The Allotment Wife


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Stately Sunflowers and Yakons Galore

The sunflowers on the allotment are getting ridiculously tall – soon I’ll have to get a ladder to see them at this rate!

We also have the first dahlias out now (which is curious as I thought I’d taken them all out and planted them at home!) and an actual rudbeckia, yay!

We’re also very happy with the Brussels sprouts:

And the French beans are really going for it too:

However, it’s the yakons that are forging ahead – they have honestly never been this huge! Must be the sort of weather they like for some reason, but we’re certainly not complaining.

Anyway, here is the harvest, which consists of French beans, gladioli, sunflowers, the rudbeckia and one lone sweet pea. We also have some of the autumn raspberries and a decent crop of foraged blackberries as well – which will go very well with the apple crumble I’m making.

Here is the vase at home:

Have a great week, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home 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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First runner beans and late leeks

We have the first of the runner bean harvest today, so that’s great news.

Runner beans

And we have also planted some late leeks to fill up a bed – it’s so strange that you have to plant them in holes that you then don’t fill in with earth. Just water them and you’re done. No idea why but it works for leeks!

Leeks

The late planting of mangetouts is now tall enough for us to put up a structure for them to grow on.

Mangetouts

Meanwhile the beetroot is growing well …

Beetroot

… as is the yakon next to it:

Yakon

We’re also really pleased with the Brussels sprouts as they seem to be growing away happily too, which is certainly different from the failures of the last two years!

Brussels sprouts

The sunflowers actually have buds forming which is very exciting!

Sunflowers

And, astonishingly, the birds have left us enough blackcurrants for another crumble – which is unheard of. The birds must be super-lazy this year. Here is the harvest, consisting of the blackcurrants, mangetouts, runner beans, gladioli, carnations, echinacea, rudbeckia, alstroemeria and sweet peas:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop Consultant


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Getting the Beans In

This week is the week to get the beans in on the allotment so we’ve put in runner beans (at the front of the picture) and French climbing beans (at the back of the picture):

Runner beans and French beans

K did a brilliant job getting the supports in. We had a few plants of both types left over so we gave the French beans to a fellow allotmenteer (thank you, Helen!) and left the others near the gate for anyone who wants them.

Another allotmenteer was kind enough to give us some of her spare purple sprouting broccoli plants (thank you, Nicola!), which we’ve never grown before. We’ve added these under the netting next to one of the sprout areas:

Purple sprouting broccoli

It was also time to dig up the tulip bulbs, which I’ve now done. It was pretty hard as the ground was so dry but I think I have most of them. I’ve put them in an old bird food bucket and will take them home for planting in the garden in November, as usual. We’ll buy new bulbs for the allotment next year:

Tulip bulbs

Whilst digging them up, I forgot to wear gloves (silly me!) and so managed to scrape the skin off my palm (ouch! ouch!) when using the trowel. Sigh! Oh, and I also tried to tidy up the communal shed but realised as I was just getting going that there is a new wasps’ nest in there (yikes!) so put everything down and backed away very slowly and carefully before they got really angry! K has now put a big post with the word WASPS on it leaning against the door, which he had to write with his finger and some dirt as we didn’t have any other way of doing it! That definitely deserves a medal or two, LOL. We have wasp killer products at home so will try to get back and sort it out at some point.

In better news, our first couple of sweet pea flowers are out, hurrah!! SO thrilled by this!

Sweet pea

Anyway, here is the harvest this week – which consists of rhubarb, carnations, verbascums, 2 sweet peas and one sprig of Peruvian lilies, which is great. No proper lilies yet though, sob.

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vase 2

Have a great weekend, everyone! And don’t forget – today is World Gin Day – cheers!

Anne Brooke Books


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Netting and Thinning Out

It was definitely time to thin out those sunflowers today before they start exploding! Here is the ‘before’ shot:

Sunflowers 1

And here is the ‘after’ shot – I think I’ve done a pretty good job with them too:

Sunflowers 2

K and I also put the netting up for the soft fruit – we’d ordered a new net and pins to hold it down, but the new net still wasn’t big enough! So we’ve had to add an old piece to one end of it and we’re hoping for the best. We’re also hoping the structure will stay upright as it’s been pretty windy today …

Soft fruit

While I was doing a fairly serious weed, K also added the netting to the peas so they can get going:

Peas

The Brussels sprouts are also doing okay, which is good news, though I added more slug pellets to them just in case:

Brussels sprouts

Plus we’ve given everything a bit of a water as – in spite of the rain yesterday and today – the soil is still terribly dry …

Here is the harvest of verbascums, carnations, asparagus and rhubarb:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a good weekend and stay safe, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Verbascum Explosion

Goodness me but the verbascum is the best it’s ever been, with more flowers to come.

Verbascum

The carnations are also in bloom, and I’ve planted a few more in the middle of the patch, where it’s getting bare.

Carnations

Our sunflower seeds are growing very well, and I really must thin them out in the very near future or it’s going to be chaos in there!

Sunflowers

I also have a few rudbeckia plug plants over from planting them at home yesterday, so I’ve added them to the perennial bed:

Rudbeckia

Meanwhile the asparagus is becoming a forest, LOL! I’ve harvested these for today but I think that’ll be the end of the season now.

