The Royal Welsh Show and ZEBBA!
Sunday 29th July
I have just returned from the Royal Welsh Show last Friday morning after a tremendously hot week there. The difference in climate between Anglesey and Builth Wells where the show is held is unreal. All last week on the island here was dull, raining and windy while they had glorious weather at the show. I returned to the show after an absence of over twenty years and won a Large Gold Medal and the Best in Show. The new parsnip to replace Polar pulled very well, it only has a number so far but looks very promising with good length and carries its weight evenly along a very white skinned body.
My Sweet Candle was a disaster and I should never have moved them from the tunnel to outdoors. The foliage was yellowing after the willow aphid got at them and many had split because of the rotten weather we are having on the island here. My first batch of potatoes were good with some of the newer varieties looking like they could be excellent for the show bench. I shall wait until I empty out the later batch which is intended for Malvern before I comment further on them.
In my catalogue next year we may be selling a product called Zebba which is an organic based gel with a level teaspoon sufficient to set a pint of water. This is currently being used by some potato growers on light soils who are having a much improved yield by using it. Purely as an experiment we tried some on the potatoes using my own potato mix and adding 100 gram to 20 litres of compost and 150 gram to 20 litres of compost. The thinking is that should the bags happen to be slightly on the dry side it will prevent the potatoes from having netted or rough skins.
We used the potato Blue Belle in the experiment and when I emptied out the bags it was noticeable that the Zebba was clinging around the potatoes but rubbed off fine. It is also supposed to make the nutrients hang on in the bag longer which of course would require less feeding. One of the bags had a very even set of four potatoes which I have stored back in dry peat for use in the Malvern Autumn Show. I can see this product being very useful indeed when we have a dry Summer and when possibly the potatoes could be under stress.
I was very pleased that Darren Blick won with his white potatoes, Winston, at the NVS Southern Branch Championships as part of New Forest show, even beating Sherie Plumb into second place. He also won the Coluo
red class in the New Forest Open Show all grown using my potato mix. Well done Darren.