Page 36 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 36

 members articles
   Growing for showing part three
Whilst you have been growing your crops, hopefully you have obtained a schedule of the show(s) you wish to enter. Note the date(s), when staging (setting up your exhibits) is allowed, and how long you have. Check which classes you intend to enter and how many specimens are required for each exhibit. If the schedule states 4 carrots, there is no point in putting in 3 or 5
or you will get the dreaded NAS (Not According to Schedule).
Assuming you are entering a local show and staging is allowed the evening before or on the morning of the show, leave the lifting and collecting of the exhibits to the day before or on the morning of the show, providing there
is enough time. Lifting your root crops a few days before a show will result in them losing their freshness and you will be down pointed. The skins of carrots, beetroot and other root crops soon lose their lustre once removed from the soil.
You should aim to have the required number of specimens for your exhibits, so it is often wise to lift or collect a spare. Uniformity is very important
so do not have three medium sized specimens and one large one as this will be down pointed.
Vegetables lifted from the soil should be lifted carefully to avoid any damage and then cleaned under cold running water with a soft sponge. Ensure not to scrub the skins as this will damage them. Trim the foliage to leave 75mm on the roots and pick all roots of the same size.
Crops like peas and plums that have a bloom (a white covering) should be held by the stem and cut off with approx. 1cm of stem. This avoids leaving your fingerprints on the fruit. Choose the required number of straight pods of the same length with a good colour. Hold pea pods up to the light and check there are no missing peas or pea moth inside. Both runner and French beans should also have a short stem.
Onions, shallots and garlic should be grown and harvested well before the show if possible and ripened so they have good intact dry skins. Remove any loose skins but do not over skin them. Trim off the roots and trim back the stem, then bend it over and tie it with raffia or cotton.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers should be cut on the morning of the show if possible. Make sure you retain the calyx on the tomatoes and leave
Hold pea pods up to the light and check there are no missing peas or pea moth inside
a short stem on the cucumbers and peppers. Check the schedule for the size of tomato fruits; the normal fruits are approx. 60mm dia., cherry and plums under 35mm and beefsteak over 75mm dia. Ensure they are all ripe, the same size with a good colour. If two cucumbers are asked for, they should be a matching pair with good skin colour and shape.
Most of the fruit classes take less growing than the vegetables and it
is just a case of selecting the correct number of uniform good quality fruits for each class. Make sure they are the same size and stage of ripeness and that they have a short stem attached. Cane fruit like raspberries should still have the plug-in place with a very short stem. Currants should still be on the strig (stem) and shown on a dish still attached.
Hopefully the above gives you some guidance on growing for showing and that you win some prizes at your local shows. But be careful as showing can be addictive!
Kelvin Mason
          36 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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