Friday, August 04, 2017
Cosy Powell drumming home
I was talking to my good mate Craven Morehead the other day (great looking bloke, superb grower, massive cock) and he has asked me to help him do a book on growing to show as there isn’t a decent one out there that appeals to novices and experienced growers alike. Admittedly there is one by a chap called Derek Brooks (hey I wonder if he’s the same arsewipe ‘D Brooks’ who put negative feedback on Craven’s Carrots at Dawn reviews on Amazon?) but quite frankly I’ve had more enjoyable and interesting days watching a freshly painted wall dry whilst having Hitler’s Mein Kampf read out to me. I did have a copy of it but it really was so shit I gave it away so there’s a definite market out there for a book on the hobby that isn’t coma inducing.
All in all we haven’t had too bad a Summer I reckon, although there will always be someone in deepest, darkest Ingleton that will never be satisfied with the weather. In fact, if wet fannies were falling from the sky and landing on his face he’d probably moan about the taste. Yes, we had that really hot spell in late June/early July when the whole country was sweating like a Scotsman watching Crimewatch, but we’ve also had some decent rain showers so there should be some good stuff at the shows over the next few weeks. This is sure to make winning a ticket at the highest level shows even more difficult so growers will have to be really critical about their exhibits. If there are any faults then you’ve probably got no chance as the judges at that level will be micro-analysing every last vegetable in their deliberations. A tiny scratch on your cucumber could be the difference between first and second or even no ticket at all so whilst everything is now growing well in all probability, there are still things you can be doing to make sure your stuff is as perfect as you can make it. This involves daily checking, constant vigilance and attention to detail. At lots of village shows and certain NVS shows just north of the Isle of Wight you can probably chuck any old shit down and win however.
I visited Marcus Powell’s allotments in Buckinghamshire last night and he is most definitely going to be in amongst the tickets as he has some fabulous looking stuff. Last season he won the prestigious collection class with this display, so apologies in advance if you’re eating.
His blanch leeks in particular stood out yesterday, and his celery weren’t far behind, with several sowings at different levels of progress to cover the many shows he does. It was interesting to listen to him as we went through his different crops talking about what he does with each one, we all do things slightly differently but there’s always something we can learn to make things better, so listening to another grower is one of the most worthwhile things you could do if you want to win that elusive red card.
I was gratified to see that his caulis and runner beans for Malvern were at the same stage as mine, as my caulis had been decimated by pigeons shortly after planting out but have now recovered pretty well. My runners seemed to be painfully slow this season, but again were on a par with Marcus’. However, he had some superb runners just starting to crop for the Midlands Branch Championships at Shrewsbury next week and the thing that struck me most were the length of his flower trusses, they were well over a foot long. Mine get to 8 inch if I’m lucky. Must be different soils, or the half strength Viagra he feeds them on. He takes the other half to stop himself falling out of bed.
One of the many jobs I shan’t be missing from next year is growing quality marrows to show. This involves tying them up canes inclined at an angle so that the developing fruits hang down away from the coarse foliage, much as you would do for cucumbers. Making the framework for the canes is a job I invariably rush, which means they often collapse at inopportune moments. After high winds yesterday I suffered a breakage in a couple of the canes high up which will require fiddly repair work whilst getting scratched up to buggery from the plants themselves. However, it hasn’t affected this rather superb looking fruit (var. Blyton Belle), which is rugger ball sized, and I have several others grapefruit sized which should give me a matching set for Welsh Branch in early September. Growing like this means they colour up all the way around and you don’t get that flat discoloured side you do when they grow on the ground.