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 our annual show. There are some hints on preparation and a brief resumé of what the judges may look for. However, one golden rule :- Always read the schedule !

Class 1 Collection Refer to the individual classes.

Class 2 Newcomers Collection as above

Class 3 & 4 Potatoes Lift 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.

Class 5 & 6 Onions Lift when considered large enough for the show, generally between 2-3lbs (900-1350gm) or between 4-5” (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.

Class 7 Spring Onions Judged on:- fresh, tender, young non-bulbous plants having white bases with clean attached roots.

Class 8 Runner Beans Cut 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.

Class 9 Dwarf Beans All as the above.

Class 10 Broad Beans Pick the night before. Judge will look for long, fresh, well filled pods with stalks and clear unblemished skins.

Class 11 Peas Pick 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.

Class 12 Carrots Lift 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.

Class 13 Beets Round Whilst 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.

Class 14 Beets Long As above with long firm well shaped roots, evenly tapered, with clean broad shoulders.( Ignore reference to diameter).

Class 15 Marrow Judged on :- Fresh, young and tender without blemishes. Maximum length 12” (30cm)

Class 16 Courgettes Young tender fruits of good uniform shape and colour, approx 6” (15cm ) in length and 1.5” (3.5cm) in dia.

Class 17 & 18 Shallots Remove 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.

Class 19 Cabbage Remove 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.

Class 20 Cauliflower As 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.

Class 21 Lettuce Lift 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.

Class 22 Leeks Wash 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.

Class 23 Radish Lift and wash, trim foliage to approx 1 5/8” (4.0cm). Judged on:- fresh, firm, young ,tender well coloured and uniform roots free from blemishes. Foliage free from pest and disease damage.

Class 24 Cucumber Cut from plant ( not pulled off ), select young fresh straight well coloured and uniform fruits. Judged on:- shape, colour.

Class 25 & 26 Tomatoes Picked 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. Cherry varieties ( Class 26 ) should not exceed 1.5” (3.5cm). Display on a round white paper or plastic plate.

Class 32 Rhubarb Twist 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.

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.

Remember, the annual show is a social occasion for all the family to enjoy and an opportunity to meet and chat to your fellow plotholders, 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 .


Notes From a talk by Reg Kearsley


Visually correct right size vase. Usually 1/3 vase 2/3 Flowers. To keep flowers in place – reeds, paper, an oasis.


1/3 florets out 1/3 in bud 1/3 green. (22 florets aim). Cut 24 hours early. Keep in deep water.

If need to come out cut 2 to 3 days earlier, bring indoors. If ready keep in cool. (fridge!).Can take 2 florets off. If more lose points. Need some foliage. Brush off pollen, it stains petals.

1st floret about 8" above top of vase.


Cut 48 hours early. Keep in deep water. Can take out poor petals. Remove ‘visitors’.

Cut away bract.

Not allowed artificial supports, i.e.(wires up stems) above neck of vase.

Use brush to fold petals back to enhance bloom. Take off side buds. Test bloom with correct size cardboard ring.

Arrange 3’s in Triangle or arrange pom poms straight across in 2-3 rows for 5 or 6.

Take calyx off pom poms when in bud.


Need stems so leave buds on. Stamens X so pull out with tweezers.


Curl petals back with brush. Need tight centre.


Show like fan, all 3’s in bloom better than some 4’s and 5’s Uniformity.