Bounty of field, garden on display at county fair

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A sunflower entered by Reese Brock of Zuni. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

A sunflower entered by Reese Brock of Zuni. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—With help from her father and a cousin, Reese Brock of Zuni brought in huge sunflowers for the Field Crops, Horticulture and Flowers/Plant Exhibition. The blossoms were among many other botanical and agricultural samples that were judged on Tuesday in preparation for the showing at the Franklin-Southampton County Fair, which begins today.

Chad Brock said there were no secret ingredients to the success of what his daughter planted.

“Just horse manure, nitrogen and fertilizer,” he said as she stood by with her cousin, Adriana Seder.

Reese, 9, started the planting in the family’s yard on Easter weekend.

“They make the garden prettier, and they’re my favorite flower,” she said of her choice for a first-time entry into the contest.

The seeds, said Chad, were placed between tomatoes as a way to draw bees that would help cultivate the plants.

Nearby, volunteers Lori McNair and Janie Young watched as Justin Graham and his brother, Aaron, pulled in a pumpkin that took the two of them to unload.

Justin, 15, said he did his planting on April 25, after a relative, Shirley Ferguson, encouraged him.

“My aunt told me I should do it,” said the young Hunterdale resident.

Miracle Gro was his choice for nurturing the pumpkin.

Chris Drake, serving as chairman for the exhibition, said its weight would be kept secret so that visitors to the fair can guess how much it weighs.

Justin said he didn’t know yet what he was going to do with the pumpkin after the fair, although Aaron suggested carving.

Soon afterward, Jean Everett came in with her grandson, Keith Matthews Jr., both of Capron.

Watering, weeding and adding fertilizer were the 9-year-old’s ingredients for gardening success.

This wasn’t the boy’s first time entering the contest.

“I’ve done this lots of times before,” he said, pointing out the gourds, grapes, green peppers, pears, pecans and flowers. Jean credited him for help with her geraniums.

Next to them, Amy Hinson and her son, Andrew, 6, brought in their share of garden produce and flowers.

Drake, who is a territory agronomist for Phytogen cotton seed, brought in peanuts harvested early from his family farm in Newsoms. Elsewhere in the building, T.C. Cobb of Sedley brought in corn (no pun intended).

All this and much more will be displayed through Saturday, Aug. 16, the last day of the fair.