giantveg
Nov 27, 2017

Sunflowers

14 comments

Is it correct that Port Elgin is measuring sunflower plants with the tap root included? And are other weigh-offs doing the same? The correct and official way to measure sunflowers (and tall corn) is without all roots. In the case of sunflowers from the base of the stalk to half-way the sunflower face. In the case of corn, from the base of the stalk to the top of the tassle, or by lack to tassle to the fold in the top leaf when standing up straight.

If PE is doing so, that would disqualify all contenders, including those claiming records.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Nov 27, 2017

I can't remember seeing either of these get measured with the roots on them. Where are you getting your info to make that accusation? Maybe a private email to the Port Elgin committee or maybe to the GVGO executive would be a better than bringing it up in a public forum. Whomever is giving you this info, tell them to contact us themselves.

John Butler
Nov 27, 2017

I have been growing tall sunflowers for competition for years and have found that every weighoff seems to have a different judge with a different set of rules. Some with no roots attached some with only a tap root attached some with all roots attached. Tall corn the same depending on the judge. As for as measuring to the half way the face, I am not exactly sure where that would be to the local run of the mill judge. I have only seen them measured to the tip of the pedal which to me is a defining spot on the head. I have looked on the internet many times for the correct way to measure different vegys including corn and sunflowers and have found nothing written in stone, other than this is the way we do it. I am assuming many of the records for giant vegy have been done incorrectly according to some other judges rules.

Rules or no rules I grow these giants for fun and will continue with or without weigh offs and need no recognition. so please remove my name from the records page

giantveg
Nov 27, 2017Edited: Nov 27, 2017

Phil, I got the information from what Marvin Mitchell wrote here: http://www.worldwidegiantgrowers.com/2017-sunflower-contest-results-.html

Quote: "So as in all plants it all starts at the roots and in tall sunflowers the tap root counts in the height".

John, you are right about sunflowers. They are hard to judge. Guinness does have a set of rules which is probably best to adhere to. Guinness themselves measured the WR sunflower as I explained. It was measured in the field (still standing) and definately without any roots at all. The problem is the head as you mentioned. Sometimes they droop and when you lay them down they are at a different position than when standing up.

Quite a few years ago I obtained the giant veg rules from Guinness (when applying for my WRs in 2007 and 2009). They cannot be found on internet unfortunately. I also got advice from several specialist growers and wrote down the rules you can find here: https://www.gvgo.ca/judging-rules.

Hope this helps.

John Butler
Nov 27, 2017

The way I read the rules on the GVGO is.

Sunflowers are measured from the bottom of the stalk (without roots) to the top of the highest petal. Sunflowers are measured in a straight line, regardless of any curves in the stalk.

in 2009 when Art and I had a WR long gourd Guinness would not except it, so I guess we did not have a WR, yet today they except Al Eatons ( same species).

Cucurbita maxima are orange and green (same species) yet Guinness excepts both as different. I personall think they are different.

I guess what I am getting at is even Guinness gets it wrong, so if the WR suflower had have been out of the ground and laying flat with all the roots trimmed off except the tap root which is an extention of the stalk, would the guinness rep have measured it as well.That being said if I break mine taking it down to go to PE it is DQed

giantveg
Nov 28, 2017Edited: Nov 28, 2017

John, just to explain how Guinness made the rules in the first place. Last century a number of leading giant vegetable growers, and in particular 18x WR holder Bernard Lavery, were asked to draw up rules for giant vegetables. Since then new categories have been added, including long gourd, which was not being grown when Guinness first started collecting data. In this case the GPC awarded you with a WR (at least I hope they did!). The problem is that gourds (and other giant veg) are being grown all over the world who aren't part of the GPC. I recently saw the giant veg results from Poland and some results would have beat the pants off of all us. I even saw a WR in there (which they didn't claim).

