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Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

Sowing Dates Used By Showmen


This is my fourth article on the sowing dates that top showmen use in different parts of the country for a given show date. The dates selected were to coincide with two major shows in the country that these growers have competed in.

This is my fourth article on the sowing dates that top showmen use in different parts of the country for a given show date. The dates selected were to coincide with two major shows in the country that these growers have competed in. The first date was the 26th August 2002 which is the timing for the Welsh Branch championships at Margam Park South Wales. The second sowing date is the 29th September, this being the sowing date for the National Vegetable Society Championships which are held next year as part of the Malvern Autumn Show.

The growers chosen were selected because they grow an extensive range of vegetables as well as living at different locations throughout the Country. We have already had the sowing dates from John Branham who lives in Aylesbury, Jim Kirkness who lives on the Scottish Borders and Bob Herbert who lives in Derbyshire. This week we are back again in Scotland with Jim Williams who lives in Pathhead Midlothian on the Eastern side of Scotland.

Midlothian doesn’t have too high a rainfall like most other areas of Scotland and consequently they don’t suffer with too much snow either. However they do have to put up with some quite low temperatures which means that any early growing has to be started off under glass or covers. Jim is a trained biologist and is currently working on Animal diseases. He must have received some of his love of gardening from his father who was a trained nurseryman. Though Jim looked after his garden and kept it neat and tidy after he got married, it was during the seventies that he really got the showing bug. A friend took him along to one of the local shows and he soon had his first card, a third with stump carrots, a cultivar that Jim still does very well with.

He is very well known throughout Scotland being their NVS National Chairman and has been their Newsletter Editor for the past 13 years which shows the level of his commitment to the Society.  Jim has traveled extensively all over the UK, in particular wherever the National Championships are held. Jim has won at the highest level at both the National and Branch level and is always willing to help his local shows by entering his quality produce in many of their classes.

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

KindCultivar1st Show Date 26/082nd Show Date 29/09Comments
Globe BeetPabloMid April10th may 
Long BeetOwn Selection Regar15th AprilOnly One sowing 
Broad BeanOwn selected seed15th AprilMid mayCordon Grown like show peas to get maximum length of pod
Green CabbageCharmant and Regal15th AprilMid May 
Red CabbageCicero22nd JanuaryOne sowing only 
Runner BeanStenner selectionMid MayOne sowing onlySow in 4 inch pots in greenhouse
French BeanRaw Selection31st MayOnly does one sowingSow in 4 inch pots in greenhouse
Carrots LongOwn Selection New Red G Watson3rd AprilOne sowing only 
Carrots StumpGringo and Yukon9th AprilOne sowing only 
CauliflowerVirgin and Beauty5th May9th June 
Trench Celery Ideal Evening Star Red Star Morning Star (new hybrids)18th February Sow all hybrids later such as Mid MarchMid March Early April 
CucumberPetitaMid May Greenhouse grown
Lettuce ButterheadDollyMid April, in succession from that date  
Table MarrowLong Green BushEarly May Sow in warm greenhouse
Onions over 250 gramRe selected Kelsae (Mel Ednie selection)20th Decemberone sowingLifting date very important i.e. 4 weeks before show date
Onions under 250 gramToughballMid JanuaryOne sowing 
ParsnipsGladiator and Dagger11th MarchOne sowing only 
PeasOwn Selection Show Perfection10th May10th Junelater date gives little chance of success because of mildew
PotatoesWinston Kestrel Harmony2nd MayOne sowing onlyMake sure that the seed potatoes are well chitted prior to planting
RadishFrench BreakfastMid April Onwards in Succession  
TomatoesSolution7th MarchOne sowing only 
TurnipsSnowballMid May1st June 


Growing Parsnips

25th July 2007 I am often asked what is the best method of growing both long carrots and parsnips for the show

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