Medwyn Williams

Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

Sowing Dates for Exhibition Vegetable Growers

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To continue with the sowing dates and best varieties to use for showing towards the end of August and the end of September. This small series of articles has come about as a result of several phone calls and letters from growers who regularly request information regarding timing their vegetables for certain shows. The growers chosen were selected because they grew an extensive range of vegetables as well as living at different locations throughout the country.

To continue with the sowing dates and best varieties to use for showing towards the end of August and the end of September. This small series of articles has come about as a result of several phone calls and letters from growers who regularly request information regarding timing their vegetables for certain shows. The growers chosen were selected because they grew an extensive range of vegetables as well as living at different locations throughout the country.

The timings given will obviously vary and if you are located nowhere near any of those selected then you can make a good calculated guess taking the sowing dates from the nearest location to you. You must not of course take any of these dates as gospel, many things can still put a spanner in the works, in particular the great British weather which can be totally unpredictable.

Cauliflowers and Peas for instance do vary greatly with the weather and can often mature weeks earlier than planned for. With cauliflowers in particular it never pays to depend on just the one single sowing as this could be a disaster. To guarantee that you have heads for as given show time, use the dates given by the various growers and then batch sow some more, 7 days before and after their sowing dates, just to be on the safe side.

The third grower to offer his sowing dates is Bob Herbert from Mosborough Derbyshire. Bob is a certainly one of the country’s top growers and has been particularly successful with cauliflower’s and celery having won the NVS Championships on more than one occasion. He is currently Chairman of his local District Association and Vice Chairman of the Northern Branch committee. For his unstinting service to the society he was  awarded the Gold Medal this year which is the Societies highest honour.

Bob is well known throughout the country having traveled extensively lecturing on numerous topics to do with vegetables and is always prepared to help any up and coming novice grower with words of wisdom gleaned from years of solid experience. Bob is also a very highly respected National judge.

Here are Bobs’ varieties and their sowing dates for those on the list that he grows:-

KindCultivar1st Show Date2nd Show DateComments
Globe BeetPablo17th April7th July 
Long BeetRegar8th April 22nd April28th April 12th MayGrown in 40 gallon drums
Broad BeanJubilee – Hysor6th MayOne sowingsown in cold greenhouse in 4 inch pots
Green CabbageMarathon25th February17th MarchSown in cold greenhouse in 40 modules potted on into 4 inch pots in J Innes compost
Red CabbageAutoro11th February10th MarchWill hold well in rows
Runner BeanStenner selection6th May9th JuneSow in 4 inch pots in greenhouse
French BeanThe Prince17th June21st JulySow in 4 inch pots in greenhouse
Carrots LongOwn Selection New Red4th March7th AprilGrow in 40 gallon drums on top of raised beds filled with sand
Carrots StumpGringo and Yukon8th April21st AprilGrown on raised beds filled with sand
CauliflowerVirgin, Beauty and Mexico27th May16th June (Amerigo and Virgin)Sown in Multicell 40s, potted on into 4 inch pots
Trench CeleryOwn sel Ideal Evening Star Red Star Morning Star28th January 4th March 4th March 4th March3rd March 7th April 7th April 7th AprilStart them off in a propagator at 70F. Pot on into 4 inch pots using J Innes 1 and then into 5inch pots in J Innes 3
CucumberCarmen and Jessica1st  July27th JulySow in propagator at 70F when germinated pot on into 4 inch pots
Lettuce ButterheadNancy17th June21st JulySow in Cold greenhouse in Multicell 40s
Table MarrowTable Dainty1st July29th JulySow in propagator at 70F then pot on into 4 inch pots
Onions over 250 gramRe selected Kelsae28th Decemberone sowingSow in propagator at 70F then pot on when at seedling stage
Onions under 250 gramBuffalo, Bison and Toughball14th FebruaryOne sowingSow in propagator at 70F then pot on when at seedling stage
ParsnipsGladiator and Javelin25th February11th MarchGrown in 40 gallon drums of sand
PeasShow Perfection13th May3rd JuneSow in cold greenhouse in 4 inch pots
PotatoesWinston Kestrel Maxine Harmony22nd April26th MayGrow in black polythene bags using peat based compost
RadishCherry Bell15th July18th AugustGrow in Gro bags and keep well watered
TomatoesCheetah Goldstar and Typhoon20th May20th JuneSow in propagator at 70F in Multicell 40s. Transplant young seedlings into 5 inch pots in J Innes 3
TurnipsPurple Milan1st July4th August 

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