Visiting other Gardens and preparing for the Showing Season
3rd Aug 2000
I rather like the months of June through to August as there is nothing too strenuous to be getting on with on the vegetable side apart from collaring leeks and onions and basically keeping an open eye out for any pest and diseases that might spoil the whole show. At this time therefore I like to visit a few other gardens that are keen on growing vegetables for the show bench as well as for the kitchen. What could one do better with ones time than talk vegetables to your hearts consent and never get bored with the subject.
Cheshire District Association of the NVS
Towards the middle of June I had the good fortune of being able to attend an open day at John Carvers immaculate garden at Middlewich. John has certainly got the bug with the vegetables and really got stuck in only a few short years ago when a friend of his took him around George Armstrongs' garden at Eccleston Cheshire and from that point on, john was hooked. The open day was arranged in order to raise funds for the Cheshire District Association of the National Vegetable Society.
More importantly however those people that attended were really into vegetable growing and the gasps of amazement were well in evidence when they studied Johns blanch leeks and large exhibition onions. John has two large commercial type polytunnels where the leeks and onions are grown in raised beds constructed from concrete blocks and the size of them for the middle of June were terrific and if they continue to the end of the season at the same rate and keeping the same quality, John will be very hard indeed to beat.
Showing Season is Nigh
RHS Show Handbook and the NVS Judges Guide
The main showing season is now getting near so a word of warning regarding one class in particular, read your show schedule thoroughly and check in particualr which rules the particular show you are entering are judged by. There are some very important differences between the RHS Show Handbook and the NVS Judges Guide. This will be the first year for the new revised RHS book to be utilised by judges and please be careful to read it thoroughly.
One item that has change is the judging of pickling shallots, not only has the points value increased from twelve to fifteen, the size has also changed.
Each pickling shallot under RHS rules must not exceed 30 mm in diameter where as under the NVS rules each shallot must not exceed 24 mm The 6mm difference is considerable and using the wrong shallots in the wrong show could either give you the dreaded NAS card (not according to schedule) or render them to be too small for consideration in a well contested class.
No doubt some judges will be aware of these rules and the changes to them and will have endeavoured to have a ring made so that they can check whether each shallot comply with the rules. In order to help out on this matter, Malcolm Evans has had some precision rings made out of stainless steel that are extremely accurate. I would suggest that every judge who is likely to be judging pickling shallots at even the smallest shows, and most if not all of these are judged to RHS rules, should avail themselves of one of these rings.