The Allotment Wife


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A bumper crop of fruit and flowers

Ah now, this is what happens when I don’t go to the allotment for over a week because I’ve been sick – there’s a bumper crop! Thank goodness I’m well again, indeed. As you can see, everything is doing very well. We have cleome, dahlias, courgettes, coreopsis, echinacea, runner beans, sunflowers, sweet peas and a second flush of sweet williams, well gosh.

Cleome and Dahlias Cleome Coreopsis and courgettes Dahlias 1 Dahlias 2 Echinacea 1 Echinacea 2 Runner beans Sunflowers and runner beans Sunflowers Sweet peas Sweet Williams

In fact the runner beans are getting too big and stringy, so I harvested the smaller ones and put the others in the compost pile. I really HATE beans with strings in them – yuck! It’s very hard to spot the darn things too as they hide themselves within the leaves very cunningly. Meanwhile, the sunflowers are getting very tall, and I had to tie them in to the stakes at the top. The flowers are forming nicely, but no colour yet.

We have also harvested the blackcurrant bushes, which was great fun (with the juice all over my hands I looked like I might have killed someone!) and left the netting off so the birds can have the ones we’ve left. All in all, we’ve harvested 1.5 kilos (gosh!). Tonight, K has strained the juices so we can save them, and will make ice cream later, hurrah. We’ve also made ourselves a special kir royale with a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge (as you do …) and very nice it was as well. Definitely summer drinking.

Blackcurrants

On the left of the trug above you can also see some of the young perpetual spinach which is still coming back in the brassica beds – so that’s salad sorted!

Anyway, as I’ve been absent for a bit, the flowers have built up and I’ve managed to make seven vases (seven!) of today’s harvest. If I had to pay for seven vases of flowers, it would cost a fortune, so hurrah for the allotment flowers.

Seven vases 1 Seven Vases 2

And here’s the rest of our harvest, which includes potatoes, courgettes, onions and that lovely golden beetroot which is just fantastic – and so much easier to cook than the red beetroot:

Harvest 1 Harvest 2Golden beetroot

It’s great to be back at the allotment! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke

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The Sick Allotmenteer

There’s been a severe lack of allotmenteering on my part this week due to (a) being sick over the weekend (grrrr) and (b) social engagements during the week. However, K has kept me updated, and it seems as if things are doing well. We had a first harvest of courgettes, plus more runner beans and potatoes, which is great.

Courgettes and runner beans

My lovely husband has also very sweetly kept the flower harvest (sweet peas, spiky cleome and coreopsis mainly) going, and watered the plot wherever possible, so that’s good too. We do appear to be having some issues with our new Peruvian ground apple, which is looking delicate so I hope it recovers soon.

I hope to be well on the way to recovery soon too and plan to pop in to the allotment on Thursday if I’m up to it.

Hope you all have a good week!

Anne Brooke


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Good day: rubbish title!

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Interesting day. Weatherwise we had some threatening clouds, a couple of sharp downpours and some sticky interludes. In terms of visitors we had a couple of random cyclists and a group of walkers round so I did a bit of promotion and talked about pizza ovens. Then I had a potential volunteer come to visit. We’ve arranged for her to come back in a few weeks time and she’s said she’s happy to help with some gardening, despite seeing the effort that will be needed. I’m not sure whether to be happy or worry about her sanity. I must say that the prospect of some help has lightened my mood a little.

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This week has really seen the butterflies emerge. We’ve also had plenty of bees and today we had hoverflies. It’s nice when a plan works out and people have been commenting on the number of pollinators we’re attracting…

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Cleome claws and odd apples

We found a Yacon (or Peruvian ground apple) in the garden centre this week – it’s a type of squash which is apparently tasty and low in calories, so we’ve planted it and we’ll see how it goes. It’s certainly a statement plant, though what exactly it’s trying to say is anyone’s guess.

Peruvian ground apple or yacon

This week, we’ve also composted more green garden waste, which the compost bin is eating away nicely, and I’ve done my usual hoe round to keep the weeds down. Earlier in the week, K brought back some potatoes, the first of the runner beans (hurrah!) and the rest of the stunted carrots.

Potatoes, carrots and runner beans

He also picked the first of the blackcurrants, and has made ice-cream, which is utterly fantastic, I must say. It’s odd how we’d never buy blackcurrant ice-cream in the supermarket (because it tastes so bland …) but the home-made stuff is just brilliant.

Blackcurrants

Meanwhile the courgette is coming along nicely, though I didn’t bother picking any more rhubarb as it started to rain quite heavily.

Courgette

On the flower front, we have sweet peas and cornflowers doing well, plus a good harvest of cleome – which has thorns!! Who knew?!? – gaura, astilbe, scabious and coreopsis.

Sweet peasCornflowersHarvest

Here are the flowers at home in their final places. I didn’t bother with the dahlias this time as they only last one day, tops, so there’s no point picking them!

Vase 2 Vase 3 Vases 1

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke


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Carrot Fly Chaos and Runner Bean Delight

Oh dear me, I fear the dreaded carrot fly has laid waste to our carefully tended crop of carrots, alas and alack. K brought back some carrots last week and they are poor stunted little things, though still quite tasty. We’ll gather the rest of the crop at some stage and see what can be made of them. It’s such a nuisance that you can’t tell when the carrot fly has visited as the foliage still looks fine. If we try for carrots again, then we’ll have to put some fleece round them as a barrier as the carrot fly can’t fly more than a couple of feet above the ground – so that might work.

In terms of other vegetables, there are exciting developments with the runner beans, which now have actual beans on them – though too small to harvest yet.

Runner beans 1 Runner beans 2

The courgette is also growing apace, so I’ve moved the marrow further away – I hope it survives the trip. This leaves the courgette still fairly near the coreopsis, but that might be okay. Its leaves have patches of white on them, but I don’t really know if that’s a bad or a good thing – will have to look this up at some point. We also have an unknown squash growing through our potato patch, so will wait with interest to see what it turns into!

Courgette Unknown squash

Turning to flowers, the cerinthe is coming along, and the coreopsis is totally abundant, hurrah:

Cerinthe Coreopsis

We also have a couple of dahlias, freesias and the red geum (Mrs Bradshaw) – though some of the dahlias are crawling with black flies so I have sprayed them to within an inch of their lives and will hope for the best.

Dahlia 1 Freesias Geums

The last of the lilies are looking good, the penstemon is coming along, and the sweet peas we abandoned near the compost are refusing to be lost (hurrah!) and are doing their own thing entirely, so we’re letting them do it … Good for them is what I say!

Lilies 1 Penstemon Sweet peas 1

So, this week I’ve been clever and brought my trug from home for the harvest, which has been: sweet peas, lilies, cornflowers, coreopsis, freesias, a dahlia and a few sweet williams (not so many of those now). I also took some of the spinach seedlings (at least I think that’s what they are …) from what is now the brassica bed and have potted them up, as you can see. It appears to be the case that everlasting spinach never ever dies, LOL … The veggie harvest is beetroot (including our golden beetroot), potatoes and the biggest lettuce in history. That should do us for the week then.

Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest 3

At home, I’ve allocated the flowers to vases in the best way I could think of, and the house looks lovely with them in it.

Vase 1 Vase 3 Vases 2

Have a lovely weekend!

Anne Brooke Books