The following information has been gathered from numerous sources and is offered with a view to providing helpful information for those members who wish to enter the shows. There are some hints on preparation and a brief resume` of what the judges may look for. However one golden rule :- Always read the schedule !

DescriptionShowing advice
CollectionRefer to the individual classes.
Newcomers CollectionRefer to the individual classes.
PotatoesLift them about a week prior to the show as this gives time for the skins to harden and makes them easier to wash without damage. Carefully wash with a soft sponge ensuring that any soil is removed from their eyes and dry with a soft cloth. Ideal size, one that will fit in the palm of your hand, approx 8oz (175 – 225gm). Judged on :- a uniform set of medium sized, clear skinned tubers with a few shallow eyes.
OnionsLift when considered large enough for the show, generally between 2-3lbs (900-1350gm) or between 45” (10-12.5cm) diameter. Wash and dry with a towel, cut off roots and trim foliage down to approx 3” (7.5cm). Remove outer skins to the first unbroken skin, dust with talcum powder which helps them to dry and imparts a light brown colour. For the show, trim tops to 2”(5cm), fold and tie to 1”(2.5cm). Wipe off any traces of talcum powder and display on rings ( old kitchen & toilet roll tubes cut to size will do fine ) Judged on:large, uniform, well ripened bulbs of good shape, free from any blemish with roots trimmed and necks neatly tied.
Spring OnionsFresh, tender, young non-bulbous plants having white bases with clean attached roots.
Runner beansCut the night before and keep overnight in a wet towel. If they are not quite straight they can be straightened whilst they are still supple the next morning by bending gently. Judged on:- long, uniform, straight, shapely fresh pods of good colour with stalks, uniform tails and no outward sign of seeds.
Dwarf beansCut the night before and keep overnight in a wet towel. If they are not quite straight they can be straightened whilst they are still supple the next morning by bending gently. Judged on:- long, uniform, straight, shapely fresh pods of good colour with stalks, uniform tails and no outward sign of seeds.
PeasPick the day before, handle the peas by their stalk and not the pod as this destroys the bloom. Judged on :- large, long fresh, uniform smooth pods of good colour with bloom intact and with stalks, free from disease or pest damage and well filled with tender peas.
CarrotsLift the day before and wash carefully taking great care not to break the tap root and keep overnight in a wet towel, they should not have green shoulders. Remove any side shoots and trim foliage to 3”(7.5cm)at the very last minute. Judged on :- fresh, firm, long, uniform smooth roots of good shape and colour with no evidence of side shoots.
Beets RoundWhilst growing draw the soil up to cover them as the tops tend to become “ corky” if exposed About 1 month before lifting they will benefit from an application of salt which seems to help the colour. About 10ml to 1 gallon will suffice. Lift and wash carefully to avoid breaking the tap root, dry and wash a 2nd time with a little washing up liquid. Remove any side shoots, rub with damp cotton wool to remove hairs and trim foliage to 3” (7.5cm). They should be approx 2.5”-3”(6.0-7.5cm) in diameter. Judged on :- specimens uniform in size, shape and colour with clean, firm, damage free skin with a single taproot.
Beets LongAs above with long firm well shaped roots, evenly tapered, with clean broad shoulders
(ignore reference to diameter).
MarrowJudged on :- fresh, young and tender without blemishes. Maximum length 12” (30cm)
CourgettesYoung tender fruits of good uniform shape and colour, approx 6” (15cm ) in length and 1.5” (3.5cm) in dia.
ShallotsRemove outer skins to the first unbroken skin, cut down tops to approx 1” (2.5cm) and tie. Trim roots. Judged on:- round, solid, uniform shaped and coloured bulbs. Pickling shallots must not exceed 30mm in diameter, a measuring ring will be available on show day. Display on a saucer of dry sand.
CabbageRemove any discoloured and damaged outer leaves. Trim stem to 3” (7.5cm) . Judged on :- Shapely, fresh solid heads with surrounding leaves free from any damage or disease with the bloom intact and of good colour.
CauliflowerAs for cabbages. Judged on heads with symmetrical, close, solid, white curd, free from blemish or stain. Foliage neatly trimmed. Curd should form a circle when viewed from above and have a medium shaped dome when viewed from the side.
ChardJudged on broad, fresh, undamaged leaves and stalks of good colour.
