The Allotment Wife

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Let’s Plant Some Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)and See What Happens!

Hi Lovelies,

First and foremost, let’s be clear, we’re talking ornamental sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus). NOT edible “sweet” peas,as they are sometimes called by veggie loving gardeners. These, in fact, are toxic. So, don’t eat them. Okay? K, thanx.

Sweet peas and I have a complicated relationship. I love them, but any time I think I’ve finally got them figured out, nature throws me a curve ball and the temperamental things just refuse to grow. Last year I planted sweet peas twice. The first batch was direct sown at the end of March and quickly drowned and turned brown in the low spot of my garden. The second planting was made in April, and though it grew and produced flowers, the crop wasn’t all that great because the summer heat came and wiped them out.

This year, I’m rolling the dice and I’m making a planting now. Seriously, I just finished…

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The daffodils are here!

Great excitement and rejoicing at the allotment today, as the first of the daffodils are finally out, hurrah! So I can truthfully say that, like last year, our cut flowers display started from February. Don’t they look lovely in the vase? 🙂

I think the tulips might be a tad bigger than last week, but it’s hard to tell and anyway far too early for them.


Over in the soft fruit area, the autumn raspberries are forging ahead with enthusiasm.

Autumn raspberry

However, our leeks are still thin and weedy, alas – soon we will harvest one or two and see if they’re worth struggling over. I fear not!…


The spinach is looking rather bedraggled too, but I took a handful and also the last of the beetroot:


This leaves us with two-and-a-half free beds, well gosh – so we will have to try to think of something to put in them. Maybe some winter lettuce? Will have to see.

Our harvest today was two sprout plants, the beetroot, spinach and the daffs:


Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

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The sprouts are palely loitering*

Back at the allotment today (we gave it a miss last weekend because of the weather), and I was initially rather worried about the state of our sprouts as a lot of them looked pale and rather ill (if sprouts can get ill). However, all is not lost as all it turned out to be was the outer skin drying off, but inside they’re absolutely fine.


Here they are above with one lone beetroot and a handful of spinach. When I got home, it took me 50 minutes (gosh!) to peel, wash and prepare all of the sprouts from the three plants and we now have two bowlfuls of them. It’s interesting as last week we had a portion of shop-bought frozen sprouts with dinner, and honestly they were totally bland – I could hardly taste a thing. So the fresh and home-grown sprouts win hands down.

We also hoed round the allotment though there weren’t many weeds due to frost earlier in the week, and K put down a lot of chicken pellet manure across all the raised beds. We like to give everything a serious boost and it’s great stuff.

In the daffodil bed (well, one of them), the buds are so nearly there. I did think one or two might even be out as we had daffodils in bloom in the house last February, but our luck wasn’t quite in this week. There’s always next week though!


Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries have a few leaves on them. We’re leaving most of them unpruned this year, as per my stepfather’s method of cultivating them, and will see how they turn out. He swears by letting them grow on – which is of course utterly against Monty Don’s advice – so we’ll have to see who is right!

Autumn Raspberries

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books

(*Almost a Keats quote but not quite!…)

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Daffodils and sprouts

A lovely sunny day at the allotment this morning – though the wind was still very chilly. The daffodils are coming on, though they’re not quite in flower as yet – too exposed even in this sunshine.


And it’s now obvious that I didn’t quite clear all the daffodils from my new spinach area as look what’s sprung up …

Spinach and daffodil

Oh well, that daffodil is going to be quite lonely, I think. Anyway, the tulips might just be a tad taller as well, though it’s very hard to say! Maybe they’ve even shrunk!…


Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries actually have leaves on them, which is a great deal earlier than when they started coming into leaf last year, from memory. Does that mean they might turn into summer raspberries? Who can tell …

Autumn raspberries

The leeks are, as ever, their usual thin and elegant selves. Not sure how we can get our leeks to be bold and bulky, though I’m hoping these slimline ones will taste okay. They did last year, so there’s probably hope.


Naturally for this time of year, there’s nothing happening on the rhubarb patch, though the mulch from last week looks rather nice, to my mind, so I took a photo anyway. There’s one rhubarb leaf which is a good sign – though it may be left over from last year!


And our trusty harvest is as usual the sprouts. We’re getting to the less exciting plants now, with fewer produce, so have harvested two in order to make it worthwhile. The leaves are just too chewed for eating now, which is a shame.

Sprout harvest

Finally, a quick hoe round and we were done. There was a fair sprinkling of our fellow allotmenteers around today too, which was lovely – spring is definitely on the way!

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books

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February 2016: Week One Update

Hi Lovelies,

feb.wk1.update 055 Hello Mr. Hyacinth! Looking mighty fine!

First and foremost, let me apologize to everyone who left a comment on the last post and I didn’t get a chance to respond. I’ve been having major technical difficulties over here, which I have hopefully resolved.

feb.wk1.update 035 Anemones and ranunculus and also, some weeds. Oh well.

Now that I’ve done a lot of winter sowing, I feel like the season has started – and I’m extremely excited about it. This winter has been a lot sunnier than normal, and I can only hope that the trend continues. My goal at the moment is to write an update at least once a week – but we’ll see how that goes. Honestly, I’m not even sure if anyone actually reads this things. Oh well, worst case scenario is that I’ve got some pretty good notes to look back on in the future.

feb.wk1.update 056 Tulips!


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Interesting Facts About Zinnia


Zinnias are beautiful colored flowers belonging to the Asteraceae family.
Zinnias represent friendship and they were named after Johann Gottfried Zinn, a German botanist.

Although they are popular cut flowers, the Spanish considered them ugly and small. They even named it “mal de ojos” (sickness of the eye). Zinnias were also named as “poorhouse flower” because they are easy to grow and so common.
Zinnias are native southwestern United States and South America.
Zinnias come in a variety of colors: white, yellow, orange, pink, red, lilac, purple and multi-colored. They are very easy to grow and can be grown from seed. Zinnias prefer a well-drained soil and should be planted in full sun. My beautiful zinnias bloom from mid-summer until late fall. Zinnias can have single, semi-double or double layers of petals.

Zinnias can be sown directly in the garden. Do not forget to water them well every week, especially…

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Raised Beds, Mud and Big Plans….

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The Cynical Gardener

One of the changes I wanted to make to the garden layout, was to build a new raised bed for veg growing, my current raised bed number far too few for what I want to grow.

In 2015 I grew Sweetcorn in big pots in blocks in a bit of an experiment to see if it was a suitable way of getting  a good crop, they had to be in pots as I did not have any room on the sunny side of the garden to plant in the ground, the experiment was a stunning failure, even with a very rich growing medium mixed up by me, lots of liquid feed and lots of watering, I only got about 10 cobs from 25 plants, and they were small cobs at that…. but very delicious.

A decision had to be made,  either give up or invest time creating a decent growing…

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