Hot News

This website is constantly under revision and new pages and updates will be added as circumstances dictate.

The Committee has planned a full programme of events up to January 2019. (See Programme 2018-19)

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What's Happening ?     Last Updated: Thursday 11th January 2018



According to Garden News, the Royal National Rose Society, which went into administration back in May, has been reborn as the Rose Society UK     

In the national news recently has been the threat posed by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa which, so far, has infected more than 350 types of plants and trees in Europe and has even wiped out entire groves of olive trees in Greece.  Whilst its presence has not yet been reported in the UK, many believe that it is only a matter of time.  The bacterium attacks the water transport cells of the infected host plants which then wilt and eventually die. The disease has certainly been observed in various fruit trees and flowering plants but what the possible impact might be on UK vegetable crops is not yet known. However, it is something to be aware of and perhaps watch out for in the future.

The Winter edition of Simply Vegetables has now been published and issued to NVS paid-up members.  This edition also contains details of the NVS membership fees for 2018. You can join/renew and pay by cheque, postal order, direct debit or via the NVS website, using Paypal. The relevant link can be found at the top right-hand corner of the home page.  You can also join/renew via the NVS Facebook Page by clicking on the Sign Up link which will take you to the same sunscription page. 

I have updated the Programme 2018-19 page to include the events planned for 2018.  Dates and timings for some events are indicative only and are subject to confirmation in due course. However, the annual Show date and venue have now been confirmed as Sunday 30th September 2018 at Cherry Lane Garden Centre, Beverley. 

I have archived all events from 2013 through 2017 in a new page hereIn future, Less Hot News will only cover those events held earlier in the current year (2018).

News of a new world record squash grown in USA.

And closer to home

More giant pumpkin information here.

And some interesting news on apples that do not turn brown after slicing here

NVS Publications are now available to purchase via Ebay

I am told that a new publication on growing and exhibiting flowers is due to be published in Spring 2018.


What you are wondering in December?

Why parsnips taste better and sweeter after a bit of frost.  According to Garden News, parsnip roots store the plant's energy, for its second year growth and seed production, in the form of starch (which is characteristically pretty tasteless)  because it takes up less physical storage space than sugar.  However, it is more difficult for the plant to convert starch into useful growth energy and the action of frost triggers the conversion of the stored starch into sugars by signalling the approach of a new growth season.

The long-awaited new NVS Judges and Exhibitors Guide is now available to purchase at £8.50 per copy, or £10 including post and packing. Keith Abel has some copies available for purchase.  You will note that the cover design bears a striking similarity to the RHS Show Guide.

Please note that, since publication, the Sweet Corn Page 94 has been updated to mirror the existing RHS pointing criteria. There is an erratum slip available showing the correct points awarded for Sweet Corn as Condition 5 points, Uniformity 4 points, Size 3 points, Set of Grain 3 points, Colour 3 points = Total 18 points.  A self-adhesive paper erratum slip is also available to cover and amend the existing Page 126 entitled - NOTES which provides no details of the definitions of Salading and Root Vegetables.  There is also an error for Page 57 - Loose Leaf Lettuce. However, all you need to do is to delete the three points currently assigned to firmness and texture and reduce the total points awarded from 15 to 12. The final line on Page 8 should read  - Remember a dish must consist of only one cultivarThe Winter edition of Simply Vegetables says that all members who have bought an existing Guide will be issued a free replacement as soon as the new print run becomes available.






Some 40+ persons attended the meeting on Monday 27th November 2017 when Adrian Read, Chair of the North Yorkshire and South Durham DA, gave a presentation on Growing Onions for Showing.  He gave this talk at the August Vegetable Masterclass weekend organised by the NVS in North Wales. Adrian does exhibit his produce but is perhaps better known for putting together vegetable exhibition stands at Harrogate and other major venues.  He claims to have collected 32 Gold Awards from the 50 or so exhibitions he has put together, so far.

