The Big Allotment Challenge- my thoughts

The_Big_Allotment_Challenge

At times it was a little extreme in its demands on the contestants; such as “you must display 3 radishes of equal sizes”, but on the whole I found the Big Allotment Challenge to be fun and light-hearted.

It was, dare I say, a nice little introduction to growing your own for the ‘black-fingered’ amongst the nation…


Maybe the programme was wrongly called ‘Allotment Challenge’ though, perhaps that title suggested something more serious, which might feature the real trials and tribulations of owning an allotment; endless slug problems, crap soil, etc, etc- but maybe that’s to come! There was some wind and rain, after all! I do think this programme was always designed to be a bit kitsch and just damn well tongue-in-cheek… heck, I’m a (fairly) good gardener, but I don’t think my allotment patch could ever look as neat as those ones. The aerial shots of the show site were pretty damn sparkly!

Dare I say, we sometimes take ourselves a little too seriously in the horticultural world… I wonder if professional master bakers look upon programmes like Great British Bake Off and fear they’ve been dumbed down…? Even though the show came across quite quirky, there was some horticultural know-how buried in there too, it was ‘hort-lite’ of course, but still made sense..!

The contestants might take a while to warm and settle, so I found it was a shame that 1 set has been voted off already! I really liked the ‘gardeners in heels’, and i might champion them, making up a banner and everything! Over the next few weeks, I think we’ll also be enjoying some great one-liners too, a fab one from last night was ‘fear keeps me whisking’ as the preserve-making got tense.

And, of course, who can forget ‘bloquets’ (flowers arranged by men!)

Let me know what YOU thought of the show in the comments section below!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. zinniadesign says:

    I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. Although the format is a very close copy of the bake-off, I think it will make people switch on and follow just like the bake-off has done. I’m no cook but watched avidly and bought a Mary Berry book on cakes and have tried to improve my Victoria sponge! If the same thing happens to non-gardeners with this programme then that’s a really good thing. It’s strangely compelling, not only because of the subject matter for me, but also because of the competitive element. It was really great to see the obvious pride, delight and triumph of those who won the challenges. So who says gardeners are boring now! I think that you’re right that we gardeners do take ourselves too seriously sometimes. I can still read ‘The Garden’ if I want to and talk horticultural specifics, but gardening is accessible to everyone. I’ll be watching next week and I’m already thinking about my favourite couple – beardy guys with ties? Not sure yet…

  2. matt appleby says:

    2.5m viewers can’t be wrong. Bake off built its audience. maybe bac will too

  3. Garth says:

    Yes, it was “hort lite” as you say, but that is what is strangely appealing about it, for me! There are other places we can go to learn about the gardening know-how. How lovely it is to see the challenges set down. They give us all ideas about what to do with the wonderful things we can produce in our gardens/allotments etc. The challenges have spurred me on to try just that little bit better in 2014 and see if I can try a “blouquet”!! Bring it on.

  4. tracydwjones says:

    I too enjoyed Big Allotment Challenge for what it is ‘a light hearted look at growing your own.’ Yes horticulture can be taken far too seriously by some, this is tv after all and by its very nature should be entertaining.Why do gardening judges nearly always have to be gentlemen of a certain age? There are plenty of ‘younger’ dare I say it quite trendy women who obsess about growing food!

  5. Ruth says:

    Not very impressed, but I don’t watch tv much so this kind of format is just a bit too flimsy (and yes, ‘dumbed down’) for my taste but anything that highlights allotments/ grow your own in a positive light is good for our communities.

  6. Emma Swainston says:

    I loved it. I’m a keen novice gardener and trainee florist so it ticked all the boxes for me. Lots of fun although a few more hints and tips would be good. I was amazed at how much they’d grown in 15 weeks so hopefully that will spur people on to give things a go.

  7. Jennie says:

    I’m torn between liking it for its entertainment value (getting to know the Gardeners) and hopefully enticing others into growing, to disliking it for not learning enough about how you ‘should/could grow.

    There is still something missing for me …..Monty (who I love) on Gardeners World which can be a bit fuddy duddy and based on lots of space to the Big Allotment which focuses on the ‘perfect end’ product and not much learning in-between.

    Maybe it’s also the constant references throughout that these are the best allotment Gardeners ….yet most of the couples admit to not having grown most of the products before.

    Like the concept, not sure the visual, matches the commentary and the expectations from the experts. Would be really helpful if they provided top tips for the areas they are judging.

    Please, let’s provide some TV magic that shows gardening as trendy, simple and for all ages.

    How about a new housing development, with average size gardens, each one designed differently, gardened by a variety of people, to reflect reality….

    Answers on a postcard please 🙂

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