Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Harvest Produce on Show

The sun doesn't ALWAYS shine at Malvern, but there's still 
plenty to do and enjoy
As this year’s Malvern Autumn Show draws ever closer – 60 days to go as I write – there are still so many activities in the pipeline to which I want to introduce our Blog ‘followers’. The aim is to give you an idea as to what to expect, whilst introducing first-time visitors to the very wide variety of activities that you will find in the lee of the beautiful hills, on September 28th and 29th.

Veg to die for
It’s a Show for all the family, and a celebration particularly of HARVEST, in the fruit and vegetable sense. Produce that has been grown in gardens or on the allotment, reflecting the seasons no matter what the weather may have been. Lovingly transported to the Showground and displayed to perfection, it’s always fascinating to overhear onlookers’ comments as I walk around the various exhibits:

Giant vegetables to admire (but maybe not to eat)
Such as, “Our …. are better than that!!), or “Who would want to eat something THAT size?” But that is not the point. Whether you are looking at the work of amateur or professional growers, there is always something new to observe and many tips to absorb. Scientifically proven or ‘old wives tale’ matters not, you cannot fail to be impressed. This year the ‘UK National Giant Vegetable Championships’ are being held in the Harvest Pavilion – a ‘first’ for Malvern, as the competition moves to the Three Counties from Somerset. “It really is the battle of the beans, the meeting of the marrows and the conflict of the cabbages, and there’s a friendly, but serious rivalry amongst growers who sweat blood to produce the largest legume and keep their growing secrets close to their chest!”

Not the biggest of pumpkins; see right for a larger one
It’s the time of year, or will be, when Pumpkins are much in evidence, and word has it that this year there is to be a ‘Pumpkin Factory’ on the Showground. Quite what and where will follow in a later post, but rest assured, these flamboyant vegetables will be much in evidence, large and small, plain and striped.

A bit of fun - and not part of the Trug competition 
but in fact a very clever edible Show Garden
One of the beauties of the Malvern Autumn Show is that there are plenty of opportunities for amateurs to compete and display. Which is one reason that visitors will love the National Trug Championships, or to give it its full title the National Trug OF VEGETABLES Championship, which this year is being sponsored by Haygrove. And a bit of insider information from previous winner & Trug Championship event organizer, Mike Smith, who grows all his Championship winning vegetables under a Haygrove Garden Tunnel.  Mike says “I have been growing vegetables for showing for only 4 years, for the first 3 years using a small 6?8 glasshouse. After months of deliberation I decided on the use of a new tunnel." (Tip for competitors in local village shows; a tunnel clearly gives you a head start.) This year, there is to be a trug class especially for children.

If you want to keep chickens, you'll need a house and run
There’s also a complete section devoted to 'The World of Animals’, amongst which features productive chickens and ducks. The Poultry Marquee is home for the weekend to many breeds of domestic hens and waterfowl (geese, too). Chickens provide a regular supply of eggs and will consume meat scraps and surplus green vegetables, as well as many weeds. A large run is not necessary for a few fowl and keeping hens is a good introduction in creature care for children. And the eggs are useful, too.

Cuddling a cavy
Taking up less time than chickens to look after are rabbits and cavies – another reason to visit the World of Animals area with the family, with opportunities to talk to experts for advice, and the chance of cuddling a cavy (NB Sunday only). There’s an opportunity to buy rabbits and cavies whilst at the Show, but please be aware that ALL creatures are not just for birthdays or Christmas but require regular, daily ROUTINE care and attention for them to survive and thrive.

How are YOUR vegetables doing?
We still have much to tell you about; more will of course follow in future weekly posts as the details unfold. In the meantime, you may also enjoy the Moon Phase addition to the Blog (lower right hand-side). Although ‘gardening by the phase of the moon’ has its followers, the phases do also affect the weather, and that is vital for all gardeners.

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