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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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


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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!)


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Verbascum Explosion

Goodness me but the verbascum is the best it’s ever been, with more flowers to come.

Verbascum

The carnations are also in bloom, and I’ve planted a few more in the middle of the patch, where it’s getting bare.

Carnations

Our sunflower seeds are growing very well, and I really must thin them out in the very near future or it’s going to be chaos in there!

Sunflowers

I also have a few rudbeckia plug plants over from planting them at home yesterday, so I’ve added them to the perennial bed:

Rudbeckia

Meanwhile the asparagus is becoming a forest, LOL! I’ve harvested these for today but I think that’ll be the end of the season now.

Asparagus

We have also planted the Brussels sprouts which ended up filling one and a half beds. The photo below is taken before we put the netting on but rest assured we did rescue the trowel before putting the netting in place!

Brussels sprouts

The peas are growing well, and K has now put in some stakes they can grow up.

Peas

We are amazed at the amount of currants on the current bushes – they’re already so thick with fruit that the branches are weighed down! We’d best buy more netting to sort them out before the birds get there first …

Currant bushes

I have to say that the soil was also the driest I’ve ever known it so we did as much watering as possible while there. Here is the harvest of asparagus, verbascum and carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vase 2

Stay safe, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Tulip Planting

We finally got round to planting the tulips at the allotment – though actually we’re not late at all, as they can’t be planted out till November at the earliest due to the possibility of tulip rot if you try to plant out any earlier.

Anyway, here they are about to be planted:

Tulip bulbs 1

And here they are with the netting weighed down with sticks on them in order to put off the pesky thieving squirrels. Here’s hoping it works!

Tulip bulbs 2

In order to free up the new tulip bed, I did take out the gladioli which we will store until next year:

Gladioli bulbs

At the same time, K pruned the currant bushes to give them a chance to get some air and light in them:

Currant bushes

So, a  mini-harvest this week of the remains of the beetroot and the last good cabbage. We’ve really enjoyed the cabbages this year and will definitely do them again!

Harvest

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books