On July 18th members of the Society enjoyed a talk on ‘Hints and Tips’ on how to Show Vegetables by Harry Delany who very kindly filled in at very short notice due to Derek Jones’ illness.
Harry has been a lecturer at Reaseheath College for nearly 20 years, he is a RHS Master of Horticulture who judges at a number of Shows including Malpas, Whitchurch and Tattenhall.
He left school at 15 and went to work in a cotton mill. This closed down after a year and he was lucky to get a job as an indentured Apprentice Gardeners’ Boy with the Parks department of Denton Urban District Council. At 21 he applied to Kew Botanical Gardens but was not lucky enough to be taken on. He joined the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. He has since worked as a lecturer in horticulture, an advisor with the Ministry of Agriculture, and in 1993 he joined Reaseheath College.
Harry advised if anyone already shows vegetables then please can you encourage others and pass on your knowledge and encourage others to do also.
RHS Show handbook is the Bible that all judges go by.
There are 4 main Guiding words you need to remember when showing.
- Form - shape needs to be typical of what variety you are showing.
- Size - size or weight, check your schedule carefully
- Freshness - (not wilting) ideally harvest them in the morning of the show as once picked they start to deteriorate
- Colour - this needs to be typical of the variety and consistent colour.
These 1-4 are crucial but also make sure there are no blemishes or defects; no pests or diseases. Small tips are Runner beans look better displayed on black cloth. If growing cucumbers some grow in a plastic tube to keep them straight, also leave the flower on and a small stalk. Tomatoes please leave on the calyx.
Please check the schedule for numbers and sizes of the vegetables as you do not want to see the dreaded NAS - Not as Schedule.
The Judges’ decision is final.
Thank you to Harry for his time and expertise and hope everyone picked up some useful hints and tips for future shows.