Welsh Branch Championships Aberdare 1st - 2nd September
1st Sep 2007
Welsh Branch Championships
The Welsh Branch Championships of the National vegetable Society were held this year at Aberdare through the kind Sponsorship from Rhondda Cynon Taff Council. Considering what a difficult season it’s been the majority of the exhibits were as good as ever with leeks being one of the strongest contested classes. It was excellent to see Madam Mayor Jane Ward taking such an Interest in the show as she was escorted around by the Welsh Branch Chairman Don Owens from Wrexham.
The star class of most shows are the collections and the one for six kinds was won by John Brenham with Celery Evening Star that had a beautiful tinge of red around the base, Blanch Leek Welsh Seedling, Parsnip Gladiator, Onion Kelsae, Potato Malin and Carrot New Red Intermediate. The Large Shallot class is always well catered for and it was nice to see Richard Curtis, a new face in this class winning with the variety Hative de Niort. The strain was given to Richard a few years ago by the late Bill Wise. They were planted straight into the ground during mid January and harvested in early June. Each cluster was thinned down to one and were dried out under his greenhouse staging with a cold fan running on them.
The Blanch leeks this year in both classes, the Welsh Championship class and the UK Championship Class were really superb reflecting the cool growing conditions during July that obviously favoured them. Derek Aldred won the Welsh Branch section with a very clean solid set. They were collared with DPC material in three sizes, 12, 15, and18 inch tall collars with the first collar wrapped around as soon as they were planted. His beds in the polytunnel were flooded for 24 hours and the soil was tested with his own kit which showed that the NPK levels were low. Derek then added 12 ounces to the square yard of Vitax Q4 (powder or granular – not the prill) and 4 ounces of Dolomite lime and Calcified Seaweed.
The National Potato Championship of Great Britain four five plates of five was won by none other than Sherie Plumb who seems to be destined to sweep all in front of her with potatoes for another year running. Sherie has travelled straight down to the show from Dundee where she competed in the World Potato class for 6 plates of 6 kinds which she won for the second year running. The varieties in the British Championships were – Nadine, Malin, Kestrel, Pixie (a white long to oval variety with a small pink splash around every eye and the fifth variety was Winston. In the World Championship she staged Sherine, Pixie, Kestrel, Nadine, Winston and Amour.
Not to be outdone by her mother, Emily Plumb at 16 years of age, beat everyone in her class with a pair of Cornell cauliflowers. They were sown on the 27th May, pricked out into 3 inch pots on the 3rd June and planted outside on the 29th of June. There was no one more pleased at winning that weekend than Brian Rance who won both the Welsh Onion Championship for 5 large onions and the Welsh Branch Championship for 3 large onions. In Brian’s own words ‘I have been waiting a long time for this one having been placed on numerous other occasions’ The onions were in excellent condition and measuring between 22 and 23 inches around and grown in a small polytunnel with only a slightly raised bed up to about 9 inches or so. Brian only grew 32 plants in total and the bed was given only 6 ounces of 6X per square yard.
It was nice to see some Welsh lads amongst the cards with Colin Lewis from West Wales returning after an absence of four years to win the Collection of three kinds of 20 pointed varieties, which were Carrots New Red Intermediate, Parsnip Gladiator and Onions Kelsae. The carrots and parsnips were grown in 6 inch diameter pipes 4 ft long on a narrow trench 18 inches deep filled with sand.
Mike Palmer from Brecon won the class fro 3 long beetroot with the variety Regar. Grown in 3ft by 3ft boxes 4 ft deep on fine soil with a bore made for 20 beet in the box. Each bore hole was filled with Levington F2S and the seed were sown during early April and were pulled perfectly dry with no added water.
There’s really no need to ask who won the Parsnips class. As soon as Jack Arrowsmith turns up, we know he is on a winner. The variety was Gladiator and they were nearly 12 inches around the shoulder and approaching 6 feet in length. He is undoutedly the Parsnip Maestro. Incidentaly I managed to get fourth with a fair set of Princess.
The show wouldn’t have been complete without the Wayne Rooney of the veg world – Andrew Jones from Oswestry was at his very best once again winning 5 classes with the National Tap root Championship of Great Britain being his best win. The vegetables staged were - Carrot New Red Intermediate, Parsnip Gladiator and stump carrot Favourite.
The three Novice class at the Championships is open to anyone who hasn’t won prize at the Championships before and the collection of four kinds was won by Roy Price from Telford on his third attempt. Roy had Celery Morning Star, Onion Kelsae and Carrot SK4316 on his collection. Roy has been growing since he was three years of age and remembers being paid the grand sum of 1 penny for collecting a tin full of slugs from the garden for his grandfather.
The Chairman Don Owen from Wrexham found time to win a few classes as well and must have been very pleased to beat the tomato maestro Charles Maisey into second position with a dish of Cedrico The tomatoes were grown in four Link-a-Bord boxes, two planks high 400mm wide and a metre long. The boxes sit on battens on a concrete floor and the bottom is lined with terram. A 4 inch layer of 3 year old manure is placed on the bottom and the box is then filled with an equal mixture of sterilised loam and Multi Purpose Seed Compost. The tomatoes are fed with a weak dilution of Chempak N04 at every watering> once they have been stopped, after six trusses, they are the fed with Maxicrop Tomato feed.