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Growing for Showing

Barry Newman’s List of Popular Exhibition Vegetable Varieties for 2016

Bean, broad – Imperial Green Longpod, Bunyards Exhibition, Giant Exhibition Longpod.

Bean, dwarf French – Hawkesbury Wonder, The Prince, Safari Kenya Bean.

Bean, runner – Stenner, Liberty(Lovejoy), Benchmaster.

Bean, climbing French – Cobra, Algarve, Fasold.

Beetroot, globe – Pablo, Red Ace, Action.

Beetroot, long – Cheltenham Greentop, Regar, Long Black.

Cabbage – Green Ramco, Stonehead, Auturo(red), Brigadier.

Carrot, long – New Red intermediate, St Valery.

Carrot, stump-rooted – Sweet Candle, Nandor, Trevor, Cazo.

Cauliflower – Cornell, Raleigh, Mayflower, Boris.

Celery – Morning star, Evening Star, Starburst.

Courgette – Venus, Defender, Ambassador.

Cucumber – Carmen (frame), Marketmore (outdoor), Socrates (mini).

Garlic – Solent Wight, Giant Elephant.

Leek, blanch – Pendle Improved, Welsh Seedling.

Leek, pot – Cumbrian, Yorkshire Green/Blue, Betty Black.

Lettuce – Webb’s Wonderful, Rosedale, Lakeland, Lobjoits (cos).

Marrow – Table Dainty, Bush Baby, Badger Cross, Blyton Belle.

Onion, exhibition – Kelsae, Showmaster, Bunton’s Showstopper.

Onion, 250g and under – Toughball, Tasco, Vento.

Parsnip – Gladiator, Panorama, Panache, Victor.

Pea – Show Perfection, Alderman, Hurst Greenshaft.

Pepper, chilli – Joe’s Long, Giant Jalapeno, Scotch Bonnet, Apache.

Pepper, sweet – Ace, Lany, Diablo, Ariane.

Potato, white – Winston, Nadine, Casablanca, Harmony.

Potato, coloured – Kestrel, Amour, Maxine, Bonnie, Bluebell.

Radish – Scarlet Globe, Robin, Sparkler, Bacchus.

Rhubarb – Raspberry Red, Victoria, Stockbridge Arrow.

Shallot, exhibition – Hative de Niort, Ambition, Jermor.

Shallot, under 30mm – Hative de Niort, Jermor, Aristocrat.

Swede – Helenor, Tweed, Marian.

Sweet Corn – Swift, Lark, Ovation.

Tomato – Cedrico, Zenith, Shirley, Meccano.

Tomato, cherry/small-fruited – Sungold (cherry), Apero (plum), Sweet Million (mini), Sakura (cherry).

Tomato, beefsteak – Marmande, Country Taste, Big Daddy.

Whilst anyone can grow vegetables, to grow good specimens consistently you need to choose the right varieties, apply the correct practices and, also, enjoy more than a little bit of luck! A few of the current ‘tricks of the trade’ are shown below.   Join us and you will be sure to pick up plenty of more tips.

Tomato stems are supported by strings wrapped around in a spiral and suspended from the roof of this polytunnel.

Reduce the number of trusses and fruits per truss in order to ensure you achieve decent show specimens

Fine-looking pot leeks but look closely and you will see that they have ‘bolted’ and started to produce a seed head stalk which means that they are useless for exhibition purposes

Specimen peas are left to grow singly on each side stem.

This ensures that all of the available nutrients are channelled into a relatively small number of pods

Parsnips and long beetroot are being grown individually in metal tubes filled with sand and compost mixture in order to produce straight specimen roots. 

Barrels and large-bore plastic piping can also be used for the same purpose.

Make sure your vegetable shoulders remain covered in order to exclude light

Two fine onions each approximately 5lb in weight and still growing in late July.

Do not overwater at this stage or you will split the outer skins which should be intact and well-ripened for late show ‘dressed’ onion purposes

If left to grow in soil, onions will produce a seed head during their second year of growth. This can offer a useful means to create seed from your past winning  specimens. 

A similar process can be used to generate carrot seed and leek ‘grass’

Blanch leeks with the foliage supported by horizontal  tubing, blanched by wrapping with plastic damp proof membrane and fed through individual watering shutes

Cucumbers must be allowed to hang down straight and must never come into contact with any foliage, otherwise the skin will show scratch scars which will only become more
noticeable with time. 

Marrows (not the Heaviest Marrow class) can also be grown in the same way which ensures even colour and shape all the way around the fruit

Celery is blanched using builders’ damp proofing membrane, cardboard or any similar material which excludes light and keeps the leaf stalks nice and white.

Watch out for slugs though!

The secret to growing straight broad beans is to put plastic tubes on them whilst they are small.

Make sure you can still slide the tubes off the beans though, come harvest time!

The curd of a developing cauliflower should be well-covered by the outer leaves (and tied in place if necessary) in order to exclude light. 

Watch out for slugs and snails though!

Long carrots are being grown individually in plastic tubes filled with sand and compost mixture in order to produce straight specimen roots. 

Barrels and oil drums can also be used for the same purpose. 

Make sure your carrot shoulders remain covered by your growing medium at all times in order to exclude light and prevent ‘greening’

Some fine onions developing in this greenhouse using large air pots

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