Any other kind of vegetable not mentioned in the schedule
8th Oct 1997
Many shows throughout the country have a class for "Any other kind of vegetable not mentioned in their schedule" and very often such classes attract quite a number of entries which can vary from a twenty pointed vegetable such as celery down to a 10 pointed one such as Courgettes.
RHS Show Handbook
The problem that often arises is that some judges will judge each specimen in the class on the points that are awarded for that vegetable in the RHS Show Handbook.
For example if one grower had two heads of trench celery and another had a pair of courgettes the first would be pointed from 20 and the latter form 10 which inevitably means that the 20 pointed vegetable usually wins. The problem arises when you have a mediocre dish of a 20 pointed vegetable staged against an excellent top quality dish of a much lower pointed vegetable as in the above example.
Suggestions to Judges
The RHS has drawn up guidelines on this very matter in their chapter on Suggestions to Judges, it reads as follows : "When judging 'any other' classes the pointing system should not be used as this is only intended for judging like against like. The criteria for judging given in the Horticultural Show handbook should be followed, but a dish of a well grown fruit or vegetable normally receiving low points should be preferred to an indifferent dish of a vegetable or fruit normally receiving high points. The question of difficulty of cultivation should only arise when there are two outstanding exhibits, one of the 'low pointed" kind and one ‘highly pointed'. In such a case the latter should be awarded the prize.
Pointing System for each Plate
This came to mind when I received a letter some tine ago from Mr Peter J Harden of Waterlooville on this very subject and I have to say that what he proposes as a further guide to judges really does make sense. What he suggests is that the whole contentious issue could be overcome by using a pointing system for each plate and then finding it"s percentage value from the accompanying chart, the prizes could then be awarded according this value. This is a system that Mr Harden introduced to the Hampshire federation of Horticultural Societies several years ago and with their blessing, apparently many of the judges in the federation use it.
What this system does is to place each dish on an even playing field so that a mediocre dish of a highly pointed kind could not get the award over a very good dish of a low pointed kind; using the percentage system brings both dishes to a common factor.
The system works as follows, lets assume that the judge awarded 13 points to the celery based on the pointing system in the RHS book whilst at the same time had given 7 points to the courgettes. The judge would look at the chart and follow down the left hand column to 13 points and then across to 20, the maximum points available on the top line; at this intersection, the celery is awarded 65% of the maximum points awarded.
If we repeat this for the courgettes we find that going down the left column until we get to 7 points and then at the intersection point under 10 points on the top line, we find that the courgettes have 70% of the maximum points awarded. The courgettes would therefore be awarded the first prize card. I would love to hear what your comments are on such a method.