 

You are absolutely right about Guinness making mistakes. There are several more out there including beet, cucumber and runner beans. Sometimes the grower doesn't know the rules and some purposely cheat. For these reasons there is a group of international growers that monitor everything to make sure it is all fair playing. When we see something odd we contact each other and then inform Guinness. It doesn't make us popular, as you can imagine.

 

Just to be clear, any organisation can organise any weigh-off and have their own rules. I only jump into action when records are claimed that don't meet the international rules our "forefathers" set many years ago and which are internationally known. The benefit of Guinness is they're independent and have international coverage and publish their results each year. The disadvantage is that they don't have experts on every subject at every location on earth.

 

As for the sunflower and corn rules, officially it is sunflower stalk and corn stalk. The reason I mentioned the middle of the head is because that is where the stalk stops.

 

Too bad about your DMG. We had one folded up this year. When we (the jury) unfolded it, it broke in two. Because we could prove it was one stalk, we entered it. Transportation of corn and sunflowers remains a problem.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Nov 28, 2017

"Sunflowers are measured from the bottom of the stalk (without roots) to the top of the highest petal. Sunflowers are measured in a straight line, regardless of any curves in the stalk. "

 

I must admit I don't grow sunflowers, so I don't know where they are suppose to measure from & I really don't pay any attention to it either. The only thing I remember seeing on the bottom of a tall sunflower stalk is a small, solid "V" shaped piece (@ 3-5" in length) of stem (?) with all the roots trimmed off from all around it. I was lead to believe that this was just an extended part of the stalk,

 

Again, I must ask, why is it a GVGO problem? Our members don't judge the sunflowers & it was grown by a guy in the US that isn't a GVGO member. Maybe your discussion should be with the Port Elgin Judging committee &/or to the US based grower who grew it & not to the GVGO & it's members who entered anything there.

 

No matter what, Marv beat the previous record by 20" & we both know the tap root wasn't likely even close to 20", so it's still probably a record. The measurement just needs to be adjusted down to meet the guidelines of your rules. These rules need to be explained better, so judges can understand them better. The 2 sentence, 2 lined explanation of the rules doesn't really cover it all very well, does it.

giantveg
Nov 29, 2017

Phil, I asked it here because our growers visit a lot of different weigh-offs and I was wondering what the rules were at all Ontario weigh-offs (see initial question). Perhaps there is a way to standardize things, in which case the GVGO might play an important role. If you want, you can have this post removed by the webmaster. My apologies for asking.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Nov 29, 2017

 

 

No need to apologize & we don't need to remove any posts. That is why we have a message board, to discuss these types of things.

Anyway, this rule is very vague & really doesn't really explain anything about the stem end. They will also need to figure out where the bottom of the stem ends officially. Some say at top of the dirt & some say where the roots start protruding from the base of the stalk, which in my opinion, could be below the dirt, but by how much.

Also, what about corn? Growers use pails to pile dirt around the stem & go up as high as 4' to create extra roots to feed their corn. Should the top of these extra roots now be considered the base of the corn stalk?

My advice is for the top growers of these varieties (corn & sunflowers) to get together & make up a set of standard rules that everyone can 1. easily understand & 2. can be adopted by tall corn/sunflower growing community.

What role do you think the GVGO should play in making these rules? We don't want to make any rules or policies. However we do have 3 or 4 World-class sunflower/corn growers & they should be invited to the conversation about creating new rules & updating any old rules. As I see it, the GVGO's only role should & would be to make sure our weigh offs each know the rules for measuring corn & sunflower, before the weigh offs begin.

How about you take the reins & bring a group together to update these rules & make them easily understandable to all who enter any sunflowers or corn. If the rules are acceptable to all involved, then we'll support/promote them to everyone who grows them.

giantveg
Nov 29, 2017

With you a 100%. I'll gladly take up the reins, but in a much larger, global, context. I think adding pictures and drawings might help with the more difficult ones. And indeed, the role the GVGO can play is awareness, both to individual growers and weigh-offs, for as far as they have contact with these.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Nov 30, 2017

Well guys, here is a link, with pictures included that really explains the rules.

