The Allotment Wife


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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 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


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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


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First Daffodil of Spring!

A lovely morning at the allotment today – the weather was just right for being outside. K took out the rest of the old autumn raspberries from the soft fruit area so we now have space for the three blueberries that are on their way.

We also found the loganberry we planted a couple of years back (or was it last year? – can’t remember now!) and I tied it up so there is more space in the middle for the air to move round. We might well get another loganberry so it can have a friend as well.

I also did some more composting though there is plenty more to be done. And I did a bit of weeding round the plot though there wasn’t too much to do, hurrah.

Here is THAT daffodil, yay!

I am just so excited about it that I even screamed when it saw it, which gave poor K a bit of a shock!…

Here is the harvest:

And here is the vase at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke


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Compost City and Daffodil Shoots

We arranged to take some compost over to the allotments today, plus some pieces of wood (for mending our raised beds which definitely need attention). I do LOVE compost time – the look of it just makes me so happy. Mind you, it does make me laugh when the compost bag instructions tell us to dig it in. Dig it in??!! My, how we laugh! No way!! And absolutely no need for any of this digging nonsense as that, my dears, is what the worms do – so just shovel it on and leave Nature to do the rest. Job done.

Here are our dahlias, now safe and warm for the winter under their special duvet – no need to dig up the dahlias as this is the South, LOL!

And here is our lovely asparagus bed, also freshly composted:

I’m also thrilled to say that our daffodil shoots are now coming up – which is fabulous news and give us fresh hope for spring (which we definitely need after this year!…)

The chrysanthemums are also still in bud, astonishingly, so we may actually get some very late flowers next week – weather depending …

Finally, we’ve managed to plant the tulips in, which we’re thrilled about. Once planted, we’ve put netting on the bed, held down by rods – to try to make sure the squirrels don’t take them all.

So a small harvest today of sprouts (yum!) and beetroot – but enough for a couple of meals, yay.

Have a fabulous weekend and stay safe.

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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From the Plot to the Plate

We used some of our home-made allotment compost today, and cut up a few old raspberry branches to add back into the mix. Also trimmed the edges of the plot, and planted a couple more rows of gladioli.

Gladioli planting

The lilies continue to grow well, but no buds yet!

Lilies

There was enough rhubarb to add to my apple crumble:

Rhubarb

And, of course, asparagus for lunch – from the plot to the plate in just a few hours!

Asparagus

Here is the harvest of verbascum, rhubarb and asparagus:

Harvest

And here is the vase at home:

Vase

Have a great Sunday, and stay safe, 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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Allotment Break-in

I’m very sorry to have to tell you that our allotments suffered a break-in this week, with the perimeter fence broken in a couple of places, the main gate damaged, and thefts carried out at several sheds. Such an awful thing to happen. Our own shed was broken into, but nothing taken as we don’t have anything worth stealing.

Damaged shed

K mended the shed today – amazingly our now curved padlock still works as it’s actually much tougher than the shed itself!

In happier news, we still have an alstroemeria in bloom:

Alstroemeria

However, most of the rest of the flowers are now over, so I spent some time cutting back and composting while K was mending the shed. I did feel a lot better after the tidy up as it feels I’ve done something positive to prepare for next season after the communal break-in.

On similar lines, K has dug out the potato bed, rescuing the last of the potatoes – and it’s now ready for us to plant daffodils next time we’re there, hurrah!

Ready for daffodils

I’m also happy to say that our chrysanthemums are on the way though not quite there yet:

Chrysanthemums

Meanwhile we know it’s a very rainy autumn due to the sheer amount of mushrooms everywhere!

Mushrooms

Our cabbages are doing well:

Cabbages

And we’ve rediscovered the leeks which have been lurking under the runner beans for ages, quietly waiting to see the sun again …

Leeks

Sadly though, our Brussels sprouts are experiencing their second year of failure (sob!) – maybe next time we should plant them out in May rather than waiting for them to get bigger at home … Oh well.

Brussels sprouts

Here is the week’s harvest, which includes alstroemeria, a few pelargoniums, a handful of autumn raspberries (though I ditched them at home due to the amount of insects in them, yuk!) one cabbage, the potatoes, beetroot and a couple of stray runner beans:

Harvest

Here is the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books