Potatoes, Beans and Giant Vegetables at the NVS

Broad Beans & Potatoes

Once again the weather wasn’t exactly glorious but it was dry enough to head down to the plot in the afternoon. The rest of the broad beans came off plot 5 but there were not as many as we thought there would be. Just a carrier bag full this time.

The foliage went on to the compost heap in layers with a layer of comfrey between. Some of the comfrey plants are ready for another cut which is strange as normally the comfrey plants grow equally. At least they haven’t drowned!

Started on another row of potatoes, getting the second earlies up now. These are the Anya which are a lovely flavoured knobbly salad potato. They store well and are great just scrubbed and boiled. I think they’re a cross between Pink Fir Apple and Desiree if I remember correctly.

The haulm has died down and they’re sitting in wet soil but they’ve not rotted, which is a blessing. This first half row has not been as productive as I’d have hoped. Just a carrier bag full from about seven row feet and many very small potatoes. The next row looks hopeful though. The rest of the row is either Charlotte or more Arran Pilot, I knew I should have drawn a plan of where things went! We’ll know when we eat them. Got another carrier bag full from just two plants and much larger, as expected, potatoes. I had to stop as it was the NVS meeting in the evening and we wanted to have tea before we went. I also thought I’d best clean up a bit being covered in mud.

The compost I planted the potatoes in has one real drawback, the black colour gets into your skin and under your nails. Despite scrubbing away like a crazed surgeon I’ve still got black ingrained into my hands and under my nails. I suppose I could wear gloves when messing in the soil but I don’t usually.

NVS Meeting – Growing Giant Vegetables

Our monthly meeting of the Crewe and Nantwich District Association of the National Vegetable Society (what a mouthful!) takes place on the second Tuesday of the month and tonight it was Richard Hope on growing giant vegetables.

It was well attended and the pub where we hold the meeting seemed busier than usual. It’s the first time I’ve been in since the smoking ban and I noticed the difference. I was worried they’d be suffering a drop in trade but apparently not. Won’t be the first time I’ve been proven wrong in my predictions.

Richard Hope was apparently on the Village Show TV program last week, I missed it unfortunately. He’s in the final which was held at Highgrove and filmed last year but he wouldn’t reveal the result. I think it’s on TV in a week or two.

I suspect he’s won a prize for the biggest pumpkin. It took a tractor with front loader and a gang of men to get it out of his garden.

It really is incredible how large things can grow. 70lb cabbages, marrows over 100lb and I’ve grown smaller marrows than his cucumbers. Of course he’s growing for size and size alone so we don’t know about flavour and some of the shapes were strange. His giant radish looked more like a monster from a sci-fi show than a radish. Pretty sure that’s what the inside of a Dalek is like!

His sunflowers are a little taller than most of us grow, stretching to the eaves of the house. I’d get vertigo climbing up the ladder to tie them in. I did notice that he gave little away about his feeding regimes etc. I suppose we all have our trade secrets.

All in all, an interesting evening.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
2 comments on “Potatoes, Beans and Giant Vegetables at the NVS
  1. John Roscoe says:

    Dear John
    I am entering a potato growing competition held at my local pub which is in its 63 year and is taken very seriously in the village. The competition works thus. A large number of seed potatoes are made available on a day in
    March and competitors choose eight seed potatoes each. The variety remains a secret and you take away the potatoes and plant them. When the plants are mature on a given date the organisors dig up the plants and weigh them. One is not allowed to dig up the crop; it has to be done by the organisors thus no fiddling. There are four prizes. The heaviest gross weight,the heaviest six potatoes,the heaviest single potato and the best matched six potatoes. Would you be able to give me some advice on how best to prepare ground, choose potatoes, fertilisation etc for which I would be most grateful. I am not an experienced gardener but have recently moved to North Shropshire and have a house with five acres of land. I would be most happy to drive to your garden if required. Thanking you in anticipation John Roscoe.

  2. John says:

    For competition growing you would do best to take a look at the potato growing articles on this site for the basics and then take a look around the National Vegetable Society. If you join the society it will put you in touch with champion local growers who can offer guidance and help.

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