The National Vegetable Society’s National Championships, the most revered competition eligible to UK growers, are to return to the Dorset County Show this year.

The competition will take place at this year’s show and will feature 26 classes for members. It is anticipated there will be around 500 exhibits for the Dorset County Show-going public to view. The National Vegetable Society has been running for nearly 50 years, with five branches representing regions across the country.

Each branch takes a turn hosting the national championships and this year the responsibility lies with the southern branch.

Organiser Chris Neel said: “It’s difficult to tell how many entries there will be as members tend to wait until the last minute when their vegetables are at the point of perfection. The skill is very much in the timing but we are expecting a good number. What we can guarantee is that these vegetables will be some of the best you will see anywhere in the world.”

To coincide with the horticultural focus for this year’s show, the Dorset County Show conducted a survey among its thousands of Dorset-based Facebook followers to shed some light on the secrets of their sheds.

The results of the survey reveal that 57 per cent spend around five hours a week in their sheds, with 28 per cent admitting to spending closer to 10. Thirty six per cent of shed owners admitted to being territorial about their sheds, saying they would only allow others to enter on invitation. A few – eight per cent – didn’t allow anyone other than themselves into their sheds. Among the more unusual things kept in sheds were alcohol and a pair of slippers. Respondents also revealed that their sheds were home to beds, skunks, chill out chairs and rocking horses.

The Dorset County Show takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Showground in Dorchester. Tickets cost £12 in advance for adults (£15 on the gate) and all under-16s go free.