The Allotment Wife


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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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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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Sunflower City and How Not to Store Daffodils

A tad windy on the allotment today and I’ve got a bit of a sniffle so wrapped up as warm as possible. It seems as if the sunflowers haven’t yet got the memo that summer is over though as they’re still doing their thing! Some of them suffered wind damage during the week but are still blooming, which is amazing.

The dahlias are also very happy and pest free at the moment which is great news.

The asters are also either going strong (the blue ones) or just starting to bloom (the pink ones) and are just a really useful autumn flower, all in all.

I think I’m going to move the short pink asters back home when they’ve finished blooming though as they’re really no use as cut flowers – only the tall ones will do.

I’ve not done so well with one of the daffodil buckets though! Foolishly I’ve been storing them in a bucket with NO drainage holes (always a rookie mistake …) so they’re now hugely wet and muddy, groan. I’ve rolled them out of the bucket and hope they might dry off during the week so I can have a go planting them next week.

At least the yakons are doing marvellously – and once again queen of all they survey in terms of height!

Here is this week’s harvest: French beans, mangetouts, beetroots, sunflowers, rudbeckias, gladioli, asters and dahlias:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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Thinking of Spring

K took out the last of the potatoes today which are definitely enough to keep us going during the week. He then dug over that bed and I planted some of the daffodils ready for spring:

As you can see, they had already started to root so I think they’ll be fine.

Other flowers are also doing well – here are the asters:

I picked the blue ones, but left the pink ones as they’re really far too short for cut flowers – so I think when they’ve finished flowering I’ll take them home to the garden.

Speaking of pink things, the dahlias are doing much better than they did last year when we planted these ones – maybe they just needed a year to settle in …

The gladioli are also still just about hanging on:

The sunflower (which you can see in the photo above at the back) is also amazing and I’m really pleased with this pic:

We also harvested some beetroot, mangetouts and French beans – the latter of which are still battling with pesky black fly (boo!), so I gave them another good spray. Here’s hoping that does the trick.

Here is the harvest: potatoes, beetroot, French beans, the sunflower, gladioli, dahlias and the asters, plus one carnation and one rudbeckia:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant


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Back on the allotment!

I’m finally back on the allotment today after a couple of weekends when I was too busy to go and so my lovely husband kept an eye on it instead.

Even though it’s definitely autumnal, the French beans and mangetouts have decided they can get another crop in before the frosts, hurrah!

Beans

Mangetouts

I’m also REALLY happy with the Brussels sprouts which look and smell amazing – so hoping we can actually get a crop this year, as we’ve not had any luck with them over the last two years. Surely this year, things will be okay – I hope so!

Brussels sprouts

The yakons are also really happy:

Yakons

As are the beetroot next to them – though they’re tiny in comparison with the yakons, LOL!

Beetroot

However, we are disappointed with the autumn raspberries which aren’t giving as good a crop as last year. Is it the weather we’ve had? Or just that they’re old plants? Hard to tell really, but we’ll have to have a think about what we do with them next year …

Autumn raspberries

The sunflowers are still going strong though:

Sunflowers

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of potatoes, beetroot, beans, mangetouts, gladioli, the autumn raspberries, the sunflowers, one(!) sweet pea and two carnations:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Have a great Bank Holiday Monday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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Painting the Shed and Lovely Lilies

Today’s task was painting the general allotment shed, and I’m quietly pleased with how it’s turned out:

From this:

Shed before painting

To this:

Shed after painting

So pleased, yay! Naturally, even though the weather forecast was fine all weekend, it started raining five minutes after we got home, but to be honest the paint was all but dry when we left the allotment, so am hoping all will be well …

And the lilies are simply amazing and SO strongly scented, double yay!

Lilies

Plus we have our first sunflower!

Sunflower

And the gladioli continue to look good too:

Gladioli

I’ve also happy to say we have our first small crop of French beans – which are my favourite of the bean/pea family. They’re so sweet-tasting and absolutely no strings which is just brilliant (I hate strings!):

French bean

Here is the harvest which this week consists of the sunflower, lilies, gladioli, rudbeckia, carnations, echinacea, sweet peas, plus runner beans, mangetouts, French beans and the rest of the shallots:

Harvest

Here are all the vases at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant