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Want to go on the Island with Bear Grylls?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

‘Do you ever secretly wonder what would happen if you were stranded on a desert island!? We are looking for men and women for the new series of Channel 4’s The Island with Bear Grylls! On this series, there’s a prize! To apply, please go to

Channel 4’s Bafta winning The Island with Bear Grylls  are looking for applicants for the show.

In previous series, the volunteers were stripped of all the comforts of civilisation, and cast away on a remote deserted island. They filmed themselves, and shared their raw and exhilarating story of survival. This year there is also a prize.

We are looking for people who are fit and able to participate, of all ages (18+), each with their unique skillset, from a variety of backgrounds and professions who are confident in their ability to thrive but they do not need any experience in adventure or survival pursuits to participate.  We will cover reasonable pre-agreed loss of earnings for everyone who participates.

To apply, please go to


Tomorrow’s Food

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

On iplayer Tomorrow’s Food

Goes to a huge hydroponic farm in Thanet.
They quickly drop the temperature at the end of the day and this convinces the plant it’s going to die so it forces itself into fruit production. 4-5 times more yield than traditional methods.
Top tip – keep the plant thirsty when it’s young and you’ll end up with tastier fruit.

Big allotment challenge S2E4

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

View on BBC
This weeks it’s tomatoes, rudbeckia and jam

Growing peas on the Big allotment challenge

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

5 large pods of peas grown from seed on the big allotment challenge

They take a lot of looking after.
12 weeks from seed.
Sow in well manured ground.
5 cm deep trench and place seeds in
Cover and water.
Plety of water.
Support with sticks or canes. Tie up.
Netting or chicken wire to stop mice and birds
Pods feel full and are bright and shiny in colour.

Lena uses silver birch sticks as pea sticks.
Rob: Panthers Heritage variety – should have 9 peas in at least
Rekha Ambassador 9 peas
Alexandra Hurst Greenshaft –
Alan – Hurst Greenshaft – cordon method –
Sandra Ambassador
Lena Kelvedon Wonder 6-8 peas
Jojo Show Perfection – cordon method too Up to 10 peas

Jim likes the codron method results.

Best in Show JoJo.

2 perfect stems of lily.
Using lilys make a floral candlabra

Get good bulbs
Plant in large plot with good drainge, sand.
Plant tip up. Good compost, water but not wet
Feed every 2 weeks with potash rich fertiliser
Move pots into shade to delay flowering
Mind lily beetle

Alan Landini
Jojo Chelsea
Rob Red Sensation
Alexandra Oriental Mix
Rekha Asiatic Mix
Lena Oriental mix and tiger liy
Sandra Sweet desire

best in show is Sandra!

Rehka won best in shop for dips and crisps!

Who is going home? Alexandra!

Big allotment challenge Series 2 episode 2

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Avilable on iplayer series 2 episode 2
The contestants were given 125m2 space of clear ground. HEated greenhouse.
and a list of 22 things they should grow.
Does that mean 22 types of plant are enough to grow on an allotment?

Three challenges
Bouquet containing larkspurs
Lollies and syrups

How to grow the perfect ridge cucumber

Present 2 grown from seed
Ridge cos they can be tricky to get started.
Germination slow.
Start inside.
Fill pot and sow seed on side.
Once germinated then harden off for 10 days
Plant outside.
Plant on a ridge with manure in.
Helps water drain away
7 leaves. Pinch out growing tip
Watch for aphids. Mosaic virus (misshapen poor number of fruits).
Need space.
Feed plant once cucs appear with liquid tomato food,
Don’t let them get too big.
Size depends on variety.

Mrketmore and Tokyo slicer

Marketmore and BUrpless Tassty green

Herigate variety
Struggling with size – in pots in greenhouse?

Two sowings. Trying plastic bottle as straightener

Problem on leaf – possibly virus or insect damage

Water with bottle with tiny holes ni lid

Equal length and perfectly straight. Uniformity.

