The Allotment Wife


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Multicoloured Vegetables Galore

Yesterday, we decided to go to the allotment in the evening so we could water things more successfully, which worked out well as the site in this heat is much more bearable then. This week, our lovely multicoloured vegetables have been out in full force – though to be honest we’d forgotten we’d chosen the ones in mixed colours, but they’re simply amazing. Here are the climbing French beans – they’re purple, yellow and green, though to my eye the purple ones are so dark they’re black:

French climbing beans 2

Not to be outdone, our round courgettes apparently come in green, white and yellow and we have an enormous glut of them! Possibly time for K to make more courgette soup to see us through the winter …

Courgettes 3

Here are some of the courgettes and climbing beans on the plants:

Meanwhile, the first of the gladioli are in flower, double hurrah! The pale orange one is called Princess Margaret and I really love it.

The dahlias are also doing well:

Dahlias

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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Blackcurrant Bonanza

The blackcurrant bushes at the allotment have gone crazy in this last week and we had to visit the allotment yesterday twice as we ran out of containers to put them in! We’ll probably have to go back today (Sunday) as well as they are still lots more to pick, with lots more still to ripen. Gosh indeed. That’s a heck of a lot of home-made blackcurrant ice cream for K to make, hurrah! Ooh, and blackcurrant gin – K is going to make that too, double hurrahs.

Extra blackcurrants

Meanwhile, the beetroot are getting larger and the courgettes are cropping well:

The French climbing beans have reached the top of their poles and have started to produce actual beans – they’re a funny yellow colour but easy to pick.

And the mangetout mountain continues, though the onions are far slower to get into their stride.

And here, in all its glory, is the asparagus forest …

Asparagus forest

Turning to flowers, K and I bought some asiatic (scented) lilies and some alstroemerias at Hampton Court Flower Show last week, and have put these in the allotment for cut flowers. Apparently the lilies will flower this year, and have certainly started to sprout.

The coreopsis is looking lovely and the dahlias seem happy too – I keep spraying these so no sign of the dreaded blackfly yet.

The sweet peas are going well too, though I’ve had to start searching for and removing the ‘peas’ where they’ve gone over, as I want them to keep flowering for as long as possible.

Sweet peas

In exciting news, the first of the gladioli are about to flower and one of them is definitely going to be orange – so thrilled as I LOVE gladioli and they are always brilliant in vases:

Here is the harvest. As you can see, we cropped the one gooseberry (the light red berry in the right hand pot) the birds left us, LOL – but then in the evening I found a second one so we ate one each! Much sweeter than shop-bought gooseberries, but still with that essential kick at the end.

Harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Have a very good Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Lilies Galore and Early Dahlias

Jolly hot on the allotment today, and tremendously dry and dusty too. Honestly, in some of the raised beds, it’s so dry I can’t even use the hoe … K will visit again later tonight to do some proper watering. Anyway, the lilies have now reached their peak and are looking fabulous.

Lilies

The sweet peas are also looking good.

Sweet peas

The dahlia flowers are also out very early this year (they usually start in July, though of course it’s nearly that now) which I imagine is entirely due to the current heatwave.

Dahlias

And the first of our sunflower seeds has sprouted, hurrah

Sunflower

We left the asparagus to make its usual post-harvest forest last week, and it’s well on the way there now …

Asparagus forest

The French climbing beans are finally in flower, though there isn’t much leaf to them – possibly because of the weather? I gather other allotmenteers are having trouble with their runner beans, though we’ve not grown those this year (too many strings).

French climbing beans

However, the mangetouts are producing enough crops to feed the five thousand and some!

And the courgettes are looking very promising indeed.

Courgettes

Here is the harvest of mangetouts (so many!) and flowers.

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Lily Heaven and Cabbage Crisis

The lilies are just amazing at the allotment this week. I’m cutting them differently this year – in the past, I’ve waited for a fair amount to come out before I’ve harvested them, but now if one is in flower and the rest on a stem are in bud, I take them anyway, as I’ve discovered they will come into flower at home, no problem.

Lilies

The carnations are also doing well, although the cosmos is struggling a bit, sigh. The ones we have at home are doing much better, I don’t know why.

We’re also pleased with the sweet peas (Spencer Mixed – always very reliable).

Sweet peas

In other good news, we have our first chrysanthemum in bloom, with more to come, hurrah!

Chrysanthemum

And the first of the dahlias are in bloom – covered in blackfly as ever, groan, but I am spraying like crazy and killing the pesky beasts off.

In vegetable corner, the news isn’t so good. You may remember all those lovely new cabbage plants I put in last week and then covered with ‘slug doom’ – here they are (or rather here they aren’t …) this week, so maybe the slugs are beginning to get a taste for their poison, sob …

Cabbage gone

In the same bed, the leeks aren’t doing very well either, so I have de-slugged and sprayed the whole bed. Will wait and see what happens next week, but I fear the worst …

Leeks struggling

However, the courgettes and beetroot are forging ahead, and the courgettes even have tiny produce on them, so maybe there’ll be a harvest very soon.

