SATURDAY 19th AUGUST 2017

 A Guide To Growing and Showing

Contents (click here)

If you have not entered a show before or feel that you need some advice on preparing your exhibit, these pages are for you. This brief guide will hopefully give you a few worthwhile tips on how to grow and show.

Planning is a very important part of growing and showing. So choose the class/es you wish to enter and plan your sowing and planting times to ensure your produce will be at its best for the Show. But remember the weather at the start of the season may require some planning modification because there is little point in planting seed in cold, wet soil.

Please note the classes for Beginners are open to anyone who has never been placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in that class before at Whittingham Show. The classes for Beginners can be found on the web site (click here).

PLEASE JOIN IN AND ENJOY SHOW DAY.

Guide Contents

Click on the vegetable you wsih to learn about:-

Beetroot

Growing

  • Sow seeds at end of April/May to be ready for the Show
  • Soak seeds in water for an hour to improve germination
  • Sow seeds 3/4in (2cm) deep in rows 9in (23cm) apart – sow thinly
  • Thin seedlings to 6in (15cm) apart when seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves
  • Thin by nipping off the green leaves at soil level
  • Keep area weed free and mulch with garden compost or dry grass cuttings
  • Do not add farmyard manure, as this can cause the roots to fork
  • Water every 2 weeks in dry weather
  • Beetroot should be ready for lifting after 14 – 16 weeks

Showing

  • Water, then lift the root the day before the show
  • Choose roots which are free of blemishes and side shoots and about the size of a tennis ball. The tap root should be left on
  • Trim the foliage to within 3in (7.5cm) of the root. The foliage can be tied with rafia
  • It is important the roots have a good colour throughout, but not distinct rings. To prevent rings, plunge the cleaned root into water and add two tablespoons of salt. Leave for 3 hours this will encourage internal reddening

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Cabbages

Growing

  • Sow seeds in April/May to be ready for the Show
  • Sow seeds in trays – ¼ in deep and 3in (7.5cm) apart
  • Transplant seedlings when 4in (10cm) tall – plant out about 12in (30cm) apart
  • Cabbages need fertile soil – dig in plenty of well rotted manure
  • Keep plants well watered throughout growing season

Showing

  • Choose a cabbage with a firm head, crisp leaves and heavy for its size
  • Trim all but 2 or 3 of the outer leaves
  • Wash the leaves and heart thoroughly
  • Cut the stem off squarely at the base of the outermost leaf
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Carrots

Growing

  • Short (stump) carrots are easier to grow
  • Dig soil well; take out all stones; rake to produce a fine tilth; apply a layer of general fertiliser. Do not add farmyard manure, as this can cause the roots to fork
  • Sow seeds in April/May to be ready for the Show
  • Dig holes about 12in (30cm) deep and 4in (10cm) wide and 4in (10cm) apart. Fill hole with 50:50 mix of potting compost and sand and firm down
  • Sow about four seeds in each hole
  • Thin seedlings to one per hole when seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves
  • Water remaining seedlings well
  • Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. Prevent ‘green shoulder’ by keeping carrot crowns covered and out of the sun
  • Carrots should be ready for lifting after 12 – 16 weeks

Showing

  • Water carrots well, two days before the show
  • Lift the carrots the day before the show. Pull the roots gently and apply more water if they offer resistance
  • Choose carrots that are straight, deep orange colour, smooth skin, free of cracks and side shoots and do not have green shoulders. Leave the tap root hair
  • Trim the tops to about 3in (7.5cm), the foliage can be tied with rafia
  • Wash the carrots with a sponge – do not scrub
    (Back To Contents)

Cauliflowers

Growing

  • Sow seeds in April/May to be ready for the Show
  • Sow in seed trays – ¼ in deep and 2in (5cm) apart
  • Seedlings take about 6 weeks to appear and are ready to transplant when 4 – 6in (10 – 12cm) high
  • Cauliflowers need rich soil – dig in plenty of well rotted manure
  • Plant out allowing about 2 feet between plants each way
  • Keep plants well watered throughout the growing season
  • As the curd forms bend a large leaf over it to keep it white and protected from the sun

Showing

  • Pick cauliflower on Show Day
  • Wash with a sponge and make sure the curd is not damaged
  • Curd should be compact, firm and at least 4in (10cm) in diameter
  • Trim the roots, leaving a 3in (7.5cm) stalk and remove any damaged leaves
  • Trim the leaves around the curd so it resembles an acorn in its cup
    (Back To Contents)

Cucumbers

Growing

  • Sow seeds in May to be ready for the Show
  • Prepare holes at least 12in (30cm) wide and deep, work in well rotted compost or manure. Cover the prepared area with a mound of manured soil
  • Sow 2 or 3 seeds on their side 3/4in (2cm) deep
  • Thin seedlings to one per mound
  • Nip out the growing point when plant has 5 or 6 leaves
  • Train the plant up a support – nets or canes
  • Once fruits appear , feed plants every 2 weeks with high potash fertilizer
  • Water regularly
  • Harvest cucumbers 12 weeks after sowing

