You might think that this Challenge is not too tough as I already have the allotment bit, and we do, indeed, have an annual show; however, it does take a considerable amount of planning and forethought in order to participate properly!
I'm happy to enter any and all classes where I have something to enter, pretty much regardless of quality - don't get me wrong, I'm as competitive as the next one in the queue, but I also know that I want to encourage people who may be reluctant to 'join in' something like this, thinking there is some sort of mystique to showing veg.
No, there isn't - you just take the best you have, present it properly, and pay your 25p entry. Job done. Classes with stiff competition might make your - say - runner beans look a bit rubbish, but there will be some classes that - actually - you've got some good stuff in there! Not to mention that some classes will be less popular, so even if your spring onions are so-so - if there are only two or three entries, you are going to get a second or third, regardless.
It's not just the veg classes - domestic classes are fun too. I bake a bit anyway, so it's not a hardship to make a nice fruit cake a couple of weeks in advance and take that down; and the show schedule always includes a 'cake from supplied recipe' so everyone is doing the same thing there.
The only thing that I find can cause a bit of a panic is the timing - before now, I've been down to pick things on the Show morning so it's as fresh as possible, then find myself in the kitchen with an hour to go surrounded by 5lb of runner beans feverishly sorting through to find the 7 best matching ones.
No - that does not make for a fun day. So now, I leave everything alone for a week before hand then go down on the Saturday for a grand picking session. Saturday evening sees me sorting through beans, potatoes, beetroot, courgettes, rhubarb and anything else I have ready to enter, and chose the best. Over a glass of wine - hurrah!
Sunday morning, I pack everything into the car and off we go to stage the entries. Big sister Helen visits for the weekend, and her and mum come along with their entries too.
Everything is staged by 2pm, then the judges do their stuff for a couple of hours whilst we have a mooch round the site, listen to the band and enjoy the barbecue and a couple of drinks at the bar.
Then the moment of truth - not so hot for me in the domestic classes this year - in fact big sister Helen's fruit cake beat mine , but I had some good results in the veg classes, so I'm very pleased about that.
I've sent Helen back to the south coast home with courgettes, beans, cake, garlic and wine, mum and my neighbours have been offloaded with rhubarb, beans and spare cake; and all I need to do now is work out how to get another few pounds of beans in the freezer and how to deal with the courgette mountain...
But my week 32 Challenge - is done!