The Allotment Wife


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Rhubarb City and Magical Asparagus

Goodness me but the asparagus has grown like a gazelle on speed this week. We’ve harvested a couple of the larger stalks and eaten them for starters tonight. One of them was utterly perfect, but the other was rather woody – so it looks as if we’ll have to harvest them more often to gain the benefit. We’ll have to stop harvesting by the end of May/beginning of June to allow them to set seed for next year though.

Asparagus

The spinach is also doing very well so I’ve picked some for eating during this week as well. But our crowning(!) glory is the rhubarb – we pulled out some of the stems today as you apparently have to pull them rather than cutting them, and I’m planning rhubarb crumble and custard tomorrow – bliss! Here are photos of the rhubarb and of our harvest today, together with one lone tulip:

Rhubarb Spinach, rhubarb, tulip and asparagus

Speaking of tulips, they’ve been pretty good so I’ve picked more for the house. They last about a week, which is fine really.

Tulips 1 Tulips 2

And the freesias are beginning to come up next to the lilies, which is very exciting.

Freesia and lilies

I’ve sprayed the lilies to avoid the dreaded lily beetle – arrgghh!! – a subject I’m used to as we have loads of lilies at home. K also did a hoe round and we trimmed the paths around the plot, so it looks a lot neater. We’re preparing ourselves for the Allotment Inspection on 7 May as we certainly don’t want to let the side down on Election Day! Ooh, and I’ve also planted some sunflower seeds – Russian Giants – in the runner bean bed and in one of the other spare beds, so I hope they come up.

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

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Tulips Galore

It’s the turn of the first tulips on the allotment this week to shine: here they are from bed to vase:

Tulips 2 TulipsTulips 3

I will have to get a shallower round-bottomed vase at some point fairly soon, as these tulips are quite short, but the ones coming up next to them look as if they will be even shorter – and I don’t want to drown them! The vase above actually came with an Interflora delivery a while back – we didn’t much like it so put the flowers in question in another vase. Now, however, it’s come into its own as it’s perfect for tulips, even though it’s an odd colour.

The Asiatic lilies are coming up well too, and I’ve sprayed Ultimate Bug Killer on them and the tulips too, plus K put slug pellets down, so we can try to avoid the nasties … Last week, I had to throw away three daffodils as they’d been chewed so badly, which was a shame.

Asiatic lilies

Meanwhile, in terms of veggies, the autumn raspberries and especially the rhubarb are coming on well:

Autumn raspberriesRhubarb

Some of the rhubarb we planted last year is also coming up, though we won’t be able to harvest it until next year. I’m rather worried about the asparagus bed though – not a single sign of life there at all, and surely the season for asparagus is May. What have I done to the poor things??? I really don’t know, but it’s a worry, as I love asparagus and was really looking forward to having a crop, sob! Oh well.

Anyway, in better news, the spinach and the winter lettuce look good:

SpinachWinter lettuce

K harvested some lettuce for the week’s meals, and we also did a hoe round, though we hand-weeded the autumn raspberries as best we could. Plans for the week are potting up the runner beans and seeing what might need planting from our stock.

Anne Brooke Books


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A rhubarb mountain

I picked another three daffodils during the week, one of them one of the larger variety, and they do look good in their vase in the dining room. This weekend, K is busy building the stage set for the village play so I went down to the allotment on my own this morning, and have spent about an hour and a half hoeing the beds and hand-weeding the autumn raspberries. The soft fruit area is doing pretty well, with blackcurrants and raspberries coming along.

Blackcurrants Raspberries

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is going for it and actually has leaves – so it’s a mountain! Well, almost, anyway …

Rhubarb

I also harvested some more winter lettuce which we can have during the week.

Winter Lettuce

The really exciting news – for a flower girl like me – is that there are more Asiatic lilies showing themselves now, and even one lone and very red-looking Astilbe, goodness me indeed!

Asiatic lilies Astilbe

I also met the Allotment treasurer and had a very fine chat about allotments, raspberries and the joys of travel, which was great fun!

Anne Brooke Books


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Asiatic lily and winter lettuce

I popped by the allotment during the week to pick some more daffodils for the house – only three ready, but there are a good number still to come, so we might have more later this week or next weekend.

