The Allotment Wife


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The Allotment Show

Friday 17 August was a VERY important day for the village allotmenteers as it was the annual allotment show, which is a great deal of fun and a chance to see what everyone else is producing and have a chat about all things veg and floral, hurrah!

Here are photos of our preparation – we put in entries for flowers, courgettes, beetroot and beans.

We also tried to see what our potatoes and autumn raspberries were like but, sadly, none of these were show-worthy.

Here are pictures of the produce and prizes at the show itself:

1st courgettes2nd beetrootAnne at ShowApples 1Apples 2Beans 1Beans 2Beetroot 1Best in Show 1Best in Show 2Best in Show presentation 1Best in Show Presentation 2Best in Show Presentation 3Carrots 1Carrots 2Courgettes 1Flowers 1Flowers 2Flowers 3Flowers 4Flowers 5Largest potato 1Lettuce 1Lettuce 2Longest runner bean 1Longest runner bean 2Marrow 1Miscellaneous 1Miscellaneous 2Most Points 1Most Points 2Novelty 1Novelty carrotOnions 1Our prizesPauline Speech 1Potatoes 1Soft fruit 1Squashes 1Sweetcorn 1

Sadly our flowers and beans failed at the first hurdle, LOL, but we gained 1st price for our round yellow courgettes in the Courgette competition, and 2nd price for our beetroot, hurrah! Well done to Sue for gaining Best Entry for some wonderful beans, and to Don for winning the cup for most points.

Now we have a lot of soup to make with our entries!

Have a lovely weekend

Anne Brooke Books


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The Struggling Allotment

Great amusement at the allotment today as I turn up with my chin swathed in stitches and plaster, LOL! (Long story short: handbag, trip, hard kitchen floor, gash, blood, lovely neighbours, doctor with needlework skills, no anaesthetic (arrgh!!!), the walking wounded. Doctor’s advice – smaller handbags and kitchen carpet. He has a point, hey ho …). On the plus side, I did instantly get to the front of the queue in the surgery, I gave the youngest nurse her first real-life experience of facial stitching (ah, my work here is done …) and the scar should be a talking point in the future.

Never say I don’t know how to have a good time.

Anyway, to the allotment – it’s all a bit sparse, sadly, as we approach the Allotment Show this Friday, but hopefully most of us will be able to scrabble around for something decent to be judged. I took a couple of long view allotment photos:

The beetroot also looks a bit sad, though there is produce there. Just not as substantial as usual.

Beetroot

The same can be said of the French climbing beans – we didn’t harvest them today as we’ll save them for the show.

French climbing beans

On the other hand, the yacons (Peruvian ground apples) are looking good:

Yacons

And the autumn raspberries are out in abundance – even some red ones this year, which for some reason the birds haven’t taken yet!

Here are the dahlias and lilies, both of which are having a difficult time in this up and down weather at the moment, I think.

Still, at least we didn’t have to water the plot today, due to the heavy rain during the week and also more is forecast for tomorrow, hurrah. So there’s a minimal harvest this week – small but perfectly formed …

Harvest

Here are the vases:

Have a lovely weekend – and stay safe at home!!

Anne Brooke Books


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First Sunflower of the Season

Hurrah! We have the first allotment sunflower in bloom and I just love the colour.

Sunflower

The gladioli are doing well and don’t seem to be bothered by the dryness and heat.

Gladioli

The lilies are a bit slow, however, though perhaps I’m being too impatient. They’re going to have to get a move on if they’re going to have any blooms this year, though if the heat is going to last till November, which I heard on the news last week(!), then maybe I don’t have to worry …

Lilies

The French climbing beans continue to give a good and tasty crop. I do love topping and tailing them at home, as the noise of the snap is just perfect – like snapping a nice crisp Kitkat in half, LOL! Hmm, how weird does that sound …

French climbing beans

The autumn raspberries are starting to crop very early now – and yes, they are supposed to be yellow. We’ll leave it before harvesting any though – as the birds never take them as they don’t respond to the colour.

Here is the harvest, which includes a few mangetouts, the French climbing beans, beetroot, courgettes (spaceships!), potatoes, and flowers.

Harvest

Here are the flowers at home – the gladioli have been a party venue for the allotment ants all summer and today has been particularly bad. I now spray the flowers before we leave the allotment, sort them into the vase outside (to avoid ants in the house), spray them again, leave them a while and only then do I bring them inside. A bit of a palaver, but they’re worth it.

