Difficult to Judge - Globe Beetroot
8th Apr 1998
If someone asked me which vegetable I dislike judging the most then the answer would more than likely be the globe beetroot, mainly because they are relatively easy to grow to a good standard so, even at the smallest of village shows, you can be faced with quite a number of entries in the classes and I have on more than one occasion questioned myself after the judging "did I get that right?"
Globe and Cylindrical
The beetroot are divided into two categories for exhibition purposes, the first being the Globe and Cylindrical, in the RHS Horticultural Show Handbook they are awarded a maximum points value of 15 for a perfect dish. These points are divided as follows : Condition 5, Colour of Flesh 5, Uniformity 5.
The second category is Beetroot long which has a maximum points value of 18 and these are given as follows : Condition 5, Size and Shape 4, Colour of flesh 5, Uniformity 4.
There is no doubt that it's a lot easier to grow the cylindrical and globe beet than it is to grow the long one hence the difference in points value, indeed many exhibitors for many years, particularly over the border in Scotland, have said that the points value of long beet should be increased to 20 in line with the long carrots and parsnips. Well their wish has now been granted in part, because the new National Vegetable Society Judges Guide that is out for the first time this year shows that the long beetroot points has been increased to 20. The points have also been altered - Condition 6, Uniformity 4, Shape 4, Size 3, Colour 3. The new points will only apply when the show schedule specifically states that the entries are to be judged in accordance with the NVS judges Guide.
The RHS handbook will still be the judging guide if the schedule states that the vegetables are to be judges according to RHS rules. If therefore you intend to have a go at various shows this coming Summer, do make sure that you read the schedule properly in order to find out which rules are in operation on the day. Believe me the two books are not the same, not only are the points value different, the merits and judging hints are also completely different.
Anyone who intends to exhibit or judge vegetables this coming year would be well advised to buy a copy of the NVS Judges Guide and familiarise themselves with it"s contents. The guide can be purchased from the General Secretary Mr Len Cox, 33 Newmarket Road, Redcar, Cleveland TS10 2HY, the cost is £3.50 plus 55 pence to cover post and packing. It's really good value for the money, is well put together and what I personally liked about it is the stiff plastic cover with a circular clip binder which allows you to open the book at any page and lay it flat on the table.
The sowing dates for both the globe and the long will depend on when you want to exhibit them as you don't want either to grow to large. In my case, for the County Show at Anglesey which is held during the middle of August, I would sow the long beet in a weeks time and the globe towards the end of the month. For later shows you obviously need to adjust the timing. Don't forget that if you are showing six weeks later, it doesn't mean that you sow the seed six weeks later, always bear in mind that as the season progresses so the weather gets warmer and the soil temperature increases which means that both germination and seedling development will be faster.
The varieties to use for the globe is Red Ace, and Pablo which is available from Suttons as well as the new variety that I have listed in my catalogue this year called Red Arrow. For the long beet the Reselected Exhibition Long Black is very good as is Regar and in the last two years the Reselected Cheltenham Green Top has been winning at the highest level. This is a light red rather than the dark red beet with a beautiful tender flesh that cuts easily and has less of a tendency for twisting than the other. My mixture for growing the long beetroot in bore holes in a raised bed is exactly the same as my mixture for long carrots with the exception that no lime is added to the mix.
Some interesting notes on Beetroot
It is a medicinal and curative plant, believed three or four centuries ago to be an antidote against yellow jaundice and many other illnesses. They were grown in Roman times when they were probably appreciated more for their leaves than the root. The cultivated red beet originated in Germany and then introduced to Italy around the fifteenth century. The yellow beet was actually favoured first and only later was there an increase in the cultivation of red beetroot. From the dietetic standpoint the cooked beet contains up to 10% carbohydrates mostly in the form of sucrose, a considerable amount not found in other vegetables. The quantity of Protein, between 1.5% and 2% is good with the percentage varying with the soil conditions. The calories supplied by 3½ ounces (100grms) of beetroot are 46, more than double the average of other vegetables. The vitamins is however very low and in the case of vitamin C is reduced to less than half by cooking.
World Potato Championship
The World potato Championship that took place for the first time last year as part of the Ayr show is to be repeated once more this year, the venue is still to be decided on but it will be over the border in Scotland. the price money last year amounted to £1,000 and the organisers are hoping that the price money this coming Summer will also be substantial. There is however a change in the schedule, last year the class was for six dishes of six different varieties, this time it will be 6 dishes of five different varieties and the organisers are hoping that more exhibitors will have a go at this prestigious competition. The judges have already been selected and are the same as last year, Mr Ron Macfarlane, Mr Charles Maisey and Mr Jim Williams.
Why don't you have a go at this competition, there is plenty of time to get the potatoes planted and the organisers inform me that they will accept postal entries, these entries of course will not be returned. I shall give you more details of the venue and the dates etc. as soon as they have been agreed.