Tilehurst Horticultural Association

Summer Show 2018

The 2018 Summer Show will take place on 4th August at the Village Hall.  The schedule will be available here in the Spring, but in the meantime, there is plenty to be thinking about! 

April Advice 

The weather finally appears to be warming up, but we may not yet be out of the woods as far as frost is concerned.  So make sure you protect any emerging buds and flowers if a late frost is forecast.  Raspberries, blackberries & loganberries could all be susceptible.  See how to protect on the RHS website

If you haven't already done so, it's time to be planting those chitted potatoes! 


March Madness! 

As the weather warms up, it's time to start some serious planting.  Once any lingering snow and frost has gone, get a head start by warming up the ground under cloches or fleece.  

Beetroot can be planted from seed, see guide here.  3 Globe Beetroots can be entered into the Show, and you want exhibits of a uniform size with a smooth skin and a single taproot.


3 Beetroots, globe 

Thinking of entering some dahlias this year?  Click here to learn how to take cuttings and plenty of links and tips too!  Maybe you can aspire to the Dahlia cup in the Summer Show as there are plenty of classes to enter! 

For some tips on growing the perfect pod of peas for Show, see this guide from a champion Show grower. 

6 Pods of Peas, Mangetout or Snap, one cultivar

And if you're thinking about entering the class for Marigolds, now is the time to sow the seeds.  There are plenty of varieties to choose from, alone or mixed.  Their vibrant colours really enhance our Show tables. 


Marigolds, Calendula or Tagetes, any kind or kinds, one or more cultivars


Forward Planning in February 

Turn your compost regularly to mix up all the ingredients and get all those bacteria working at top speed to turbo-charge the rotting process.

Your home-made compost could be the winner in our Show! 

1 500gm margarine tub of home-made compost

It's time to get sowing!  Tomato seeds can be started now in a heated propagator or on a warm, sunny windowsill. 


   5 Tomatoes with calyces (stalks)       9 Cherry Tomatoes with calyces (stalks)

or a Truss of Tomatoes - ripe or a mixture of ripe and unripe

If you've been over-wintering your fuchsias in the greenhouse, now is the time to check them out.  When they show the first signs of growth, start to waken them by increasing watering and cutting back to encourage new growth.  There are 3 fuchsia classes in the Show, standards & 1/2 standards, non-standards & a class for 6 florets. 

Prune currants and gooseberries whilst they're still dormant to maintain a productive framework and healthy crops.  Here's how.  Maybe yours can challenge the best! 

Currants (red or black).  Not more than nine bunches

Once you've bought them, you need to chit your potatoes.  Monty Don shows you how here.  Chitting potatoes gives you a bigger and quicker harvest. 

January Jobs

Consider the best varieties of potatoes for Show.  3 are required, white or coloured, either or both. 


3 potatoes (white)  3 potatoes (coloured) 

Sort out your best Marmalade recipe as the Seville oranges are in the shops!  Make sure you keep a jar of your favourite for the Show. 


Select and plant Sweet Pea seeds.  Just one cultivar or a mixture, two chances to show, 6 in a vase.  Try the National Sweet Pea Society for growing and showing tips. 


     Not more than 6 stems, mixed cultivars.    Not more than 6 stems, 1 cultivar

It's not too late to plant shallots from sets & maybe you could rival these! 

9 shallots, large

Things to do in December

As you take your Christmas break, enjoy browsing the seed catalogues.  Don't forget that Dobies of Devon offer us a 50% discount on seed orders with our THA code (see latest newsletter).  Time to order those sweet pea & calendula, tomato & cucumber seeds ready to beat the best in our Show!  

Onions can be sown from seed in late December (after the shortest day according to some growers), and if you fancy going for the big ones, this allotment diary gives a few tips. 

3 onions - over 250 gms

There's still time to plant Garlic, and if you want to enter our new class in the THA Show 2018, you'd better get planting!  3 bulbs are what we're looking for, advice on growing here - www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/garlic

3 Bulbs of Garlic 

As you are enjoying your homemade Christmas chutneys, make sure you keep a jar to enter in the Preserves section of the Show. 

 Jar of Relish or Chutney 

To be in with a chance of growing the longest stick of rhubarb, now is the time to give your rhubarb a winter mulch of compost or manure, having removed the dead leaves to expose the crown to frost.  www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/rhubarb

Longest stick of rhubarb 

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