The Allotment Wife


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Mystery sweetcorn and the allotment show

Just back from 10 days’ holiday this week so we had a lot of catching up to do at the allotment, which was basically weed city! Here are some pics of what’s going on.

The alstroemeria are coming back:

Alstroemeria

And the gladioli are rallying after the winds and rain the UK has had (not that we noticed as we were sailing up the Danube and ambling round Budapest in a mega heatwave, LOL!!).

Gladioli

Our cabbages are now starting to look like actual cabbages though something is getting in the netting and chewing them, wicked creatures!

Cabbages

The lettuces have also done well in our absence:

Lettuces

But what is this stray sweetcorn plant doing in the gladioli bed??!! We never planted it there! I blame the squirrels …

Stray sweetcorn

A couple of harvest shots this week:

Harvest.JPG

Harvest

As you can see in the picture above, both the red and yellow autumn raspberries are starting to fruit now, so this is our first (mini!) harvest.

Here are various vases:

Vases

Vases

The BIG news of the week however is our Allotment Show. We weren’t sure we were going to have much for it as we’d only returned to the UK a couple of days before, but here are pics of what we entered into the show:

 

Show entries

Above are our entries for the 5 beans class, the largest marrow (which ended up being the smallest, LOl!), 3 trimmed onions, 3 stems and the flower arrangement for A Day at the Allotment. I used a small watering can though it’s hard to see in the shots.

Here is a pic of all the flower arrangement entries (the one on the right deservedly won 1st prize and best in show!):

Flower arrangements

Here are the certificates we gained!

I have to admit, however, that there was only one entry in the 3 stems class and that was mine, LOL (for which I gained the 1st prize!) and there were only 3 entries in the flower arrangement class and I got 3rd for that! Still, awards of any kind are not to be sniffed at, LOL!!

And here is the amazing Helen who was best in show for her amazing flower arrangement!

Have a great Sunday!

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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Nibbly Creatures

Lots of nibbly creatures both on and off the allotment this week … here is the sweetcorn section where the middle is all but missing. Pigeons? Mice? Who knows. But we are not amused!

Sweetcorn

We also struggled with lettuce planting last week as the pigeons (or mice!) had had a good go at them before we even arrived at the allotment – you can just about see them here, still hanging on – just – at the bottom left of the really lovely lettuces (hurrah!):

Lettuces

Anyway, the beetroot section is doing well, and we even have one or two mangetouts lurking amongst the leaves, well gosh:

Beetroot

Mangetout

The autumn raspberries are growing well:

Autumn raspberries

And the flower crops are doing well too. We have the first of the lilies out:

Lilies

The carnations are still being totally amazing and I picked 128 of them – which is only about half of what I picked last week!

Carnations

The verbascum is still blooming:

Verbascum

And the sweet peas we thought were a goner near the shed have a sudden lease of life:

Sweet peas

Today, I planted the rest of the gladioli bulbs so that’s filled up a bed nicely. I also planted some coreopsis (which I picked flowers from before taking it to the allotment). They are a type called Golden Sphere:

Coreopsis Golden Sphere

Plus I thought I’d plant some annual flowers for the first time so here are four new pelargoniums – which again I picked before planting. I’m astonished about how beautiful the flowers are in a vase (see later) so will definitely do this again:

Pelargoniums

Here is the harvest of three mangetouts(!), verbascum, lilies and carnations:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home. The pelargonium flowers are on the right between the carnations and the verbascum – I think they’re gorgeous. And the coreopsis are on the left.

Vases 1

Vases 2

Have a lovely weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


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Sunflower Planting

Yes, it’s that time of year once more and we have planted some sunflowers. Here they are before and after we tied them to canes:

Sunflowers 1

Sunflowers 2

I also planted another 20 gladioli in 2 rows of ten. I really need some more for succession planting but I suspect I might be too late for this now! Anyway, here are some we planted earlier:

Gladioli

The lilies are also going for it so I gave them a good spray today so the dreaded lily-beetle can’t get in there:

Lilies 1

Lilies 2

We also have a few verbascums on their way but I won’t be picking them till at least next week:

Verbascum

Meanwhile, a few alliums have come up unexpectedly next to the lettuce – so a nice surprise there. I’m planning to take them up and plant at home later.

Lettuces and alliums

There are plenty of asparagus spears today so that’s Sunday lunch veg sorted.

Asparagus

The young beetroot plants are coming along too, and I have put slug pellets down to keep them safe.

Beetroot

The mangetouts have started to climb which is brilliant news:

Mangetouts

Not such great news with the sweet peas however – they’ve done nothing for a couple of weeks or so, sadly. So we have bought some more and hope to plant them elsewhere on the allotment to see if they do any better. It’s a shame really as for a couple of years the sweet peas did so well – I wonder if it’s because they don’t like the pine needle compost we’ve been using there … Something to ponder …

At least the potatoes look happy!

Potatoes

And here is the rhubarb which, again, isn’t doing brilliantly now but I still managed to get a few stalks for Sunday pudding.

Rhubarb

The spring onions and shallots are now putting on a growth spurt – but don’t ask me which is which in the photo as I’ve already forgotten what K told me! I think the shallots are the taller ones? But I could be wrong …

Spring onions and shallots

And the sweetcorn has survived one week already, hurrah!

Sweetcorn

I thought I’d also add in a view of the allotment so you can see how things are getting along as a whole:

Allotment View

Here is the tiny harvest of alliums, asparagus and rhubarb:

Harvest

And here is the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Sweetcorn revisited

We’re having another go at sweetcorn this year – it wasn’t very successful last year but we’re hopeful! Here’s hoping the squirrels don’t find it all first …

Sweetcorn

We’ve also planted two marrows and two pumpkins, and we’re hoping they might be big enough for the allotment show in August, so fingers crossed.

Marrows and pumpkins

There is more asparagus in the bed this week so that’s good news:

Asparagus

I did weed that bed after taking the shot – honest!… I also weeded the beetroots, though had to be a lot more careful there and did most of it by hand:

Beetroot

The lettuces and mangetouts are continuing to do well:

Lettuces

Mangetouts.JPG

Sadly, the sweet peas aren’t doing much, but it’s early days. As a total contrast, both sets of lilies are really getting tall now:


Oh, and the carnation mound is also looking good:

Carnations.JPG

And the gladioli are coming along:

Gladioli.JPG

The rhubarb is also okay and I managed to get a few stalks to add to the apple crumble I’m planning for tomorrow’s lunch:

Rhubarb

Here is our mini harvest for today, including the last two tulips, asparagus and one lone potato! I also remembered to harvest the rhubarb at the last minute, but it’s not in the shot today:

Harvest minus rhubarb

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books