Masterclass Weekend

by on October 31, 2015
in Vegetable Growing

There are still a few places left on my weekend which is from Friday 6th to the 8th of November if you are interested please phone me on 01248 714851  or email – medwyn@medwynsofanglesey.co.uk. Please see my introductory letter and  programme below –

Friday 6TH November – Sunday 8th November 2015

Dear Friends

This will be my 17th consecutive Masterclass Weekend for vegetable growers and I have tried to make it as interesting as possible whilst at the same time taxing our brains a little. Whilst it’s difficult to continually get new speakers on varied topics, I’m convinced it’s going to be every bit as good as all the others we have enjoyed in the past. Although very challenging and time consuming, I have had great fun formulating every weekend over the years and a few of you have attended all previous 16 weekends. This year I have introduced a lecture on flowers and this will be given by Gill Hazel from Clutton, Bristol on Gladiolus.

The cost for the whole weekend this year is £222.00. per person. Should you be bringing a wife or partner, who will not be attending the lectures, the cost will be £160.00. If you intend to participate, please send a deposit of £80.00 per person with the enclosed booking form, as soon as possible, to guarantee your reservation. Please note that the hotel is under new management and is tightening up on reservations and I have only been allowed a certain number of bedrooms. It would therefore be appreciated if you can send your deposit in as soon as possible, so that I can pre book enough rooms. Unfortunately there is also a Single Room Supplement of £15.00 to be paid to cover the Weekend.

Should you have any queries please don’t hesitate to give me a ring and I look forward to seeing you for another great and unique Masterclass Weekend.

Yours Sincerely

Medwyn

Medwyn Williams MBE AHRHS

Medwyns of Anglesey

THE VEGETABLE MASTERCLASS WEEKEND

Friday 6th – Sunday 8th November 2015

THE ROYAL VICTORIA HOTEL LLANBERIS

PROGRAMME OF SPEAKERS

Friday 6th November

16.00 – 18.30 Arrive at The Royal Victoria Hotel to check in and relax before dinner.

18.30 – 19.50 A four course evening meal will be served (you may order wine at your table)

20.00 – 21.15 “Plant Breeding” Nick Bolton, Market Development Manager for Hazera Seeds. 1982 BSc Applied Biology University of Bradford. 3 years working for ADAS (MAFF) as a Plant Pathologist. 10 years working for Syngenta Crop Protection on fungicide development trials. 7 years working for Germains UK as a seed coating development manager. 3 years working for Syngenta seeds as a European seed technology manager. 13 years working for Nickersons (now Hazera) as a vegetable crops product development manager. 2 years working for Hazera as a market development manager.

Nick’s current role involves working with UK growers and Hazera breeders on steering their breeding effort in the correct direction to meet the needs of varieties of mainly brassica crops for the UK market in the future.  This involves analysing consumer trends (changing eating habits), analysing markets, placing new varieties with leading growers and assessing varietal performance in all regions of the UK and Ireland.

A lot of his work is with variety trials in cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts in Lincolnshire, Cornwall and Scotland.  He also gets involved in assessing new melon and watermelon varieties imported from Brazil and Costa Rica in the winter months (as these are important breeding programmes for Hazera).

He has always had an interest in plant breeding and it’s fascinating to see how plant breeding techniques have evolved  since Gregor Mendel started crossing tall and short pea varieties in the mid 1800’s! As usual on our Friday night, a talk that will expand our knowledge on another aspect of vegetables.

21.15 – 21.30 Question and Answer session.

21.30 – Time to relax after your long journey and perhaps share your gardening experiences with some of the speakers, fellow growers and exhibitors. Why not even enjoy a night cap at the bar before retiring!

Saturday 7th November

8.009.00 Cooked Breakfast

9.00 – 10.15 ‘ The Story So Far’ by David and Olive Peel, Mirfield, West Yorkshire. This talk is basically an account of what David and his wife Olive have achieved since they got their allotment in 2008. Olive always says that it’s not about blowing their own trumpet but to let people see what can be done, ‘even if like us, you had never grown a vegetable in your life before’!! It really is commendable what this husband and wife team have achieved with their determined effort to grow their own vegetables. They are also keen Exhibitors competing at many shows and have, to my knowledge, won the class for French Beans at the National Vegetable Society Championships when they were held at Llangollen.

10.15 – 10.30 Question and Answer session

  • – 10.45 Coffee / Tea Break

10.45 – 12.00 ‘Growing Apples and Pears in the Allotment or Garden’ by Gerald Edwards, Pinner, Middlesex. Gerald is Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit Group, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee and a member of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit Trials Forum. Gerry is an experienced horticultural judge with specialities in fruit and vegetables and has won ten Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medals for displays of top fruit at the Royal Horticultural Halls at Westminster in London.

Gerald judges fruit nationally for the Royal Horticultural Society, provides fruit judging training and is a qualified National Vegetable Society judge. Gerry is also a Fellow of the National Vegetable Society. Gerald’s talk will cover everything from preparing a site through to planting – choosing varieties as well as pruning and maintenance. This is the second time that Gerry has talked to this group, the last talk being on the judging of Fruit.

12.00 – 12.15 Question and Answer session

12.15 – 14.15 A buffet lunch after which you have an opportunity to take a walk around the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hotel or perhaps a walk down to the Snowdon Mountain Railway in the village of Llanberis.

