The Allotment Wife


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Scented lilies and pumpkins

The scented lilies are late, but they’re finally here, hurrah! The scent is totally amazing, and I LOVE the colour too.

Scented lilies

The sweet peas are also doing well – the ones near the shed are coming along, and the white ones we planted just because we had too many of them at home are really going strong, plus their stems are just so long.

Sweet peas 1.JPG

Sweet peas 2

The echinacea also look great:

Echinacea

The early gladioli are blooming well …

Gladioli

… and just look at those sunflowers:

Sunflowers

In vegetable news, we have our first ever pumpkins – two of them, well gosh! The shoots are amazingly long so in each case, the root is the other side of the raised bed, lengthwise, double gosh.

Pumpkin 1

Pumpkin 2

The marrow is looking good:

Marrow

And there are flowers on the climbing French beans:

Climbing French beans

Here is this week’s harvest of the rest of the mangetouts, a (very bolted!) lettuce, and a wide variety of flowers:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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Marrows and sunflowers

The start of the soft fruit season is upon us in terms of our allotment as the red currants and blackcurrants are now ready. I do love picking blackcurrants as the smell of the plant is just fantastic and it’s so satisfying. However, there aren’t as many as last year as we have got all of the offering in one session (see harvest picture later on) and have left the netting off so the birds can have the rest. Last year, we had three currant harvest sessions before doing that. Is this an issue with the year we’ve had or aren’t the bushes happy? We’ll have to see how next year goes.

Anyway, ¬†we have a couple of lovely marrows, one of which we’ve picked. We’re desperately looking for marrow recipes, but today we fried some of it, then added salt and cheese – and very nice it was too!

Marrow

I also think we’ve got the last of the mangetouts or almost – and the ones there today are a bit old and scraggy. Mind you, we’re still eating the crop of last week so can’t complain.

Mangetouts

Flowers are also doing well – the gladioli are out, hurrah!!! I am LOVING that gorgeous red colour.

Gladioli

We also have alstroemerias and echinacea in the perennial flower bed, which are both lovely.

Alstroemeria

Echinacea

And the coreopsis are still holding their own against being nibbled to death – though the stems are much shorter than usual.

Coreopsis

The main lily area is still producing some blooms, and the sweet peas next to them are just starting too – here they are all white, and the stems are beautifully long (which is so much easier for flower arranging!):

Lilies

Sweet peas

Plus we have our very first sunflower, hurrah! It’s not as big as many others in the allotment right now, but I’m definitely still happy.

Sunflower

Here is the harvest of blackcurrants, red currants, a lettuce, mangetouts, a marrow, gladioli, coreopsis, carnations, pelargoniums, dahlias, sweet peas, sweet williams, verbascums and lilies:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Lilies and Mangetouts

Once again, the lilies are the outright queens of the allotment and look simply amazing this week.

Lilies

In addition, the gladioli appear to be heading for the bloom and the first one to come will definitely be red!

Gladioli

The sweet peas have finally decided to bloom as well, which is great news:

Sweet peas

And the wonderful K has managed to fool the pigeons/squirrels/mice (or whatever they are) by surrounding the coreopsis with a cat’s cradle pattern of string. Let’s hope it continues to work!

Coreopsis

There’s good news on the sweetcorn front too – there’s been no more nibbling since K added the wire cage around them, hurrah:

Sweetcorn

Meanwhile, we have one autumn raspberry just starting to mature – I hope there might be some more to follow it at some point …

Autumn raspberry

And we have a marrow in the making, hurrah!

Marrow

The mangetouts are still going completely crazy:

Mangetouts

Here they are at home, after I’d washed and trimmed them – we’ve only just finished last weekend’s bowl! However, we’ve found they’re very nice indeed in a stir-fry with spring onions, mint, mushrooms and even some crystallised ginger – or any combination of these that takes your fancy!

Trimmed mangetouts

Here is today’s harvest – which is mangetouts, a lettuce, lilies, coreopsis, cosmos, carnations, verbascum, sweet williams and sweet peas:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home. First, the lilies:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Now, all the vases together:

Vases 3

Vases 4

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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Blighted potatoes and lilies galore

Sad potato news from the allotment this week – we have blight, oh the horror. Still, we have managed to salvage some of the crop so at least that’s something. Oh well.

Blighted potatoes

Our sweetcorn is also still being nibbled (is it mice?) so we have strengthened the netting around them and also raised it as plants get bigger.

Sweet corn

The French beans are starting to go up the sticks and I tied some of them in just to give them a helping hint – last year, some of them simply grew along the ground but it’s much easy if they go up rather than sideways!

French beans

The mangetouts have gone insane and we harvested a totally enormous crop. At home, K looked up mangetouts recipes – and one of these is frying mangetouts with spring onions very briefly and then adding mint – we already have all the ingredients (though the spring onions are bought) so will definitely have to try that one.