Asparagus

We have also planted the Brussels sprouts which ended up filling one and a half beds. The photo below is taken before we put the netting on but rest assured we did rescue the trowel before putting the netting in place!

Brussels sprouts

The peas are growing well, and K has now put in some stakes they can grow up.

Peas

We are amazed at the amount of currants on the current bushes – they’re already so thick with fruit that the branches are weighed down! We’d best buy more netting to sort them out before the birds get there first …

Currant bushes

I have to say that the soil was also the driest I’ve ever known it so we did as much watering as possible while there. Here is the harvest of asparagus, verbascum and carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vase 2

Stay safe, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Making the Most of Failure

As you may remember, our sprouts this year (for the second year running) have been a total failure (sob!…), so much so that they just look like tired cabbages:

Sprouts

So we’ve finally admitted defeat and taken them out to see what we could salvage, if anything. In fact, once home, I have salvaged some decent looking greens and a selection of very tiny sprouts that look SO cute, LOL!! We could probably eat them raw – they are that small! Here they are on our kitchen draining board:

Sprout harvest

So it just goes to show that there’s always something you can make of disaster …

Anyway, in other news, the daffodils are going strong:

Daffodils

And there is a rather nice display of tulips on their way in a bed where we did NOT plant them – I blame the squirrels though it’s more likely to be my total inability to find all the bulbs when digging them up, to be honest!

Tulips

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

And here is the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Allotment Break-in

I’m very sorry to have to tell you that our allotments suffered a break-in this week, with the perimeter fence broken in a couple of places, the main gate damaged, and thefts carried out at several sheds. Such an awful thing to happen. Our own shed was broken into, but nothing taken as we don’t have anything worth stealing.

Damaged shed

K mended the shed today – amazingly our now curved padlock still works as it’s actually much tougher than the shed itself!

In happier news, we still have an alstroemeria in bloom:

Alstroemeria

However, most of the rest of the flowers are now over, so I spent some time cutting back and composting while K was mending the shed. I did feel a lot better after the tidy up as it feels I’ve done something positive to prepare for next season after the communal break-in.

On similar lines, K has dug out the potato bed, rescuing the last of the potatoes – and it’s now ready for us to plant daffodils next time we’re there, hurrah!

Ready for daffodils

I’m also happy to say that our chrysanthemums are on the way though not quite there yet:

Chrysanthemums

Meanwhile we know it’s a very rainy autumn due to the sheer amount of mushrooms everywhere!

Mushrooms

Our cabbages are doing well:

Cabbages

And we’ve rediscovered the leeks which have been lurking under the runner beans for ages, quietly waiting to see the sun again …

Leeks

Sadly though, our Brussels sprouts are experiencing their second year of failure (sob!) – maybe next time we should plant them out in May rather than waiting for them to get bigger at home … Oh well.

Brussels sprouts

Here is the week’s harvest, which includes alstroemeria, a few pelargoniums, a handful of autumn raspberries (though I ditched them at home due to the amount of insects in them, yuk!) one cabbage, the potatoes, beetroot and a couple of stray runner beans:

Harvest

Here is the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Naughty Allotmenteer

Yes, I know. I just couldn’t resist this picture of two pumpkins and a marrow – but could you have resisted it??! Which only goes to show that underneath every serious allotmenteer, there is a very immature child desperate to get out …

Rude veg

And yes, I also know there’s a very tiny marrow there too, but I didn’t want it to feel overlooked! Anyone know any pumpkin recipes as we haven’t a clue?…

Anyway, in other news, we have finally planted our Brussels sprouts – not sure how they’re going to do, but we are hopeful. I remembered to put the slug doom in too.

Sprouts

The gladioli are still blooming:

Gladioli

Though not as much as the sunflowers, which continue to surprise us.

Sunflowers

Here is the very autumnal harvest, including our first ever cabbage:

Harvest

All those scrumptious autumn raspberries are going straight into the apple crumble I’m making today, yum.

And here are the vases:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, and make the most of the sunshine, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Spring Planting

We popped into the garden centre before going to the allotment this morning, and bought sweet peas, golden beetroot, mangetouts, and cabbages for the allotment, and carrots for home (as we can protect them from carrot fly there). We’ve never grown cabbages before but thought we’d give it a go this year.

Planting

Once at the allotment we were delighted to find that some very kind person had left a huge pile of pine bark near the allotment fence so K grabbed the wheelbarrow and we have tidied up our paths, hurrah. Plus the pine smell is just amazing.

So, I have planted the sweet peas next to the shed as usual:

Sweetpeas

And I made half a bed for the beetroot plants – they’re just so small!

Beetroot

K created some sticks and netting for the mangetouts, and I have then put slug pellets on anything I think they might aim for …

In other news, there is one lone tulip in one of our disastrous Brussels sprouts beds (which we have now cleared):

Tulip 2

And the tulips in the actual tulip bed are coming along nicely too:

Tulips 1

The daffodils continue to hold their own:

And the lilies are coming along:

Lilies

Meanwhile, the currants and rhubarb are really getting going, which is fabulous – they are both definitely further along than they were last year, thank goodness.

So, no vegetables for harvesting this week – just the daffodils and tulips:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a great Mothering Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books