Home > Events > The Show > Hints & Tips - The Show Bench

Hints & Tips - The Show Bench


Andrew Tokely’s Show Tips

Potatoes – Lift and wash straight away using a soft sponge before any dirt dries on hard. Once washed select a uniform set of tubers with shallow eyes. Keep tubers in the dark until show day, and display on white or black plates on the show bench placing tubers in a circular pattern around the plate.

Carrots – Lift and wash with a soft sponge going around the roots rather than up and down so the roots are not scratched. Remove and small hair roots but leave the tap root in place. Trim tops to approx 75mm. Display long roots direct on show bench, display short roots on a plate.

Onions – To ensure the skins have set and are golden brown, lift at least 3-4weeks before show day. Clean down to one clean skin and dust with talcum powder to help dry out the skins. Place in a cool airy shed. A few days before the show, select a uniform set of onions and wash off talcum power and trim and tie the tops with raffia.  Display on the show bench on small rings on a plate or place rings on the show bench and cover with a black cloth and place each onion on a ring. Display as a triangle two at the back and one in front.

Shallots – Lift and store in a dry airy place, then before show day, rub off any loose skins and select a matching set. Exhibition shallots should be large and round, Pickling shallots should each go through a 30mm ring. Tie tops with raffia and display on a saucer of dry silver sand.

Beetroot – Lift day before show, selecting roots bigger than a golf ball but not as large as a tennis ball. Wash and trim foliage to 75mm. Place washed roots in salt water for 2 hours as this will help bring out the red colour. Display on show bench on a plate with tap roots pointing towards judge.

Parsnips – Lift and wash with a soft sponge removing any small hair like roots. Select a matching set, and trim tops to 75mm. Display direct on show bench with roots facing judge.  

Leeks – Lift day before show, clean off a few outer flags until the shaft is clean. Wash the shaft and the roots in water so the roots look like white hair. Wipe over foliage and trim off any damage. Tie side by side at top of barrels and tie up foliage using green string. Place direct on show bench with roots facing judge.

Runner Beans & French Beans – Select young tender beans that are of the same length and tender. Cut off plants so a small piece of stalk remains. Display either on a plate or lay on a black cloth to enhance their appearance.

Sweetcorn – Pick the evening before the show. Keep the cobs wrapped as should be shown as picked. The tassels should be brown and cobs full.  Display cobs side by side on a plate at the show.

Cabbage – Cut the evening before the show, making sure 75mm of stalk remains. Wash and check for pest damage. Remove any damaged or yellowing lower leaves. Display direct on show bench.

Cucumber – Cut with a small piece of stalk and the flower at the base of the cucumber if possible. Place direct on show bench with flower end facing judge.

Tomatoes – Pick fruits the day before the show, keeping the Calyx attached to the fruits. Wash with a soft sponge removing any sooty mould or dirt from the fruits. Display Large fruits (Maximum 60mm diameter) on a plate, Cherry fruits (Maximum 35mm diameter) can be displayed in a small saucer of sand so they stand up. both displayed in a circular pattern. A Truss of Tomatoes should have both ripe and unripe fruits and can be displayed direct on show bench.

Marrows – Make sure you have a matching pair if required not longer than 350mm. Cut with a small amount of stalk attached. Fruits should be Young enough so a thumb nail can be easily inserted. Wash with a sponge. Display direct on show with stalk facing away from judge.

Courgettes – Pick fruits a fresh and young as possible all of the same length approx 150mm or if round 75mm diameter. If they can be picked with flowers attached this is beneficial but not essential. Display fruits side by side on a plate.

Lettuce – Lift the night before show with the roots attached. Dip the roots in water and wrap in a polythene bag so the lettuce remains fresh for the duration of the show. Wash the leaves carefully. Display direct on the show bench.

Cauliflowers – Cut the day before show with 75mm of stalk. Trim off excess foliage so a pure white curd is exposed. Wash with a sponge so clean. Display direct on show bench side by side.

Peppers Sweet and Chilli- Pick the day before show with a small piece of stalk attached. Wash and display at show on a white plate.

Vegetable Collections – Display Vegetables on a black background to show off the vegetables. Try to select the higher point 18-20 point vegetables for your exhibit. Leeks and Celery are best displayed against a back board.

Pot plants – Make Sure pots are clean as well as the foliage. Plants should be displayed with a pot saucer. Take note of pot Diameters allowed.

Vases of Flowers – Try to place in a vase so the flowers are facing the judge rather than at all angles. Put some newspaper at base of vase to stop the blooms slipping. Blooms can be staged and held in position with newspaper, keeping each stem apart or Oasis can be used if you prefer. 


A PDF Version of this document is available here for you to download and reference as you prepare for the show.