The water was left out of the vegetable soup in the Aug. 17, 1983, Food section. Here is the corrected recipe: VEGETABLE SOUP (8 to 10 servings) 1/2 pound stew meat, cut into bite-size chunks 1 tablespoon oil 1 quart tomatoes, skinned and squeezed 3 large potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks 3 carrots, diced 2 medium onions, chopped 3 stalks celery, diced 2 cups peas 2 cups corn Salt and pepper to taste 3 cups water Brown stew meat in oil. Squeeze tomatoes through hands and add pulp to stew meat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat 2 hours, or until the vegetables are tender. Tastes best made the day before serving.

CHARLES KOINER didn't realize just how well his garden grew until some children near Timberlawn, his Rockville farm, needed money "for something" in 1948, and he gave them some of his vegetables to enter in the Montgomery County Fair.

Koiner won 34 first-place ribbons, and the children won the cash. He's been entering with his daughter ever since. His wife, Helen Koiner, says not a fair goes by that he doesn't take home a shopping bag filled with ribbons.

Koiner's vegetables compete at the fair grounds in Gaithersburg with more than 1,000 entries submitted by county residents. The three out-of-county judges look for the highest quality produce and give ribbons in each category and cash awards of $2 to $4 to the high placers, says contest supervisor Inez Glover. "We just tell the judges to look for the highest quality, what you'd buy in a grocery store."

The produce contest in the 35th annual fair, which opens to the public on Monday and runs through Saturday, will include 130 categories of fruits and vegetables, Glover says, in addition to a contest for the largest squash, pumpkin, tomato and potato. There will also be a miniature garden competition. The garden displays are exhibited in everything from wheel barrels to toy boxes. Most of the people who enter the contests plant their crops for a late August harvest, Glover says, so they can enter the fair. Charles Koiner is a one of the fair's all-time winners.

"The man just has a green thumb is all I know," Helen Koiner says of her prize-winning husband. That and the fact that he waters his garden every night. In addition, she says, he won't let anyone set foot in his garden because it "packs the ground too tight" and the water can't drain down to the roots and nourish the crops. "Heavens no, I don't help him," she says, "he wouldn't let me help, doesn't believe in women working in the garden. He's got an old-fashioned way." But she does spend late August and early September canning and freezing his bounty.

Charles Koiner's garden may have shrunk when he moved from Timberlawn, where he had half an acre, to "the city" (Silver Spring) two years ago, but his luck sure didn't, Helen Koiner brags. His new "teeny weeny," 30-by-40 foot garden reaped 33 prizes and the grand champion prize for green peppers last year.

Charles Koiner said he used to raise his produce from seed, back when he had a hothouse, but most of that's changed and now he purchases hybrid plants instead. "In raising vegetables, I've always found that hybrids out yield the standard plants," he says. They are also more disease-resistant.

You've got to know what the judges are looking for, says Koiner, who five or six years ago, with his daughter, won first, second, third and fourth place in 18 vegetable categories. "That gives you very good satisfaction."

"The judges look for uniformity," he adds. "They want all the same size, color and shape with no blemishes or cracks. This goes for all vegetables."

When he had a bigger garden, he'd pick three bushels of peppers and trim back the best ones to make the stems uniform and remove less-than-perfect stalks from such vegetables as beets, Helen Koiner says. "They'd be all over the house." Now that his garden is small, he just picks the best.

This year he's cut his entries back. It was a wet, tough spring, he says, The summer was hot and dry. He figures his chinese cabbage and hungarian wax peppers are winners. On top of that he'll probably enter some endive, broccoli, eggplant, stringbeans, cucumbers, squash and a few tomatoes.

The judging will take place Sunday, the day before the fair officially opens for a run through the 27th. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 12-15. Children under 12 enter free.

Just because you aren't a Montgomery resident or your tomatoes aren't perfect, that shouldn't stop you from coming to the fair, says Hazel Staley, fair secretary. Officials expect about 365,000 visitors this year. In addition to the produce contests, there will be food demonstrations in canning, freezing and baking, a demolition derby, a tractor pull and mud wrestling.

And if looking at all the food and action makes you hungry, well, that's been taken care of, too. In addition to various sandwich booths, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available at the dining hall, prepared by members and friends of the Mount Tabor United Methodist Church. Although the menu will change daily, breakfast, for $3, will include eggs, meat, pancakes or french toast and juice. Lunch, $4, will be homemade vegetable soup, fried chicken and salad. Dinner, $6, depending on the day, will offer fried chicken, baked ham, roast turkey, roast beef, meat loaf or swiss steak.

"We expect to sell 750 to 1,000 dinners each day," says organizer Ed Gardener, which means, depending on the menu for the day, several 15-gallon pots of string beans, 100 dozen ears of corn (if they can find enough, Gardener says), 180 gallons of stewed tomatoes, 150 pounds of lima beans and tons of potato salad. And you can be sure that plenty of fresh milk and butter will be on hand. "With an agricultural fair you don't use instant powdered milk or margarine," he adds. The gravies will come from the essence of the chicken or roast beef, and the green beans will be cooked with country ham liquor and fatback.

Getting hungry? Here are some of their recipes to tide you over until the fair. POTATO SALAD (8 servings)

This potato salad is rather sweet and the sugar can either be eliminated or increased according to taste. 16 large potatoes, diced and cooked 1 medium onion, diced 2 stalks celery, chopped Salt and pepper to taste Diced hard cooked eggs, green pepper rings (optional) For the dressing: 2 eggs, well beaten 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup vinegar 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 16-ounce can evaporated milk 1 cup mayonnaise

Mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat dressing ingredients together until creamy. Cook in double boiler over boiling water until thick. Let cool. Add milk and mayonnaise. Stir into salad ingredients, chill and serve. STEWED TOMATOES (8 servings) 1 quart whole tomatoes, skinned 1 small onion, chopped up 4 tablespoons butter Up to 1/2 cup sugar, according to taste 4 to 6 slices white bread Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze tomatoes into a pulp with your hands. Add onion and butter and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Add sugar to taste. Tear up 4 to 6 slices bread (the amount depends on the juciness of the tomatoes). Add bread, just to barely soak up the excess juice. Salt and pepper to taste and serve. VEGETABLE SOUP (8 to 10 servings) 1/2 pound stew meat 1 tablespoon oil 1 quart tomatoes, skinned and squeezed 3 large potatoes, bite-sized chunks 3 carrots, diced 2 medium onions, chopped 3 stalks celery, diced 2 cups peas 2 cups corn Salt and pepper according to taste

Brown stew meat in oil. Squeeze tomatoes through hands and add pulp to stew meat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat 2 hours, or until the vegetables are tender. Tastes best made day before serving.