The Allotment Wife


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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


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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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Unexpected visitors!

We had some unexpected visitors at the allotment today, but the first group were very well behaved and seemed interested in what we were doing, so I hope they pop along again sometime …

Horse 1

Horse 2

Horse 3

Horse 4 Foal

Horse 5

Aren’t they gorgeous! The foal was just adorable, but so fast moving that I couldn’t really get a decent shot.

Anyway, to more allotment-focused matters, today we planted up some more rudbeckia:

Rudbeckia

And also we added in some more pea seeds in the pea area, plus some beetroot (as below):

Beetroot

The alstroemerias are doing well and there is even one coreopsis in bloom (the yellow flower):

Alstroemeria

And the sweet peas continue to come along, although there is sadly a bit of a blackfly problem with them, so I keep on spraying …

Sweet peas

And the lilies are in bloom (though not the new ones … yet):

Lilies

Speaking of unexpected visitors, we have a rabbit interloper – oh the horror! So we put a plank over the hole as a temporary measure, but will have to get that fixed soonest …

Rabbit Hole 2

Rabbit Hole 3

Here are two harvests, as I popped up during the week to give the place a watering as the weather was so dry:

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Naughty Allotmenteer

Yes, I know. I just couldn’t resist this picture of two pumpkins and a marrow – but could you have resisted it??! Which only goes to show that underneath every serious allotmenteer, there is a very immature child desperate to get out …

Rude veg

And yes, I also know there’s a very tiny marrow there too, but I didn’t want it to feel overlooked! Anyone know any pumpkin recipes as we haven’t a clue?…

Anyway, in other news, we have finally planted our Brussels sprouts – not sure how they’re going to do, but we are hopeful. I remembered to put the slug doom in too.

Sprouts

The gladioli are still blooming:

Gladioli

Though not as much as the sunflowers, which continue to surprise us.

Sunflowers

Here is the very autumnal harvest, including our first ever cabbage:

Harvest

All those scrumptious autumn raspberries are going straight into the apple crumble I’m making today, yum.

And here are the vases:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, and make the most of the sunshine, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Sweet Pea Extravaganza

Goodness me, the white sweet peas are doing very well at the allotment – they’re the gift that keeps on giving (see also vases at the end of this post):

White sweet peas

They’re not the only plant doing well – as what with this week’s sunshine and rain, the weeds are going all out for plot (if not world!) domination – we spent ages beating them down whilst we were hoeing, LOL.

Other flowers doing well are the echinaceas:

Echinacea

… the coreopsis and alstroemerias:

Coreopsis and alstroemeria

… the gladioli (loving that pink one!):

Gladioli

… and the sunflower:

Sunflower

We also have the first small crop of French climbing beans which is very exciting as I LOVE them (see also harvest pics at end):

French climbing beans

And the marrow and pumpkins are growing very well indeed!

Marrow

Pumpkin 1

Pumpkin 2

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

… with a close-up of the small French climbing beans (on top of the mangetouts):

Harvest French climbing beans

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

… with a special focus on those lovely white sweet peas (which smell amazing)!

Vase white sweet peas 1

Vase white sweet peas 2

Have a lovely week!

Anne Brooke Books


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Scented lilies and pumpkins

The scented lilies are late, but they’re finally here, hurrah! The scent is totally amazing, and I LOVE the colour too.

Scented lilies

The sweet peas are also doing well – the ones near the shed are coming along, and the white ones we planted just because we had too many of them at home are really going strong, plus their stems are just so long.

Sweet peas 1.JPG

Sweet peas 2

The echinacea also look great:

Echinacea

The early gladioli are blooming well …

Gladioli

… and just look at those sunflowers:

Sunflowers

In vegetable news, we have our first ever pumpkins – two of them, well gosh! The shoots are amazingly long so in each case, the root is the other side of the raised bed, lengthwise, double gosh.

Pumpkin 1

Pumpkin 2

The marrow is looking good:

Marrow

And there are flowers on the climbing French beans:

Climbing French beans

Here is this week’s harvest of the rest of the mangetouts, a (very bolted!) lettuce, and a wide variety of flowers:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Marrows and sunflowers

The start of the soft fruit season is upon us in terms of our allotment as the red currants and blackcurrants are now ready. I do love picking blackcurrants as the smell of the plant is just fantastic and it’s so satisfying. However, there aren’t as many as last year as we have got all of the offering in one session (see harvest picture later on) and have left the netting off so the birds can have the rest. Last year, we had three currant harvest sessions before doing that. Is this an issue with the year we’ve had or aren’t the bushes happy? We’ll have to see how next year goes.

Anyway, ¬†we have a couple of lovely marrows, one of which we’ve picked. We’re desperately looking for marrow recipes, but today we fried some of it, then added salt and cheese – and very nice it was too!

Marrow

I also think we’ve got the last of the mangetouts or almost – and the ones there today are a bit old and scraggy. Mind you, we’re still eating the crop of last week so can’t complain.

Mangetouts

Flowers are also doing well – the gladioli are out, hurrah!!! I am LOVING that gorgeous red colour.

Gladioli

We also have alstroemerias and echinacea in the perennial flower bed, which are both lovely.

Alstroemeria

Echinacea

And the coreopsis are still holding their own against being nibbled to death – though the stems are much shorter than usual.

