The Big Allotment Challenge – what do you think? Now the series has come to an end we’d like to know what our gardeners thought. We have been watching week in week out and have really enjoyed it, and we have to give a massive congratulations to Alex and Ed who were crowned the best growers!! Since the first episode we have read opinions across social media and some have loved the series and some not so much; so we would like to know why you liked or disliked the series.
The series began with 9 pairs of allotmenteers who were challenged to grow, make and eat produce they had grown in their allotment. The pairs were each given an allotment in early spring and a list of 33 fruits, veg and flowers to grow (if only all allotments came pre-prepared with a ready built greenhouse)! The 9 pairs nurtured their allotment over 15 weeks in both rain and shine to impress the three expert judges and gain best in show. Episode 1 introduced us to the 9 pairs and allowed us to find out about their relationships. There were teachers, family friends and a mother and daughter, who all share the love of gardening. The first episode also introduced us to the famous big allotment one liners where the allotmenteers had to make bouquets, or shall we say ‘bloquets’, flowers arranged by men. Eat is always the most enjoyable challenge and in episodes 2 and 3 the remaining teams made relishes and chutneys. In Episode 3 Michelle also grew a ‘witches nose’ carrot! We watched the highs and lows of owning an allotment including the dreaded pests and diseases!
What we feel is really endearing about the programme is that the 9 pairs grew to be great friends which is also a benefit of having an allotment. Of course they were in a competition so were unlikely to be sharing ideas or helping fellow gardeners crops but each week one pair left and as the weeks went on it got harder and harder to see people go. Some may say this was because they wanted to win and were disappointed to be going, but part of us understands that they had dedicated so much time to their allotment and enjoyed every moment that perhaps it wasn’t always about winning.
One question that we have been asking is why do people choose to have allotments? Simply for fun and a social life or for the fresh produce? There are over 350,000 allotments in Britain and the demand for allotments is increasing! For me, there is nothing juicier than sweet home grown tomatoes or a wonky and blemished carrot grown with the care of rugged gardening hands. Why do you think the demand for allotments is so high? We asked our very own allotmenteers here at Thompson & Morgan their thoughts;
“Although I have a reasonable sized garden, it’s full of trees and shrubs and therefore not very suitable for growing fruit and vegetables and with 2 young boys the football usually destroys most of my horticultural efforts. Having been frustrated with poor crops for some time, I put my name on the waiting list for an allotment. I was very lucky and was given a half sized plot within about 6 months. It’s been hard work as there was also a thick mat of weeds covering the rest of the plot, but on a sunny spring day, its great being up there with the Skylarks singing overhead and no distractions. The boys have enjoyed helping harvest tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, sweetcorn as well as the fruit. Having an allotment is great to get the family together and an activity that can be enjoyed outside. I still can’t persuade them to eat courgettes though! The mild spring this year has enabled me to spend a little more time clearing the weeds and the end is now in sight, so I am looking forward to the next few years as it shouldn’t be quite such hard digging and I’ll be able to grow a greater variety of crops”
We really would love to hear your thoughts on the series, we love getting to know our gardeners and it is a great topic to say the least! Did you like the series? What do you think they could have done better? Why do gardeners have allotments? Why are they enjoyable? Please post your comments below, the floor is open for discussion!
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.