The Allotment Wife


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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


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The kindness of gardeners

I must say once again how kind gardeners are! After my courgette disaster of last week, the lovely Maureen at my church job has donated one of her courgette plants and a cloche into our tender care – thank you, Maureen! Here it is in its new position, and I am praying hard for its survival!

Whilst we were on the allotment this morning, the equally lovely Melissa kindly donated one of her spare rhubarb plants to us as well, so a huge thank you for that too!

We have removed most of the old daffodils and some of the tulips so we have space for other crops. I leave the daffodils at the allotment for planting out for next spring, and I take the tulips home for planting in the garden (and get new tulips for the allotment next year).

So we have planted out our cabbages and netted them to try to ensure survival:

And K also planted some fresh pea seeds so we can get a succession of crops:

Though of course all you can see at the moment is netting! Speaking of which we have netted our gooseberry bush in the soft fruit area now as it has fruit on it and the birds go crazy for them even when they’re not ripe so we are determined to gather as much of the harvest as possible for ourselves:

Our sweet peas are also doing well in their new position on the other side of the shed:

Our verbascums are also out at last – late due to the poor weather in May, but still welcome:

I also planted out a whole lot of sweet williams but for some reason didn’t take a picture of them, so I will try to remember to do that next week!

Here is our harvest of verbascums, asparagus & rhubarb:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The first of the asparagus and the escapee lilies

Lovely to see the first of the asparagus appear today – small but perfectly formed, LOL! Here’s hoping there will be more to come.

The lilies are doing well:

Although some of them obviously don’t like being with their gang as here they are trying to escape the bed!

Go them!

I also planted more gladioli bulbs to fill up the gladioli bed, though I have about 25 or so more to plant from the new ones so will have to find a place for them somewhere …

We have also planted sweet peas in the old compost area:

We moved the compost area as we are making a large all year round fruit cage which we are hoping will be more reliable than the one we have been improvising with each year up to now – so needed to move the compost to the other side of the shed where the sweet peas used to be …

As you can see, we’ll need to move the old sweet pea trellis to the other side at some point.

So today’s harvest is super-small, as we’re giving the rhubarb time to catch up before we harvest more of it:

Here are the tulips at home. The gorgeous big yellow ones at the front are called Orange Princess – and they are just amazing. After a couple of days they turn more orange, open up, and have green lines in them as well. Will definitely be getting more of those.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday Monday!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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Sunflowers and Soft Fruit

The sunflowers are still looking amazing on the allotment and EVEN taller than they were last week!

We have harvested as many runner and French beans as we could, although sadly a lot are now infested with black fly so I left those ones well alone. I sprayed the whole lot in the hope that I might beat them back!

So a harvest today of sunflowers, gladioli, the first of the asters (yay!), one sweet pea and a few rudbeckia. Plus potatoes, the beans and the smallest autumn raspberry harvest EVER, LOL!

Here are the flowers at home:

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Consultant


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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