Mansfield winners' 'whopping big' veg success at top Yorkshire show
Two Mansfield gardeners had whopping big wins at an annual horticultural show in Yorkshire.
Joe Atherton, from Mansfield Woodhouse, won the class for ‘one heaviest beetroot,’ which weighed 16.8kg.
He was also second for heaviest onion, 6.944kg, third for the heaviest tomato, 171.2g and third for the heaviest parsnip, at 2.524kg. He also got a fifth in the potato contest, fourth in the runner beans and a fourth in the carrots.
Craig Pearson, from the Clipstone area, won the heaviest cabbage, with a superb specimen weighing 26.2kg. He was also first in the novice category for the longest runner bean, 65.3cm.
Joe and Craig were taking part in the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. The world famous Giant vegetable Competition features 16 classes in the annual ‘battle of the giants.’
This year, the show was held at Newby Hall and Gardens, near Ripon, from September 17-19.Joe, who is 66, and originally from the North East, has lived in the Mansfield area since he was 17.
He puts down his success down to “dedication and a hard working wife!” Carmel - a “major help” in the garden.
Joe, who has held Guinness World Records for his giant veg, said: “I got started because there used to be eight horticulture shows in a radius of 90 miles from Mansfield. I thought I’d give it a go.
"In 2001, I broke the UK record for the biggest leek, at the national giant vegetable championships at Spalding. I’m currently preparing again for that contest, now held at Malvern.
“It’s been an awful year for growing ,frost every day in May in the Mansfield area, then for three weeks we had 30 degrees. I’ve done well considering, but it’s been down on other years,” he added.
Keen gardener Craig, 30, took up growing giant veg two years. He puts the secret of growing whoppers down to “genetics, the seed and care.”
He said: "When it’s a baby you have to keep it warm, it takes a lot of time, effort and hard work!”
Craig, who has twice won the giant cabbage class, at previous Harrogate shows, is hoping for more success at next weekend’s Great Malvern Show.
"We’ve got a huge green squash to take, she’s about 400lb! She’s a big un, but there’ll be a lot of competition there.”