14.15 – 15.30 ‘Commercial Production of Land cress, Radish and Lettuce’ by Paul Corfield, Hoveton, Norwich. Paul is undoubtedly an entertaining speaker who gave us a talk last year on Perlka. He retired from the seed trade in 2014 after 27 years with Clause UK, part of the Limagrain group of seed houses. His role with Clause was as a specialist in root crops, cauliflowers and endives. Varieties that he has selected for the UK are the Green Top Turnip Alderton, trialled over a number of years before naming after the village in Suffolk where the selection process took place, Daisy a tres fine maraichere endive, Carrots Match, Gladiator and Set.

His role also involved the positioning of varieties within a grower’s cropping programme. This was particularly important with cauliflowers as some growers in Kent try to have Cauliflowers for 52 weeks of the year, one grower uses over 100 varieties with some being his own selections.

Being a seed specialist has been a great job, with his career spanning the sale of Ops, ‘open pollinated varieties’, the introduction of F1 Hybrids and the improved CMS system of seed production. Paul has also seen the demise of Market Gardeners, Wholesale Markets and local Greengrocers with the rise of the Supermarkets and their desire to have only a few suppliers be it fruit or vegetables.

The changes he has seen over the last 40 years of being involved in vegetables have been immense and it’s difficult to imagine what is likely to happen in the future although there are several industrial / sterile production systems being looked at, particularly in Japan.

Paul’s talk will look at the production of some different unusual crops namely Radish, Corn Salad and Endives. There are sophisticated growing techniques being used to produce crops as cheaply as possible for the Salad Bags and the fresh market. The talk will illustrate the commitment  UK Growers have to supply top quality produce to their customers.  This talk will be very interesting indeed and I’m sure we will be amazed at the modern techniques now used by growers.

15.30 – 15.45 Question and Answer session.

15.45 – 16.00 Coffee / Tea Break

16.00 – 17.15 ‘So you Think you know Gladiolus!’ by Gill Hazel, Clutton, Bristol. The reason Gill uses this title is because she starts off by showing pictures and explaining about the wild, species and smaller types of gladiolus and people often say afterwards ‘I didn’t know that’. She will go on to show how they trial and grow new varieties in Holland and how to grow them here and then show the different types for exhibition.

Gill and her late husband John started growing gladiolus to create some friendly rivalry with friends at their local village flower show.  They then bought their corms from Great Western Gladiolus who sold corms of exhibition varieties. When John retired he took over the business from Frank Hartnell who wanted to concentrate on growing rather than selling corms.

Gill has kept the business going since John died and she hopes her daughter will be taking it over from her after this year. Gill tells me it’s a PowerPoint presentation, though as straight pictures without any fancy moving bullets etc. That sounds good to me and I know a few vegetable growers who are interested in Gladiolus as well.

17.15 – 17.30 Question and Answer session.

17.30 – 18.15 Time to relax and do your own thing before your evening meal, you may even feel the need to enjoy a drink at the bar!!

18.15 – 19.30 Time to indulge yourself in a four course evening meal. (you can order your wine at the table from the Victoria’s reasonably priced selection)

19.30 – 20.45 ‘Brassicas from the Allotment’ by John Bebbington, Crewe. John is an NVS Judge and a tremendously keen vegetable grower on his allotment at Crewe. Over the past few years he has really broken through winning with his exhibits at the highest level with quality specimens. It’s never easy to win at the Highest level even when your vegetables are growing in you back garden. When you have to grow them on an allotment it makes it increasingly difficult. John will start with how he used Green Manure on his allotment last year with excellent results. John has sectioned off an area to grow club root resistant brassicas and he will talk about Giant Cabbages, Cauliflowers and Brussels Sprouts.

20.45 – 21.00 Question and Answer session.

21.00 – For the next hour or so entertainment will be laid on for you which I have yet to decide on!

Sunday 8th November

8.00 – 9.00 Cooked breakfast

9.00 – 9.15 Photo call, bring your camera along and take a group photo as a memento of the occasion.

9.15 – 10.45 ‘Growing Large Onions for Exhibition’ by David Metcalfe, Nelson, Lancashire. David hardly needs any introduction as he is well known to most of you through his fantastic results on the show bench at the very highest level. His talk will give us a complete picture on how he grows such high quality large exhibition onions, starting with propagation using artificial lighting as well as growing from seed and pips.

David has had some marvellous success over the past few years using ‘Airpots’ and he’ll tell you what his (no longer) secret growing medium is. The timing and harvesting of the bulbs as well as preparing them for the show bench. David will also describe how he deters insects and soil pathogens from attacking the bulbs during growth as well as the eventual skin quality.

10.45 – 11.00 Question and Answer session.

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee / Tea Break

11.15 – 12.30 ‘Gardeners Question time with the Speakers’. A roundup of the weekend. It doesn’t matter how well you listened to the talks, there’s always that gardening problem or question that you forgot to ask that may be still bothering you. It allows you the opportunity to ask the speakers further questions on vegetable growing that may not even be related to any subject discussed during the seminar – why not challenge them with a problem that’s been a source of worry to you for so long .

12.30 – Traditional Welsh Sunday Lunch before departing .

*Please note that the time limit allowed for each speaker will have to be adhered to but may have to vary to suit circumstances outside of my control*

A Date for your Diary – The 2016 Seminar will be held from the 10th to the 12th November.

Medwyn.

 

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