Sowing Dates Used by Exhibitors

10th Jan 2002

This is my sixth and final article on the different sowing dates used by 6 top exhibitors from different regions of the Country. So far the response that I have had to the articles has been very positive and encouraging for me and to the growers who helped me put it all together. One word of caution however; after many years of growing vegetables under all sorts of weather conditions, sowing dates is certainly not an exact science as it is so dependent on seasonal factors.

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The dates given in each article by my colleagues are the dates that they use and I know for a fact that they would be the first to admit that sometimes even they get it wrong. One of the two worst vegetables for timing are Cauliflowers and Celery, they are a single specimen vegetable and therefore if they are not ready for a given date or were ready a few weeks prior to that date, then there isn't a lot you can do about it. Multiple cropping vegetables such as peas beans and tomatoes are a lot easier as you can still get specimens higher up the plant a few weeks later than you had timed for.

Another question that I have been asked since these articles were published is what date to use if they do not live near to any of the growers dates. Well you may find it useful for instance if you live somewhere between Bob Herbert from Derby and John Branham from Aylesbury to split the sowing dates; For instance Bob puts in his first sowing of Gringo short carrots on the 8th April whilst John would sow them on the 20th April. If you therefore live somewhere between these two areas then why not sow your first batch on the 14th which is half way between the 8th and the 20th, you wouldn't be that far away come show day.

My last sowing dates were given by Charles Maisey from South Wales who is well known throughout the country for some exceptionally fine specimens of vegetables. Over many years Charles has performed at the highest level and has excelled with Runner Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Potatoes and Peas. Charles is quite a scholar at the exhibiting game, if you notice he never grows onions or leeks or shallots because he realised many years ago that he couldn't grow them to the standard that he would like so he dropped them. Instead he concentrated on those vegetables listed above that he did grow particularly well.

There is certainly a lesson here for many up and coming exhibitors who want to make their name at the highest level, concentrate on the vegetables you know you can grow well and make your name with them. To assist Charles with sowing dates for those items that he no longer grows he asked Jim Thompson to assist him, Jim is a National exhibitor who lives only a few miles away from him.

Charles is a National Judge and Chairman of the Glamorgan District Association of the National Vegetable Society and his vegetable plot is certainly a joy to see. Charles practices what I have repeatedly said, a mixed vegetable garden at it's peak is a work of art and more beautiful than any floral garden.

Here are Charles' varieties and their sowing dates for those on the list that he grows:-

Kind

Cultivar

1ST Show Date 26/08

2nd Show Date 29/09

Comments

Globe Beet

Red Ace

6th May

9th June

Cover shoulders with soil to prevent rough skins

Long Beet

Cheltenham green Top

15th April

One sowing

Never allow them to dry out and feed with Maxicrop

Broad Bean

Own sel

Exhibition long pod

29th April

3rd June

Seed given by a good grower many years ago

Green Cabbage

Globemaster

8th April

12th May

Matures quicker if weather turns hot

Red Cabbage

Autoro

1st April

5th May

Feed with liquid sheep manure for nice solid heads

Runner Bean

Stenner Selection

14th May

17th June

On no account must Runner Beans go without water, give plenty of liquid sheep manure

French Bean

Re selected Prince

Outside 3rd June

Under cover

17th June

Outside 7th July

Under cover

21st July

Dwarf Beans are best grown under cover in pots to prevent wind damage

Carrots Long

New Red Intermediate Re selected

20th March

1st April

grown in bore holes in barrels of sand. Cover from rain from the 1st week in July to avoid splitting

Carrots Stump

Gringo

8th April

21st April

Bore all holes the same depth

Cauliflower

Beauty Virgin Liberty

from the 7th May

Three successional sowings every ten days.

Very dependent on weather conditions

Trench Celery

Evening Star

Red Star

(new hybrids)

1st February

 

21st February

Greenhouse sown and potted up into 4 litre pots

Cucumber

Carmen

20th March

10th April

Greenhouse grown

Lettuce Butterhead

Robinson

20th May

30th June

Slightly longer time to develop a solid head later in the season

Table Marrow

Table Dainty

27th May

30th June

Place developing fruit on a sheet of glass on two bricks to avoid yellowing underneath the fruit

Onions over 250 gram

Kelsae (Derek Raw selection)

1st week in December

.

Greenhouse sown do not rush the ripening

Onions under 250 gram

Bison

14th January

one sowing

give the bulbs plenty of air when ripening

Parsnips

Gladiator

19th February

1st March

Keep rain off from July

Peas

Show Perfection

20th May

24th June

Almost impossible to keep clear of mildew in the Wales area after August

Potatoes

Winston Kestrel

 

30th April

7th May

Potatoes are removed when at the correct size from the compost and placed in containers in the same medium as they were grown in, remove the haulms 10 days before lifting

Radish

Sparkler

29th July

1st September

.

Tomatoes

Goldstar

18th March

20th April

Good tomato plants can be grown from rooted side shoots from earlier crops. Won in Harrogate 2001 from cuttings taken from tomatoes sown on the 1st February

Turnips

Snowball

16th June

20th July

keep moist at all times, if allowed to dry out will get woody and of no use for showing

I trust that the six articles have been of use to all of you who might consider exhibiting at either the Welsh Championships on the 26th of August and/or the National Vegetable Society Championships which are held at Malvern on the 29th September.

My whole hearted thanks must go to the six contributors as without their willing assistance the job could never have been completed; Also my thanks once more to Harry Atkinson who first planted the idea in my mind.


This is my sixth and final article on the different sowing dates used by 6 top exhibitors from different regions of the Country. So far the response that I have had to the articles has been very positive and encouraging for me and to the growers who helped me put it all together.
Other 2002 articles of interest

· Sowing Dates Used by Exhibitors
· A Very Demanding Month in the...
· Early Planting of Celery...
· Preparing for the seventh...
· After the Vegetable Shows,...
· Tomatoes - Peruvian Apple or...
· Growing Your Own Vegetables -...
· Runner Beans for the Show Bench
· Prize Winning Onions
· Potatoes - Varieties , Bags,...
· Preparation of Onion Beds and...
· Tullamore Show - Southern...
· Size, Quality and Uniformity...
· Advice on Staging Exhibits
· Prize Winners at the Welsh...

View All Articles from 2002
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Prize-winning exhibition vegetable seeds give you the advantage whether growing for show or just for the family. You can see our range of top quality selected seeds and horticultural sundries in our online shop