The Allotment Wife


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The Day of the Dahlias

It’s the time for the dahlias to shine on the allotment now the asters are over and they do indeed look lovely.

These glorious flowers are definitely lifting my spirits today, that’s for sure.

The yakons are also doing well:

And the carrots continue to look amazing too:

We were also really impressed with how beautiful the blueberry leaves are this autumn – this is one of the plants in our new fruit cage:

So, not that much to do today apart from weeding and harvesting, though I did cut down all the lily stems and take down the remains of the pink aster. We also removed the rest of the cabbages, and plan to put tulips in that spare bed in November.

Today’s harvest is carrots, cabbages, one lettuce, the dahlias and a handful of sweet peas:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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Planting Daffodils and an Aster Explosion

Much to our relief, the allotment has on the whole survived the massive amount of rainfall we had yesterday, though the pink asters have been flattened and have – in their turn – flattened the roses and the dahlias. I suspect the roses and the dahlias will survive as they’re tough as old boots – but I cut armfuls of the asters down all in one go to avoid further damage.

I have also planted the first of the spring daffodils, which is great news. There are 1.5 buckets of them still to go in after today’s planting – but we’ll add them in where we can as we go through autumn.

The harvest included a huge amount of the pink asters, roses, sweet williams, dahlias, a few sweet peas, plus one cabbage, one lettuce, a handful of French beans, carrots and a couple of sprigs of basil.

Here are the vases at home, which look most impressive!

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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I Spy The Work …

… of the leaf cutter bee! Which is fabulous news as I was only moaning to K last night that we’ve not seen the leaf cutter bee at home for a couple of years at least, whereas we had a few of them for several years on the go before that.

Even the great Monty Don mentioned he had them in his garden last night and how thrilled he was about it – thus explaining my moan. Well, we still don’t have them at home (alas) but the great news is we have them on the allotment!

As you can see from the marvellous circular bites taken out of the rose leaves on the right of the picture above, they are busy making their homes somewhere nearby. They cause absolutely no damage to the plant and I think the patterns they make are very beautiful, so this is a wonderful addition to our plot!

However, not all visitors are good ones as it’s obvious that some evil creature is eating our poor cabbages:

Still, at least the cabbages – once we’ve removed the damaged parts – are edible, but I wasn’t anticipating on doing this much sharing with the wildlife …

However, the lettuces and yacons are surviving well:

In other news, I’m happy to say that the first of our asters are now in flower and the butterflies and bees are LOVING them:

In this perennial bed, we also have the dahlias arriving and a second showing of the roses, which is good news too:

Meanwhile, the sweet peas are still going strong:

And the sweet williams are looking happy too:

So, today, we have a harvest of one cabbage, one courgette, three beetroots, French climbing beans, sweet peas, sweet williams, asters, roses, gladioli, dahlias and a coreopsis:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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The Productive Plot

Loads of gladioli now in bloom at the allotment today – and more to come too, which is fabulous.

We also have one remaining scented lily – I do love the colour of these ones:

And the sweet peas have gone insane! I think they are taking over the whole shed now.

Meanwhile, the French climbing beans are really laden with beans so that’s brilliant.

We are also happy with the cabbage bed which is quietly doing its thing:

Plus we have two more courgettes on Maureen’s plant:

Here is today’s harvest, which is French beans, three mangetouts from the second mangetout sewing this year, one courgette, some beetroot, one cabbage, a handful of blueberries, the gladioli, the lily, sweet peas and sweet williams, plus a couple of coreopsis.

On the way home, I also foraged some blackberries from the bushes along the road – you see, it’s definitely autumn!

These were added to the plum crumble I made today.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Nearly Winter!

A definite hint of autumn in the air today – lot of torrential rain followed by bursts of welcome sunshine. Strangely we were the only ones on the allotment today – and we certainly needed wellies.

I’m pleased to say the carrots, courgette & French beans are doing well.

The courgette even has its first very small fruit which is great news (thank you to Maureen who kindly donated the plant to us!).

Last weekend, when I was (a) hugely busy and (b) depressed, K did the allotment on his own and planted up some hearting lettuce which has bravely fought off the slugs (so large!) to make it to this week:

They’ve got a while to go though! I’m also happy with the scented lilies:

And the alstroemeria and gladioli are also coming along:

Today, we have a harvest of lilies, astroemeria, Sweet Williams, sweetpeas, blueberries, a few loganberries, beetroots, French beans, carrots and one cabbage (so nearly winter then!):

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


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New Rose Garden and the Developing Fruit Cage

Back in the allotment today after a two-week hiatus due to mental health issues. K has been nobly keeping things going and also working on our massive fruit cage, which is coming along amazingly well. He calls it ‘woodhenge’!

As you can see, we have decided to skirt round our rhubarb bed and the door area can be seen next to the rhubarb in the photo immediately above. A work in progress and a major undertaking from my amazing husband, but it will make life so much easier when it’s done.

