Big Allotment Challenge 2015: Epi five

This week’s episode was going to get my attention on two counts. The first, Okra. The second, pickles and preserves. This week, I was not going to focus on the perfect veg idea. I can understand how that is basis for the show bench and the idea of a village show. But with the okra, I wasn’t bothered about how this quirky, beautifully ugly vegetable could be presented on the show bench. I can only imagine the oohs and ahhs, should it be presented on a local fete.

I like okra, my mother likes Okra. It is one of the many vegetables that falls into her ‘Indian/Asian’ veg maxim. That is her main rule that goes with the plot. I should grow ‘Indian/Asian’ veg, and that’s about it. That’s why we have lots of spinach and fenugreek. Not to mention turnips and things, as well as garlic. Fruit is less asian/indian, but I am hoping that the gooseberries will clinch it as Amlas,

Learning that okra seed should be soaked for twenty four hours was very very useful. I’m glad that was mentioned, and that made sense to my mum when I regaled her about how that had been done on the show. Soaking of seeds, placing the seeds into the heated prop. Then to transfer at the six leaf stage into a big 25cm pot. This was good advice. Seeing the half a dozen plants in the greenhouses of the contestants, felt real. Okay, they have heated greenhouses and not poly tunnels. But there was context, there was technique and guidance. I did feel that I genuinely learned something here, that I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. I had given up somewhat on the idea of growing Okra, but would definitely think about growing them again. Definitely not about the judgement on the show bench. You know if people grew straight forward simple things on the allotment, things would be very boring. Kudos for the show presenting a crop that wouldn’t ordinarily be on the box.

I have no comment to make about the floo’ers. Again, I wasn’t concentrating on this. So sorry about that!

Pickles and preserves. As you are aware, I am somewhat biased with these. It took me a while to appreciate them, and to be able to use my own crops. I love Thane Prince and her ability to keep it real. She does mention taste, she is quite clear about what she expects. Above all, Thane Prince advocates using your crops, and being creative. Two central ideas, when you are trying to make the most of the produce that you grow. Someone needs to give Thane Prince her own TV show. Would be epic and a whole new generation of preservers and picklers would be inspired. Think that’s a cue for Thane and the lovely Nigel slater to work together.

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