The Allotment Wife


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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 World’s Smallest Soft Fruit Harvest

Was expecting more sunshine today, but never mind – it’s still perfect allotment weather – ie not too hot to work! Am happy to say we have a couple more dahlias in bloom in the perennial bed:

And the gladioli are still going strong:

Meanwhile, the lovely Monty Don tells us on last night’s Gardeners’ World with great confidence that our sweet peas will now all be over and we should remove them. Um, I don’t think our sweet peas have got that memo so we are leaving them right where they are for now!

We are also very happy with the lettuce & yacon bed – as you can see, the lettuces are really hearting up now and just look amazing. I’m still on slug patrol …

You might remember that a while back we sowed some carrot & basil seeds just to get rid of them. Well, they are doing okay, much to our amazement. The carrots are obvious but we have to be careful not to weed the basil out – you can see some of them on the right of this pic (small shiny flat leaves). They smell wonderful even though they’re tiny. With a bit of luck, we might have another month of growth so will hopefully be able to pick them at some point soon:

Here is this week’s harvest – with the world’s smallest ever fruit crop, LOL! One blueberry & one loganberry. Hey ho. Still, we also have French beans, gladioli, roses(!!), sweet williams, sweet peas, dahlias and one coreopsis.

On the way home, however, I foraged more blackberries, so soft fruit honour is restored!

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Autumn in the Air

Definitely an early autumn in the air this week – our silver birch is now in its early autumn colours and there’s a mist over the field in the mornings so the season is turning.

Still lots going on at the allotment though. The French beans continue to produce a good crop:

And the Brussels sprouts have their first small sprouts in place ready for winter!

The lettuces are also bravely fighting off slug attacks, thanks to our use of Nemaslug and also slug pellets, and they’re looking pretty good, I think:

The gladioli are looking beautiful too:

And there is a whole new week’s worth of sweet peas to pick:

Here is our harvest, which consists of the first of our carrot crop, shallots (which keep for months and are just brilliant, once dried out), two courgettes, a handful of soft fruit, French beans, gladioli, sweet peas, sweet williams, one coreopsis and a Peruvian lily:

Naturally I did some foraging on the way home and have another bowl of blackberries (see – definitely autumn!):

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Bank Holiday 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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Delightful dahlia and the nibbled courgette

So pleased that we have our first courgette on the allotment now – though it’s been slightly nibbled by something! Still good to have it though – as we had a late start with the courgettes due to various disasters.

In other good news, our newly planted lettuces are surviving though I picked up eight(!) dead slugs from the bed – thank goodness I put the slug pellets down and have also redone them today. Yes, I know – bad me, but I want those lettuces …

Also our French climbing beans are doing well:

I’m thrilled to say we have our first dahlia in bloom – I’m now only growing the pom-pom type ones on the plot as the other ones lose their petals too easily on the way home:

There are also more gladioli:

The lilies are stunning and smell amazing!

Plus the sweet peas are still going for it – these ones are just fabulous as the stems are incredibly long (we looked for long-stemmed plants deliberately as they look better in vases):

Today’s harvest is a beetroot, the courgette, a handful of blueberries, French beans, sweet peas, lilies, gladioli, sweet williams, coreopsis, the dahlia and one alstroemeria:

Here are the vases:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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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