The Allotment Wife


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Planting up the season

We really focused ourselves at the allotment today and planted up the rest of the vegetables we’ve been looking after at home, so it was hugely busy but fun. First off, the beetroot is now all done:

And we have put in the cabbages, netted them, sprayed and put slug doom down so we hope they will survive!

K also built the structure for the French beans and we have put those in as well. There were some left over so we put those on the allotment shared table for people to take if they would like some – such a useful facility to have!

The Brussels sprouts which we planted earlier in the month continue to do okay:

The fruit cage is also really going for it, with lots of flowers so that’s good news:

The gerberas I planted last week are still there but a bit slug-chewed so I put some slug doom pellets down to protect those too:

Whilst there this week, I also planted three more rows of gladioli – though the bucket I’ve been storing them in appears to be doing its own planting without needing me at all! That’s the joy of gladioli – I swear to you I could just chuck them onto the bed without bothering with planting them at all and they’d STILL produce leaves and flowers, no problem. I could probably leave them in that bucket and they’d look fine!

Here is a view of the allotment which almost makes it look as if we know what we’re doing – as if, LOL!

Here is the harvest of asparagus and sweet williams, plus a bed of tulip bulbs I dug up which I will take home to plant in November:

Here are the sweet williams at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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A sneaky sit-down and a peculiar harvest

Lovely morning at the allotment today – almost springlike with the sun. Not much being planted up yet of course but the daffodil shoots are doing well:

The fruit cage looked amazing in the sunshine:

Inside the cage, the blackcurrant buds are well on their way:

Though I got ‘bitten’ by the gooseberry thorns as I was weeding round them, LOL.

Whilst K was mending one of our raised beds, I even (for the first time ever) had enough time for a very sneaky sit-down and a rest as I admired the rose bushes in our perennial bed:

I managed all of TWO minutes’ sit-down before K noticed and put me to work in the fruit cage strimming the grass at the edge, but it was nice while it lasted …

No harvest today, though we did find a handful of broken screws to take home as rubbish:

The harvesting year will definitely get better.

Have a lovely weekend – the last in January, thank goodness!

Anne Brooke Books


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The New Allotment Year

Happy new year, everyone! I hope 2022 will be kind to us all. Much to our surprise we appeared to be the first ones at the allotment this morning – unless the amazing Mrs P had already visited and left by the time we got there at 10.30am! It’s certainly possible.

Here are the raised beds and the fruit cage on the first day of 2022:

I have to admit to being a bit despondent first thing – as I did get rather disheartened with the allotment at the latter end of last year, but I have been cheered by the fact that the daffodils are on their way. And – even better! – the tulips have started to sprout underneath their netting:

This is good news indeed as it means they have grown beyond being attractive to the squirrels so we have removed the netting:

Whilst there, we harvested some sprouts for our new year meals:

And we added the stalks and leaves from the sprouts to the compost:

K also took the opportunity to prune the blackcurrant bushes so that meant more composting – which is fabulous as of course the smell of the canes is amazing when you’re chopping them up:

He also made a start on mending one of the raised beds we didn’t get round to doing last year, but it’s a bit of an ongoing project at the moment. In the meantime, I have taken out the asters and the carnations from the perennial bed as I fancy something different this year – don’t know what that might be yet though.

Anyway, here is the harvest – of sprouts!

Have a lovely bank holiday 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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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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Daffodil Season

The daffodils are definitely out on the allotment today – such a delight to see:

Another delight was the red kite flying over the allotment this morning – such amazing birds! Anyway, K replanted some of our soft fruit into our new cleared area and we are still thinking about putting in a fruit cage (which has been agreed by the Allotment Committee – thank you!) to make everything easier. It’s looking really good right now:

We are gradually clearing away the old raspberry canes which you can see to the left of the picture. And, as you can also see, we have obeyed the instructions of the great Monty Don in terms of watering the replanted stock in well. Though I do ALWAYS water in, no matter how wet the soil is as I like to give a plant as good a chance as possible.

Here is the harvest:

And here are those gorgeous daffodils at home:

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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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