Dan Harvey is a vegetable show judge and Devon secretary of the National Vegetable Society, and has been growing vegetables for show since 1954.
A born farmer, Dan first entered a vegetable show at the age of 14 and won first prize with two lettuces.
At the time he was growing lettuces to sell at Newton Market, a business which eventually raised enough money to pay for a honeymoon in Margate - £14.
Dan revealed his decades of success at an open meeting of Paignton Home Garden and Allotment Society, which is considering relaunching an annual Paignton vegetable show.
Dan told the meeting that after his first success, he went on to win another first prize for lettuces and a highly commended for his onions the next year - and six years later won the most points of any grower in show.
With years of growing, showing, farming and judging experience Dan was the ideal man to tell Paignton allotment growers how it is done.
Alongside many anecdotes of his years of success - including one year when he entered 26 classes at shows across Devon and got first prize in 25 of them - coming sceond in the other - Dan had plenty of advice.
Dan revealed his 'secret', that good crops grow in good soil. He believed in digging deep, adding plenty of farmyard manure or compost and using a strong nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertiliser.
In terms of digging deep Dan revelaed that on his farm, where he has grown test beds for Sutton Seeds, he uses his tractor but firmly believes that all growers should dig as deep as possible for good crops.
He said farmyard manure is perfect for returning nutrition to the soil - but home compost is even better. In fact Dan said growers should compost as much home waste as possible and that it provides twice the nutritional value of manure.
Strong fertiliser is available from agricultural suppliers - and Dan reveals he prepares his soil well the autumn before a growing season rather than trying to feed plants as they grow.
Turning to specific crops, Dan started with onions and shallots - which he recommends planting into trenches right under the soil with any leaves snipped to avoid attracting birds - and revealed that whether growing from seeds or sets he chooses strains renowned for their size.
But he said size is only part of the formula for success when growing for show - and that crops must also be uniform, clean and presented well.
Each show will include a schedule detailing how crops should be presented, down to how many and whether to leave on leaves and roots.
Dan revealed his dislike for some of the 'supercrops' currently being taken to main show, extra large onions, leeks and other vegetables grown in industrial conditions with greenhouses, automatic watering and 20 hours of light a day.
Turning to beans and peas Dan recommended a trench with something in the bottom, such as hessian sacks, to retain water and compost closer to the surface.
Dan also talked about the important of covering beetroot to stop them being eaten by sparrows, the necessity of changing from clay pipes to cardboard tubes when forcing celery to avoid overheating and the use of garlic sprays to keep off rabbits.
Dan recommended a number of varities especially suited to show-quality veg, which are also detailed in the latest edition of the Edwin Tucker and Sonds Ltd Garden Seeds Catalogue - available from the Ashburton company on 01364 562233. http://www.edwintucker.com/
Dan finished his talk, which came complete with slides, by highlighting two important dates in this year's calendar.
On May 8 there is a talk on pests and diseases organised by the National Vegetable Society at the leisure centre in Kingskerswell. The talk will be given by a leading Dutch agronomist.
And on July 21 Dan recommended attending the Ipplepen show to see how vegetables are shown, and how a show is organised.
Full details of both events are available from the National Vegetable Society - which also has a wealth of articles on growing for show and other subjects on its website http://www.nvsuk.org.uk/index.php
PHGAS is now considering whether it will be able to host a vegetable show in Paignton this year.