The Allotment Wife


Leave a comment

Sweet peas and soft fruit

A couple of visits to the allotment this week as it was so hot and we needed to get some watering done. Today, I thought there would be a huge amount of rain but in fact it’s not been like that at all and we’ve even had sun. Surrey must have missed the memo about the storms.

Anyway, the French climbing beans are doing well but of course there’s never as many as I’d like – I’m a real fan.

The second planting of peas we did a few weeks back are also finally starting to grow which is good news – we had been a bit worried about them:

Today, K planted another yakon to keep the first one company:

We’ve decided to buy some little gem lettuce to add into the raised bed above as there’s space – so will sort that out next week. That’s a hearting lettuce so we don’t have to worry about it bolting.

I have also sown some basil seeds and carrot seeds into the space next to the original lilies – they probably won’t do anything but there’s no harm in trying. You can’t see much in the picture but they are definitely there!

In the world of our new fruit cage, we have already found a couple of holes in the roof netting, so K has mended these with string today. We’re not too fussed about it as the roof netting is simply an old one we were using at home – it’s the wall netting that’s new.

We also have our first gladiolus in bloom, hurrah! Such a glorious colour – I’m a real fan of anything orange or red.

Here are our two harvests this week:

Above are lilies, sweet peas, the gladiolus, a Peruvian lily and a few roses.

Today’s harvest has soft fruit! We cropped gooseberries, blueberries (Smoky Blue variety), a few tayberries and one spare blackcurrant. We also have the French beans, the first of the scented lilies – which are amazing – more sweet peas, Peruvian lilies and roses. The house right now smells wonderful!

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


1 Comment

Fruit Cage Finale

Yes, we are mad. Quite quite mad. We have finished off building the fruit cage in the hot hot sun of today. Probably not the best way to spend the hours between 11.30am and 2pm, but hey we like to live dangerously, LOL!

So today, we have rolled the netting round, and K stapled it in at every wooden post. At one point I left the roll propped up to get some secateurs and it collapsed over the blackcurrant bush but no real harm done, phew.

Here’s the roll on the left hand side of the pic as we rolled it round:

Once the sides were all done, we then had a lot of fun putting the roof on. This consisted of me inside the fruit cage doing a lot of jumping up and down and pulling the netting tight so birds don’t get stuck in it – while K stapled the edges to the cross beams of the roof. We then secured it at the two remaining side cross-beams with ties.

I also went round the bottom and secured the side netting down with netting pins. There was a slight panic when we thought we didn’t have enough pins but we had a search round the rest of the allotment and found more, hurrah. There are always spare ties and pins lying around when you need them …

Here is the roof:

The final part of the puzzle was putting netting across the door which we have now done.

So all finished, we are VERY HOT and also very pleased with how it’s turned out. I must give HUGE credit to my lovely husband who has designed and built it all himself from scratch. We then went home, drank a gallon – at least! – of water and we have now opened the Prosecco to celebrate!

Job done.

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

Dahlia and Beetroot planting

Thought we’d add in a few more dahlias to our perennial bed now it’s warm enough so I planted those out today while K was mulching the soft fruit area:

Before you ask, yes, I did remember to take them out of the plastic bags before putting them in, LOL! And speaking of the soft fruit area, here it is looking very green and lush:

We have also put in the beetroot – it’s a golden variety which doesn’t stain, hurrah:

Not many tulips left now but still a nice scattering of colour:

So a small harvest today of tulips, asparagus and a few rhubarb stalks (the latter of which I have added to today’s apple crumble):

Here is the vase at home:

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

The first of the asparagus and the escapee lilies

Lovely to see the first of the asparagus appear today – small but perfectly formed, LOL! Here’s hoping there will be more to come.

The lilies are doing well:

Although some of them obviously don’t like being with their gang as here they are trying to escape the bed!

Go them!

I also planted more gladioli bulbs to fill up the gladioli bed, though I have about 25 or so more to plant from the new ones so will have to find a place for them somewhere …

We have also planted sweet peas in the old compost area:

We moved the compost area as we are making a large all year round fruit cage which we are hoping will be more reliable than the one we have been improvising with each year up to now – so needed to move the compost to the other side of the shed where the sweet peas used to be …

As you can see, we’ll need to move the old sweet pea trellis to the other side at some point.

So today’s harvest is super-small, as we’re giving the rhubarb time to catch up before we harvest more of it:

Here are the tulips at home. The gorgeous big yellow ones at the front are called Orange Princess – and they are just amazing. After a couple of days they turn more orange, open up, and have green lines in them as well. Will definitely be getting more of those.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday Monday!

