The Allotment Wife


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The Beginning of Autumn

There’s a definite nip in the air these days, and I’m getting the feeling that the allotment is slowing down after the summer. I did manage to harvest quite a lot of flowers during the week, but it was noticeable today that they hadn’t rebloomed quite as much as they’ve been doing. I even managed to put all the flowers – coreopsis, dahlias, cosmos and leuchanthemums into one bunch rather than several.

Harvest

However, the autumn raspberries are doing well and I shall put those into tomorrow’s crumble. K and I have sampled one or two, and they definitely have more taste to them than they did last week so that’s good. We also harvested two pea pods (!) and a beetroot.

I don’t think we’re going to bother with potatoes again on the allotment – blight has been a nightmare; the only ones that work are the blight-free tasteless ones, and they’re no fun to eat. We might try potatoes at home again next year though. On the other hand, we’ll have a go at carrots again if we can battle off the dreaded carrot fly, and will do more peas, and also the beetroot.

Oh, and great fun at home with the raspberries, as whilst washing them I got rid of two beetles, three earwigs and released two ladybirds back into the wild. There’s a whole ecosystem in there!

Anne Brooke Books

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GOT DIRT? Easy Breezy Composting

Gardeners Touch

Composting is free, easy to make and good for the environment – I’ve been doing it for years. Up until a week ago, I’ve taken grass clippings, coffee grinds, egg shells, and scraps from fruits and vegetables and dumped it into a pile behind my garden. Now that we have a few chickens, I also included the coop poop. Every couple of weeks I toss it with the pitch fork and wait for nature to do it’s magic and create a nutrient-rich humus for my garden.

I found some pallets that were in great condition and gave them to my husband to work his magic for me. Voila! Here, he created three bins so that there’s always one active pile, one that’s processing, and one to hold our black gold. The bins aren’t completely done yet – there’s still slats to be added to the fronts to hold everything in.

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Life’s Little Pleasures

Gardeners Touch

Just came in from being in the garden, trying to get some fall clean up started, when the unexpected buzz of a hummingbird whirled around my head. The gate to my garden is draped in a trumpet vine where two of these little beauties decided to chase one another then rest, then drink in the nectar from the vine. It amazed me that they weren’t bothered by me being there, so I just stopped in my tracks to marvel at this beautiful little creature as it rested on one of the branches. For more than 20 minutes it just fluttered around me as it bounced from flower to fence to its branch again. It even allowed me to capture these pictures with my phone. Thankful for one of life’s little pleasures this morning.

humming bird, gardening

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Raspberry surprise

These last couple of weeks, we’ve been patiently waiting for our autumn raspberries to turn red so we can pick them before the birds do. However, it now appears they’re actually Autumn Gold raspberries so they don’t turn red at all – Allotmenteer Fail! So yesterday, we picked as many as we could and I have added them to the apple and blackberry crumble I’m making for Sunday lunch today (blackberries courtesy of the hedges hereabouts, and apples courtesy of our neighbour and our own apple tree at home!).

Autumn Gold raspberries

Sad to say, the autumn raspberries are a bit bland (lack of sun possibly?) so a crumble is the best place for them. We’re thinking of having red autumn raspberries next year to give us a clue as to when they’re ready to harvest – though I fear the birds will be keener on those.

However, as you can see, there are plenty more yellow raspberries to come:

Soft fruit

Whilst there, K took out the cornflowers which are all but over, and planted sweet williams ready for next year.

Sweet Williams

Earlier in the week, I took out all the sweet peas as they were definitely over, sadly. However, the asters and cosmos are  doing well so I have picked those for home – the asters last absolutely ages in a vase, I must say.

Asters and cosmos 1 Asters and cosmos 2

In veggie news, the beetroot and leeks are doing well:

Beetroot Leeks

So we’ve managed to gain a pretty good harvest, all in all:

Harvest

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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A Year in the Allotment: A Beginner’s Guide to Losing the Plot

Year in the Allotment - Twitter

I’m happy to say that I have a new non-fiction book out: A Year in the Allotment (A Beginner’s Guide to Losing the Plot).

What about having an allotment? So my husband asked me one day when I was innocently opening the wine and planning our weekend. The shock of the question made me blink and of course I laughed away the very idea: too much effort; not enough time; and besides we don’t know anything about allotments. All well and good then, and I thought that was that, but strangely enough the idea kept niggling away and resurfacing on various occasions.

Then a mere couple of months later, my objections were somehow swept aside by his enthusiasm and we found ourselves the proud and very nervous owners of an allotment. With not a clue what to do with it.

This is the story of our first year as allotment beginners and how we survived it. And even came to love it.

Find out more or buy the book today!

Anne Brooke Books


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Tidying Up

A good tidy up round the allotment today. Plus K cut down the sunflowers that are now over and I staked the chrysanthemums as they’re starting to fall across each other.

Chrysanthemums 1 Chrysanthemums 2 Sunflower head

Funny how last year I would never have had the confidence to even consider staking anything up and would have had to get K to do it or at the very least ask for help. Now I go ahead without even worrying about it, gosh! Anyway we have taken some of the sunflower seeds for growing on next year, and left the rest for the birds. That seems fair. Monty Don would surely be proud of us1

I’ve also planted a leucanthemum for more autumnal cut flowers which I picked up at the Wisley Flower Show yesterday. I really love the fluffiness of them, and the soft yellow colour is great.

Leucanthemum

Here’s our harvest of peas, a courgette, two beetroot, sweet peas, a geum, asters, cosmos, dahlias, cornflowers and coreopsis:

Harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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A Second Spring?

Post the Allotment Show, we’ve done a good tidy round and weeding on the allotment today. The sunflowers are still looking happy and – amazingly! – we have a foxglove in bloom. Hmm, must be really confused then!

Foxglove in bloom Sunflower

Whilst there, I planted some more foxgloves in the space where the scabious used to be as it wasn’t doing very much. I’m hoping these foxgloves will be ready for spring, but who knows!

Foxgloves

K also moves some perpetual spinach from the brassica bed and gave it its own kingdom where the potatoes were:

Perpetual spinach

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are doing wonderfully and they now have orange berries, gosh! How many of those we’ll lose to the birds has yet to be seen though …

Autumn raspberries 1 Autumn raspberries 2

Today, K dug the rest of the onions up, and we harvested runner beans, one small courgette, dahlias, sweet peas (though they’re almost over now), cosmos, cornflowers, coreopsis, geums, and that one foxglove:

Harvest Onion harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books