Harrogate Autumn Show 2002
10th Oct 2002
What a superb show the Harrogate Autumn really is, a treasure for all keen gardeners and the competition on the vegetable side was something to savour. There is so much interest in the vegetable classes that they are staged in a hall on their own. Next year, when the National Vegetable Society Championships are being held there, I'm positive the hall will be bursting at the seams. On the vegetable side, Harrogate is famous for the annual weighing in of the large onions, with everyone keen to see if Mel Ednie's world record of 15lb 15½ ounces will be broken.
The winner of the heaviest single onion this year was Vin Throup with a weight of 11lbs 15 and three quarter ounces, Vin won this class two years ago as well making it five times in total that he has won it. However it does really make you think how long it will be, if ever, until Mel Ednies world record will be broken. When you think that Vins onions looked massive, he was still 4 lbs short of breaking the record.
There's no doubt that if you want to be a serious contender with Runner Beans at National level, then unfortunately you have to be able to beat Charlie Maisey them. The maestro of the beans was in top form once more with his dish of nine beans being as good as any that he has staged at any level. The variety was Charlie"s own selection of the Stenner strain.
The best dish of parsnips was won by Alan Pease from Wath Upon Darne near Rotherham with a beautiful clean set of three Gladiator, they were so good that the judges awarded them the NVS medal and card for the most meritorious dish in the vegetable section. They were grown in forty five gallon drums, with an amazing 6 parsnips in each drum. The drums are filled with sand resting on a prepared bed of soil and the seed was sown during the third week in February.
The single vegetable collection are always hotly contested at Harrogate and the class for five kinds, one of each went to David Metcalfe from Nelson Lancashire. David is undoubtedly a clean exhibitor who always stages everything immaculately, a point I'm sure that the judges would not have missed out on. His six vegetables were Peter Clark Leek, New Red Intermediate carrot, Virgin Cauliflower, Gladiator Parsnip, Harmony Potato and Derek Raw's selection of Onion.
Harrogate of course wouldn't be complete without Derek Raw's marvellous little onions which he won the under 250 gram class with. However his best entry undoubtedly this year was his collection of Potatoes, the four dishes of four different kinds were something quite special, the skin condition in particular was superb. The varieties were Nadine, Winston, Harmony and Lady Christy. His mix is as follows. He sieves Irish Moss peat through a quarter mesh and fills his 12 inch polypots three quarters full before mixing in 2 handfuls of sieved Calcified Seaweed and the same of Vitax Q4. The potato is pushed into the bottom of the pot. When the haulms of the potatoes are 6 inches high the top layer is filled with just Moss peat. Derek grows 200 bags of 7 varieties.
Jim Thompson has certainly made his mark on the show benches over the past few years with short carrots or carrots other than long. The way he grows Gringo is amazing and his winning set of three were as good as any he has shown all year.