Almost perfect growing conditions during July and into August have ensured plants on Mr Fothergill's Suffolk trial ground have made more rapid growth than trials manager Brian Talman has seen for many years. For example, peppers have been ripening faster than in any year he can remember. But there is a downside, as pests and diseases have also been at work on Mr Fothergill's rapidly growing plants.

"The conditions this year have been almost perfect, with plenty of sunshine, enough rainfall, albeit with some showers a bit on the heavy side, and warm nights. All of this has led to everything growing consistently", says Brian, who has worked in horticulture for 50 years.

To paraphrase the popular saying - every silver lining has a cloud, and Brian's has come in the shape of pests and diseases, resulting in him having to be ever more vigilant.

Flea beetle has completely wiped out several rows of radishes, while dwarf beans became diseased for the first time ever on the Newmarket trial ground. "It was halo blight, a bacterial disease which I have not seen for many years", comments Brian.