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National Vegetable Society Meeting, Leeks and Onions

National Vegetable Society Meeting


I didn’t manage to get to the plot today but it was the National Vegetable Society, Crewe and Nantwich District Association meeting tonight.


Our speaker was prizewinning exhibitor Mr David Shaw who grows show vegetables on his three allotment plots in Manchester.


He took us through his year with a slideshow. Starting in winter with his leeks and onions under high pressure sodium vapour lighting to give them the equivalent of 14 hours daylight through the moving of collars around the leek’s growing tip to encourage lengthening of the blanched stem and ensuring the leaves were not damaged to planting of parsnips and carrots in double drums of special compost.


A quick mention of the importance of lime when growing his 70 lb plus cabbages (I kid you not!) and pumpins that made my ‘giant’ look like a pea.


I was quite happy with my 9 inch carrot until he showed his six and seven feet carrots and casually mentioned the record was 27 feet.


He also dispelled a myth regarding show vegetable. They are all edible.


Although I have no real interest in actually showing vegetables myself, I can see it is a fascinating world. The real benefit for me from last night is that I will be able to grow better ‘normal’ vegetables.


Some top tips I noted



  • Carrots and parsnips will go down as far as is easy for them into the soil. Ensuring a light soil as deep as possible will give longer ones – and ‘cleaner’ too.

  • Lime in the potting compost of cabbages will encourage root growth. Lime on the plot will encourage growth. Larger pots give larger roots give larger and healthier plants. When planting out, at – at least – the five leaf stage, remove the bottom two leaves to encourage root formation.

  • Cauliflowers need a gallon of water a day

  • Leggy tomato plants can be cut back to the first side shoot and treated as a new plant but with the advantage of a larger root ball, giving better cropping.

All in all, a brilliant night and I can’t wait for the next one.

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