After 13 weeks of growing them, it’s show day.

Alan Marketmore

Tony Marketmore

Lena Burpless Tassty green (should be 10-12″_)

JoJo Burpless Tassty green

Alexandra BUrpless Tassty green

Rob Boothby’s Blonde (6-8″)

Rekha F1 Prima Top

Sandra Obelix

Best in show – Lena or Rob?

Present 3 stems of larkspur unfirom in size, scale and height, 2/3 in flower
Bound bouquet

Prepare soil until fine tilth. Week in freezer to ensure they have perod of cold. Sow directly and cover
Thin until 30cm apart
Pinch out tips at 15cm tall
Feed with tomato feed
Should have tall straight stems. Support

Pick and feed continuously.

Making bound bouqet
Use binding technique.
Take off leaves that will be below the waterline in vase.
Bind – tie in one at a time or several as shape develops.
One binding point.
Use twine.

Rob Frosted Skies
Alexandra Tall Hyacinth mix
Lena Dwarf Mix
Alan Tall Hyacinth mix
Rehka Stock flowered mix
jojo Dark blue
Sandra Sublime mix
Tony T&M improved mix

I think Sandra as she was the only one to bind properly.

Winner either Alan or Sandra..
Alan best in show due to huge bunch of larkspur in bouquet

Ice lolly and a syrup
Include strawberies and produce from their allotment.
90 minutes!
Must start lollies first so they have time to freeze.

Syrup is just fruit sugar and water. Diluted or poured over desserts.

Jojo Lemongrass and basil syrup and strawberry coconut ice.

Sandra Spiced rhubarb and orange syrup. Strawberry and cream lolly

Alex Rose floral syrup, Cool and a cucumber lolly

Rehka Currant delight syrup, and Stop and go traffic light lolly

Alan Green summerdays cucumber syrup and cricket in the park lolly

Tony Strawberry basil rose lavender syrup and Pop’s lollys.

Lena BB Blueberry syrup and Keri Berry lolly

Rob Savory summer syrup (sage and strawberry) and shimmer ball lolly

Best in show?
Sandra! Her lolly was so pretty!

So who is going home?
It’s Tony!

The Big Allotment Challenge review

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

They start with 125m2 space of clear ground. Heated greenhouse.
Watch here on iplayer

joJo works in financial sector.
Alexander has only had a garden for 2 years
Lena decorartor, lives on boat
Rob long haul cabin crew job. 1 1/2 allotments in Sheffield.
Matt engineer student, 21 had allotment since 13.
Sandra growing for over 30 years. “The flower lady”
Tony semi-retired school teacher.
Alan has marketing company. Rows and runs.
Rekha no experience with flowers. Company director. Grows to feed family on allotment.


New potatoes.
From seed potatoes, chitting early in year. In tray in light and frost free.
4-6 weeks ready to plant. End of April.
Trnches 45cm deep lined with compost or shredded newspaper.
Take off all but 2 shoots.
Water well.
Earth them up. Cover stems with soil jsut leaving tops.
Conitune earthing up.
Harvest when flowers fully open.

Rob uses comfrey as mulch on top of them,
Scab bacterial disease caused by alkaline soil and dry conditions.
Problems – too close together so can’t earth up.
Blackleg can wipe out crop.
Rats can damage potatoes chewing them.

Pick 5 perfectly even sized new potatoes.
Uniformity important. Clean, clear skinned, free from blemishes and any eyes shallow.

Rekha – maris piper
Lena – Casablanca
Jojo Casablanca
Alexandra Rubess
Tony – Nicola
Alan – Charlotte
Rob – Arran Pilot
Matt – Pentland Javelin
Sandra – Pentland Javelin

Award – JoJo.

Flower growing and arranging ability challenge.
3 perfect zinnia stems
Floral basket. Needs balance of flowers and foliage. Wants them to use chicken wire as base structure. Must not see it at end.

