Yesterday was my Local Village Show and one I always support with as many entries as possible.
I entered into 25 different classes and put a total of 40 exhibits in the night before.
I felt pretty confident but then early Sunday morning I decided to pop up and remove the wet towels from my carrots and parsnips and saw an almighty pair of parsnips being entered at which point i thought that any chance of best veg was gone.
My pair above which I managed to snap the last foot of tap root off were well beaten.
Anyway this is how I fared in some of my other exhibits.
I was happy with my shallots this year despite them being a bit on the small size and thankfully our show has a class for under 1.5" and over 1.5" so you don't need monsters to enter.
I managed to win the under 1.5,the picklers at under 1" which is ridiculously small and 5 round ones any size.
My blight hit potatoes although slightly smaller than I'd have hoped didn't have a single speck of scab this year and cleaned up really easily with just a bit of a spongeing under the cold tap.
I got 1st and 2nd in the open spuds with Kestrel and Blue Belle which were a new type for me this year with really dark purple eyes,but they were a longer shape and not the biggest variety.
Managed 1st in the local spuds with NVS Amour which are a pink eyed spud which grow quite large quite fast and also seem to be a really nice even shaped spud,the only trouble is that they aren't a great eater.
Managed 1st and 2nd with my french beans Cobra which are a bog standard eating variety but will grow to a good 8"+ without showing any bean bulge in the pods.
If I'd have spent a bit longer straightening them then they'd have looked a bit better.
Somehow managed to get 1st in the peas with the Hurst Greenshaft which is a miracle in itself as we always get mildew in early Sept but for some reason not yet.
To be honest I couldnt tell the peas apart but I noticed that most of the others had 8 or 9 peas in the pods where Hurst Greenshaft have 10 so that must have tipped it my way.
Managed a full house in the tomatoes with a 1st for the truss,2nd for 5 toms and a 3rd for cherry toms.
Again these are no specific show variety but just Shirley which aren't bad for showing but are the best tasting toms out there in my opinion.
Won the best local exhibit for the tray of 3 veg.
Won 1st in the 2 stumps with some of the best carrots I've ever grown and I got 3rd with the reject scooby-doo legged pair grown a la Smithyveg.
My long ones however were pitifully small but still won due to lack of entries.
My giant Marrow only got 2nd out of 2 but as it wasn't a weight competition it's not surprising as beautiful it isn't.
But it was a bit of a talking point at the show and that's the whole reason for bringing it.
Finally I risked entering my hopefully Harrogate Show bound onions hoping they wouldn't get damaged but they didn't even though someone had decided to lay them on their backs ???
Anyway they were deemed good enough to win Best Veg in Show and also given the Blue Ribbon for best exhibit in the entire show.
That's one thing I've never won before so was absolutely chuffed to bits.
Even if I do say so myself they were a cracking pair,getting on for 5lb each,pretty identical and nicely ripened,without doubt the best onions I've ever grown and more satisfying as they were grown from seed by me last November so they've had over 9 months for something to go wrong.
So it was my most successful show ever,15 firsts, 6 cups,an NVS Medal,most points in the veg,most points in the entire show and a first for me, a blue ribbon for best exhibit in the whole hort show.
So all the hard work is worth it in the end and now it's on to my next show which is tougher to win at, and finally Harrogate Autumn Show which is almost impossible to win at for the likes of me, and a card of any colour is a massive achievement.
But you never know.
Westmorland Horticultural Show was my next show of the year,a much higher standard than my local one.
I didn't enter as many classes as my local one but I always try to put my best stuff in.
I won the Cup for the 6 onion class with some that I was hoping to enter at Harrogate but were just a bit on the small size only being just over the 2 pound mark.
Managed to win a coloured potato class with some Kestrels which thanks to the wet weather all year didn't suffer from any scab this year.
The Tray Class was the best collection of veg I've ever entered anywhere and I was really chuffed when legendary National Grower and the Veg Judge Dave Metcalf wrote a comment of "Outstanding" on the score card.
Harrogate was only 2 days away and I was hoping to enter the 3 onions here into the large exhibition class so it was a bit of a risk.
But it was a really succesful show and some how I got the cup for most firsts in the open classses too with a few more wins in other classes.
Now onto the biggee Harrogate Show.
Like last year I entered with only a feint hope of a prize and not a chance of a first.
One class I entered was the 3x2 veg class which attracts some nice displays and was the class for our BBC Competition this year.
This stands for Bullshitter Bloggers Competition where 3 of us veg bloggers enter a difficult class which is scored and the winner takes all.
Mine is nearest,Pauls is next up and Simons is 4th from the bottom.
Some how Simon managed to win as the judge must have had a fetish for small celery,but in all seriousness and as much as this pains me he did deserve it.
Both I and Paul managed 42/60 which equates to 70% so that'll do for me a relative novice in this company.
Somehow I managed to get the 3rd Heaviest Marrow at the show but this was dwarfed by Peter Glazebrooks monster at the back being attended by Carol Vorderman no less.
I managed a couple more thirds in the Chilli Plant class and also the Garlic.
Finally I entered into the big boys class of 3 Large Exhibition Onions,mine are front left.
Given that the Godfather of Onions Vin Throup was entering and also last years winner I didn't expect much after staging.
I was over the moon to pick up 3rd place which realistically that's the best I could have hoped for in this company.