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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.

Visit to Hampshire DA and Short Carrots


What a lovely Spring we are having, this time last year I had over an acre of potatoes planted and I was seriously considering watering them as it was so hot and dry.  It’s been so cold this March that the weeds aren’t growing and that says it all!

Last weekend I gave a talk over at Salisbury for the Hampshire DA with over a 100 present. I stayed the Saturday night with Bob Brown who suffers with Muscular Dystrophy and yet he still loves his garden. His next door neighbour is Chris Hewlett who helps Bob a lot with the planting etc. When going around Chris’s garden he had just sowed his Sweet Candle Carrots, over a 100 bore holes and he had a novel way of growing them. Short carrots Chris Hewlett just sown them (3)

When I sow my short carrots I always fill the bore holes to about an inch short of the surface.  This is to allow me to naturally cover the shoulder of the carrot as it develops thereby preventing the shoulders from being exposed to daylight and greening over.  Both Chris and Bob have taken this a stage further by inserting pieces of piping into the bore hole with the top of the pipe about an inch above the sandy bed.

The short pieces of piping, about 3 inches in length, have been sawn from the same type of pipe as they core the sand out with.  This serves a very useful function by leaving the upper surface of the filled compost level at all times whilst the seed are germinating. The problem that I experience is that during watering, there is a tendency for the side of the bore hole to trickle in on top of the sown seed thereby making the depth that the seed has to germinate through much deeper. This will also lead to an uneven germination of the bed.  I certainly like this idea and it’s something you only have to invest in once as the pipes, after they have germinated and been thinned down to a strong young plant, can then be kept until required the following year.

Both the early sown leeks and Onions for Tatton park Show are still doing well with the onions on 16 leaves and starting to swell out.  The leeks are on their 15 inch collar and nearly ready to get an eighteen inch one.  They are probably the best leeks I have ever had at this time and as I have already said previously, I just hope they don’t go to seed! Pendle leek over an inch across and on 15 inch collars with abutton at 132 210313

I also potted up some of my old heritage parsley, Faulds.Faulds Parsley in large pot 180313 (4) This is undoubtedly the best type of parsley to grow, either in classes or for garnishing.  These large plants will now be my stock plants for seed production later on this year.  When we put together the displays at shows we actually take 100 pots of parsley with us for garnishing between the various dishes of vegetables.



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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3 thoughts on “Visit to Hampshire DA and Short Carrots

  1. Hi Medwyn, i do my stumps a similar way to this. I cut an old 3.5in pot and leave the top 2in. This is then inserted in to the top of the cored hole once filled and does the same job.



  2. hi,i am from the north east of england in Co Durham,my show is the “nd sat in september,when should i plant my stump and long carrots,
    also what ype of cauliflower should i plant and when should i sow them

    1. You need to sow your long carrots as soon as you can now and the stump carrots, if they are Sweet Candle will need around 22 weeks to fully develop with some growers now allowing even 26 weeks. Work your sowing date back from the show date. Personally I think it depends on how and where you grow them and what sort of season it is. If they are grown outdoors, particularly this year with the consistent cold weather we are experiencing, they will certainly need longer than those grown in a polytunnel. Timing is everything with Caulis, Sow a couple of varieties, a small amount of seed every now and then starting from the end of this month onwards every 10 days or so. Sapporo does well for me as does Raleigh and Boris.

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