29th October 2013
Since the demise of the Shepton Mallet Giant Vegetable Show, the event has moved to be part of the Malvern event which includes these huge vegetable specimens. Two World records were broken with Ian Neal from Newport South Wales growing a Swede that weighed in at an incredible 54kg (118.8lbs) Ian also won the heaviest carrot with a monster weighing in at 8.35kg (18lbs 6½ ounces) using a selection of Giant Carrot available from giantveg.co.uk. Peter Glazebrook is well known for his World record attempts being the current Record holder for the heaviest onion. He can now add another record to his list with the longest parsnip that extended to 5.93 metres (19.45 feet).
There was a new UK Championship competition this year for the best Trug of Vegetables which was won, as I hinted a few weeks ago, by Mike Smith from St Asaph. It took Mike over seven hours to put it together and it really looked astonishing with a very wide range of different cultivars of Vegetables in it. the Malvern Show were also hosts for the NVS Midland Branch Championships with members travelling from far and wide to compete.
There’s no doubt that it’s been an excellent year for cauliflowers and there were some terrific specimens staged with Marcus Powell from Aylesbury winning with a well formed pair of Cornell. These were grown in his Polytunnel on the allotment and were planted out into well manured beds from 3.5 inch pots. Prior to planting a scattering of Blood Fish and Bone was dusted all of and the plants were given a weekly feed of Chempak 2. Feeding was stopped when the central leaves begin to twist and the leaves were folded together to cover the curd when they were about 3 inches across.
The collection of four kinds of potatoes, three of each kind was won by John Branham with NVS Sherine, Purple eyed seedling, NVS Amour and Kestrel. The potatoes were grown in bags in a peat based mixture and were fed twice with a mixture of Phostrogen and Maxicrop when the flowers were developing and when the flowers were about to open, John believes this feed gives him good sized specimens. John also won the class for six tomatoes with the variety Cedrico.
It’s not difficult to hazard a guess as to who won the Runner Bean class, yes it was Sherie Plumb once again with 10 super specimens from her last of 5 sowings. Twenty two plants of the Stenner selection were grown in her unheated glasshouse from which she harvested 22 beans to cover both sections of the show. The plants were routinely foliar fed with Maxicrop. Sherie also won the pickling shallot class as well as being awarded the best dish in the show with her Winston Potatoes.
The Collection of three kinds of vegetables, two of each kind was won by Mark Roberts with Raleigh Cauliflower, Kelsae onions and Welsh Seedling leeks. Mark was awarded 16 points from 20 by the judges for the three vegetables, an excellent average.
Having not been well for most of the season it was great to see Derek Aldred winning at the show with his Welsh seedling leeks. Because of his illness Derek only grew 7 leeks but his skill shone through even though the plants had minimum attention.
There can’t have been many growers more pleased of having a red card than Simon Smith winning the long carrot class with three fine specimens of New Red Intermediate. His carrots grow outside under a cover of Enviromesh which prevents the carrot fly from getting at them. The barrels are on a bed of sand with 7 stations cored and bored out in each barrel. The mixture was Levington F2 with 2 ounces per gallon added of ground Calcified Seaweed. The foliage were sprayed every two weeks with Liquid Nutrimate and every carrot was pulled dry.
Don Owens has had a good year with his shallots winning with the large specimens that were planted directly outdoors in a prepared bed during early November. Don says it’s the easiest way ever to grow them with no need for any compost or pots or the need for potting on at all.
Andrew Jones had a fantastic show winning seven trophies and seems to be back to his old form. He won the class for three onions over 250grams with his own selection of Kelsae. Grown in a polytunnel on a raised concrete block bed three courses high. Andrew grew a total of ninety plants that were sown on the 20th December. They were given artificial lights from Fluorescent tubes, initially for 24 hours for the first five weeks then reduced to 14 to 16 hours and finally 12 hours prior to being planted out. They were lifted three weeks before the show and dried off under a fan on a bed of fleece in a dark shed. His soil was analysed prior to planting by Lancrop Laboratories with the results showing that no fertilisers were required at all.