The Allotment Wife


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Working Hard in the Hot Sun

Yes. Today is the hottest day in the whole world this year apparently. So how better to spend the hours between 11am and 2pm building a fruit cage in an area with NO SHADE!!

We are indeed insane. Still, we remembered to take water – so delightful when the water is hotter than you are when you drink it. Today we have finished the base which we have also been working on throughout the week. K has been putting the wood down and I’ve been building up the ground with mulch as the allotment ground isn’t straight. The result being no gaps at the bottom of the structure.

I also cut strips of ground sheet out to give to K to staple onto the roof cross-pieces so when we put the netting on, it won’t tear. After ten minutes of doing this, I took my scissors, my kneeler and the ground sheet roll to a tiny bit of shade near the hedge as it was just too darn hot in the full sun.

K has also very cleverly built a door which we fitted today.

We’re pretty pleased with it – it opens and closes and everything. Here is a picture of our now protected roof cross-pieces:

In other news, the gladioli now have their first buds on which is fabulous:

And the courgette has a flower:

And in very exciting news, the first climbing French beans have cropped:

Here are pictures of the two harvests we’ve taken during the week:

Above you can see carnations, sweet peas (such long stems!) and lilies.

And today’s harvest (above) is roses, sweet peas, coreopsis, carnations, the last of the mangetouts, the first of the amazing climbing French beans and some blackcurrants – which I’ll make into a crumble with some plums I bought.

Here are the vases at home:

Enjoy this scorching weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Fruit Cage Plans

We’re planning to put a permanent fruit cage around the whole of our soft fruit area to save having to build it each year which is a real pain. The allotment committee have said yes (thank you!) so we are now starting to build it. Here is the wood which we took a couple of goes to get from the car to the allotment:

Today K put in 4 corner posts so the structure is basically in place (sorry – forgot to take a picture of that!). It’s tough work, but it will be so worth it.

I have also done a huge amount of weeding – as everything is going crazy with the rain we’ve been having. Here are some views across our plot:

The verbascums were knocked flat in the rain so I have tied them up to give light to the other plants around them:

As you can see, the gladioli have not fitted in with our succession planting efforts as they’ve all come up at the same time:

We finally have some lilies!

And Monty Don made me grit my teeth a bit last night on Gardeners’ World when he told us we should be picking our sweet peas regularly. Ha! Not in our case!

Good news on the veggie front though as we have our first small harvest of the mangetouts:

And the French climbing beans are slowly on their way – I do love their dark stems. So elegant.

Here is the harvest of carnations, lilies, asparagus (our last cropping of this one) and some mangetouts:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! And happy Fathers Day

Anne Brooke Books


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Brussels Sprouts & Carnations

Hot work on the allotment this morning! We have finally cleared the rest of the second bed of tulips and planted up the Brussels sprouts in their place.

I’m pleased to say the courgette gift we planted last week is still with us, hurrah!

The rhubarb continues to do well and there’s enough of it for a crumble this afternoon.

As promised, here is the picture of our sweet williams which I planted up last week – they are still with us, which is great news:

Plus the verbascum is going for it – but honestly it is NOT a great cut flower as there are just so many caterpillars and ants that come with it so my plan is to dig it up later in the year and just put it in our garden somewhere. Good display though:

We are very pleased with how the dianthus are doing and the spicy smell is just wonderful:

Today’s harvest is rhubarb, asparagus, verbascums and dianthus:

And here are the vases at home:

Enjoy the rest of Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Thinking of Spring

K took out the last of the potatoes today which are definitely enough to keep us going during the week. He then dug over that bed and I planted some of the daffodils ready for spring:

As you can see, they had already started to root so I think they’ll be fine.

Other flowers are also doing well – here are the asters:

I picked the blue ones, but left the pink ones as they’re really far too short for cut flowers – so I think when they’ve finished flowering I’ll take them home to the garden.

Speaking of pink things, the dahlias are doing much better than they did last year when we planted these ones – maybe they just needed a year to settle in …

The gladioli are also still just about hanging on:

The sunflower (which you can see in the photo above at the back) is also amazing and I’m really pleased with this pic:

We also harvested some beetroot, mangetouts and French beans – the latter of which are still battling with pesky black fly (boo!), so I gave them another good spray. Here’s hoping that does the trick.

Here is the harvest: potatoes, beetroot, French beans, the sunflower, gladioli, dahlias and the asters, plus one carnation and one rudbeckia:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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Back on the allotment!

I’m finally back on the allotment today after a couple of weekends when I was too busy to go and so my lovely husband kept an eye on it instead.

Even though it’s definitely autumnal, the French beans and mangetouts have decided they can get another crop in before the frosts, hurrah!

Beans

Mangetouts

I’m also REALLY happy with the Brussels sprouts which look and smell amazing – so hoping we can actually get a crop this year, as we’ve not had any luck with them over the last two years. Surely this year, things will be okay – I hope so!

