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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The World’s Smallest Soft Fruit Harvest

Was expecting more sunshine today, but never mind – it’s still perfect allotment weather – ie not too hot to work! Am happy to say we have a couple more dahlias in bloom in the perennial bed:

And the gladioli are still going strong:

Meanwhile, the lovely Monty Don tells us on last night’s Gardeners’ World with great confidence that our sweet peas will now all be over and we should remove them. Um, I don’t think our sweet peas have got that memo so we are leaving them right where they are for now!

We are also very happy with the lettuce & yacon bed – as you can see, the lettuces are really hearting up now and just look amazing. I’m still on slug patrol …

You might remember that a while back we sowed some carrot & basil seeds just to get rid of them. Well, they are doing okay, much to our amazement. The carrots are obvious but we have to be careful not to weed the basil out – you can see some of them on the right of this pic (small shiny flat leaves). They smell wonderful even though they’re tiny. With a bit of luck, we might have another month of growth so will hopefully be able to pick them at some point soon:

Here is this week’s harvest – with the world’s smallest ever fruit crop, LOL! One blueberry & one loganberry. Hey ho. Still, we also have French beans, gladioli, roses(!!), sweet williams, sweet peas, dahlias and one coreopsis.

On the way home, however, I foraged more blackberries, so soft fruit honour is restored!

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Autumn in the Air

Definitely an early autumn in the air this week – our silver birch is now in its early autumn colours and there’s a mist over the field in the mornings so the season is turning.

Still lots going on at the allotment though. The French beans continue to produce a good crop:

And the Brussels sprouts have their first small sprouts in place ready for winter!

The lettuces are also bravely fighting off slug attacks, thanks to our use of Nemaslug and also slug pellets, and they’re looking pretty good, I think:

The gladioli are looking beautiful too:

And there is a whole new week’s worth of sweet peas to pick:

Here is our harvest, which consists of the first of our carrot crop, shallots (which keep for months and are just brilliant, once dried out), two courgettes, a handful of soft fruit, French beans, gladioli, sweet peas, sweet williams, one coreopsis and a Peruvian lily:

Naturally I did some foraging on the way home and have another bowl of blackberries (see – definitely autumn!):

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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The Productive Plot

Loads of gladioli now in bloom at the allotment today – and more to come too, which is fabulous.

We also have one remaining scented lily – I do love the colour of these ones:

And the sweet peas have gone insane! I think they are taking over the whole shed now.

Meanwhile, the French climbing beans are really laden with beans so that’s brilliant.

We are also happy with the cabbage bed which is quietly doing its thing:

Plus we have two more courgettes on Maureen’s plant:

Here is today’s harvest, which is French beans, three mangetouts from the second mangetout sewing this year, one courgette, some beetroot, one cabbage, a handful of blueberries, the gladioli, the lily, sweet peas and sweet williams, plus a couple of coreopsis.

On the way home, I also foraged some blackberries from the bushes along the road – you see, it’s definitely autumn!

These were added to the plum crumble I made today.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Delightful dahlia and the nibbled courgette

So pleased that we have our first courgette on the allotment now – though it’s been slightly nibbled by something! Still good to have it though – as we had a late start with the courgettes due to various disasters.

In other good news, our newly planted lettuces are surviving though I picked up eight(!) dead slugs from the bed – thank goodness I put the slug pellets down and have also redone them today. Yes, I know – bad me, but I want those lettuces …

Also our French climbing beans are doing well:

I’m thrilled to say we have our first dahlia in bloom – I’m now only growing the pom-pom type ones on the plot as the other ones lose their petals too easily on the way home:

There are also more gladioli:

The lilies are stunning and smell amazing!

Plus the sweet peas are still going for it – these ones are just fabulous as the stems are incredibly long (we looked for long-stemmed plants deliberately as they look better in vases):

Today’s harvest is a beetroot, the courgette, a handful of blueberries, French beans, sweet peas, lilies, gladioli, sweet williams, coreopsis, the dahlia and one alstroemeria:

Here are the vases:

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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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