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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Fruit Cage Plans

We’re planning to put a permanent fruit cage around the whole of our soft fruit area to save having to build it each year which is a real pain. The allotment committee have said yes (thank you!) so we are now starting to build it. Here is the wood which we took a couple of goes to get from the car to the allotment:

Today K put in 4 corner posts so the structure is basically in place (sorry – forgot to take a picture of that!). It’s tough work, but it will be so worth it.

I have also done a huge amount of weeding – as everything is going crazy with the rain we’ve been having. Here are some views across our plot:

The verbascums were knocked flat in the rain so I have tied them up to give light to the other plants around them:

As you can see, the gladioli have not fitted in with our succession planting efforts as they’ve all come up at the same time:

We finally have some lilies!

And Monty Don made me grit my teeth a bit last night on Gardeners’ World when he told us we should be picking our sweet peas regularly. Ha! Not in our case!

Good news on the veggie front though as we have our first small harvest of the mangetouts:

And the French climbing beans are slowly on their way – I do love their dark stems. So elegant.

Here is the harvest of carnations, lilies, asparagus (our last cropping of this one) and some mangetouts:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! And happy Fathers Day

Anne Brooke Books


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Bye bye courgettes and hello carrots!

Did a huge tidy up at the allotment today as we have the Allotment Inspection on Wednesday (yikes!) so must be as neat as possible, LOL. The weeds are an utter nightmare at the moment so a lot of time was spent pulling them up or cutting them down. I think the weeds are certainly having a great year …

I’m sorry to say that the courgette we planted last week was died, sob! So that’s two years we have been without courgettes even though everyone says they’re super easy to grow. Not for us, they’re not!… Anyway, we planted carrots in the area where the courgette used to be as we have some left over from home so here’s hoping they’ll managed to survive the dreaded carrot fly …


You can also see the French climbing beans at the back which look a bit sad but we’ve watered them and are hoping for the best.

In the meantime, the shallots are doing very well, especially since they started from nothing, vanished entirely for a bit(!) but have since recovered, hurrah:


K also put up a climbing frame for the peas which have miraculously survived any mouse attacks – so far!…

This week, there are no flowers to speak of (sob!) but we have a harvest of rhubarb and asparagus which is something:

Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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French Beans and Daffodils

Huge amounts of weeding to do on the allotment this week as we didn’t go last weekend as the weather was so appalling. Actually it wasn’t much better today but we had wellies and raincoats so were just about fine.

While we were away, the asparagus went mad:

And the rhubarb wasn’t that far behind either, which is brilliant news for today’s rhubarb crumble:

The lilies are also coming along nicely:

And the soft fruit bed is looking good too (must be the rain!):

While I was weeding and hoeing like a crazy woman, K got to grips with the long grass around the plot and also set up a climbing frame for the French beans which we planted today. Here you can see them with a rather sad looking courgette which we also added (front of pic):

I have also removed most of the daffodils from one of the beds they’ve been in and plan to tackle the other bed next week, weather permitting. I will store these in the shed and those that survive will be planted again in the autumn:

Here is the harvest – which consists of asparagus, rhubarb and two lone tulips!

Have a great Sunday, everyone, and stay dry!

Anne Brooke Books


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The windy wet allotment

Really soggy at the allotment today so definitely a Wellies visit. We were the only ones there too, so maybe people are confused with the extra hour? Anyway, the wind we’ve had during the week certainly played havoc with this poor gladiolus:

Though at least the sunflowers are just about hanging in there!

The asparagus is definitely on its way out now and it’s nearly time to cut it down, but we didn’t do it this week because we were too busy cutting back other plants, such as the mangetouts (which the wind tore down), and the perennial flowers.

Here is the harvest this week – which includes an unexpected sprinkling of autumn raspberries, well gosh, and we thought they were just not doing anything this season! We also harvested beetroots, French climbing beans, the sunflowers, a couple of rudbeckias, two gladioli and some chrysanthemums.

Here are the flowers at home:

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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Chrysanthemums and sprouts

We have the first of the chrysanthemums in bloom today – but for some reason my photo didn’t come out (sob!) so I only have them as part of the harvest and in the vase (later snaps).

In better news, I did manage to get the last of the sunflowers which seem to have survived this week’s early frost:

And that lone gladiolus is pretty determined to have a go at blooming too!

Here are the sprouts on one of our plants as mentioned a moment ago:

I am just so proud of these!

And here is the harvest, which consists of French beans, mangetouts, chrysanthemums, one rudbeckia, dahlias and sunflowers:

Here are the flowers at home:

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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Gladioli Clearing and Daffodil Planting

We’ve cleared the half-bed which was full of gladioli – which isn’t the bed we actually have the gladioli in, LOL! But it had come up of its own accord – so obviously we hadn’t cleared it as well as we thought last year!

Anyway, we’ve had a go at it now, though we have left one gladiolus in which is still due to flower:

And here are the gladioli which we’ll keep for next year:

And here are the last of the daffodils we have just about to be planted. I was pleased that most of the ones I’d messed up the storage for (by accidentally putting them in a pot with no drainage holes, sigh!) were fine – which just goes to show that Nature can cope with most of the nonsense I throw at her, thank goodness!

In other flower news, one of the gladioli which is actually in the bed it SHOULD be in is in flower:

The asters and dahlias are doing marvellous things:

And, much to our surprise, the chrysanthemums are just coming into flower – and I thought they’d all died out last year!

Here is the harvest, which includes asters, one gladiolus, rudbeckia, dahlias, one sunflower and one sweet pea, plus French beans, mangetouts and beetroots:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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First small sprout harvest!

Goodness me, we have harvested a couple of small sprouts today, hurrah (see later pic)! So the autumn season is most definitely here. Even with just three sprouts, it’s more than we harvested last year when it all went horribly wrong, LOL! Anyway, we are hoping for more sprouts later on.

Only us two on the allotment this morning, when we went anyway – everyone else must be keeping dry, and I can’t say I blame them. Here is the perennial bed in the rain and the wind:

I cropped more of the pink asters than I really needed as they were flopping over the dahlias, and I want to keep the dahlias going as long as I possibly can. Talking of which, the sunflowers are still doing well:

And, on the vegetable front, the French climbing beans are definitely the gift that keeps on giving! Plus more flowers on the plants as well.

And the yakons are still very happy:

It’s so rainy and has been for a good few days that for the first time that I can remember our water butt is actually overflowing! We’d best think about putting another one in before the year is over …

Here is the harvest, which includes the sprouts, the French climbing beans, sunflowers, rudbeckias, dahlias, one gladiolus and the asters.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant