The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Dreaming of my summer garden

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mad March

Well its turning out that I'm only managing a monthly blog post at the moment! This is a bit frustrating but there are only so many hours in the day and if the weather's good I'd far rather been out doing rather than writing about it. We've been away for a long weekend in Scotland and making the most of any dry weekend days at the allotment, roll on the lighter nights. Plus I'm busy at York Gate, we are getting the garden ready for opening again at the beginning of April which this year excitingly includes a complete revamp of the white and silver garden, I've spent my last two days there planting with all new plants. What a treat. The garden is looking great at the moment the snowdrops have been fabulous, they have masses of Galanthus 'S.Arnott' which is big snowdrop. Its been flowering for weeks. The gardens open again on Thursdays and Sundays from the first of April.  My training year is racing by at the speed of sound and I'm making the most of my time there and I'm learning so much. Its a real treat to see the garden through the year.
I've also been getting a bit on top of my allotment, I've almost finished my paths now, so my plot is completely divided into workable beds now. I'm just waiting on a delivery of bark chippings to fill the path, its a bit erratic our bark chipping delivery we get loads dumped and then none for ages but should be grateful that we get some for free. I want to dig up the grass path at the bottom of the plot to again fill with bark as its full of buttercups and is often slippy, but going to wait till it gets a bit drier, the structure is all there though now.
I have had a delivery of manure though, shared with a fellow allotment holder and so I spent the warmest day of the year so far barrowing muck to my plot, I know I'm late but better late than never. I've done all but one bed now. The rest, as its a big pile, will be piled up in the corner of my plot and covered over for next year.
I've fed and topdressed, with compost, the overwintered onions and garlic.
I've mulched and tidied the fruit bed. I dug the strawberries up that were in this bed as they had been looking a bit sickly the last year and I've other strawberry plants in other parts of the plot so I've got a gap and not sure what to put in, I quite fancy a small plum or cherry tree on a dwarf root stock. So will have to research that. This will join the rhubarb, gooseberry bush, redcurrant, blackcurrant and apple tree.
The rhubarb is almost ready for picking, I love rhubarb.
Its been such a mild winter that I've got some selfsown overwintered annuals including Cerinthe and even some Calendula. So cheery as an early flower.
The Globe artichokes often look a bit ragged at this time of year but the fountains of silver grey foliage are looking great.
I like to have chives dividing my two main beds (to split into 4 which I rotate round, brassicas, legumes, roots and Allium family) but these have become a bit congested so I've dug these up and split most into 4, its a bit brutal but they are much better to have space. It also means I've got many more plants to spread round the plot so most beds have got a row at each end now. I love the flowers as an early cut flower and the bees love them too. The alpine strawberries edging the fruit bed were also a bit woody and congested so they have been consigned to the compost heap but I've had self sown seedlings around that bed which I've just used to replace them.
So all in all I think I'm almost on top of things at the plot, though shed is needing a bit of TLC and needs some panels replacing and my bench needs sanding down and painting but think I'm going to get Martin on the job for that!
More excitingly we've finally got my greenhouse up and ready for action, this is after a few false starts (it was nearly finished before we had those terrible storms that wreaked havoc and blew out and broke quite a few panes of glass so we've had to replace some with perspex. Our friend Bob takes all the credit for putting it up, he's been a legend, though I think he's been cursing me for weeks but its all finished and the first plants are in there now. So just in time for the main seed sowing time, I've not got any heaters at the moment though so its not frost free so will have to be careful with some things. But I'm very excited about a good crop of tomatoes this year. I'll post a picture in my next post.
Other news is that one of the gardener's from York Gate has designed a garden for the Harrogate Flower Show in April so I'll be helping out with that too. The garden is owned by Perennial (previously the Gardener's Royal Benevolent Society) which is a national charity for those who work or have worked in horticulture and their spouses/partners when they face adversity or need. It's Perennial's 175th anniversary this year and the show garden, which is inspired by York Gate, will help promote the charity and the garden. So I'm looking forward to that experience. Will keep you posted.
Finally my heated propagator installed on my desk in my back bedroom is proving a toasty seat for my cat, Bob!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Review of the year 2013

Ok so I'm a bit late posting this but I do like to go through and see how the year has gone, which crops have been successful, which varieties have done well or otherwise and what I could have done better. I'm learning all the time about which varieties are good, how to grow crops to their best on my plot and I'm now developing a good routine and some varieties which I know do well for me but its always worth seeing how things could be changed and how the new varieties that I try each year fit in.
Its also always interesting to reread my posts from last year to see how the plot changes, I also keep a diary noting when I sow seeds, when they get pricked out or potted on and eventually planted and then hopefully harvested at my plot to give me a guide to my year. I also make a note of the general weather conditions as this often dictates how the year goes.
So 2013 started slow, very slow, the winter seemed endless, in Huddersfield we had a big snow fall in January with some snow on the ground for around 12 days and very cold, there followed a cold February with some further snow showers, though there were some really sunny days including one day when I made a delightful trip to Hodsock Priory to view the snowdrops little realising till I got there that the garden also contained a host of other winter flowers.
February and March stayed mainly dry with many cold but grey days seemingly endless, until mid March when we had some more really heavy snow, the most I have seen in Huddersfield, this was when I really lost the plot, under drifts of snow.
The snow lasted into April and up to Easter but by now the days were getting longer and spring did eventually arrive. Though it was unusual as some of the earlier spring flowers, like the daffodils and the hellebores which flowered for a much longer season as it was cool, were still in flower when the later spring flowers started into bloom, like the tulips which burst into flower when the sun and warmth finally came.
With spring being quite dry I managed to get quite well ahead with jobs at the allotment and I also made a big effort to improve my soil this year, sharing a big load of manure with a fellow plot holder, I also had a go at growing some green manures but I've not managed to get that into my routine yet. The other advantage of this spring was the blossom, which was delayed due to cold but once it came was glorious and so this meant bumper crops for fruits at my plot. I had good crops on my gooseberries, redcurrants, strawberries and my newly planted apple tree had a great first crop. My rhubarb had matured enough for a proper harvesting this year too. This year I added a blackcurrent bush to the bed so hopefully next year I'll get a few of those too.
My plot really helped me this year too, I'd had a difficult start to the year as my dad had been poorly since October of 2012 with a stressful time of him being in and out of hospital and my mum struggling too, sadly my dad passed away in May. But the allotment was a place for calmness and refuge which may sound daft but it really helped me stay 'normal' in a bit of a mad time.
In June we finally had some warm weather which was much appreciated by all and everything really got going and its fair to say I think we all caught up after a long winter and spring. Everything really started to flourish in July and with the weather being so good I was up at my plot at least a couple of nights a week. We had a really warm July, and that's when the harvesting started in earnest. I had a couple of fabulous trips away this year the first was a trip down to Devon as I'd won a competition for the 'Get Growing' course at River Cottage and we had glorious weather.
With the weather being so good sitting out in the evenings became a regular occurrence and this is when we realised we were on the evening walking circuit for hedgehogs, which encouraged us to sit out all the more just for a glimpse of these lovely little creatures.
My blogging started being a bit erratic after August as this is when I started my WRAGS training in a lovely garden on the outskirts of Leeds called York Gate, I'm working 5 days now two days at the garden and 3 days at my usual job and it is tiring but worth it as I'm loving the training. Its really varied and just lovely to be outside for 2 days a week very different from my other job. But I've managed on the whole to keep up with my allotment but we'll have to see how that goes this year, the weather will be the crucial factor there.
Vegetable growing wise it was an extremely successful year, I even had some success in sowing things direct, though I made some mistakes, I sowed some peas direct and some in modules, I assumed that the ones sown direct hadn't come up (not patient enough!!) and planted the ones in modules in between and then up they came so I ended up with 4 rows of peas too close together. I still got massive crops off them though.
I didn't have great success with the Florence Fennel as many bolted, I think this was partly due to sowing too early and also the dry spring. I tried growing Tomatillo but had a few problems with slugs when potting on the seedlings and only ended up with one plant which grew really well and flowered well but never fruited. I found out later that you need more than one plant for pollination to get them to set fruit. I had my first go at growing cauliflower and they grew well and set nice heads but that's when I hit the problems I didn't cover them up well enough and so the curds became a bit discoloured. Still fine for eating though so I was pleased with them overall but will just cover them better next year.
Again I had mixed success with the celeriac, it grew well from seed but it didn't develop very big swollen roots, I think again this was a watering issue they need plenty of water and also I think the advice is to start removing some of the leaves later as they develop so will try that next year.
I've got a large middle bed in the plot and this is where I planted sweetcorn, beans, courgettes and squash, but I also put in two rows of leeks but this ended up looking a bit of a mish-mash and the squash overran it a bit which isn't surprising but the leeks got a bit taken over and the competition meant they didn't grow as well. This issue has been solved now as I've split this bed into two now and so I'm hoping this section will look more organised this year.
Those are the negative things but they are tiny compared to the great crops I got from other veg. One vegetable which I've struggled with in the past was beetroot, mostly as I was trying to sow direct and they never got going or eaten by slugs, but this year we needed to grow some for our allotment show, they were one of the compulsory vegetables so I needed to get some. I think I went a bit mad as I ended up with loads of beets! The trick for me here is to sow into modules and then plant out and that has been fine. I managed to grow some different varieties including 'Golden Globe' and 'Chioggia' as well as the sturdy 'Boltardy' but I have to say for taste and sweetness I don't think you can beet (pardon the pun) the 'Boltardy'.
New vegetables that I grew this year included the Cucamelon which is like a cross between a cucumber and a melon. It grew quite rampantly and did have quite a few grape-like fruits on them, though not as many as you'd expect from the growth, but it was the taste, I was never really quite sure whether I liked them or not, I think its because in your mind you think they are going to be sweet like a grape and they are not!
I grew a wigwam of some Borlotti beans and these grew and cropped really well and these have been stored as dried beans and are being used in soups. They look great too with the red marbled pods shining out.
I had a good summer season of salads, with good success at a few lettuce varieties, the old-favourite 'Webbs wonderful' a few seedlings of which were given to me by my plot neighbour, this grew really well, as well as 'Little Gem' and a lovely variety called 'Freckles' which was slow to bolt. Little and often is really the key to these plants. I grew some great cucumbers with no greenhouse, the variety was 'Burpless Green' and I got at least 6 or 7 really long cucumbers from these. This was due to the great sunny weather of course so whether that will happen this year only time will tell.
My squash plants did well again and I'm still eating the stored fruits now. Courgettes were excessive as usual, and overall beans did well. I grew some Crimson flowered bean this year and these were pretty as well as cropped well, they also had a delicate scent.
I was much better this year at spreading the growing season and so into autumn and winter I've had a good crop of Brussel sprouts, parsnips, leeks, celeriac and the ubiquitous beetroot to get me through. For some reason I missed out sowing Kale which I've missed this year and I'm going to grow some purple sprouting broccoli for next winter.
I've taken to growing lots of flowers on my plot too and I think this year that is going to be extended, my real favourites this year were sunflowers I had them all over my plot, I love the tall single flowered varieties just for the sheer fun of them but I also grew some multistemmed varieties which were a revelation. I started cutting some for indoors and they just kept sending out more flowers I was still picking them in October. The two I grew were 'Valentine' which is short pale yellow variety and 'Claret' which as its name suggests is a dark red. They are on the must grow list for next year.
I also had masses of Cosmos, again another fabulous cut flower which kept on going well into autumn. I had a great year for Sweet peas, though I was quite late in sowing these as my first sowing failed to germinate well they really took off. Cropped well all summer and then seemed also to have a second burst of flowering in the autumn. Tithonia rotundiflora 'Torch' was a new one for me, it germinated really quickly and really took off with erect orange flowers which looked great with another new flower I grew, which was Salvia viridis, the Blue Clary, this was also planted in that great mish-mash of my middle bed at the plot and again this flowered for months and I just kept picking and picking.
I also had Nasturtiums, Dahlias, Borage, Calendula, Cerinthe, Campanula, Veronica, Astrantia, plus some lovely delicate poppies. I want to extend my range of flowers for cutting this year.
So all in all a great year for veg and flower growing, can we order a summer like that again for this year.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


On a very blustery Saturday I managed a couple of hours up at my plot, this is only my second visit of the year, the weather has just been dreadful especially at weekends which is the only time I can get up there at the moment. It has been a very mild winter so far for Huddersfield, there have been a few frosts but not many at all, the rain and winds have been the main feature. Evidence of this is all around at the allotment as the annual weeds are still appearing albeit slower than normal. My garlic is growing well and starting to come up above ground which is earlier than normal for me. The over-wintering onions are looking well this year. 
But I was surprised to see my rhubarb plants starting to unfurl their leaves. I know this variety is 'Timperley Early' but still.....
The plot is soggy though but at least not waterlogged. Apparently in Huddersfield we have had double the normal amount of rainfall in January, but really I have to say we have not had it anywhere near as bad as the some parts of the country. I've been looking through my posts from last year, so that I can write a review of the year, and its really different to last year when we had some bad snow showers but on the whole had a dry winter. Anyway more on that in my next post.
At home the greenhouse frame is now up and the glass is all cleaned and ready to go in when we get a less windy day.
Its looking a bit imposing in the garden at the moment but once I can move things around and create more space around it it will look better. I can't wait to get it finished so I can start using it.

Finally some less good news this week, all allotment plot holders across Kirklees have received letters this week about price rises. We had been warned about this at our last allotment meeting, but we finally got the news in writing. Apparently the council have reviewed allotment rental prices across Yorkshire and found that the rents for Kirklees allotments are one of the lowest, I pay about £23 for the year, and because of this they want to increase our rents. They say other council rents range from up to £90 a year and the average is £50 so our prices are going to go up to bring them in line with "the current regional average". This is going to start next year where we will have a £10 rise over the next three years, plus the usual inflationary rise. So our rents will end up around £53 a year. There will be a 50% concession for OAPs but there is no mention of a subsidy for people on low incomes. Here's how it was reported in the local newspaper. My first reaction when I received the letter was its not right to just increase our rents because they are lower than in other regions! We had been told in the meeting that it was due to increased expenses for allotments for water rates and security for example and I could understand it a bit more if this was the case as I do realise that the council has gone to a lot of effort for many sites now with high fences round to improve security, but the letter just says its doing it to bring us in line with other areas. That doesn't feel right to me. They do say in the letter that all the income generated from the increased rents will be allocated to the allotments budget but will it? I'm not sure I believe them on that. Is this a slippery slope and are councils now just able to do this as allotments are so popular at the moment with long waiting lists? But then I step back and think is £53 really a high price to pay for a years hobby? For me its just an ingrained part of my life now and I love it so much that it is well worth the money for me. Its a really difficult one, but I know that it is something that is often mentioned in blogs and some allotment holders are suffering much more. For councils land is becoming a crucial commodity and with all the enforced council budget cuts many are looking at other ways to raise money and many are considering selling off allotments for housing or other developments, the most notable being the Farm Terrace allotment campaign. Unfortunately I think this is a story that will repeated at allotment sites across the country.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

And full speed into 2014

Its been a glum, grey, drizzly day today, how typical that the one free day that I have this weekend is miserable and the sun is due out for tomorrow. Never mind, it has given me a bit of time to write an update for myself. This year one of my resolutions is to not to start each post exclaiming about how time is flying and how I've not written in a while! I'm afraid my postings may be a little bit sporadic this year but I do want to keep going with my blog as its just a really useful photo diary for me to see how things change at my allotment.
Though it seems like a long time ago now, I had a lovely relaxing Christmas, two blissful weeks of not traveling too far, seeing family and friends, eating lots of nice food, reading a few books and catching up with films and TV. A perfect antidote to all the commuting and busyness that seems to be my life at the moment. But I'm back into the fray much refreshed and very excited about the year ahead.
I've been busy reviewing my 2013 growing season at the allotment and have made plans for this year, the seed is ordered. I'll update in a later post. I'm still waiting for some seed to come back from Marshall's which was a joint order with a few people at the allotment to reduce costs. A big delivery of manure awaits me at the allotment ready for spreading once I've finished sorting my beds out. I've been putting in the last of the paths to split the last big bed on my plot into two. This will organise it better and will make it look much neater. Plus these paths are proving to be a real necessity in this soggy wet winter to enable me to walk round my plot. On two sides at the very edge of my plot are grass paths and these are very slippy and get muddy so quickly but my bark chipping filled paths are a treat.
Then at the bottom of my plot, the last part that I need to work on, I left a strip as a grass path last year but its full of buttercups, so I'm going to dig this strip out and lay another path here so I've got a nice path to my shed. Its taken me a few years to get the structure of the allotment but I'm hoping that I'm nearly there now and it will be so much easier to get things ready for winter next year. The paths mean its easier to get round the plot but they also divide the plots into smaller more manageable areas that you can reach without having to stand on the soil. If anyone is starting an allotment this year I'd really recommend some kind of divisions to your plot. They don't necessarily have to be semi-permanent paths like these, you could just lay down some black weedproof membrane as temporary paths, or just mark out specific beds that you are going to work on. It may sound silly but it also works psychologically. If you have one large expanse that you see every time you go to the allotment, you will often despair at all the work that you have to do, but if you have beds you can just aim to work on one or two at a time and feel great when they are weed free and full of crops. Anything to make life easier for me at the allotment is essential. I used to work 4 days and so I was often able to have 1-2 days at the allotment each week, weather permitting. But now I'm back to 5 days, with doing the training at York Gate, it will be a challenge for me to keep up with the allotment this year so anything to save time will be helpful. 
There are plans afoot in my garden too. The base for the greenhouse is ready and so I think maybe tomorrow or next weekend, Martin and his friend Bob will be trying to get the frame together, anyway hopefully it will be up in time for the start of the seed sowing season and this will be a real treat. Once the greenhouse is up I've got other plans to try and get my back garden a bit more organised and neater. I've currently have 4 of the plastic tiered greenhouses a couple of which are looking tatty so I'll use half of the racks in my new greenhouse until I can get proper staging. So this will tidy the garden straight away. Its fair to say my back garden was a bit of a disaster-zone last year as it was a difficult year, with one thing and another, and any gardening time I had was concentrated on my allotment. But I want to fall in love with it again and be proud. Overall I want to simplify it, I think my plant enthusiasm overides common sense a lot of the time, and I don't plan what I'm going to buy and plant. This has resulted, if I'm brutally honest, with a mish-mash style in the back. I have far too many pots and not good structure. My front garden is better as for that I have had more of a theme with dark-coloured foliage and overall pinks and purples for the flowers, with the odd splash of orange, all set round a circular patio. Though this needs tweaking each year, overall it works. So I need a theme for my back garden and I want to simplify the plants. So that's what I'm working on now. To make a start at tidying I've got a row of three big laurel bushes down the side of my house next to the fence and they grow so quickly and easily get out of hand, I'm going to cut down at least two, maybe all of them, we'll see how exposed it makes the back garden. Its very dark and shady here so not much will grow here anyway so the plan is to have a space for the wheelie bins and general garden bits and pieces. This will just generally tidy the garden and improve space. Anyway those are the plans we'll see if they come together....

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas

Well what a year its been, how it has flown by and now its Christmas, I'm hoping for a much better one this year after one I want to forget last year. Mum and dad were both very ill and a few very hard months followed, my lovely dad passed away in May and its at times like this I really, really miss him. We are all feeling it especially my mum who has also had a hard year with her own health problems but she's getting stronger again now and I really admire her so much for resilience and determination. She's coming up to mine for Christmas dinner which will be lovely as she hasn't been well enough to come here for over a year.
So yes its been a challenging year but there have been some lovely times too, I had an amazing weekend down in Dorset for my River Cottage prize plus a sunny weekend away in Barcelona but also I've had the amazing opportunity for training in a beautiful garden in Leeds and I'm relishing every moment there. Hence why my blogging has dropped off a lot in the last few months as I'm still doing my other job 3 days a week, then gardening for 2 days and usually visiting my mum one day over the weekend so its busy all the time but I'm loving it.
I'm still managing to find some time to get to my allotment though not as often but I've squeezed in a visit today and have really blown the cobwebs away, its wild and windy here, though dry and sunny thank goodness and I know we've got off lightly compared to the South of England and I think Scotland is bearing the brunt of the bad weather now. 
You have to have a good memory when you visit your allotment at this time of year as it can look bleak but surprisingly as we have had such a mild autumn/winter so far I've still got some marigolds in flower which add some cheer to the plot. I've also got lots of self-sown Cerinthe which adds colour too. The silver new leaves of the globe artichokes look great too.

As you can see its not been put to bed for winter I've still got a lot to do but today I've been picking my veg for dinner tomorrow. I was determined this year to have some crops over winter and I think I've done quite well, I still have some beetroot left, some of the 'Golden Globe', some celeriac which still isn't very big at all, I've got leeks, parsnips and that Christmas dinner staple some sprouts, they are not the prettiest but I was determined to have some for Christmas day and so I have.
Not quite as good as the ones on Alan's plot next to mine, he of the enormous cabbages. His look fabulous will have to ask him what variety they are. Can you also spot the enormous turnips,I think they are, in front of them!!
I also found a late developing Romanesco cauliflower which is a bonus.
I'm looking forwarding to cooking Christmas dinner tomorrow with my crops.
So I'd better get ready for tomorrow, so just finally I'd like to wish all my fellow blog readers and bloggers a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

Friday, 22 November 2013

A colourful autumn

What a skewed year we have had, a very delayed spring and an elongated autumn. The trees are really starting to lose their leaves here in Yorkshire but they have been very colourful, though a year of yellows and russets it seems. Lots of rain this month though and some frosts but also some lovely sunny days when its a joy to be in the garden. The colours are now both above our heads.....
 .....and below our feet.
Annie's little plot, both the blog and the allotment, are getting neglected I've only made it up to the allotment a couple of times this month or so, but its starting to quieten down now anyway. I have managed to plant my over-wintering onions and some garlic but most of the work there is clearing the old vegetable plants and getting it ready for winter.
My sprouts are coming and should be ready soon, and parsnips are huge and sweetening up with the frosts. I've still got leeks and some beetroot though I've not protected them so I'm not sure how long they will last.
I've had a bumper harvest of Borlotti beans that have all been dried and will be used throughout winter, I'm slowly making my way through the squash. The huge rugby ball sized one took a bit of tackling the other night. The 'Hubbards Blue' needed a large meat knife and a mallet to get in half and then I managed to get one in half  again. But I had to put each half in the oven separately they were so big and roast for ~45 mins. I've got a freezer full of soup now!
I'm very excited as I've recently aquired a greenhouse, one of Martin's friend, Bob's friend's mum's! Its a little 6 by 6 greenhouse which is in good condition.
Martin and Bob dismantled it last weekend and its in our garage waiting to be cleaned by me and then we wer going to lay some foundations in the back garden and hopefully get it back up and fingers crossed ready for action in the spring.
The plant of the moment at York Gate has been the gorgeous Nerine bowdenii, here glistening after a rain shower.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Allotment show 2013

I'm a bit late posting about this, the show was in September, but I wanted to let you know how our allotment show went, its our second one. Last year for our first one we could just bring a basket or collection of any vegetables, but this year the committee set a few rules. This year we had to exhibit a basket/tray of six different vegetables from the following list. I hope you can read it, its not copied very well.
But the important thing to remember was that there were 3 compulsory vegetables of potatoes, onions and beetroot. This caught a few people out who looked at the schedule a week or so before the show and then realised they'd not got any beetroot left!
So I had some potatoes ready, they were 'Charlotte' variety, a few beetroot, I entered some 'Chioggia' variety and some onions, they were 'Stuttgarter Giant' which I'd lifted and dried a few weeks before. I still can't believe I actually spent a whole evening puzzling over how to trim and tie onions, even googling to get some expert advice. As for the other 3 vegetables to show, when it came to the week before I didn't really know what to enter, I was a bit spoilt for choice, I had some quite nice long runner beans, some 'Longnor' shallots, some nice french beans, a cucumber, which I was very proud of (my first proper attempt and grown outdoors), a 'Crown Prince' squash and some nice round courgettes. In the end I chose the french beans, cucumber and squash.
I think from speaking to the judge and other competitors afterwards I made the wrong decision as its apparently very hard to get a good mark for cucumbers, they have to be immaculate and squash are 'easy' to grow so again don't get good marks.
These were my scores, my best was for the potatoes, 15/20, then onions, 13/20, beans and beetroot 11/20 and the cucumber and squash both got 6/20. But for me its all a bit of fun and just really about taking part and getting together with the other plot holders and having a bit of a natter. We also have a few awards for most improved plot and the plot holders next to me won that which is great as they have taken over a really grotty plot and have turned it round in a few months. Then we also have lots of tea and cake which is the best bit.
Here are a few of the other exhibitors.
You should be able to see which ones came first, second and third. I really wish I'd put the shallots and runner beans in now! Oh well maybe next year. The standard is quite high as many people from my allotment site grow for the Huddersfield show amongst others. Especially our chairman who won best in show for his leeks. They all get very competitive. I might suggest next year having some tasting competition perhaps with tomatoes. We'll see, anyone else got any ideas for us from their allotment shows?

I did win something though third prize in the sweet pea competition.
I won't let it go to my head though, there were only 3 entrants!!