 

http://www.gpc1.org/PDF/otherveggies.pdf

 

The GPC had it archived, but they are from Port Elgin (PE), back in the days when PE was a WPC site (early 80's I expect). I wouldn't be surprised if these rules were given to them by Norm Craven, as he was a big grower of the listed veggies back then. I know PE didn't write them up themselves, so if he did give it to PE, then I expect that Norm could have gotten it from overseas, unless Ray Waterman gave the rules to the site, but Ray wasn't into all those other veggies. Thinking back, I really think Norm Craven might have helped, as he was also a big name grower & a fair organizer at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

Hope this helps.

giantveg
Nov 30, 2017

At a first glance they look like the real deal. Just to make clear, that piece of stalk under the ground is not the tap root. I have had several growers that were there say the taproot was included, plus that piece of stalk which is allowed. I have also heard from several growers over the years that dirt and leaves are left on giant veg, that roots are included, and that some were entered in the wrong category (ex. rutabaga in turnip). Once we get the new set of rules complete we can contact all weigh-offs. I'm sure no weigh-off is purposely bending the rules. A bit of coaching might be all that is needed.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Nov 30, 2017

What do you call that thing under the soil then? Well all I know is these are the rules they went by at Port Elgin. If you can find me any better description on the rules anywhere, please post it. These are the most descriptive rules that I have ever seen on these veggies. The judge there has been doing the same job for over 15 years & is very picky on following those rules. If roots are left on, he cuts them off & if dirt is on it, he either brushes it off or cuts it out or will disqualify it if necessary. One other thing is why are these guys complaining to you & not to their clubs or the weigh offs themselves?

 

Your really pointing out that all these things are happening only at Port Elgin & that isn't true. There might be the odd thing over the years that got by but it certainly not a regular thing like your implying & it didn't happen to any record breaking fruit that I have ever seen. Sometimes things like carrot, rutabagas & other root veggies get some dirt wedged deep into the tangled mess of roots & are very hard to clean out without breaking it. We've spend a couple hours, used high pressure water, tooth brushes & thin tooth pick like sticks to clean out the dirt from all the tiny cracks & crevices. It's a lot of time & effort to get it completely clean.

 

" some fruit were entered in the wrong category (ex. rutabaga in turnip). " Give me an example & date of that accusation. Your really throwing us under the bus aren't you.

 

If the updated rules are to change, you can't change what has already been ruled on in the past. Also any rule changes that you & the other stakeholders decide upon must be approved by clubs, any organizations that are involved & the weigh offs themselves.

 

What are the current rules that all of Europe goes by now? You guys have been judging these things for decades & this is all you go by? Hard to be so judgmental & particular when the rules are so vague & your going on second hand info.

 

giantveg
Dec 1, 2017Edited: Dec 1, 2017

Phil, I'll send you an email as this is a personal attack on me and the rest of the members don't need to read this. All I can say here is that these people have approached the organising committee and have been gunned down.

Phil & Jane Hunt - GVGO
Dec 1, 2017

Please re-read my last comments. Nothing in there is a direct attack on you personally. Sorry if you feel this is personal, as it isn't meant to be personal. I like to think of it more as a debate between friends about different opinions on a sunflower rule & how it should be changed to explain the rules more clear & understanding for the growers & the judges.

It's just you made some accusations against our growers & one of our largest & most prestigious weigh off sites. What if I said that the Dutch weigh offs were doing things wrong & that some of their records really shouldn't stand as they don't know what they are doing? Your 1st reaction would be to defend the site that you have been supporting for many, many years. That is all I'm doing is defending Port Elgin from your allegations. I would do that for any of our weigh off sites, even the ones I don't attend.

Again this isn't a personal attack on you. I'm just defending a good guy who has donated many years of his personal time to be a judge, to learn & abide by the rules he was given.

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