Mangetouts

Prepared mangetouts

We also found space for a couple of yakons (Peruvian ground apple) by removing some of the sweet williams which aren’t really doing so well. The other couple of yakons we have will be planted at home.

Yakons

K also mulched the rhubarb this week – I really do love a mulched bed. We used compost from the allotment so there won’t be many nutrients in it but it will do for now.

Mulched rhubarb

Turning to flower news, the cosmos and pelargoniums are doing well.

Cosmos and pelargoniums

And there are now a couple of flower spray buds on the gladioli, hurrah!

Gladioli

However the lilies are simply the stars of this week’s show and look totally amazing – they’re just so tall and such a glorious colour!

Lilies

Plus we have the first of the sweet peas in bloom, which is grand.

Sweet peas

I also took a view of the allotment as it is right now, as I think it looks pretty good.

View

So, today’s harvest is lilies, the first of the dahlias (hurrah!), verbascum, carnations (still going strong …), cosmos, pelargoniums, sweet williams, sweet peas, and the mangetouts and rescued potatoes.

Harvest

Here are the amazing lilies at home:

Lily vase 1

Lily vase 2

And here are the vases all together:

Vases

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Fighting back on the sweetcorn front!

Yet more sweetcorn has gone missing this week, sob:

Sweetcorn Chewed

But we are determined to fight back(!) so I planted some new ones and K netted the area. We hope that will be enough to deter the evil sweetcorn nibbler, but who can tell …

Sweetcorn Replanted

In other news the asparagus forest is on its way – as we’re leaving it to do its thing now as the season is basically over.

Asparagus

The lettuces are doing amazingly well and I also planted a couple of others just to lengthen the season – if they don’t get eaten!

Lettuces

Fresh from netting the sweetcorn, K has also today built a netting pod for the currants to protect them from the greedy birds (who have already taken the gooseberry crop in total, double sob!). As you can see it’s a home-made effort and we’ve secured it down with stones from the plot, bits of wood and also hooked nails made from old hangers from home. The ultimate recycling creation!

Soft fruit

The lilies are doing very well:

Lilies

And the pelargoniums and cosmos are trying their best:

Pelargoniums and cosmos

The sweet williams are struggling a bit – which is a total contrast from last year – but the beetroot behind them are doing well. I have pinched the tops off the beetroot as I thought they were getting a bit straggly, and we want the energy to go into the crop rather than the leaf.

Sweet Williams and Beetroot

Today’s harvest is one lettuce, mangetouts, verbascums, carnations, pelargoniums, sweet williams, cosmos and lilies:

Harvest

Here are the vases at home.

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone. Oh, and happy birthday to me – I turned 55 (gosh!) on 21 June.

Anne Brooke Books


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Bean Planting

A whole 2.5 hours on the allotment today, go us! Everything – including the weeds! – is really starting to go for it, so a lot of hoeing got done.

We also planted a bed full of French beans and runner beans, and tied them up with string to try to keep them (vaguely …) under control.

French beans and runner beans

We have added extra sweet peas at the end of that bed, and just between the lilies and the sunflowers:

Sweet peas

Speaking of lilies, don’t they look marvellous? Those buds are really coming along well.

Lilies 1

The asparagus has been very keen this week so we have enough for at least a couple of meals, which is grand.

Asparagus

We are also pleased with the lettuce …

Lettuces

… and the beetroot – which always look so terribly fragile when you first plant them but soon bulk up:

Beetroot

The potatoes are doing fine:

Potatoes

And just look at the mangetouts!

Mangetouts

Turning to flowers in bloom, the verbascum is simply marvellous:

Verbascum

And the carnations are just coming into flower too:

Carnations

However, the gladioli seem to have a mind of their own and have skipped a couple of rows in my succession planting plan, LOL:

Gladioli

No idea what’s going on there!

Anyway, here is the harvest of asparagus, verbascum, some sweet williams and a few carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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In Praise of Green

The allotment is really getting a lot greener at the moment, which is lovely to see. Even the flowers that are over have amazing leaves – just look at the tulips:

Tulips

I also think the carnation is just beautiful without flowers – why do mine never form a lovely mound like this at home?? It’s a mystery …

Carnations

Plus just look at the lilies – a simply gorgeous green:

Lilies

Meanwhile the gladioli are coming along, and I planted another row today. I have two more rows (ie 20 bulbs) still to plant but I may well get more:

Gladioli

And look! The first pom-pom dahlia is pushing its way through the earth:

Dahlia

The autumn raspberries and currants are enjoying the weather (though it is a bit nippy today!) …

Sadly, some of the currants have rust fungus on them so K gave them a good spray today. It’s not a serious disease for currants and won’t kill the plant – we just thought we should give them the best fruiting chance we can.

The mangetouts and shallots are coming along nicely:

Mangetouts

Shallots

And there’s enough rhubarb for another crumble, hurrah!

Rhubarb

Here is the harvest of asparagus and rhubarb, alongside two tulips and some sweet williams:

Harvest

And here is the vase at home:

Vase

Happy Bank Holiday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books