Showing

  • Cut cucumber from the vine with about ½in of stem
  • Wipe clean with a soft, dry cloth. Wash only if absolutely necessary and then only with a soft, moist cloth
  • Choose smooth, straight, crisp and dark green fruit
  • Cucumbers should be about 2 to 2 ½in diameter and between 6 to 9in (15cm to 20cm) long, although longer types are acceptable
    (Back To Contents)

Lettuces

Growing

  • Sow seeds in June to be ready for the Show
  • Sow seeds in situ because seedlings may wilt when transplanted – unless they have been raised in modules
  • Sow seeds ½ in (1cm) deep in rows 6in ( 15cm) apart. Thin seedlings to 6 – 9in (15 – 23cm) apart
  • Keep weed free and feed with a nitrogenous feed 2 or 3 times during growing period
  • Lettuces should be ready to pick 8 – 1 2 weeks after sowing

Showing

  • Pick lettuce on Show Day
  • Choose well developed compact plants with firm, crisp medium sized heads
  • Remove older, loose, discoloured outer leaves
  • Cut stem squarely at base of head and wash thoroughly

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Parsnips

Growing

  • Dig soil well; take out all stones; a fine tilth; apply a layer of general fertiliser. Do not add farmyard manure , as this can cause the roots to fork
  • Sow seeds in April/May to be ready for the show
  • Dig holes about 12in (30cm) deep and 4in (10cm) wide and 4in (10cm) apart. Fill holes with 50:50 mix of potting compost and sand and firm down
  • Sow about four seeds in each hole
  • Thin seedlings to one per hole when seedlings have 3 to 4 leaves
  • Water remaining seedlings well after thinning
  • Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
  • Parsnips should be ready for lifting after 12 – 16 weeks

Showing

  • Water parsnips well, two days before the show
  • Lift the parsnips the day before the show
  • Choose parsnips that are solid, light creamy yellow colour, smooth skin, well shaped, tapered evenly with no side shoots and about 2 to 2 ½ in diameter.
  • Leave tap root on
  • Trim tops to about 3in (7.5cm)
  • Wash the parsnips with a sponge – do not scrub
    (Back To Contents)

Potatoes

Growing

  • In March/April place seed tubers in trays or egg boxes. Place them somewhere light, airy and frost free
  • Once the green shoots are about ½in, the tubers can be planted
  • Dig out a trench about 6in (15cm) deep and fill it with well rotted compost or the remains from a spent grow bag. Do not use mushroom compost, as its high lime content can encourage scab
  • Add a general fertiliser such as Growmore
  • Place the tubers in the trench about 12in (30cm) apart and 4in (10cm) deep
  • Water every 2 to 3 weeks
  • Protect shoots from frost by drawing soil up into ridges over the shoots
  • Earth up when the plants have grown about 8in (20cm)
  • Potatoes should be ready for lifting after 18 – 20 weeks

Showing

  • Lift potatoes the day before the show
  • Lift the potatoes very carefully because the skins may not have set and will damage easily
  • Immediately after lifting, wash them in cold water with a soft sponge, dry with a towel and wrap each tuber in tissue paper – do not scrub
  • Choose potatoes free of insect or disease damage, cracks or greening and weighing about 6oz

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Runner Beans

Growing

  • Sow in first 2 weeks of May to be ready for the Show
  • Dig out a trench about 9 – 12 in (23 – 30 cm) deep. Line with wet, shredded newspaper to help moisture retention
  • Add well rotted compost and fill with soil
  • Sow 6in (15cm) apart in rows 3 feet apart
  • Support plants with 8ft canes – this means they will not become tangled and helps produce straight beans
  • Water well and regularly, runner beans need plenty of water
  • Harvest beans 14 weeks after sowing

Showing

  • Choose beans about 15in (33cm) long and all about the same length
  • To get beans the same length may mean that you have to pick them over several days
  • Cut them with scissors, leaving about 1/2in (11/2cm) stem attached
  • Wrap them one by one in a damp tea towel and place in the fridge. Repeat the process on the following days. Beans will store well like this and keep their freshness
  • Choose pods which are free of dirt, rust or blemishes
  • Clean by wiping with a soft dry cloth – Do Not Wash
  • Display your set evenly spaced on a piece of black cloth, with the tails pointing to the judge

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Turnips

Growing

  • Sow seeds in June to be ready for the Show
  • Sow seeds thinly 3/4in (2cm) deep in rows 12in (30cm) apart
  • Thin seedlings to 6in (15cm) apart when seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves
  • Keep area weed free and apply mulch around plants
  • Keep soil moist and water regularly in dry conditions
  • Turnips should be ready for lifting after 7 – 10 weeks

Showing

  • Lift the turnips the day before the show
  • Choose turnips that are firm, smooth skin, good colour, no side shoots and about 2 to 2 ½in diameter. Leave tap root on
  • Trim tops to about 1in
  • Wash the turnips with a sponge – do not scrub

(Back To Contents)


 


 


 



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