The Allotment Wife


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Preparing for Spring

Lovely weather for the allotment today, which is a total contrast to yesterday’s all-day heavy rain. We wore Wellington boots just in case but it wasn’t too wet in the end. Anyway, we’ve started preparing for spring. K took the rest of the potatoes out, and I planted stored daffodils into that bed. We’ll get some new ones too to fill one of the other beds, but here is the current one – before I actually plant them:

Daffodils

The Brussels sprouts we planted last week are doing well:

Brussels sprouts Old

And K planted another bed of them today, so here are the latest ones:

Brussles sprouts New

Meanwhile the lilies are still hanging on to their buds, but the time for getting any actual flowers is very short now so I suspect we’re out of luck, oh well …

Lilies

The asters, however, are having a wonderful time and of course autumn is really their season!

Here are a couple of pictures of our harvest, which is asters, a sprinkling of gladioli (well, one really …), potatoes, leeks and even a few late autumn raspberries, which we thought we weren’t getting – an added bonus indeed, and I shall add them to the apple crumble for lunch:

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books

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Frost Fallout

Earlier this week, we unfortunately had an unexpected frost on Monday and Tuesday, and so sadly the courgettes, dahlias and French climbing beans are no more …

So they have now all become compost, and we have added in a bed for Brussels sprouts instead, Sensibly, K put a net off to keep the butterflies away – there are still some around, in spite of the weather:

Frost survivors are the lilies, the last of the sunflowers and the sweet williams, so that’s good news.

The asters are also doing very well:

Here is the harvest of sunflowers and asters, plus the courgettes we could still salvage, potatoes and beetroot:

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Narcissi Delight

Lots of the little narcissi tete-a-tete on the allotment today – very cute indeed, if tiny.

narcissi-tete-a-tete

There are other taller daffodils coming along too, but they’re not ready yet!

daffodils-1

daffodils-2

Maybe next week, eh, LOL!

The tulip bed is looking grand and I’m really excited about that one. Can’t wait to see them in bloom.

tulips-1

We were also surprised to see some of the alliums I planted on the off chance are on their way too, which is great. I do love alliums.

alliums

No great changes in the autumn raspberry & summer soft fruit area, but I’m sure the rhubarb is coming along:

rhubarb

Can’t wait for the first rhubarb crumble of the season, but I don’t think it’s going to be soon.

Our harvest today has been the leeks (which haven’t done very well but smell amazing) and those narcissi (which look really lost in that tea towel …):

harvest

However, at home, I found a tiny glass and now think the narcissi look pretty good in it – I’ve put this vase on the dining room table to brighten up mealtimes.

vase-1

vase-2

Have a fabulous weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Ring out the old, ring in the new!

The last allotment post for 2016 and indeed the last day of 2016 – what a rollercoaster year it’s been, LOL.

On the allotment front, we’re pleased to see that the January daffodils are well on their way:

daffodils-1

And the later (Feb) daffodils are also starting to sprout, hurrah!

daffodils-2

daffodils-3

We’ve also taken the opportunity to replace our old and rubbish  (green & purple) secateurs with shiny new red ones that actually cut – which should make things a heck of a lot easier …

secateurs-new-and-old

Whilst there, K dug out the potato bed (see harvest pic!) and I weeded the beds and fruit area, as well as the areas of pathway. This was made a far easier job by the lack of frost this morning, phew …

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of the last of the winter lettuce, potatoes and sprouts, together with a couple of gladioli bulbs we missed and which we’re bringing home for storage.

harvest

Have a fabulous new year, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Rhubarb City and Magical Asparagus

Goodness me but the asparagus has grown like a gazelle on speed this week. We’ve harvested a couple of the larger stalks and eaten them for starters tonight. One of them was utterly perfect, but the other was rather woody – so it looks as if we’ll have to harvest them more often to gain the benefit. We’ll have to stop harvesting by the end of May/beginning of June to allow them to set seed for next year though.

Asparagus

The spinach is also doing very well so I’ve picked some for eating during this week as well. But our crowning(!) glory is the rhubarb – we pulled out some of the stems today as you apparently have to pull them rather than cutting them, and I’m planning rhubarb crumble and custard tomorrow – bliss! Here are photos of the rhubarb and of our harvest today, together with one lone tulip:

Rhubarb Spinach, rhubarb, tulip and asparagus

Speaking of tulips, they’ve been pretty good so I’ve picked more for the house. They last about a week, which is fine really.

Tulips 1 Tulips 2

And the freesias are beginning to come up next to the lilies, which is very exciting.

Freesia and lilies

I’ve sprayed the lilies to avoid the dreaded lily beetle – arrgghh!! – a subject I’m used to as we have loads of lilies at home. K also did a hoe round and we trimmed the paths around the plot, so it looks a lot neater. We’re preparing ourselves for the Allotment Inspection on 7 May as we certainly don’t want to let the side down on Election Day! Ooh, and I’ve also planted some sunflower seeds – Russian Giants – in the runner bean bed and in one of the other spare beds, so I hope they come up.

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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The onset of Spring

Earlier in the week, I harvested quite a few daffodils from the allotment, plus three or four more this weekend. Here they are from allotment to vase!

Daffodils at allotment 1 Daffodils at allotment 2

Daffodils at home

Such happy flowers, I always think. Meanwhile, the tulips and astilbe are on their way, with the tulips now having buds, which is great:

Astilbe Tulips

Anyway, today, while I hoed round, K added chicken pellet manure to the bed where we plan to plant the beans, as they’re hungry critters, we’re told. We also have plans to trail some sweet peas up the side of the shed, but we need taller poles than were in the garden centre this morning, so will need to get them later.

Meanwhile, the rhubarb, spinach and winter lettuce are doing well:

Rhubarb Spinach Winter lettuce

And in the fruit area, the autumn raspberries and blackcurrant are coming along. Yesterday, my stepfather told me that he never cuts back his autumn raspberries but just gets rid of the dead wood and leaves them. So next year we might experiment with half cut back and half not, and see how things go.

Autumn raspberries Blackcurrant

Happy Easter to you all!

Anne Brooke Books


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Raised beds and soft fruit

We’ve spent a happy couple of hours on the allotment in crisp sunshine today. I did the weeding and also gave the soft fruit area as thorough a clear out as possible – which is a lot easier now the autumn raspberries have shed their leaves.

Soft fruit 1

And K very nobly started building two new raised beds so we can extend our crop choices. And very good they look too, I think.

Raised Beds 1 Raised Beds 2 Raised Beds 3 Raised Beds 4 Raised Beds 5

Of course they’re not finished yet. We need to hammer them in properly – we did our best today with no hammer and no spirit level, so go us! And we also need to add more soil, and think about what we’d like to grow in them. We also need to put lining down and create a shingle/gravel path between them and the shed – so it’s in keeping with the raised beds path which was already there when we took it over.

So a lot to think about for sure! Oh and we harvested the last of the beetroot, a few carrots and a huge bunch of the winter lettuce.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary’s Life and How to Survive It