This year I thought it would be fun to try my hand at entering a horticultural competition. I must say I was inspired by the adventures in River Cottage. So I looked around - the Ekka seemed far too complicated and scary for a beginner so after much web-searching the Mt Gravatt Show seemed to be a good place to start. The entry fee was only 50c per item so I had very little to lose by entering.
Although I made plans to enter a few months out, I didn't organise my garden around the show. Instead it was a case of whatever's ready at the time will do. Last week I remembered the show, so I read and re-read the entry form to make sure I wouldn't make a fool of myself by entering anything against the rules. Well, that didn't really work because I still managed to get it wrong for 2 out of 3 items. Oh well! The form wasn't specific (only giving examples) and trying to get your hands on an official guide at short notice proved impossible. So I entered anyway.
Thursday night there was much carefull scrubbing of pumpkin skin to remove dirt and polish up the skin. Then Friday morning it was out to the garden to carefully select the best peas and the broccoli that decided to be perfectly ready in time for the show. Snipped and de-leafed and matched pea sizes and then it was off to put them in for judgement.
The lessons from entering started then. Apparently there should be 12 peas - not the half dozen that I'd shown up with. Oh well, already paid for the entry so put them out anyway. The pumpkin - well, half-breeds aren't allowed either so while it will win prizes in my kitchen, that wouldn't be the case at the show but I entered it anyway. Then the broccoli. It also didn't say on the form that items should be displayed on a plate. I had heard of this in my interwebs searchings and thought to bring some but for some reason amongst the scrubbing and the matching I hadn't put any in. Just as well the peas were packed in a takeaway container for safe transport. The lid became their plate and the container was the broccoli's.
Saturday - the first day of the show - we headed out with my brother and his family. I didn't tell them about my little venture into the competitive world of gardening just in case it fell apart even more than it already had. During the day I snuck off to the horticulture pavillion to see what had become of my vegetables. Peas, nothing - as expected. Pumpkin - well someone else had one first prize for their pumpkin and rightly so - it was a pure jap. None of this half-breed business. Then, I felt excitement rise as... Could it be? Was it really? Yes, it was. A third place card next to my beautiful broccoli head. Success!
In a couple of hours I'll be off to pick up my entries. They'll make a fine dinner tonight.
I'd encourage all of you to have a go next year at your local show - it truly was fun and exciting. Looking at the photos on here there's plenty of serious (but friendly) competition out there for next year so I'm throwing down the gauntlet.
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