They admit they let their Huddersfield allotment get a little overgrown.

But now Edgerton couple Andrew and Kate Mallinson are celebrating a lot of hard work and success over marauding slugs by toasting a triumph at the prestigious Tatton Park flower show.

The event is run by the Royal Horticutural Society and ranks alongside Chelsea and Hampton Court as one of the three top shows in the UK.

The couple’s runners-up award for their Butterhead lettuce delighted them.

Andrew said: “Having been to Tatton Park every year for the last 10 years, I had looked at the fruit and veg in the competition in awe. We have previously won prizes at the Huddersfield show in Greenhead Park, by showing what was available at the time, but this year Kate and I decided that we would make a concerted effort, and try and grow vegetables worthy of entry at Tatton Park.

“At the start of this year, we almost lost our allotment plot, which is at Royds Hall, as it had become seriously overgrown during the winter. Kirklees Council are keen to see plots utilised and there is a long waiting list for plots, so we had no excuse, it was dig or go.

“Our plot gradually returned to life through a lot of hard work and weeding, and after a late frost, we were able to start planting in May.

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“But lettuce is always prone to attack by slugs, and this year is a bumper year for them after the mild winter. We did all we could, picking them off every time we saw them and throwing them on to the playing fields. We also tried to protect the plants with copper wire,which deters them.

“We put netting over the bed to keep the birds away, and every dry day saw at least one of us on the plot watering. We gave the seedlings a boost with ‘nettle tea’, but apart from that the lettuces have had no special ingredients added”.

The couple now hope to enter other plants in the Huddersfield show next month and are already planning ahead for Tatton next year.

Andrew said: “As you can imagine, Kate and I are both thrilled and delighted at this, and it has encouraged us to start planning for next year’s event”.

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