The Allotment Wife


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Return to the allotment!

Another 2 weeks off, I’m afraid, with Virus No 2 – which was rather more debilitating and long-lasting than Virus No 1, oh well. Can’t say it’s been a great August all round, hey ho. However, K has kept me updated and definitely kept things going, with various harvests of runner beans, courgettes and lots of cut flowers. What a superhero!

Today, however, I feel well enough to get to the allotment (hurrah!) so have had a good hoe-round and deadheaded various flowers. The sunflowers are amazing and the tallest things on the allotment, goodness me.

Sunflower

They look very grand indeed. The rest of the flowers are doing well too, including the dahlias, crocosmia, asters, cosmos and coreopsis.

Dahlias Crocosmia Cosmos and coreopsis Asters and cosmos

The trouble with the dahlias is that the moment I cut them, the petals start falling off, so I don’t think they’re going to be a great entry into next Friday’s Allotment Show. Will try my best though, and maybe do other flowers as well. We’re also going to enter the Longest Runner Bean competition, and see if we have any decent onions or beetroot to enter as well – so wish us luck! Sadly, my specially bought chrysanthemums are never going to be ready in time for the show, so will just have to enjoy them as cut flowers in the house later in the season.

The autumn raspberries are starting to produce a good crop too.

Autumn raspberries

Here’s hoping the birds don’t take them all! And the peas K planted for next year are now in flower, but surely it’s too late to actually produce a crop at all! Maybe we should cut the flowers off, or wait and see what happens? Will have to decide at some point.

Peas

The leeks we planted earlier look a bit sad, so we have planted some new ones given to us by my stepfather (who also gave us the runner bean seeds) – the new ones definitely look stronger …

Leeks 1 Leeks 2

And here’s this week’s harvest: lots of various flowers, and underneath a handful of runner beans and a couple of courgettes.

Harvest

Have a good – and healthy! – bank holiday weekend.

Anne Brooke Books

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Is my courgette a marrow?!…

A nice, relaxed, pottering week at the allotment this week – which is great for me as work has been fairly nightmarish (is that a word?…) and the days very long, and I just needed to have some me time. So a big thank you to our allotment for being a chill-out zone Big Time.

And it’s proving amazing how quickly things grow. I did a mini-harvest on Thursday and decided the courgettes weren’t worth picking yet, and then on Saturday, here’s what I find:

Veg harvest

You can see the scale of it next to the normal sized courgette in the trug. I’m not even sure if courgettes can turn into marrows (maybe someone out there will enlighten me …) but it’s as near as darn it, that’s for sure. Alongside them, we have more potatoes, runner beans, and the largest of the golden beetroot, whose leaves I’m also saving for salads.

Our runner beans are also going for it – we’ve now stored five or six little bags in the freezer, after blanching them, and will probably have enough to get us through the winter once they stop cropping. I’m going to leave a few of them unharvested though in an attempt to enter the Longest Runner Bean competition at the Allotment Show in September – that should be fun!

Meanwhile the sunflowers are continuing to do their stuff and at the moment are the tallest ones on the allotment, well gosh!

Sunflower 2 Sunflowers 1

The cosmos, coreopsis and dahlias are looking good too:

Cosmos and coreopsis Dahlias

And of course, the bees are loving all these blooms – speaking of which, I was a bit worried as a bee flew into the shed as I was shutting it up, and I couldn’t get it out. But K told me that it would find its own way out in due course, as they’re used to this sort of thing. And as my husband is a secret Bee Whisperer (every time we have a trapped bee, he leans in close to it, whispers “be gone, little bee …” and strangely they always obey!… and, yes, this is true!!), I am reassured …

Here are the harvested flowers – dahlias, sweet peas, coreopsis and cornflowers – and ultimately at home in their vases:

Flower harvest Vases 1 Vases 2

Have a great and relaxing Sunday

Anne Brooke Books


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National Allotment Week

AGENTS OF FIELD

LoveYourPlotAoF

This is the week to proudly hold aloft your trowel and make for the plot; it’s National Allotment Week here in the UK, so it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate all things home-grown and to encourage non-growers to take up the cause! After all, so much has changed since the humble days of Tom and Barbara’s The Good Life, the popularity of growing your own fruit and veg has exploded and its appeal is universal, no matter your age, gender or background.

National Allotment week is also an opportunity to highlight and support the ongoing struggles of different allotment sites around the country, fighting for their survival against short-sighted councils and greedy developers. From Farm Terrace Allotments to the Blue Finger Alliance, we’ve always tried to do our bit to support allotment sites under threat and feel very strongly about the benefits allotments can bring to communities.

So seize the day, grab your deck chair and raise a glass of homebrew to your fellow…

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It’s showtime!…

… or nearly anyway … The date of the Allotment Show is now set for Friday 4 September at 5pm, with judging from 5.45-6.30pm, and then it’s open to all until 7pm. After which we collapse into a heap and consume lots of cheese and wine (sadly none of it grown on the allotments, LOL!).

Last year, K and I were very new at the whole thing so we just enjoyed the produce and the company, and loved seeing the lovely H (well done again, H!) walk away with the top prize, hurrah! This year, we’re going to be very brave and try to enter one or two things – maybe some onions, the runner beans, and some flowers if there are any good ones around on the day.

Onions

You may remember that I planted some special show chrysanthemums a while back, but there’s no sign of any buds yet (sob!) so I will have to rely on the dahlias, or possibly a second wind for the coreopsis. I fear there’s not a vase large enough for the sunflowers!…

Anyway, I did pop into the allotment during the week, and harvested some courgettes and absolutely loads of runner beans. There were far too many for the two of us to eat so – with a vague folk memory of my mother blanching things for the freezer many lightyears ago and the help of the trusty Interweb thingy – K and I blanched them and have stored them in the freezer, go us! Basically this means that we put the runner beans into boiling water for 2 minutes, and the thickly chopped courgettes for one minute, and then plunged them into a big bowl of ice cold water. After drying them off, K then put them into portion-sized sandwich bags, and sucked the air out with a straw. Yes, we really are that strange, but it works like a dream!

Back at the allotment today when I did a hoe-round and K did the watering. Nothing to plant at the moment, but I did gather up the dead rhubarb leaves and kick away all the mole hills so I hope I’m doing some good.

The peas K planted last week are doing well, as are the Brussels sprouts.

PeasBrussels sprouts

The Peruvian Ground Apple has recovered too, and is okay as long as we keep it well watered.

Peruvian Ground Apple

Sad to say, the one almost-ripe autumn raspberry of last week has been taken by the birds, but there are more on the way (no doubt to feed the birds again!):

Autumn Raspberries

On the flower front, the gaura are looking good, but they’re not great in vases so I’m leaving them where they are.

Gaura

And the echinacea is very pretty too:

Echinacea

Here is our harvest of potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, sweet peas, coreopsis, dahlias, cornflowers and a geum:

Harvest

And, as you can see, I’ve run out of vases at home, and am having to make do with wine glasses! The buddleia came from the garden as I accidentally cut a branch off when deadheading yesterday.

Vases 2 Vase 3 Vase 1

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books