Leading up to Show
- Root vegetables should be carefully washed & cleaned to remove soil but in no circumstances should oils or “polishing” substances be used to enhance appearance!
- Wash with a soft cloth and plenty of water (brushing will damage the skin)
- BUT they should not be ‘excessively’ cleaned; the skin should not be scraped or rubbed off, especially with the Beetroot.
- Retain natural bloom
- Handle carefully
- Beans & peas – cut off the vine with scissors leaving stalk attached
- Parsnips & carrots – soak growing media/soil at time of lifting to avoid damage
- Beetroot –
- Must be of even size for round beetroot
- Must be 50mm to 70mm for long beetroot
- Cylindrical cultivars roots should be approx 150mm in length.
- Avoid poor skin at base and small or damaged tap root.
- Take care when washing as marks will show / not “woody”
- Cabbages should have solid heads of equal size, clean with good waxy bloom. Reject split specimens, damaged by pests remove discoloured leaves 75mm of stalk remaining
- Carrots – avoid pale coloured specimens and green at tops
- Courgettes – select young, tender, shapely uniform fruits not less than 100mm or greater than 200mm, and approx 35mmin diameter. Stage flat with flowers still adhering.
- Cucumbers – matching with good, fresh green colour WITH flowers still attached and waxy bloom
- Leeks – uniform in length. Firm and compact throughout the length of the barrel, uniform blanching and not bulbous at base. Avoid excessive stripping of outer leaves. All parts clean, bind in the leaves
- Beans – broad, french, runner. Arrange fresh pods on a plate or directly on the bench, stalks one end, tails the other. Cut with scissors
- Pea Pods – judges will check pods. Gather by cutting from the vine with 25mm of stalk check against a light for number of peas in the pod!
- Marrows – absolute uniformity most desirable. No less than 380mm long or in the case of round cultivars 500mm in circumference. Discard old marrows. Wipe clean and stage directly on the show-bench.
- Onions – avoid soft, stained specimens. Avoid “over-skinning”, uniform good colour. Tops tied or whipped using uncoloured raffia. Roots neatly trimmed to the basal plate. Often staged on rings or collars.
- Potatoes white or other than white e.g. coloured. Medium sized specimens 170 to 225 grams. Shallow eyes. No extra-large tubers or those with deep set eyes. Free from skin blemish, damage. Washed with clean water using a sponge NOT a brush. Stage on plates.
- Shallots. Stage as separate bulbs. Dried, free from staining and loose skins. Roots should cut off to basal plate. Tops neatly tied or whipped using uncoloured raffia. Stage on sand or similar, of a contrasting colour, slightly raised at centre. Shallots must not exceed 30mm
- Sweet Corn – cobs of uniform size, with fresh green husks exposing ¼ of the grain. Remove a number of husks. Best cobs are filled to the tips with straight rows of tender grains. Stalks trimmed.
- Tomatoes – right shape, size and colour. Not over-ripe or with “greenback” at calyx. Uniform, firm small eyes fresh calyces. Stage on plate with calyx uppermost.
- Stage attractively on plates or the show-bench in
- a wheel formation e.g. peas
- in rows e.g. runner beans
- in a pyramidal dome e.g. carrots
- To help keep onions etc. make rings or collars from cut down toilet roll inners or plastic drain pipes. Alternatively display on silver sand.
- Potatoes can be displayed on a sheet of coloured paper
- If you don’t have neat handwriting use a computer!
- Allow ample time for staging and finishing off. Pay close attention to detail therefore try not to exhibit more than you can easily stage.
- Add the cultivar name when displaying. Ideally do this at home, if you can.
- Pay attention to the number of specimens/exhibits required otherwise exhibit will not be judged and marked NAS (Not As Schedule).
- Uniformity of the exhibit means choose specimens of the same size
- In the Schedule; “should” means optional; “must” is obligatory.
- Root vegetables must have leaves cut off with approx. 75mm of leafstalk remaining (radishes should be left with approx. 40mm of leaf stalk)
- Brassicas must have at least 75mm of stalk
- Fruit must be ripe NOT over-ripe (except apples/pears and gooseberries)
- Ensure you are entering the correct product for the class e.g. Rhubarb is a vegetable for horticultural purposes
- To measure the diameter of the pot/pan measure across the top of the pot/pan.
Judges will look for meritorious and defective features. The Worcester Show aims to encourage the competitive spirit amongst amateurs. Therefore the ‘professional’ judging using a points system will not be used but Judges can refer to ”The RHS Horticultural Show Handbook”.
The Horticultural Show Handbook published by the Royal Horticultural Society – ‘The official RHS guide to organising, judging and competing in a show’ can be found at www.rhsshop.co.uk.
Notes compiled by Bill Simpson, Worcester Flower Show, Fruit & Vegetable Judge.