The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been postponed for the first time in its history as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 12-time gold medal winner Medwyn Williams may be disappointed in the delay but hasn’t let this halt his preparations for the big day. He is already prepping his grows to ensure his usual award-winning display is ready for the new September dates.
Medwyn, who already had more than 70 per cent of his vegetables growing in preparation for the usual May date, said: “RHS Chelsea is the biggest event in the calendar for gardeners and growers – it’s a real crown jewel, often seeing royal visits. So, like many that were hoping it would be one of the first major events to return this year, I am disappointed at the date postponement – even though the decision is completely understandable in the circumstances. But the important thing is to adapt my growing schedule straight away – and I have spent the last week making sure my plans will coordinate with the intended September dates.”
In order to adapt his growing schedule to be ready for the autumn timeline, Medwyn will need to re-sow many of his crops to make sure they reach their optimum size and appearance for his display – which is usually follows the traditional 1920s style of showcasing first made popular by Edwin Beckett.
He said: “It is sad to be having to pull up the long carrot plants, parsnips, leeks, onions and celery as they were really growing away well. Unfortunately, they were not large enough to be eaten just yet either, but I had to do this immediately as the space was required to re-sow as soon as possible before the nutrients in the pipes and bore hole in my growing set up became depleted. If this was not done quickly, it would have meant having to re-core the holes in the barrels of sand and refilling them once again.”
Medwyn attributes his growing success to his use of plant nutrient and specialist growing medium to give his plants the best environment possible. This helps him achieve the beautiful smooth and shiny skins and uniform straight root plants visitors to Chelsea will know his displays for.
Talking about his next steps using products from CANNA UK, he said: “All of the blanch leeks, pot leeks and onions were growing really well in CANNA Coco Professional and in 25-litre Auto Pots and were being fed automatically with CANNA Coco A&B nutrients as and when the plants required. My plan is to save a few of all the leeks and onions, leaving them to grow on to test the system.
“This will also let me double check my dates were correct for a mid-May harvesting originally, so I can make sure I harvest at the optimal time for the September show. Unfortunately, leaving them to grow on until September would have been futile as they would almost certainly have bolted and gone to seed.”
Medwyn’s potatoes were growing well in two litre pots, and he will be continuing these on to their maturity. As well as this, he will be continuing to plant five different varieties of potatoes in eight by four feet raised beds filled with CANNA Coco Professional, feeding them with CANNA A&B. He will leave them to grow until mid-June, after which he plans to harvest, grade and store them in containers filled with CANNA sieved Coco, which will allow the skin to set firmly and clean up well for September.
He said: “Two years ago I did a trial growing a single potato in a 25-litre pot using the same growing medium and nutrients. The resulting crop was excellent, but more importantly for display purposes the skin finish was superb, smooth and with no trace of scab whatsoever, and that’s what has driven my plan for this year.
“I will also be taking my learnings from an experiment in 2020’s growing process with my celery. Through feeding it quite heavily with CANNA CALMAG, the colour of the petioles on the celery was amazing. Being able to achieve these vivid reddish and pink colours, will really make them stand out on my display stand in September.”
Medwyn has also pledged to support other growers to produce Chelsea-worthy vegetables throughout his preparation for September and will be sharing tutorials and step-by-step demonstrations on his Instagram and Twitter accounts over the coming months.
For more information about CANNA UK, please visit www.canna-uk.com.