If this is your first time entering the show or you are an old hand, but would like an insight into what the judge will be looking for then read through our hints and tips. You can also download our handy guide which matches the schedule or have a look at some guides on our YouTube channel.
Where more than one is shown in a class they should be equally sized. Wash all roots, leave stalks on peas, beans and marrows as long as possible, pick specimens as free from damage as possible. Make sure you count the number entered in each class carefully, our imported international judge is red hot on this. Don’t forget to read the schedule as to whether to leave roots/tops on or take them off.
Hints specific to individual classes:
Potatoes – hold out your cupped hand and each should fit easily into your hand, big is not good. Coloured potatoes include those with pink eyes.
Beetroot and Turnips – size of a tennis ball, try not to damage root extension.
Carrots and Parsnips – big can be beautiful as long as no damage. Be careful with the root extension.
Swede – look out for splits and greening. Uniform colour on top surface.
Beans and Peas – look out for insect damage. Pick full podded peas and tender beans.
Cabbage and lettuce – remove outer leaves if insect damaged but not too many.
Cauliflower – trim leaves to just below crown of flower.
Onions. An onion ring is half inch of the inside of toilet roll or similar to stand onion on. Trim off ALL roots. Cut the top to 2 inches, fold it in half and bind with raffia, wool or tape.
Shallots – plate and sand is so that the shallots can be stood up. Dress as onions but top should only be about half inch when finished.
Tomatoes – ripe but firm when squeezed gently.
Cucumber – dark green, long and straight.
Leeks – pull off outer leaves to extend white, cut roots to about 3 inches. Trim tops straight across.
Rhubarb – straight sticks, tops trimmed just above where leaves start.
Blackberries and Raspberries – show with stalk but must pull out easily.
Flowers – generally freshness is the key. Remove petals that show insect or weather damage. Where not many go in a vase, pad the vase with paper or polythene to keep flowers upright.
Dahlias and Chrysanthemums hold a mystique because of the emphasis placed on them by the growers but this isn’t that kind of show. Watch out for earwig damage on petals. Dahlias – decoratives have round petals, cactus have spiky petals, ball and pom pom look like small tight decoratives.
Chrysanthemums – incurves have petals pointing upwards, reflex have petals pointing downwards and sprays have multiple flowers on a single stem.
Roses – HT is Hybrid Tea, the classic English rosebud shape.
Home Produce – you will get extra points for raspberry jam as it more difficult to set. Make sure the pickles are totally covered with vinegar. Make sure the Fairy cakes are properly held down, we don’t want them blowing away in the wind.