Big Allotment Challenge, Episode 6

Return to the plot

So we returned to the plot for one last visit and were privy to the toughest challenges so far.

The three remaining teams had to grow melons and sweetcorn then show dahlias and make a hanging design. Finally they had to produce three preserves and one surprise item.

With 17 weeks to go until show day the contestants sowed their sweetcorn seeds and two weeks later they turned their attention to their melon seeds and grafted melon plants.

It was only Rupert and Dimi that attempted to grow a melon outdoors.

With five weeks until show day Alex and Ed had six melons ripening nicely in their greenhouse and their sweetcorn was coming on well too.

However, Kate and Eleanor’s melons were ripening far too quickly and ended up on the compost heap. All their hopes for judging day were rested on their one remaining melon.

With three weeks until show day Kate and Eleanor’s sweetcorn hadn’t grown a great deal – perhaps as a result of the nasturtiums they had companion-planted with them.

Show day arrived and Jim Buttress cast his eyes over the contestants’ produce.

Rupert and Dimi showed their Orange Sherbet melon. It was very firm and not ripe enough. When cut open it was green inside and crunchy. Their Honeydew sweetcorn was better with perfectly straight rows.

Kate and Eleanor didn’t have a melon to show and their Sundance F1 sweetcorn was starting to go off at the top. Jim was disappointed.

Alex and Ed showed their Sienne F1 melon – a cantaloupe variety. Inside it was a beautiful rich orange colour and tasted delicious. Their Swift F1 sweetcorn was also an exhibition-class example.

This made Jim’s awarding of the best in show to Alex and Ed a formality.

Dahlia beauty contest

Jim asked the contestants to present three perfect dahlias and Jonathan requested that they make a hanging design.

The dahlias needed to have long, straight stems with fresh, clean heads and to be free from pest damage and blemishes.

All teams suffered with blackfly during the growing process but they managed to cope.

Kate and Eleanor grew Fidalgo Blacky dahlias. The stems were good and straight and the blooms had a gorgeous colour. Jonathan commented that the overall impact of their hanging design hadn’t quite worked.

Rupert and Dimi grew the My Love variety. Unfortunately the stems weren’t strong enough to support the flowers and they looked rather tired. However, Jonathan was impressed with their hanging design and praised its lovely features and said it was a really good attempt.

Alex and Ed chose to grow Nicola dahlias. They were slightly uneven but were a good entry. They could have done better with their hanging design though as there was still a lot of floral foam showing.

The winners of this challenge were chosen as Kate and Eleanor for their dahlias and Rupert and Dimi for their hanging design.

Preserves challenge

For the final challenge of the series the teams were asked by Thane to make three preserves and produce a surprise item. All this was to be done in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Kate and Eleanor produced a strawberry spoon fruit which Thane felt wasn’t authentic but their pickled golden beetroot was better. Their autumn tomato chutney was well made; the chop was good though it was a little light on spice. Their surprise item was an impressive pot-pourri.

Alex and Ed’s sweetcorn relish was served in an attractive jar though it was a little on the warm side. Their pickle had a good colour and texture but was a little salty. Their surprise item was artichoke hearts in olive oil which Thane really enjoyed.

Rupert and Dimi’s pickled samphire was an interesting idea but it proved to be too woody. Their sweetcorn pickle had a nice flow and texture but the sweet/sharp balance could have been improved. Their surprise item was a chilli infused vodka which left Thane almost speechless though she did commend them on their risk-taking and for bringing excitement to the show.

The end

The judges gathered for their final discussion and to choose the winner of the Big Allotment Challenge.

After much deliberation the contestants gathered together and the winners were declared as Alex and Ed.

Congratulations to them and thanks to all the other contestants for making the show so enjoyable to watch.

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