Meanwhile, the mangetouts have given us a huge harvest this week, so that’s brilliant – we love mangetouts – no strings, hurrah! How we hate strings …

Mangetouts

The soft fruit area is doing well – though we suspect that by the time the loganberries are actually ripe, the birds will have taken them, LOL! (That’s how we know they’re ripe …). Also in the caged fruit area, the gooseberry bush that the birds stripped a few weeks ago has produced one more gooseberry – just enough for a tiny but perfectly formed gooseberry crumble!…

Here is the harvest of mangetouts and flowers. There were also some blackcurrants and redcurrants but they’re out of shot.

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a wonderfully sunny Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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That Mangetout Moment

Pretty tricky on the allotment for me today, as my left eye was in quite a lot of pain due to the pesky pollen, arrgghhh! Still, I kept it closed, wore my sunglasses, and staggered around the plot in a Cyclops kind of fashion. Not a good look … Anyway, the better news is that the first of the mangetouts is here, hurrah. A very exciting moment indeed!

Mangetouts

Not only that, but the French climbing beans have finally worked out how to climb up their poles, phew …

French climbing beans

The beetroot and courgettes are going for it too, I’m pleased to say:

In the world of flowers, we have the two carnation plants in bloom, and the smell of cloves they have is simply wonderful.

The lilies also look gorgeous and even the dahlias are now in bud, well gosh.

Meanwhile, the cosmos plants look rather pale, but the flowers are okay so far.

Cosmos

And look at our sweet peas – they’re amazing!!

Sweet peas

However, the verbascum is now on the way out but still just about in flower …

Verbascum

During the week, K bought some extra netting so he has built a fruit cage round the currant bushes (the autumn raspberries are okay without a net as they’re yellow and the birds ignore them). We didn’t have quite enough pins to hold the netting down at the bottom though, so have used large stones from around the plot.

Fruit cage

Here is the harvest trug (which includes the asparagus as well):

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

The moment we arrived home, I rushed upstairs and lay down for ten minutes with camomile tea bags on my eyes (which ALWAYS does the trick, thank goodness) and all in Hay Fever Eyes world is now good.

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Lilies and cabbages

The lilies are giving a blast of colour to the allotment today, I’m pleased to report.

Plus we also have the first carnations in bloom, and more of the cosmos as well. Apologies for the out-of-focus carnations but I couldn’t get the sun in the right place, LOL.

The sweet williams are continuing their amazing display and we have our first sweet pea flower,  hurrah! I have to say the ones at home are doing a lot better, but then again they have more sun.

Finally, in Flower City, the verbascum are still putting up a good show, though you have to watch out for those cabbage white butterfly caterpillars …

Verbascum

This week, we’ve also put six cabbages in the allotment for the first time just to see how they get on. I hope I’ve left enough space for growth!

Cabbage

We’re also really pleased with how the beetroot is getting along, so are hoping for a good crop from those.

Beetroot

And the peas now have some nice flowers on them, which is positive, hurrah.

Peas

There’s lots of healthy foliage on the autumn raspberries (which means I don’t have to weed that patch!), but it’s too early for fruit at the moment.

Autumn raspberries

Here is the harvest, including the flowers, asparagus and rhubarb:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Have a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


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The June Allotment

The allotment really gets going in June. The asparagus is obviously going crazy and trying to start its end-of-season forest a little too early for us – so we have harvested it and had half for lunch today.

Asparagus

I have now planted the rest of the beetroot which arrived this week. The type is Golden Burpees – which is a lovely golden colour and again doesn’t stain. The picture is very bright because for some reason the camera-phone wanted to use the flash. No idea why!

Beetroot Golden Burpees

Have also planted a couple of cosmos plants and the rest of the chrysanthemums, the latter of which are in the perennial flower bed. I’ve put the cosmos more in the sun this time round as last year they ended up in the shade and were a total disaster.

We also have our first couple of lily flowers out now, and the Sweet Williams look wonderful – the latter are just amazing for vases and always look good, no matter what you do to them.

The sweet peas are finally growing (hurrah!) though I’ve had to wrap them round the netting more as they’re very keen to escape. And the verbascums are looking good too. NO white fly this time round as I’ve left the lupins well alone …

On the vegetable front, the peas are looking good, and four of the five yakons (Peruvian Ground Apple) are on their way, so that’s a good result.

And the rhubarb is as bushy as ever – more of a crop this week, so I’ve made rhubarb compote again – with a splash or two of cheap brandy and some ginger. As you do.

Rhubarb

Bad news on the gooseberry front though – as we feared, the birds have picked the bush clean and left us with only one gooseberry, sob … Oh well. We must really net the area earlier next year!

To combat the slugs, K has watered the whole allotment with Nemaslug which should keep them off the crops for a good six weeks or so. We live in hope!

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home in their vases:

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books