Coreopsis

The main lily area is still producing some blooms, and the sweet peas next to them are just starting too – here they are all white, and the stems are beautifully long (which is so much easier for flower arranging!):

Lilies

Sweet peas

Plus we have our very first sunflower, hurrah! It’s not as big as many others in the allotment right now, but I’m definitely still happy.

Sunflower

Here is the harvest of blackcurrants, red currants, a lettuce, mangetouts, a marrow, gladioli, coreopsis, carnations, pelargoniums, dahlias, sweet peas, sweet williams, verbascums and lilies:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Lilies and Mangetouts

Once again, the lilies are the outright queens of the allotment and look simply amazing this week.

Lilies

In addition, the gladioli appear to be heading for the bloom and the first one to come will definitely be red!

Gladioli

The sweet peas have finally decided to bloom as well, which is great news:

Sweet peas

And the wonderful K has managed to fool the pigeons/squirrels/mice (or whatever they are) by surrounding the coreopsis with a cat’s cradle pattern of string. Let’s hope it continues to work!

Coreopsis

There’s good news on the sweetcorn front too – there’s been no more nibbling since K added the wire cage around them, hurrah:

Sweetcorn

Meanwhile, we have one autumn raspberry just starting to mature – I hope there might be some more to follow it at some point …

Autumn raspberry

And we have a marrow in the making, hurrah!

Marrow

The mangetouts are still going completely crazy:

Mangetouts

Here they are at home, after I’d washed and trimmed them – we’ve only just finished last weekend’s bowl! However, we’ve found they’re very nice indeed in a stir-fry with spring onions, mint, mushrooms and even some crystallised ginger – or any combination of these that takes your fancy!

Trimmed mangetouts

Here is today’s harvest – which is mangetouts, a lettuce, lilies, coreopsis, cosmos, carnations, verbascum, sweet williams and sweet peas:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home. First, the lilies:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Now, all the vases together:

Vases 3

Vases 4

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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The Allotment Snake Whisperer!

Never say allotment life is dull! I managed to rescue a female grass snake who was totally tangled up in some fruit netting on the allotments today. Luckily, I LOVE snakes and this was one absolutely beautiful. It took me about 5 mins or so to cut her free and then, after K had taken a quick snap, I let her go in the hedge. She slithered away quite happily. Just call me the Allotment Snake Whisperer, LOL!

Grass snake rescue

In more normal allotment news, everything is growing fairly well, probably due to the whole week of rain that we’ve just had. However, some wicked creature has eaten all my lovely coreopsis, sob! I suspect a rabbit or a pheasant, but either way I’m not impressed …

Coreopsis

However, the carnations have survived the onslaught, as have the cosmos and the verbascum.

Carnations

Cosmos

Verbascum

There are more lilies in bloom this week, and the sunflowers have grown taller, hurrah!

Lilies

Sunflowers

The autumn raspberry area has now grown so thick that I can’t get in to weed any more. I just have to rely on spotting any tall weeds and pulling them out if I can reach them.

Autumn raspberries

The lettuces are doing well and the mangetouts have exploded!

Lettuces

Mangetouts

This week, we planted cabbages – which we’ve never grown before so this will be a voyage of discovery for us. We netted them which should keep off the butterflies and pigeons, we hope …

Cabbages

We’ve also planted out two courgettes – a green one and a round yellow one (which is already in flower!):

Courgettes

We brought leeks to plant but there is no room! So we have planted them under the climbing beans for the time being – though I suspect it will be too shady later on for them, so we may have to rethink it.

Leeks

Here is the harvest of mangetouts, verbascum, lilies and carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, and watch out for snakes, LOL!

Anne Brooke Books

 

 

 

 


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Nibbly Creatures

Lots of nibbly creatures both on and off the allotment this week … here is the sweetcorn section where the middle is all but missing. Pigeons? Mice? Who knows. But we are not amused!

Sweetcorn

We also struggled with lettuce planting last week as the pigeons (or mice!) had had a good go at them before we even arrived at the allotment – you can just about see them here, still hanging on – just – at the bottom left of the really lovely lettuces (hurrah!):

Lettuces

Anyway, the beetroot section is doing well, and we even have one or two mangetouts lurking amongst the leaves, well gosh:

Beetroot

Mangetout

The autumn raspberries are growing well:

Autumn raspberries

And the flower crops are doing well too. We have the first of the lilies out:

Lilies

The carnations are still being totally amazing and I picked 128 of them – which is only about half of what I picked last week!

Carnations

The verbascum is still blooming:

Verbascum

And the sweet peas we thought were a goner near the shed have a sudden lease of life:

Sweet peas

Today, I planted the rest of the gladioli bulbs so that’s filled up a bed nicely. I also planted some coreopsis (which I picked flowers from before taking it to the allotment). They are a type called Golden Sphere:

Coreopsis Golden Sphere

Plus I thought I’d plant some annual flowers for the first time so here are four new pelargoniums – which again I picked before planting. I’m astonished about how beautiful the flowers are in a vase (see later) so will definitely do this again:

Pelargoniums

Here is the harvest of three mangetouts(!), verbascum, lilies and carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home. The pelargonium flowers are on the right between the carnations and the verbascum – I think they’re gorgeous. And the coreopsis are on the left.

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely weekend.

Anne Brooke Books