Vase

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Needing the rain!

The allotment is still needing the rain, though we did have some yesterday. Apparently, we should be getting rain all day tomorrow (hurrah!) so that will be wonderful if it happens. Nonetheless, the autumn raspberries are looking the saddest and driest I’ve ever seen them, so I hope they can hang on until tomorrow …

Anyway, in better news, the French climbing beans have even more crops than last week – it’s strange how they look so sparse, with hardly any leaves to speak of, and yet we keep getting those lovely beans from them.

Speaking of plants drying up, the sweet peas are nearing the end, but are still producing some flowers which is great.

Sweet peas

The dahlias and gladioli are still going strong.

And the sunflowers are getting taller!

Sunflower

Here is this week’s harvest – which doesn’t include another white courgette, as I put it in the trug just as we were leaving:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Dry Allotment

Very dry this week at the allotment. But the plants are bravely struggling on, go them!

Here is the beetroot, still producing a crop in these difficult times:

Beetroot

And the courgettes of course just won’t stop, LOL.

The gladioli are also doing well.

However, the sweet peas are really on their way out now, and I nipped off quite a lot of peas this week just to encourage them to flower a little bit longer.

Sweet peas

The sunflowers are growing and one of them even has a flower head, hurrah.

Sunflower

Meanwhile, the scented lilies are on their way, just …

Lilies

Here is this week’s harvest:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Multicoloured Vegetables Galore

Yesterday, we decided to go to the allotment in the evening so we could water things more successfully, which worked out well as the site in this heat is much more bearable then. This week, our lovely multicoloured vegetables have been out in full force – though to be honest we’d forgotten we’d chosen the ones in mixed colours, but they’re simply amazing. Here are the climbing French beans – they’re purple, yellow and green, though to my eye the purple ones are so dark they’re black:

French climbing beans 2

Not to be outdone, our round courgettes apparently come in green, white and yellow and we have an enormous glut of them! Possibly time for K to make more courgette soup to see us through the winter …

Courgettes 3

Here are some of the courgettes and climbing beans on the plants:

Meanwhile, the first of the gladioli are in flower, double hurrah! The pale orange one is called Princess Margaret and I really love it.

The dahlias are also doing well:

Dahlias

Here is the harvest:

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Blackcurrant Bonanza

The blackcurrant bushes at the allotment have gone crazy in this last week and we had to visit the allotment yesterday twice as we ran out of containers to put them in! We’ll probably have to go back today (Sunday) as well as they are still lots more to pick, with lots more still to ripen. Gosh indeed. That’s a heck of a lot of home-made blackcurrant ice cream for K to make, hurrah! Ooh, and blackcurrant gin – K is going to make that too, double hurrahs.

Extra blackcurrants

Meanwhile, the beetroot are getting larger and the courgettes are cropping well:

The French climbing beans have reached the top of their poles and have started to produce actual beans – they’re a funny yellow colour but easy to pick.

And the mangetout mountain continues, though the onions are far slower to get into their stride.

And here, in all its glory, is the asparagus forest …

Asparagus forest

Turning to flowers, K and I bought some asiatic (scented) lilies and some alstroemerias at Hampton Court Flower Show last week, and have put these in the allotment for cut flowers. Apparently the lilies will flower this year, and have certainly started to sprout.

The coreopsis is looking lovely and the dahlias seem happy too – I keep spraying these so no sign of the dreaded blackfly yet.

The sweet peas are going well too, though I’ve had to start searching for and removing the ‘peas’ where they’ve gone over, as I want them to keep flowering for as long as possible.

Sweet peas

In exciting news, the first of the gladioli are about to flower and one of them is definitely going to be orange – so thrilled as I LOVE gladioli and they are always brilliant in vases:

Here is the harvest. As you can see, we cropped the one gooseberry (the light red berry in the right hand pot) the birds left us, LOL – but then in the evening I found a second one so we ate one each! Much sweeter than shop-bought gooseberries, but still with that essential kick at the end.

Harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Have a very good Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Lilies Galore and Early Dahlias

Jolly hot on the allotment today, and tremendously dry and dusty too. Honestly, in some of the raised beds, it’s so dry I can’t even use the hoe … K will visit again later tonight to do some proper watering. Anyway, the lilies have now reached their peak and are looking fabulous.

