The Allotment Wife


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The Day of the Dahlias

It’s the time for the dahlias to shine on the allotment now the asters are over and they do indeed look lovely.

These glorious flowers are definitely lifting my spirits today, that’s for sure.

The yakons are also doing well:

And the carrots continue to look amazing too:

We were also really impressed with how beautiful the blueberry leaves are this autumn – this is one of the plants in our new fruit cage:

So, not that much to do today apart from weeding and harvesting, though I did cut down all the lily stems and take down the remains of the pink aster. We also removed the rest of the cabbages, and plan to put tulips in that spare bed in November.

Today’s harvest is carrots, cabbages, one lettuce, the dahlias and a handful of sweet peas:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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Crazy Carrots and Aster Delights

The asters are going crazy, which is brilliant as it’s THEIR season of course. I do forget each year when I’m cutting them how strangely-sweet they smell when you get close – although thankfully the smell doesn’t last once they are in a room, or at least isn’t obvious!

I’ve had to tie up the pink asters with string as they were sagging onto the roses and dahlias which isn’t great, but all okay now. Another issue we had today was there was a dragonfly stuck in the fruit cage and it took a while to get it out. No idea how it got in! Eventually K trapped it in a large pot against the roof of the cage and then slid a kneeler over the top of the pot – to which I added a tea towel just in case – to keep it inside. We then let it loose outside the fruit cage and all was well.

I am also astonished at how many roses there are now. Sadly, it appears that the white ones don’t last well on the journey home so I suspect we will bring that plant back to the garden next year and perhaps replace it with something else.

The carrots are also doing really well and we have some with amazing shapes!

This one is a dancer I’m sure:

And this one looks like a hand – the carrot hand of doom, as K has named it!

As this coming week we have the Allotment Inspection, we’ve done a good tidy up and hoe round so are hoping for the best …

Anyway, a good harvest today: carrots, French beans, 4 courgettes, a sprinkling of soft fruit, roses, asters, dahlias and sweet peas.

Here are the vases at home:

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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Fruit Cage Finale

Yes, we are mad. Quite quite mad. We have finished off building the fruit cage in the hot hot sun of today. Probably not the best way to spend the hours between 11.30am and 2pm, but hey we like to live dangerously, LOL!

So today, we have rolled the netting round, and K stapled it in at every wooden post. At one point I left the roll propped up to get some secateurs and it collapsed over the blackcurrant bush but no real harm done, phew.

Here’s the roll on the left hand side of the pic as we rolled it round:

Once the sides were all done, we then had a lot of fun putting the roof on. This consisted of me inside the fruit cage doing a lot of jumping up and down and pulling the netting tight so birds don’t get stuck in it – while K stapled the edges to the cross beams of the roof. We then secured it at the two remaining side cross-beams with ties.

I also went round the bottom and secured the side netting down with netting pins. There was a slight panic when we thought we didn’t have enough pins but we had a search round the rest of the allotment and found more, hurrah. There are always spare ties and pins lying around when you need them …

Here is the roof:

The final part of the puzzle was putting netting across the door which we have now done.

So all finished, we are VERY HOT and also very pleased with how it’s turned out. I must give HUGE credit to my lovely husband who has designed and built it all himself from scratch. We then went home, drank a gallon – at least! – of water and we have now opened the Prosecco to celebrate!

Job done.

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