The following advice is drawn from the Royal Horticultural Society guidelines for showing.
Kings Bromley Show, like most village shows, is a friendly show run for local amateur growers. Anyone who enjoys growing flowers, fruit and vegetables can enter successfully by following these simple guidelines.
Guideline 1 – Read the rules and class description carefully
Always read the Show rules and class title carefully. You must enter only homegrown produce. Check the number specified in the Schedule for the class you wish to enter – if it says 8 pods runner beans you will be disqualified (‘NAS’ – not as schedule) if you have too few or too many. It is worth bringing along a few extra as spares just in case you find you need them when you are placing your exhibit.
Guideline 2 – Start small
Show a small set of flowers/fruit/vegetables really well to ensure you have a stress-free Show. If you are new to showing don’t be tempted to enter too many classes. Preparing entries for showing takes a bit of time. We now have a small set of classes for new growers and you might find it most successful to start with these.
Guideline 3 – Choose easy-to-grow cultivars to begin with
When planning your growing, choose cultivars with care. Instead of using traditional varieties, you may have more success, at least at first, if you choose modern, disease-resistant varieties. These are often easier to raise and require a bit less attention.
Guideline 4 – Protect your crops from damage and disease
Look for perfect specimens. Flowers/fruit/vegetables should be as near perfect as possible, even if it is not the largest specimen you have. This means no damage, no signs of disease and nice even growth (unless you are entering our ‘Comedy Vegetable’ class!)
Guideline 5 – Review your entries
About 10 days before Show day review your flowers/fruit/vegetables and plan your entries.
Guideline 6 – Harvest, prepare and pack your entries with great care.
The day before the Show, carefully harvest your crops. The only exception to this is shallots and onions which may be harvested and set out to dry out a little, a few days earlier. Gently wash away all soil on entries which have been in contact with the ground. Try to avoid dropping or bruising any entry. Remove any pests you find. With leafy vegetable entries, you must leave all leaves in place, do not be tempted to remove the outer ones. If there are multiple items in the class (e.g. 5 tomatoes), make sure that they are roughly the same size and match as much as possible – this applies to flowers, fruit and vegetables. You may find it easier to pack entries individually in newspaper or kitchen paper, place in a box and pack around them so they do not move and become damaged in transit. For flower stems and herbs, do not forget to put them in water when you stage them. You may label the exhibit with its name; this is not compulsory, except for the collection of herbs class. Arrive in good time to set out your entries.
Guideline 7 – Chat to other exhibitors
It’s a good way to get ideas for next year! Have fun and enjoy the Show!
Tips on Showing Flowers
Blooms should be fresh and clean (no earwigs or thrips), firm and not marked. Stems and foliage are taken into account by the Judge, especially if there is close competition.
Make sure that the flowers are fresh and not dropping pollen.
Hybrid Tea blooms should be shown at half to three-quarter open stage without the middle of the flower wide open showing the stamens. Cluster or floribunda stems should be shown fresh and the stamens, if visible, should not be black and stale. A week or so prior to the Show take out the centre bud or flower from the head of the cluster and more flowers will open fresh for the Show.
Tips on Showing Vegetables
All beetroot should be firm, fresh, and clean with a single root (if possible). Cut the foliage to approximately three inches, tie the remaining foliage for neatness (but not essential). The judge will cut one beet from each exhibit to see if there are any prominent white rings. The optimum size is around the size of a tennis ball.
Long pointed: Should be fresh, firm and long with smooth roots, good colour all down the length of the root. Foliage trimmed to approximately 75mm in length.
Stump rooted: Fresh, of good colour and shape with a distinct stump showing, clear smooth skin and foliage trimmed to approximately 75mm in length.
Should be young, tender fruits of good shape (straight if possible) and colour approximately six inches (150mm) in length and one and a half inches (35mm) in diameter. May be shown with or without their flower.
Should be cleaned with a sponge and look a fresh colour, all the potatoes in the exhibit should be of similar size, as a guide each potato should be a size to just cover the palm of your hand and weigh approximately 6/7 ounces.
Beans for showing should all be of the same length and width (as near as possible). A couple of weeks or so before the Show look at your beans still growing and any bean less than four inches, which you think may be ready for the day of the Show, squeeze gently where the seed is so as to break the seed and it will not swell or bulge out and spoil your exhibit.
Small fruited: Should be fresh, ripe but firm, well coloured and blemish free with fresh calex (or stalk) still attached. Each tomato should be no larger than 35mm in diameter.
Medium fruited: Should be of good shape, well rounded, clear skinned, ripe but firm. Size about 60mm in diameter (as near as possible but not essential in local shows) all fruits should match as near as possible.
Tips on Showing Fruit
All fruit should be fresh and clean, not polished, shown with stalks attached where specified.
Tips on Showing all other flowers, fruit and vegetables can be found in the Royal Horticultural Society Horticultural Show Handbook