Stoke Ferry Harvest Fayre
More tips for your prize-winning entries into this year's produce competition
Just two months to go to Harvest Fayre on 6th September but still plenty of time in hand to make sure your entries - whether they be fruit, veg or flowers - are top class.
Feeding is the secret and if you are lucky enough to have access to a good crop of comfrey, now is the time to make your own organic plant food. It's easy. Cut the comfrey at ground level and then shred the leaves and stems. Put one kg (approximately two and a half pounds) of chopped-up greenery in a large non-metallic container (plastic is perfect) and top up with 11 litres of water. Cover and leave for four to six weeks, giving the mixture an occasional stir with a stick.
Strain off the comfrey debris, and the feed is ready for use. The recommended strength is one part comfrey stock to 80 parts water. Water directly on to the leaves with a watering can or on the surrounding soil.
Class A (vegetables)
So far, the growing season has been a good balance of sunshine and rain, but if we hit a dry spell, be sure to water shallow-rooted crops. Tomatoes, of course, need daily watering and this is a good time to look for, and pinch out, any side shoots (this isn't necessary on bush varieties, of course). Start to lift and store onions and shallots. Cut courgettes regularly to encourage further production but if you want a giant show-stopper, then leave a few to swell
and harden in the summer sun.
Class B (fruit)
For prize-winning specimens, it is essential to remove any undersized, damaged or mis-shapen young fruits from apple and pear trees. If your garden is sheltered enough to grow peaches, be it's a good idea to protect them against wasps, birds and earwigs. Train in new blackberry and loganberry shoots.
Class C (flowers)
Half-hardy annuals grown from seed (such as asters, cosmos, verbena or zinnias) should by now be planted out - and don't forget to feed them regularly with that home-made comfrey stock! Dahlias will also appreciate a feed; disbud
some of the stems to obtain longer stems and showier blooms. If, like Dame Edna Everage, you are a fan of those leggy show girls 'gladdies', you won't need reminding that they need to be staked to provide straight stems for exhibition.
The complete list of categories is shown below:
Class A Vegetables
Class B Fruit
Class C Flowers
Class D Jams and Pickles
Class E Cakes
Class G Bread
Class H Beer and Wine
Class I Novelty veg
Class J Junior
The entrance fee is 50p per person and 25p for those under 18; this entitles you to enter as many of the above classes as you wish. The winner of each class wins a certificate and a silver cup to keep for one year. For more information contact either Marion Clarke (tel: 500 032) or Chris Hollier (tel: 500 872).