The Big Allotment Challenge – the Final!!

Firstly congratulation to all the finalists, Rupert & Dimi, Kate & Eleanor and last but no means least Alex & Ed. What an amazing array of produce they have shown for Jim to inspect, all those wonderful items that they’ve created for Jonathan to judge and Thane to try. So to the first round to grow the perfect Sweetcorn and Melon. Now I’ve grown various Sweetcorn in my time, sometimes they’ve grown lovely and tall, and other times they’ve been a bit on the short side. This years ones are still in the greenhouse, and will be going out in the allotment in about 3 weeks time. As long as they taste wonderful, I don’t mind if the cornels aren’t straight. Each variety of sweet corn is ready at a different time. Baby Corn you have to harvest when the tassels just start to show, and popcorn when the wrapping of the cob goes brown. So if you’re new to growing corn, watch out for this. They also had to grow a melon. Now these are very difficult to grow in the UK as they need heat and humidity to grow. I’ve managed some a couple of years ago, and yes they may have been small, but wow they tasted gorgeous. Such a shame that Kate and Eleanor lost all their melons due to splitting and ripening too early. But at least they got to share their last one with Ed and Alex. Congratulations finally to Ed and Alex for winning Best in Show for both their Sweetcorn and Melon. You finally did it boys!! Then round 2, the most adventurous of the flower designs. I wouldn’t know where to start with a hanging design, I’m not at all artistic, and the fact that they all managed to deliver just amazes me every week. Dahlias are beautiful flowers. I don’t have any in my garden, but would like to grow some, I’m sure I can find a spot somewhere. Congratulations to Kate and Eleanor for winning the best Dahlias, and Rupert and Dimi for their hanging design. But before we came to the final challenge the judges took us on a tour of the finalists plots. It was very interesting to see the differences in the way they garden. Then we came to the final challenge which Thane set, a goodie basket of 3 items and a mystery one that they could choose themselves. Kate and Eleanor’s choice of potpourri I thought was very inventive. An item that needed no cooking, and just sorted itself out over the time they were in the competition. Alex and Ed chose Artichoke hearts, which I love. In fact I noticed today when I was on my plot that they’re coming in to flower. And these chaps grow the best tomatoes ever. Then finally Rupert and Dimi, who made a Golden berry Jam. I’ve grow these before and they are really sweet. I must hunt out a recipe. Their Chilli Vodka surprised Fern a bit, and they’d diluted it!! Ed and Alex won Best in Show for their hamper. I think we know what all their relatives will be getting for Christmas this year. Then it was the time for the judges to go and decide who to choose to be the winning pair. I know who I was rooting for (excuse the pun), but really I didn’t mind who won, they all deserved it. A HUGE congratulations to Ed and Alex for winning, I believe I went “Yes!” when it was announced. Very well done lads, such a lovely pair, I expect they’re very famous now down on their plot.

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