Cultivating a champion

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UPDATE: The June 20, 2020 Vegetable, Fruit, Herb, & Flower Show has been canceled.


by Treva McFadden, Denton County Master Gardener Association 

There are many reasons for gardening including providing really fresh food for your family and flowers for your enjoyment.  Why keep all that beauty to yourself?  How about entering in a show this summer? 

Growing plants for show need not be a difficult task.  With careful planning, preparation and proper nurturing, you could be bringing home the next “Best in Show” ribbon for your efforts.   

Every year, the Denton County Master Gardener Association and the City of Denton sponsor the Denton County Fruit, Vegetable, Herb and Flower Show in June.  This is a free-to-enter, community event which allows home gardeners from all over the county to bring their prize specimen for judging and a chance to walk away with a monetary prize and bragging rights.  There are entry categories for adults and children, so this would be a great spring/summer project for your children. 

 

What makes a prize entry?  Every entry is judged on the following criteria:  maturity, uniformity, appearance, color, size, fragrance and freedom from pest damage and disease.  Some other things considered in the judging process are each fruit/vegetable entry must be large enough to fill a dinner plate and will be judged on flavor. You don’t have to grow one tomato large enough to fill a plate – a group of small ones will do fine, and probably score better!   Herb/flower entries are restricted to an arrangement of one single species (an arrangement of roses is acceptable, roses and daisies are not), and potted entries are acceptable. It is very important to plan for a pretty presentation of flowers – select a nice planter or vase that will stand up to our Texas heat and make sure your entry stays well watered.  Wilting flowers are not winning flowers. 

Judge David Huffman who has judged in the categories of fruit and vegetable says he looks for good size, texture, color and ultimately taste when judging.  He also is intrigued when someone has success with a difficult-to-grow variety for our area. 

When making plans to grow and submit an entry to this year’s show, planned for Saturday, June 20, think about these considerations when choosing what your prized entry might be.  As it starts to produce, look for those star fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.  Is it of adequate size and does the texture and color exceed standard expectations? How hard is this variety to grow in our area?  What does it taste like?  And lastly, how much fun was it growing this specimen?  In the end, win, lose, or draw, the goal of the show is to allow growers to learn, extend themselves and produce quality plants to showcase for our area.  If you can come away having learned a bit more about North Texas horticulture, you, indeed, are a winner. 

So, as you plan your spring garden and entry into show, consider plants maturation time for optimal appearance, prepare soil for healthy growth and minimal pest/disease influence and give that extra dose of plant love when you tend your garden.  Who knows, you could be growing our next “Best in Show!” 

Some other things to not forget are water, a hat and sunscreen as this event is held outside at the historic Bayless – Selby House Community Marketplace.  We’ll see you there! 

Check our website for details on the show at www.dcmga.com/upcomingevents 

 Grow it to show it 

Save the date: June 20, 2020. That’s is the date of the Denton County annual Fruit, Vegetable, Herb and Flower Show. Each year residents of Denton County are invited to bring their prized produce to compete for prizes in adult and children categories.  You can do this and you will be glad you did. 

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