Exhibition tips for growing apricots
Apricots are one of the more suitable fruits for exhibition, as they ripen from mid-summer onwards, and by careful choice of variety it will be possible to have fruit ready for at least one of the many summer and autumn shows. The maximum number of points that they can win is 12, the points being equally awarded for condition, colour, size and uniformity, and their colouring will always make them attractive on the show bench.
You will have to rely a good deal on the chances of the summer being a good one if you have no greenhouse, but, provided the tree faces south or west, it should be possible to get good colouring on the fruit. First class thinning will go a long way to helping you win an award, so you should allow much more space between fruit, in order that they will become large. A spacing of 20 cm (8”) is not too much; you should make sure that they get all the sun and air possible, by removing overhanging leaves and turning the fruit towards the light.
Be very careful with watering, and, as the fruit gets near to ripening, take precautions against wasps and birds by netting the tree. In addition place clear perforated plastic bags over individual fruits.
For one exhibit you will need a dish of nine fruits of one variety only, unless the schedule allows mixed dishes. Pick the apricots as late as possible, so that they are really fresh and smooth skinned and handle them as little as possible to retain the bloom. Be careful not to tear the stalk or fruit when picking. Choose fruit without blemishes, all as nearly the same in size and colour as possible, and typical of the variety concerned.
Stage them on a plate, evenly spaced with one or two in the centre and the remainder arranged round them. They should be placed with the stalk end underneath, and will look more pleasing if the centre fruits are raised on a small cushion of white tissue paper.