Brussels sprouts

The yakons are also really happy:

Yakons

As are the beetroot next to them – though they’re tiny in comparison with the yakons, LOL!

Beetroot

However, we are disappointed with the autumn raspberries which aren’t giving as good a crop as last year. Is it the weather we’ve had? Or just that they’re old plants? Hard to tell really, but we’ll have to have a think about what we do with them next year …

Autumn raspberries

The sunflowers are still going strong though:

Sunflowers

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of potatoes, beetroot, beans, mangetouts, gladioli, the autumn raspberries, the sunflowers, one(!) sweet pea and two carnations:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Have a great Bank Holiday Monday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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Painting the Shed and Lovely Lilies

Today’s task was painting the general allotment shed, and I’m quietly pleased with how it’s turned out:

From this:

Shed before painting

To this:

Shed after painting

So pleased, yay! Naturally, even though the weather forecast was fine all weekend, it started raining five minutes after we got home, but to be honest the paint was all but dry when we left the allotment, so am hoping all will be well …

And the lilies are simply amazing and SO strongly scented, double yay!

Lilies

Plus we have our first sunflower!

Sunflower

And the gladioli continue to look good too:

Gladioli

I’ve also happy to say we have our first small crop of French beans – which are my favourite of the bean/pea family. They’re so sweet-tasting and absolutely no strings which is just brilliant (I hate strings!):

French bean

Here is the harvest which this week consists of the sunflower, lilies, gladioli, rudbeckia, carnations, echinacea, sweet peas, plus runner beans, mangetouts, French beans and the rest of the shallots:

Harvest

Here are all the vases at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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First runner beans and late leeks

We have the first of the runner bean harvest today, so that’s great news.

Runner beans

And we have also planted some late leeks to fill up a bed – it’s so strange that you have to plant them in holes that you then don’t fill in with earth. Just water them and you’re done. No idea why but it works for leeks!

Leeks

The late planting of mangetouts is now tall enough for us to put up a structure for them to grow on.

Mangetouts

Meanwhile the beetroot is growing well …

Beetroot

… as is the yakon next to it:

Yakon

We’re also really pleased with the Brussels sprouts as they seem to be growing away happily too, which is certainly different from the failures of the last two years!

Brussels sprouts

The sunflowers actually have buds forming which is very exciting!

Sunflowers

And, astonishingly, the birds have left us enough blackcurrants for another crumble – which is unheard of. The birds must be super-lazy this year. Here is the harvest, consisting of the blackcurrants, mangetouts, runner beans, gladioli, carnations, echinacea, rudbeckia, alstroemeria and sweet peas:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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The Lilies are Here!

I am just SO thrilled that the lilies we bought last year are finally out and how amazing they are! The scent is just incredible and makes me feel VERY happy.

Lilies 1

Lilies 2

The gladioli are also doing very well and the pink & white ones which are growing in a bed they shouldn’t be in at all(!) are just so tall.

Gladioli 1

Gladioli 2

The beetroot also look happy, which is great news:

Beetroot

Not only that but the Brussels sprouts are actually growing (hurrah!) which they didn’t manage to do last year. Here is the harvest of gladioli, lilies, rudbeckia, carnations, sweet peas, peas, shallots and LOTS of blackcurrants and gooseberries:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home (apologies for the quality of the first picture but it gives you the idea of how well the lilies and the gladioli go together):

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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First of the Gladioli

Great news today – the first few of the gladioli are out and I am SO pleased! I really do love this red and white one (which came up by itself in totally the wrong bed so I have no idea what it is …):

Gladioli

The lilies also look particularly good in the sunlight:

Lilies

We also have more sweet peas coming through now (hurrah!):

Sweet peas

And the alstroemeria are back in business too:

Alstroemeria

In other news, the second sowing of peas we did a couple of weeks ago are now coming up which is good news:

Peas

Here is the harvest of gladioli, lilies, alstroemeria, carnations, one rudbeckia, the peas, and two containers of blackcurrants (half of which have gone into today’s crumble):

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone – the weather’s fabulous!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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Soft Fruit City

The soft fruit is now really starting to come into its own and we need to get picking. This year for the very first time we have gooseberries, and the blackcurrants are just loaded down!

Soft fruit inc gooseberries

Blackcurrants 1

Blackcurrants 2

The fun thing is having to take one side of the netting up and crawl underneath to get at them …

Plus we also have our first – very small! – pea harvest:

Peas

Whilst there, we planted out the yakon, which is the last of our veggies to go in – and we still have space so will have to think what else to plant.

Yakon

The gladioli are coming along nicely:

Gladioli

And the rudbeckia I planted last week have a flower!

Rudbeckia

So today’s harvest is small but perfectly formed. We have carnations, sweet peas, one rudbeckia, the soft fruit in the bowl, and a handful of peas:

Harvest

Here is the vase at home:

Vase

Happy weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant (yes – a new thing!)