As the annual Cuckfield Village Show approaches, gardeners all over the village are hard at work tending the fruit and vegetables that they hope will win one of the many prizes. For some, the joy of taking part and seeing their produce displayed on the judging table is reward enough, but for others the show is a stepping stone to bigger and better things and winning is all important. At the village allotments, off Glebe Road, gardeners have found the recent combination of rain and sunshine has provided prefect growing conditions. There’s an abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers, and the only problem will be choosing which pieces to enter. It’s a nice problem to have and one that that prize-winning gardener Jim Turnbull is all too familiar with …
By Claire Cooper
Jim took over his allotment in 2001, bringing with him a wealth of experience from a lifetime of working on country estates. “We spent most of our married life living in tied houses on the estates where I worked,” said Jim, “but after several redundancies and moves we decided to apply for a council house.” The couple were lucky to get a house in Glebe Road, which not only had a large garden, but also allotments nearby. After filling his garden with home-grown vegetables and flowers, Jim ran out of space and applied to the council to rent an allotment – an overgrown plot! “The first thing I had to do was to lay drainage as the soil was boggy and not suitable for growing,” said Jim. “It took a couple of years to get the growing conditions just right.”
Jim’s hard work paid off and he is now well known in the area as a champion onion, runner bean and chrysanthemum grower, winning a string of awards including Best in Show at Edenbridge. A member of the National Vegetable Society and the Sussex Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society, Jim is currently preparing for shows at Cuckfield and Edenbridge where he plans to enter 13 classes. Jim has previously entered and won awards at the national show at Wisley.
Read full article on pages 14/15.