The Allotment Wife


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Astilbe mountain and a sneaky tayberry

We decided to move the eight astilbes from the allotment today and plant them up in a suitable corner at home. They’ve not been very good cut flowers but will look lovely in the borders, I think. Always nice to have autumn colour in the garden, though of course they’ve been blooming since summer.

Astilbes

Not so many flowers to collect this week, but K has harvested some more Sarpo potatoes (great for being blight resistant but the taste is rubbish – so good for a general vegetable soup!), and the courgettes are doing well.

Harvest

We also harvested more autumn raspberries to add to tomorrow’s apple crumble and – as you can see above – we discovered a couple of tayberries we forgot we planted! Didn’t think they’d crop this year, but it’s nice to see a flash of red amongst the gold in the soft fruit patch. They’re quite sharp but will be brilliant in pudding.

And also, much to our surprise, a couple of late sunflowers have just bloomed, which is wonderful. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo, but will try to remember next time.

We’ve also taken 100 daffodil bulbs down to the allotment to join the others that are already there from earlier this year, but need to think which beds to put them in. There’s space in the astilbe area now!

Anne Brooke Books

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Cleome claws and odd apples

We found a Yacon (or Peruvian ground apple) in the garden centre this week – it’s a type of squash which is apparently tasty and low in calories, so we’ve planted it and we’ll see how it goes. It’s certainly a statement plant, though what exactly it’s trying to say is anyone’s guess.

Peruvian ground apple or yacon

This week, we’ve also composted more green garden waste, which the compost bin is eating away nicely, and I’ve done my usual hoe round to keep the weeds down. Earlier in the week, K brought back some potatoes, the first of the runner beans (hurrah!) and the rest of the stunted carrots.

Potatoes, carrots and runner beans

He also picked the first of the blackcurrants, and has made ice-cream, which is utterly fantastic, I must say. It’s odd how we’d never buy blackcurrant ice-cream in the supermarket (because it tastes so bland …) but the home-made stuff is just brilliant.

Blackcurrants

Meanwhile the courgette is coming along nicely, though I didn’t bother picking any more rhubarb as it started to rain quite heavily.

Courgette

On the flower front, we have sweet peas and cornflowers doing well, plus a good harvest of cleome – which has thorns!! Who knew?!? – gaura, astilbe, scabious and coreopsis.

Sweet peasCornflowersHarvest

Here are the flowers at home in their final places. I didn’t bother with the dahlias this time as they only last one day, tops, so there’s no point picking them!

Vase 2 Vase 3 Vases 1

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke


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Big beans and geum joy

Much to our amazement, our runner beans – planted just last week – have grown, well gosh! They’re even starting to twist themselves around the poles, which is great.

Runner Beans

And the asparagus plant we’re leaving until next year is going to seed now, which is what is supposed to happen so that’s astonishing too. It’s a lot taller than I thought it would be though. Mind you, I still managed to harvest two asparagus tips, so we’ll have those as a starter tonight.

Asparagus

Nothing much happening in our spinach bed, however, although we’re now thinking of getting rid of half of it (as there are only two of us and there’s a limit to how much spinach two people can eat!) and planting the other half elsewhere. That way, we can use that whole bed for Brussels sprouts – which of course one can never – ever – have too many of …

In Flower News, the geum is now in bloom and is far bigger than the geums we have at home (which are Mrs. Bradshaw and Tangerine Dream, I think) – if only I could remember what type the allotment geum is, I would definitely get it for the geum corner at home. In the meantime, I have cut it for the house as it’s just so beautiful.

Geums

And the Sweet Williams are getting ready to strut their stuff as well, hurrah. Interesting, the astilbe also looks like it might do something soon, but I thought it was supposed to be an autumn plant. Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Astilbe Sweet Williams

We’re also carrying on washing the stones our kind allotment neighbours are leaving us (for which thank you!) and putting them across our marked out paths when they’re clean. It’ll take a while, but it’s looking good.