We have also decided to take the verbascum out – well, it was just becoming a nightmare and to my mind is a terrible flower for cutting – it sheds petals every second or so and it’s a hive of moth caterpillars! Yuck. So I dug those out for the compost heap today and instead – inspired by our trip to Hampton Court Flower Show last week – have planted three scented roses for cutting. We have Desdemona, Lycidas and The Poet’s Wife. We also bought a fourth rose – William & Catherine – but we will plant that at home.

As you can see, the lilies are doing wonderfully:

And the sweetpeas are finally starting to grow:

Another thing that struck us today is that the weeds are just crazily out-of-control. Honestly, this year is the WORST year for weeds both on the allotment and at home that I have ever known. Must be to do with the amount of rain we’ve been having, but it’s just crazy.

Mind you, the rain does mean vegetables are doing well too. The cabbages are beginning to ‘heart up’ which is great news:

And the beetroots are doing okay too:

My favourite of all of them though is the climbing French beans which have already reached the top of their supports:

We have discovered a small wasp nest in the shed which is a real pain – K went back after we’d come home to deal with it, as we certainly don’t want those sort of shed tenants!

Here is another allotment view for you:

You can see that the gladioli at the front are doing well too. Today’s harvest is the lilies, some mangetouts and a decent amount of blackcurrants plus one redcurrant, all alongside my boot, LOL:

Here are the gorgeous lilies at home:

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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The kindness of gardeners

I must say once again how kind gardeners are! After my courgette disaster of last week, the lovely Maureen at my church job has donated one of her courgette plants and a cloche into our tender care – thank you, Maureen! Here it is in its new position, and I am praying hard for its survival!

Whilst we were on the allotment this morning, the equally lovely Melissa kindly donated one of her spare rhubarb plants to us as well, so a huge thank you for that too!

We have removed most of the old daffodils and some of the tulips so we have space for other crops. I leave the daffodils at the allotment for planting out for next spring, and I take the tulips home for planting in the garden (and get new tulips for the allotment next year).

So we have planted out our cabbages and netted them to try to ensure survival:

And K also planted some fresh pea seeds so we can get a succession of crops:

Though of course all you can see at the moment is netting! Speaking of which we have netted our gooseberry bush in the soft fruit area now as it has fruit on it and the birds go crazy for them even when they’re not ripe so we are determined to gather as much of the harvest as possible for ourselves:

Our sweet peas are also doing well in their new position on the other side of the shed:

Our verbascums are also out at last – late due to the poor weather in May, but still welcome:

I also planted out a whole lot of sweet williams but for some reason didn’t take a picture of them, so I will try to remember to do that next week!

Here is our harvest of verbascums, asparagus & rhubarb:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Making the Most of Failure

As you may remember, our sprouts this year (for the second year running) have been a total failure (sob!…), so much so that they just look like tired cabbages:

Sprouts

So we’ve finally admitted defeat and taken them out to see what we could salvage, if anything. In fact, once home, I have salvaged some decent looking greens and a selection of very tiny sprouts that look SO cute, LOL!! We could probably eat them raw – they are that small! Here they are on our kitchen draining board:

Sprout harvest

So it just goes to show that there’s always something you can make of disaster …

Anyway, in other news, the daffodils are going strong:

Daffodils

And there is a rather nice display of tulips on their way in a bed where we did NOT plant them – I blame the squirrels though it’s more likely to be my total inability to find all the bulbs when digging them up, to be honest!

Tulips

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

And here is the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Composting Season

Had a quick tidy up at the allotment today – and found that we have some daffodil shoots on their way but NOT in the bed where I planted them, LOL. Nature does its own thing once again!…

Daffodils.jpg

The leeks are still hanging on too – I don’t think they’ll get much larger but there’s no need to harvest them yet as we still have a couple of cabbages in hand:

Leeks

Last week, K cut down half of the autumn raspberries ready for next year’s new growth – we need to do the other half too at some point but there’s no rush:

Autumn raspberries

The main focus today has been composting – I added the last of the old cabbage leaves and then mixed it in with the fork as best I could – but I suspect K will do it better next week!

Compost 1

Compost 2

The harvest today is the last remaining cabbages which are really small now but we’ll use what we can of them:

Harvest

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Tulip Planting

We finally got round to planting the tulips at the allotment – though actually we’re not late at all, as they can’t be planted out till November at the earliest due to the possibility of tulip rot if you try to plant out any earlier.

Anyway, here they are about to be planted:

Tulip bulbs 1

And here they are with the netting weighed down with sticks on them in order to put off the pesky thieving squirrels. Here’s hoping it works!

Tulip bulbs 2

In order to free up the new tulip bed, I did take out the gladioli which we will store until next year:

Gladioli bulbs

At the same time, K pruned the currant bushes to give them a chance to get some air and light in them:

Currant bushes

So, a  mini-harvest this week of the remains of the beetroot and the last good cabbage. We’ve really enjoyed the cabbages this year and will definitely do them again!

Harvest

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books