving your own seed by Sue Stickland (a very important aspect of improving on a selected strain. John Branham is going to talk on how to grow and stage Collections whilst Jim Thompson will show how to get to the top of the tree even if you only have an allotment away from your home. John Soulsby is a top grower from the North East a who is going to talk on the A to Z of growing a range of Vegetables for the show bench. The weekend will be completed with a talk by Charles Maisey on grwoing potatoes in the ground and in polythene pots.
The cost for the whole weekend, including all the food you can eat at the beautifully located Royal Victoria Hotel at the base of Snowdon is £156.00 per person. Space is getting limited so if you want further details write to me at Llanor, Old School Lane, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey LL61 5RZ.
The winner of the weekend draw at the above venue from my seed catalogue was Mr J F Armstrong from Dronfield and the Fiskars gardening tools were won by Mr Simon Dowden of Street Somerset.