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Anne Brooke Books


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More Sweet Peas and an Asparagus Mystery

This week, K and I have tidied up the messy area next to the shed and planted some more sweet peas that we’ve been growing in the little plastic greenhouse at home. We’re really pleased with the result, and think the rest of the area could be given over to a path next to the raised bed and some pots, maybe. Perhaps even some tumbling tomatoes in pots, which might look good.

Sweet peas

The good thing is that I could use some of the stones from this area to lay on one of our strips of lining to form a path, or rather more of a path. Over in the asparagus bed, things are growing well and we’ve harvested more asparagus today, which has been totally delicious. However, we know that there are two new plants in the bed and we’re not supposed to harvest those in the first year – the trouble is we can’t remember which they are so we’re relying on a bit of guesswork and a lot of prayer.

Asparagus

There’s good news about our potatoes as well – post our frost moment, the new earthing-up seems to have done the trick and they’re happily growing back, hurrah.

Potatoes

While K was digging out the bed for the new sweet peas, I spent some time hand-weeding the soft fruit area, and between the paths too, just to keep things vaguely under control. The soft fruit is looking pretty good, so that’s exciting.

Soft fruit 1 Soft fruit 2

Here’s a picture of this week’s harvest (asparagus, rhubarb and spinach):

Harvest

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is truly the gift that just keeps on giving, though it is getting rather chewed up by slugs (or something), no matter how much Slug Doom I scatter over them. However, this week’s crop has done us proud as presents for a friend and a lovely rhubarb and ginger crumble with cream for lunch today, bliss. Plus K made a lovely spinach soup with cream and leeks (shop-bought, oh the horror …) which was totally amazing – definitely must do that again!

Rhubarb

And in the cut flower beds, the astilbe is coming along, the sweet williams are thinking about being in bloom and – best of all – the sunflower seeds (Russian Giant) are starting to sprout, so it really feels as if summer is just around the corner.

Astilbe Sweet Williams

Sunflowers

And I’m happy with how the lilies are – I keep spraying them, so no lily beetle (yikes!) as yet …

Lilies

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke


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An asparagus miracle

Great excitement on the allotment this week as finally (finally!!) the asparagus is starting to grow!

Asparagus

You can just about see the little stems poking their heads above the ground – honestly, I got really choked up when I saw them. I love asparagus, so maybe there’ll be a crop after all. Anyway, the allotment itself is looking grand in the sunshine:

Allotment

And the astilbe, lilies, sweet williams and tulips are looking gorgeous:

Astilbe Lilies Sweet Williams Tulips 6

The tulips have now been harvested and put in vases at home. I do so love having flowers in the house, and it’s even more special when I’ve grown them myself:

Tulips in vase 1 Tulips in vase 2

On the veggie front, K has put up some bean poles, and planted some carrots and lettuce (as well as more potatoes):

Bean poles Carrots Lettuce

Meanwhile, the onions, rhubarb and spinach are looking good:

Onions Rhubarb 2 Spinach

As usual, I did a hoe round, and hand-weeded the soft fruit area, while K watered everything as the soil is rather dry at the moment. I also planted some dahlias I discovered when I was clearing out the kitchen – we’d completely forgotten we had them so that was a nice surprise!

Anne Brooke Books


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The onset of Spring

Earlier in the week, I harvested quite a few daffodils from the allotment, plus three or four more this weekend. Here they are from allotment to vase!

Daffodils at allotment 1 Daffodils at allotment 2

Daffodils at home

Such happy flowers, I always think. Meanwhile, the tulips and astilbe are on their way, with the tulips now having buds, which is great:

Astilbe Tulips

Anyway, today, while I hoed round, K added chicken pellet manure to the bed where we plan to plant the beans, as they’re hungry critters, we’re told. We also have plans to trail some sweet peas up the side of the shed, but we need taller poles than were in the garden centre this morning, so will need to get them later.

Meanwhile, the rhubarb, spinach and winter lettuce are doing well:

Rhubarb Spinach Winter lettuce

And in the fruit area, the autumn raspberries and blackcurrant are coming along. Yesterday, my stepfather told me that he never cuts back his autumn raspberries but just gets rid of the dead wood and leaves them. So next year we might experiment with half cut back and half not, and see how things go.

Autumn raspberries Blackcurrant

Happy Easter to you all!

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