Grow zinnia – wait until last frost over before sow seed directly in well drained sunny area. Water well but not too much. Lay gravel around seedlings as they apepar. Thin out. Until they are 30cm apart to prevent overcrowding.
Feed weekly. Either tomato feed or seaweed.
Keep picking them to stop them seeding.

If sow in seed trays they need pricking out. Lena uses a spoon.
Matt late sowing.
Slug damage can be a problem.
Botrytis fungal disease due to wet conditions.
They need sunshine to open the buds.

Wire must be secured, but not pierce the waterproof plastic in basket.
foliage first 75% of basket
Flowers need clean stems to avoid leaves rotting in water.
Zinnias added last, to be focal point.
Must look good from all angles.
Cut long stems so you can trim (can trim but not extend stems)
Open, semi and closed flowers.
Should feel secure when held.

Sandra Zahara Double Mix
JoJo Giant Dahlia mix
MAtt – no zinnia in flower
Alan – Magallen
Lena – Faberge
Tony Giant Double Mix
Alexandra Bright Spark
Rob Zahara Double Duo
Rekha Zaraha

Award – Rob best in show

Eat Challenge
2 sauces suitable to accompany as a Sunday roast. one must be a mustard.
Serve with the new potatoes you put in first challenge.

heat, has to be controlled, balanced,
Mustards seeds need to be soaked to make it easier to crush skins.
Alexandra – Roman mustard and Fennel mayonnaise sauce
Lena – Kohl Rabi Mustard and Apple and rhubarb sauce
Alan Sunday paper mustard and that’s shallot sauce
Sandra Dill and honey mustard, Picante berry
(both had stuff from not plot)
JoJo – beetroot and vietnamese mustard, Pepper sauce
Matt – Blossomed mustard and white onion sauce
Rob Herb mustards and chimichiry sauce
Rekha Simple mustard and onion sauce
Tony old gold mustard sauce and bread and onion sauce

Best in show – Lena

Who is going home?
Matt – the youngest contestant ever.

I thought it was obvious Matt should be the one to go home. Failing to start the zinnia seeds in time was a huge mistake. His idea about putting things in a cardboard box to stop the light seemed a bit crazy too. His spuds didn’t look really tiny but the judge saying he’d seen bigger quail eggs meant he wasn’t impressed with them.


The Big Allotment Challenge is back!

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Big Allotment Challenge is back, and this time nine gardeners go head to head in the competition hosted by Fern Britton. Over six episodes, the allotmenteers are put to the test in a series of challenges in the same three categories as last year: Grow, Make, Eat, judged by Jim Buttress, Jonathan Moseley and Thane Prince respectively. First episode goes out on Friday 2nd January 2015 at 9.00pm BBC2. – much earlier this year

Maybe they’ve realised us gardener’s are actually inside a bit more in the winter?

Are you an extreme gardener?

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Calling all extreme gardeners for new tv show idea!

Have you go the greenest fingers in your village/ town?

Are you rarely out of the garden even in the winter months?

Do you grow award winning vegetables or have some extreme plants on your allotments?

Does your partner get fed up when you come home late and bring mud in the house?

If so we would love to hear from you,

Red House TV is looking to speak to passionate gardeners for a brand new programme idea.

If you take great pride in your garden please email and we would love to have a research chat with you.

The Big Allotment Challenge week 5

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Grow – 3 perfect onions.

Jo and Avril – Sturon
Kate and Eleanor – Sturon –Best in show
Rupert and Dimi – Rumba
Gary and Pete – Ailsa Craig
Alex and Ed – Hercules

Make –
3 perfect chysanthamums, make a pedestal design, (front facing, balanced, clear outline of foliage)

Focal point, allusion of depth for the pedestal arrangement.