He used to use 400W sodium lights for 12 hour periods (24 hours during the first three weeks) but is now of the opinion that LED lighting emitting dark red and blue wavelengths is both cheaper to run and more effective in terms of producing firm leaf growth.  No doubt there are numerous suppliers of LED lighting but many utilise Phillips technology and you can read more about it here. He also argues that keeping any form of artificial lighting on for more than 16 hours a day is unnatural, as well as unnecessary. During the early growth stages of growing onions he likes to keep a minimum air temperature of 50 degF and uses bottom heating set at 55 degF.  In order to improve the chances of creating uniformity in shape and size, most growers now use pips produced from the mother bulb, rather than sow from seed. This mirrors what leek growers have done for many years.  He is a great believer in providing adequate watering to his growing onions. Bottom heating can certainly dry out the compost and cause root damage, sometimes unseen. 

Rather than risk overfeeding his beds with nutrients, he prefers to use slow release fertiliser and grows cauliflowers after his onions have been lifted in order to mop up any excess potassium and phosphorus in his polytunnel bed.  He also uses Keith Singleton potting compost in the intermediate pot stages.  He claims that a polyunnel can get very hot without adequate ventilation and mentioned an electrical heat extractor available from Northern Polytunnels that appeared to be very effective.  He prefers to use a breathable surface membrane on his beds to suppress weed growth (chickweed in particular) rather than black and white polythene sheeting.  Too much moisture retained can cause botrytis to form on the growing bulbs and foliage,  As an added precaution, he uses Viresco Soluble as a one off application 2 weeks after planting out his onions, followed up by monthly sprays of Viresco Foliar thereafter.  More details on these products can be seen here.  He also favours the use of Hortiboost (an amino acid growth stimulant) and Horticron (a slow release N fertiliser).  More details on both of these products can be found here.

Adrian also recommends the use of Perlka when growing cauliflowers since it appears to help growth as well as minimise the impact of any club root fungus present in the soil.  The cauliflower variety shown in his slide was Concept.  In the case of both pink root and white rot infestations he suggested that soil sterilisation was the only effective method that could be used to eradicate the disease.


I have updated Local Shows 2017/18 page as far as I am able. I have started to add 2018 dates where they are known but if anyone wishes their Show dates to be advertised on this website page then please contact me in person, through the webmaster email link shown on the Home Page, the Guestbook link,  phone, or even drop me an old-fashioned note through the post.  Humberside Chrysanthemum Club is normally a very useful link for listing many shows, especially those held towards the end of the season, but, unfortunately, it does not appear to have been updated since 2016. 


Please note that many traditional websites now offer digital links to their own specific pages on Facebook, Twitter and various other social media formats.  As well as helping to advertise their information to a larger and more diverse audience, these additional channels help to create digital networks of like-minded users, across the world. They offer a more interactive experience than traditional websites by providing such features as discussion forums, question and answer panels, blogging and experience sharing by means of words and pictures.

Those of you on Facebook will no doubt be familiar with Giantveg blog postings. They have produced a number of instructional video clips and you can access them all via their website here. They may also be able to supply seeds for purchase. 

There is also a new Facebook Group Show Vegetables and Flowers for the Dedicated Exhibitor which has been set up for serious vegetable and flower exhibitors.  This is a private group to join but membership approval seems to be straightforward.  This is a very busy and interesting site with lots of tips and photos posted of what various top growers are currently doing with their onions, shallots and leeks. This is one of several similar sites which have emerged on Facebook in recent times.


Morrisons the supermarket is giving away used coffee grounds from its cafes.  You can read all about it here.

Ashridge Nurseries is offering a 10% discount to orders made online.  Just key in HORT10 at the checkout stage.

There are a number of organisations, including Marshalls, DT Brown and Dobies, which offer discount to NVS members. Full details from here.


Congratulations to Adrian Horner who successfully completed both the theory and practical sections of the NVS Judges' examination recently.


Our next meeting will be held on Monday 29th January 2018 - 7.30pm at the Conservative Club, Beverley.  This is our Annual General Meeting and will be combined with a short talk on Growing Gladioli by Anne Augustyns.

Until we meet again in January, best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.


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