Daffodil

We’ve also managed to finish off laying the edging to the bed in front of the shed, which is good news.

This weekend, there’s not really that much to do at the moment, but we did some weeding across the whole plot. K hoed and I hand-weeded the autumn raspberries to avoid damaging the roots. They’re coming along nicely, which is great.

Autumn raspberries

In other soft fruit news, the blackcurrant is surging ahead too:

Blackcurrant

We’re also pleased with how the winter lettuce has picked up now spring is almost here (hurrah!), so much so that I harvested some of the red leaves for the kitchen.

Winter lettuce

In more flower-related excitement, the tulips are doing well so far and the first of the Asiatic lilies has started to show itself.

Asiatic lily Tulips

Beyond that, we’d like to put in some more beetroot at some point, and of course we’ll need to build a fruit cage, but there’s time yet. Have a great and productive weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Daffodils: from earth to vase

A lovely morning spent on the allotment today as we both have a week off work, and the daffodils are now in bloom! Honestly, I was so delighted when I saw them that I could barely speak at all. I’m just so thrilled by it, and how wonderful they look too.

Allotment daffodils 1 Allotment daffodils 2 Allotment daffodils 3Allotment daffodils 4

The bulk of the morning was K putting down some really pretty edging donated to us by our neighbour around the new bed, and I think it looks very effective indeed.

New bed 1 New bed 2 New bed 3

We’ve planted two rows of mixed astilbe at one end so we have good cut flowers for later in the summer. They come in red, pink, lilac and white, so a good combination if everything survives.

Astilbe bed

I also planted 15 freesias, but have saved some for planting later so we can get a spread of cut flowers throughout the season – at least I hope we can! I’ve put them next to the three rows of asiatic lilies which are at the end – only the labels for now though …

Freesia bed

In terms of plants we can actually see (hurrah!), the tulips are growing apace so I’ve rolled back the netting away from the tallest so they don’t get tangled up in it. The Sweet Williams, spinach and winter lettuce are also doing well.

Spinach Sweet Williams Tulips Winter lettuce

K planted a bed of potatoes, and also a bed of onions which I managed to take a shot of before he covered them up, and he then laid sticks across the top to try to dissuade pests as we didn’t want to cut the netting on the tulips. I hope they survive!

Onion bed 1Onion bed 2

Last but by no means least, we have a couple of small rhubarb leaves now, which is grand.

Rhubarb 1

Whilst there, I did a gentle hoe round, but I kept it light as my neck has been giving me grief this week and I don’t want to make it any worse. I didn’t use the hoe around the autumn raspberries though, but just pulled weeds out by hand carefully as I don’t want to hurt the raspberry roots. We also had an excellent piece of advice from a fellow allotmenteer who kindly said that we didn’t need to put a cage round the raspberries as the birds don’t take that many – so we only need to cage round the currants and gooseberries etc which makes the task a lot easier when we do that – so thank you for that!

All in all, a very satisfying allotment session, and I can’t wait to see what’s grown next time we go!

Anne Brooke Books


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Asiatic lilies and the first raspberry shoots

Much excitement at the allotment today, as the rhubarb has grown and looks like it might even have a leaf or two, well gosh!

Rhubarb

Not only that but as I was weeding round the raspberries, I noticed that one or two of them actually have buds! Heavens above, whatever next, eh? Thank goodness Nature knows what she’s doing, as we’re just winging it …

Raspberry buds 1 Raspberry buds 2

In other soft fruit news, there are buds aplenty in the overwintered bushes, so that’s great too.

Soft fruit

Meanwhile, over in the cut flower beds, the first daffodils actually have their blooms, though they’re not out yet – but you can at least see the shape of them at the top, hurrah. And there are also more tulips showing themselves now, which is great – especially after last week’s squirrel disaster.

Daffodils Narcissi Tulips

And today, we had a delivery of 25 asiatic lilies so we’ve put them in the corner of the bed where the brassicas were last year – it may not look much now, but it’s all going on underneath the soil – honest!

Asiatic lily bed

Apart from that, I did the usual hoe round, helped by K who also dug through one of the new raised beds. Although we didn’t harvest anything today, it does feel as if Spring has truly begun.

Anne Brooke Books