Jo and Avril – Spray collection
Kate and Eleanor – Jewell collection
Rupert and Dimi – sunset
Gary and Pete – Red Lilian Hoek
Alex and Ed – Myss Reanne << best in show

For pedestal floral arrangement Rupert and Dimi


Jelly and fruit butter

Jo and Avril – Redcurrant and Rhubarb jelly and a Rhubarb, apple and blueberry fruit butter <- best in show!
Kate and Eleanor – Rhubarb and Strawberry butter and blackcurrant jelly
Rupert and Dimi – Rhubarb and Strawberry butter and a Red and blackcurrant jelly
Gary and Pete – Melon and Rose jelly and blackcurrant and basil fruit butter
Alex and Ed – Tomato and chilli jelly and redcurrant and rhubarb butter

two teams are leaving!

Gary and Pete going home as are Jo and Avril

Big allotment challenge week 4 review

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The big allotment challenge week 4 review
The Big Allotment Challenge Episode 4

Hosted by Fern Britton, the fourth round continues the search to find Britain’s best growers. Having reached the half way point, six pairs remain ready to battle it out to harvest prizewinning fruit, vegetables and flowers ready for the show bench.

For the first time in the competition Jim Buttress sets them the tricky task of growing in the greenhouse, he wants to see a faultless aubergine on the show bench. The specimen flower continues to test the gardeners and Jonathan Moseley sets the challenge of making a topiary tree. Finally, preserves expert Thane Prince is expecting to taste prizewinning pickle and piccalillis on the show bench.

Which pair will continue to triumph and who will fail to blossom and leave the allotment for good?

This week it’s :
Aubergines, Sunflowers and Piccalilli.

Greenhosue plants can suffer more than those outside. Need help with pollination – not enough insects, use earbuds or paintbrush.
All growing grafted apart from April and Jo, and Rupert and Dimi.
Greenhouse hot – needs shading. USB fan powered by solar to help breeze.
Mishapen veg caused by environmental or embryonic damage.Not good for show bench, but as every gardener knows it all tastes good!
Bright, blemish free, shiny,

Jo and Avril – Long purple
Kate and Eleanor – Scorpio – Best in show
Rupert and Dimi – Ivory
Gary and Pete – Scorpio
Alex and Ed – Black beauty
Shirley and Victoria – Moneymaker

3 perfect Sunflowers and a floral topiary Tree
Bright leaf, good head, straight stem.

Jo and Avril – Velvet queen
Kate and Eleanor – Teddy bear
Rupert and Dimi – Bicentenary
Gary and Pete – Harlequin and Teddy bear (I’ve grown this one it’s cute!)
Alex and Ed – Russian giant << best in show for sunflowers and << best in show for topiary tree
Shirley and Victoria – Valentine

floral topiary Tree – Line pot, pack with foam, then wet foam so it’s tightly packed. Use canes to make trunk, Wet sphere on top of canes. Wire on.
Sunflowers need to go in first cos of thick stems, use foliage, cover base.
Needs visual and actual balance.

30 minutes preparation and then finish the challenge the next day because it’s pickles and they need to get moisture out of the vegetables by dry salting or brining them overnight.

Pickles and Piccalilli
Picadilly should be smooth and well balanced with crisp veg.

Jo and Avril – Christmas piccalilli and beeroot and orange pickle
Kate and Eleanor – patch piccalilli and gherkin and runner bean pickle
Rupert and Dimi – courgette and vegetable picalilly. Courgette pickle.
Gary and Pete – Ploughmans pickle and quickalily. << best in show!
Alex and Ed – his own recipe for piccalilli which doesn’t brine, Pickled beetroot
Shirley and Victoria – misci picalilly and red radish kimchi

So who goes home this week?

Shirley and Victoria!
Well that was a tight run thing .. I did think Rupert and Dimi might be up for the chop this week, or even Avril and Jo.

Not sure I enjoyed it as much as last weeks. Maybe I have no interest in growing aubergines?