Anne Brooke Books


2 Comments

Flower City

Maybe not exactly flower city at the allotment today, LOL, but I’m pretty pleased that the lilies are doing so well. Particularly the ones in the first picture as I was worried about them being disturbed when we mended the raised bed earlier in the year – but they are obviously tougher than I think!

The tulips are also doing well, with more to come:

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is doing its best in this dry spell (we are watering the beds like crazy people!):

And I’m happy to report that the peas haven’t yet been taken by mice – though there’s still time …

Here is the harvest of rhubarb & tulips:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a great week!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

Rhubarb Lost and Found

It’s been an icy week at the allotment so the rhubarb is sadly suffering a little though we did manage to harvest a few sticks to add to our crumble today.

Whilst there, I also planted another few rows of gladioli to make the season last later in the summer. I still have one pot of old bulbs, plus a packet of new ones to go.

Our soft fruit area is still doing okay:

And here are the two beds of tulips – this year they’re not as abundant as I would have liked, but they are doing all right:


The lilies are definitely looking good though:

Here is the harvest of tulips, narcissi and 4 spindly rhubarb sticks:


On the walk home, I managed to lose two out of the four rhubarb sticks (the horror!) who made a bid for freedom so I had to run back down the road and find them both, LOL! Husband could then say how there was more rejoicing in Elstead over the two rhubarb sticks that were found than there was over the remaining two who had sensibly stayed in the trug! There ends today’s homily …!

Here are the vases at home:

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

Rhubarb Season

Absolutely thrilled with the rhubarb today, which we have been able to harvest for the first time, yay! Ideal for apple and rhubarb crumble.

We are also very happy with how the soft fruit is growing – all looking healthy.

However, there aren’t as many tulips as last week and some of them are really small so not worth picking for the house – but we did our best.

I’m pleased to say the lilies are on their way as well, which is good news:

So today’s harvest is the rhurbarb (my yearly warning – do NOT under ANY circumstances eat rhubarb leaves as they are VERY poisonous!!), daffodils and tulips:

And here are the vases at home – some of these in the picture are still going strong from last week’s crop!

Enjoy the rest of Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


4 Comments

Starting to plant

An exciting time at the allotment today as we have planted the first of the crops for this year, yay! First off are the gladioli – we have four buckets full of the bulbs of last year’s stock plus a new packet for this year. So I’ve planted three rows and will do more every couple of weeks so we can get a succession of flowers, hopefully from June to October.

We also planted shallots and then put netting on them to prevent the birds taking them – with shallots, you have to plant them no more than an inch into the ground which means that the pointy bit tends to stick up and birds think they’re worms and uproot them.

K also planted peas and we netted them too but I didn’t take a picture of that.

Am also happy to say the rhubarb is definitely growing:

And we have more daffodils:

Not only that, but some of the tulips now have flowerheads on them and the lilies are growing too:

Here is the harvest:

And here is the vase at home. One of the daffodils has an amazing scent so that’s fabulous.

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


2 Comments

A Borrowed Harvest

A wee bit disappointed with the allotment crops today – there was literally only one daffodil in bloom, though I did pick a couple of others which were not quite there yet.

Still, all was definitely not lost – as we have decided to give up composting the old raspberry canes and instead use them as a kind-of path on one of our most weedy areas – which we hope will keep the weeds down a bit …

I’m also pleased that the rhubarb is coming along slowly:

And K very nobly planted three more soft fruit bushes in our new area – they are the row on the left in the picture below:

However, the really amazing thing was that one of our lovely allotment neighbours had extra sprouts and parsnips he was trying to get rid of, so we were of course more than happy to help in this terrible crisis, LOL! I never say no to a sprout! Or indeed a parsnip. I did offer our one daffodil in exchange but he was sweet enough to decline – thank you, R!

So here is our borrowed harvest:

And here is the mini-vase at home:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


2 Comments

Daffodil Season

The daffodils are definitely out on the allotment today – such a delight to see:

Another delight was the red kite flying over the allotment this morning – such amazing birds! Anyway, K replanted some of our soft fruit into our new cleared area and we are still thinking about putting in a fruit cage (which has been agreed by the Allotment Committee – thank you!) to make everything easier. It’s looking really good right now:

We are gradually clearing away the old raspberry canes which you can see to the left of the picture. And, as you can also see, we have obeyed the instructions of the great Monty Don in terms of watering the replanted stock in well. Though I do ALWAYS water in, no matter how wet the soil is as I like to give a plant as good a chance as possible.

Here is the harvest:

And here are those gorgeous daffodils at home:

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

Anne Brooke Books