Lilies

The sweet peas are also looking good.

Sweet peas

The dahlia flowers are also out very early this year (they usually start in July, though of course it’s nearly that now) which I imagine is entirely due to the current heatwave.

Dahlias

And the first of our sunflower seeds has sprouted, hurrah

Sunflower

We left the asparagus to make its usual post-harvest forest last week, and it’s well on the way there now …

Asparagus forest

The French climbing beans are finally in flower, though there isn’t much leaf to them – possibly because of the weather? I gather other allotmenteers are having trouble with their runner beans, though we’ve not grown those this year (too many strings).

French climbing beans

However, the mangetouts are producing enough crops to feed the five thousand and some!

And the courgettes are looking very promising indeed.

Courgettes

Here is the harvest of mangetouts (so many!) and flowers.

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Lily Heaven and Cabbage Crisis

The lilies are just amazing at the allotment this week. I’m cutting them differently this year – in the past, I’ve waited for a fair amount to come out before I’ve harvested them, but now if one is in flower and the rest on a stem are in bud, I take them anyway, as I’ve discovered they will come into flower at home, no problem.

Lilies

The carnations are also doing well, although the cosmos is struggling a bit, sigh. The ones we have at home are doing much better, I don’t know why.

We’re also pleased with the sweet peas (Spencer Mixed – always very reliable).

Sweet peas

In other good news, we have our first chrysanthemum in bloom, with more to come, hurrah!

Chrysanthemum

And the first of the dahlias are in bloom – covered in blackfly as ever, groan, but I am spraying like crazy and killing the pesky beasts off.

In vegetable corner, the news isn’t so good. You may remember all those lovely new cabbage plants I put in last week and then covered with ‘slug doom’ – here they are (or rather here they aren’t …) this week, so maybe the slugs are beginning to get a taste for their poison, sob …

Cabbage gone

In the same bed, the leeks aren’t doing very well either, so I have de-slugged and sprayed the whole bed. Will wait and see what happens next week, but I fear the worst …

Leeks struggling

However, the courgettes and beetroot are forging ahead, and the courgettes even have tiny produce on them, so maybe there’ll be a harvest very soon.

Meanwhile, the mangetouts have given us a huge harvest this week, so that’s brilliant – we love mangetouts – no strings, hurrah! How we hate strings …

Mangetouts

The soft fruit area is doing well – though we suspect that by the time the loganberries are actually ripe, the birds will have taken them, LOL! (That’s how we know they’re ripe …). Also in the caged fruit area, the gooseberry bush that the birds stripped a few weeks ago has produced one more gooseberry – just enough for a tiny but perfectly formed gooseberry crumble!…

Here is the harvest of mangetouts and flowers. There were also some blackcurrants and redcurrants but they’re out of shot.

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Have a wonderfully sunny Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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That Mangetout Moment

Pretty tricky on the allotment for me today, as my left eye was in quite a lot of pain due to the pesky pollen, arrgghhh! Still, I kept it closed, wore my sunglasses, and staggered around the plot in a Cyclops kind of fashion. Not a good look … Anyway, the better news is that the first of the mangetouts is here, hurrah. A very exciting moment indeed!

Mangetouts

Not only that, but the French climbing beans have finally worked out how to climb up their poles, phew …

French climbing beans

The beetroot and courgettes are going for it too, I’m pleased to say:

In the world of flowers, we have the two carnation plants in bloom, and the smell of cloves they have is simply wonderful.

The lilies also look gorgeous and even the dahlias are now in bud, well gosh.

Meanwhile, the cosmos plants look rather pale, but the flowers are okay so far.

Cosmos

And look at our sweet peas – they’re amazing!!

Sweet peas

However, the verbascum is now on the way out but still just about in flower …

Verbascum

During the week, K bought some extra netting so he has built a fruit cage round the currant bushes (the autumn raspberries are okay without a net as they’re yellow and the birds ignore them). We didn’t have quite enough pins to hold the netting down at the bottom though, so have used large stones from around the plot.

Fruit cage

Here is the harvest trug (which includes the asparagus as well):

Harvest

And here are the vases at home:

The moment we arrived home, I rushed upstairs and lay down for ten minutes with camomile tea bags on my eyes (which ALWAYS does the trick, thank goodness) and all in Hay Fever Eyes world is now good.

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books