The Big Allotment Challenge – Semi final.

Now before you say anything, I know this was on 2 days ago, but I had to record it as I was out, and today at lunch time was the first chance I got to watch it. Well, it’s getting very exciting. Congratulations to all those who have got this far, and good luck to those of you who make it to the final. I wouldn’t like to be a judge on this programme as in my opinion it’s very close at the moment between all 5 pairs. So this episode, what happened? Well firstly they had to grow the perfect onion. Now I’ve grown many varieties, shapes and colours of onions. And only mine make me cry when I cut them up. They’re obviously so much stronger than shop ones, as they’ve not been sitting round for ages. There were some wonderful specimens, and various ways of planting. I personally do the companion planting as Gary and Pete mentioned. It works brilliantly every year and there is never any attack from onion and carrot fly. No one however started theirs off in half toilet rolls as I do every year. Click HERE to see how I do it. Maybe that’s just my little trick. Then when the harvesting and preparing to show came along, I had never seen anyone using a sponge to clean off their onions before. Congratulations to Kate and Eleanor for winning Best in Show. It was a very close call for everyone as they all looked amazing. Then the second challenge of the floral display. I love chrysanthemums, I think they are one of the most giving of flowers. Congratulations to Alex and Ed for showing us the perfect blooms. Then the pedestal arrangement, well if I had to do something like that, I would have had a real problem. I’m not artistic at all, and the thought of doing just a small posy is too much for me. They have such a short time in which to complete their task, which they all manage to do. I’m in awe of them all. Congratulations to Rupert and Dimi for their outstanding arrangement. It looked amazing!! Then we come to the final challenge, which to be honest wasn’t anyones best. They had to make a jelly and a fruit butter. Now I’ve never made either before, but I’m sure one day I’ll make a jelly. Thane clearly wasn’t pleased with anyones jelly, it was either too runny or too thick. There were some lovely combinations of flavours, and I think my favourite was Alex and Ed’s tomato and chilli. I’d like to give that one a go….do you have the recipe lads? I’d never heard of a fruit butter before, and it has no butter in it at all!! Personally I don’t really like butter, it’s too rich, so just usually have marmalade or jam on my toast. Congratulations to Jo and Avril for winning Best in Show for their fruit butter, but no one won for their jelly. Then we had to come to the sad decision of sending 2 pairs home. I didn’t want to see any of them go as they are all so wonderful. But it was Pete and Gary, the 2 bearded wonders who do as little work as possible to their plants (their own words) and who always wear a shirt and tie. And also goodbye to Jo and Avril who are such a wonderful couple. Good luck to those who have reached the final and huge congratulations. I’ll be watching later to see who wins.

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