The Vegetable Games: On your marks, set, grow!

IPSWICH: Let the vegetable games begin!

As the nation’s best athletes prepare to stake a claim on a place at the London 2012 Olympics, green-fingered gardeners of Ipswich are gearing up for their own unique version of the Games.

The Vegetable Games 2010 will see competitors battle it out in wacky events like Beating the Root and the Cucumber Relay.

The venue for the games this Saturday will be the People’s Community Garden, at Maidenhall Allotments, off Halifax Road.

The first event of its kind to be held at the gardens, the games are set to run alongside a traditional produce show, during which allotment holders can show off some of the fantastic fruit and veg they’ve cultivated this growing season.

As well as typical produce show classes, there will also be a packed schedule of fun competitions for children and grown ups, and even art and craft exhibition categories.

And the event will all be visible from onboard passing trains. Passengers travelling past the site can look out and see the five Vegetable Games rings signalling the event.

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Site manager Dan Wheals has been involved with the development of the gardens for the last three years and came up with the idea for an Olympic style competition. Mr Wheals will be retiring from duties at the gardens following the games to work as a community advisor to Suffolk Coastal. He said: “We’ve got lots of events planned for Saturday, including Tossing the Salad and the Carrot Grand National.

“We hope the event will help reintroduce the produce show to Ipswich, which has been a while without one.

“It would be brilliant for people to come along for what promises to be a really fun day.”

Novice fruit and vegetable growers can go along on Saturday to find out how they can set up a patch at home in pots, on a windowsill, or even on a doorstep.

Entries for the produce show must be taken to the Community Garden between 8am and 9.30am on the day and judging will take place between 10.30am and 11.30am. The event will be officially open to the public from 11.30am to 4pm.

Entrants should bring their vegetable specimens on a paper plate, clearly named with a contact number on the under side. All entries must be grown by the entrant but a little help from friends or family is allowed.

Volunteers are also welcome to help raise funds, man a stall or contribute cakes, jams and produce.

If you can help or you’d like to find out more about the event, contact Susannah Robirosa on 01473 261112 or 07530 407302, or call Dan Wheals on 07530 269107.

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