KaleJudged on fresh clean well developed blemish free leaves.
LettuceLift carefully on the morning of the show and wash, taking care not to damage the outer leaves. Remove any damaged outer leaves but not too many. If left with roots, enclose them in a small plastic bag fastened with an elastic band. Judged on :- Fresh, clean, unbroken, blemish free heads of good appropriate colour.
LeeksWash thoroughly and remove any damaged or broken flags ( leaves ). Select firm , solid , uniform shaped and coloured. Judged on:- clean, firm, solid parallel sided, long barrels with no sign of softness or splits, with a tight button and free from bulbing and ribbiness. Foliage that is well formed and free from pest and disease damage.
CucumberCut from plant ( not pulled off ), select young fresh straight well coloured and uniform fruits. Judged on-:shape, colour.
TomatoesPicked with calyces attached, select young fresh clear skinned well rounded fruits. Judged on:- firm, uniform fruits, richly coloured free from blemishes with fresh calyces and natural bloom. Refer to the schedule for max/min sizes. Display on a round white paper or plastic plate.
PeppersJudged on brightly coloured, uniform in colour , good size and shape and showing evidence of a fresh stalk
GarlicJudged on well shaped, solid, clean well ripened bulbs, thin necks and a dried stem of approx 25m (1”)
Sweet CornPeel back the husk to reveal one quarter of the grains, leave a portion of the stalk intact. Judged on fresh, well formed cylindrical cobs , well formed throughout with straight rows of undamaged grains.
HerbsJudged on fresh, healthy, clean, blemish free foliage
Berries Large ripe fruits,good colour and blemish free
Cherries Large ripe fruits, brilliant colour and un-shrivelled stalks
RhubarbTwist and pull stems from the clump. Select for uniform colour, length and trim leaves to 3” (7.5cm). Judged on:- Fresh well coloured straight stalks of uniform length and weight
Sweeet PeasStrong spikes with large, well spaced blooms. Fully open of bright colour and with a silken sheen
GladioliLong well balanced erect spikes with fresh unblemished blooms and foliage.
DahliasBlooms with all petals intact, firm and without blemish or defect. Colour(s) clear, well defined and evenly shaded or tipped throughout the bloom.
Pot PlantsSturdy shaped plants that are well formed with healthy unblemished foliage/ flowers and displaying the attributes true to the species and cultivar.
FuchsiasVigorous balanced plants with many clean fresh blooms and well coloured foliage. Flowers should be fully open ,complete with all floral parts and at the point where pollen has just appeared or about to appear.
BegoniasBegonias Well balanced with flowers in size and number proportionate to the size of plant. Large blooms circular in outline with broad overlapping petals culminating in one centre. Strong erect stems
CarnationsStrongly scented symmetrical flowers circular in colour with firm petals and clear bright colour
LiliesSturdy stems with fully open flowers of good colour and with clean foliage.
RosesUndamaged fresh clean foliage with blooms at perfect ( three quarters open) or full bloom stage. Petals arranged symmetrically within a circular outline.
Cacti/SucculentsHealthy well balanced plants with full set of unbroken spines ( if applicable ). Leaves free from blemishes, defects and abnormal marks
DelphiniumsHealthy upright spikes , long tapering or columnar in shape with at least two thirds of florets open and with a minimum of 100mm (4”) of stem visible below the bottom florets
Floral DisplaysDo not use foliage from plants other than those being exhibited.

Now after all the trials and tribulations, you’ve entered the show, paid your entrance fee and are ready to go. All exhibits should be staged as attractively as possible in accordance with the rules and schedules. Sometimes in a close run competition first impressions could well sway the judge. All peas and beans look better if staged on black material, peas sometimes being displayed like spokes in a wheel. Potatoes and tomatoes are usually displayed on white paper or plastic plates, shallots in a saucer of dry sand. Onions are stood on rings , something approx the diameter of kitchen or toilet roll inners.

All berries and currants should be displayed on white paper or plastic plates.

Remember, this event is a social occasion for all the family to enjoy and an opportunity to meet and chat to your fellow plot holders whom you may only see occasionally across the site. It’s a great chance to find out what grows well and probably just as importantly what doesn’t .


Revised May 2022