Exhibit the best of your garden at Garden Expo 2004


October 21, 2004


Vic. County Master Gardener


The Victoria County Master Gardener Association will coordinate the Garden Expo again this year at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show next Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 27-28.


Along with judging and awarding of entries for over 70 categories in six divisions, there will also be two presentations specifically for gardeners.


"Backyard Composting" will be discussed by Victoria County Master Gardener Max Pooley, who is credited with Yardwise Master Composting training and will tell the history of composting along with new techniques. Dr. Charles Barr, Extension Fire Ant Specialist, will provide expert advice and the latest remedies for controlling fire ants.


Both speakers will present information both days, with fire ant information more for the homeowner on Wednesday and for the landowner on Thursday. Don't miss these and various other presentations to increase your knowledge in gardening and agriculture.


Now, for the Expo judging and awards. Do you think you might have one of the best vegetable or flower gardens this fall? Or have you bottled a beer or wine that friends enjoy? Come out as early as 7 a.m. next Wednesday to the Community Center Annex 4 and enter the fruits of your labor in the Third Annual Garden Expo at the 20th South Texas Farm & Ranch Show.


Entries will be showcased to the public from 1-7 p.m. on Wednesday, and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday. The satisfaction of being recognized - and maybe even a ribbon or two - awaits you.


Entries in the Garden Expo should be representative of nice, quality items of a particular class or division. Each exhibitor must complete an entry card for each variety based on six divisions and 77 categories. Divisions are field crops, garden crops, home products, orchard crops, cut flowers, and container plants. Other required information includes variety, mailing address, city, zip code, phone number, county in which produced and exhibitor's name.


Any comment others would enjoy knowing about the entry is optional. Refer to the example registration form with this article, and allow five minutes to register each entry at the show.


Rules to follow: Arrive with entry (entries) in front of Annex 4 (side opposite the stage) between 7 and 10 a.m. next Wednesday.


Each variety must be produced in one of the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Matagorda, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria or Wharton.


A specific variety may be entered only once by an individual, but several different varieties may be entered by the same individual. All container-grown plants must be groomed and exhibited in clean, suitable containers. Vegetable and fruit entries may arrive in any type of container. Bunched vegetables should have tops in tact. If an entry requires more than one sample, all samples must be trimmed alike.


Cut flowers must arrive in the exhibitor's clear vase for all roses, tuberous plants, annuals, and perennials. A collection of roses, annuals and perennials is one variety with three cut stems. A specimen of roses, annuals and perennials is one cut stem. All tuberous specimen plants such as dahlias, lilies and cannas must have foliage. Foliage and flowering plants will be judged on color, condition, uniform shape, cleanliness, insect damage, and disease presence.


Hints for competition: Champion vegetables are very clean and at prime-eating quality - never too young or old, tough or soft, scratched, bruised, damaged, or injured. Never scrub or brush an entry vegetable. Leafy vegetables can be briefly soaked and gently sprayed with water, stored in a cool damp place for a short period until show time. Fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper and beans) can be rubbed lightly with a soft cloth when rinsed under a gentle stream of water and then carefully dried.


Divisions and Categories: There are six divisions with seventy-seven categories for competition. Of those, there are five Field Crop categories: corn - three ears or one quart shelled; grain sorghum - three heads or one quart thrashed; rice - one quart thrashed; soybeans - one quart thrashed; cotton - 10 bolls. (The Garden Expo will transfer these to containers.); and 42 Garden Crop categories: beans - snap, lima, or pinto - - six pods or a half-cup shelled; broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, melon - one head; carrots, radishes - bunch of six; slicer or pickler cucumbers, potatoes, white/yellow/green squash, large tomato - three; globe eggplant, gourds - two; miniature or long eggplant - three; garlic - three heads; elephant garlic - one head or six cloves; greens - three leaves; herbs - potted 3-4 inches; okra - six pods; bulb onions - three; shallots, green onions - six; leeeks, pumpkin - one; field peas - onedozen pods or one cup shelled; sweet/bell or Anaheim peppers - three; banana, jalapeno, or Habenero peppers, cherry and paste-type tomatoes - six; Serrano peppers - 12; other hot peppers - a half-cup; spinach - bunch; and other vegetables - one. (The Garden Expo will also transfer these to containers.)


There are 12 Home Product categories: corn meal - a half-pound; dehydrated foods: herbs, jerky - one-fourth cup; fruit, vegetable -one cup; sausage - one link; noodles - onne pound; chilies/peppers - three; honey - one pint; wine, beer (any year) two bottles - (one display, one judged); and other home products -one. (These products must arrive in exhibitor's container and may be transferred to another container by the Expo.); and seven Orchard Crop categories: fresh fruits: figs, pears, persimmons - three; tropicals, citrus - one; walnuts - 10; other nuts -10. (The Expo will transsfer these to a container.)


Pecans entered are part of the Victoria County Pecan Show and are judged by Victoria County Pecan Growers' Association. Of special note: It is recommended that pecans be brought to the Victoria County Extension Office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 22, but entries will be accepted at the Annex prior to the farm and ranch show opening on Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 2 to 6 p.m.


And for all you who have a native pecan tree, remember any native pecan (45 nuts/tree) that advances and wins State competition also wins a $250 prize.


There are also seven Cut Flower categories: collection of roses or annuals or perennials - three stems of one variety; specimen of a rose or annual or perennial - one cut stem; and a specimen of a tuberous plant - one cut stem with foliage. (Cut flowers must arrive in exhibitor's clear vase); and four Container Plant categories: blooming or non-blooming pot plants, succulents, and cacti. (These plants must arrive in exhibitor's container.)


Numerous opportunities exist for "exposing" the best of most any garden at this year's Garden Expo, so to view a flyer with all the information go to http://www.geocities.com/stfrsvictoria/ ExpoRules.pdf.


Judged entries may be picked up between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28. Entries not picked up become property of the show. Ribbons will be mailed if not picked up on time.


If more info is needed, call the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581. Gardeners, come on out and get some exposure!