The Allotment Wife


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Unexpected Daffodils in the Loading Area

My first visit to the allotment today since having my shoulder sling removed and the dressings off. As a result I’m able to use both arms a bit more, though I did take it easy – only hoeing with my good arm where possible. It will take a while to be properly workable again.

Anyway, the big surprise is that the daffodils are definitely showing through now, even though it’s still December – all this unusually warm weather is doing strange things to the seasons.

Daffodils

The leeks and daffodils in the other raised bed are also doing very well:

Leeks and daffodils

Not only that, but the chrysanthemums – which I assumed were annuals – appear to have a new lease of life, so goodness only knows what’s happening there …

Chrysanthemums

Anyway, I’ve weeded the beds and soft fruit area – one-handedly! – and tidied up the edge and paths of our plot. K pruned half the autumn raspberries, as my stepfather never ever prunes his autumn raspberries in spite of what all the gardening books tell you and he gets a HUGE crop each year – so we’re giving it a go in a half-and-half fashion.

Autumn raspberries

The blackcurrant bushes are looking good too and are already starting to produce buds:

Currants

Meanwhile the spinach is doing well, so we harvested that and some beetroot to keep us going through the week.

SpinachHarvest

Have a great week!

Anne Brooke Books

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Soggy allotment

Good news – my cold is better and my shoulder is pain-free enough to allow me a visit to the allotment today, hurrah! I managed to hoe gently and with the other hand as much as possible to clear out the weeds before winter – while K cut down the sunflowers and asparagus.

Asparagus and sunflowers

They’d been battered by the wind and rain, so were definitely due to go. Here is the allotment in the rain – we got so wet we had to change when we got back home!

Allotment in rain

Last week, while I was still ill, K planted some new autumn raspberries (red ones) and here they are in their new position:

New Autumn raspberries

And autumn is definitely having an effect on the blackcurrants which are now leaf-free virtually (all the better for hoeing, of course …).

Blackcurrants in autumn

Despite the season and the weather, our harvest consisted of a lot of chrysanthemums, some dahlias, one or two coreopsis and one geum (Mrs Bradshaw). On the vegetable front, K harvested runner beans for seed, and some sprouts for tomorrow’s lunch.

Harvest

Here are the flowers in their vases at home – great to have cut flowers in November, I must say!

Vases 1 Vases 2

Have a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


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A bumper crop of fruit and flowers

Ah now, this is what happens when I don’t go to the allotment for over a week because I’ve been sick – there’s a bumper crop! Thank goodness I’m well again, indeed. As you can see, everything is doing very well. We have cleome, dahlias, courgettes, coreopsis, echinacea, runner beans, sunflowers, sweet peas and a second flush of sweet williams, well gosh.

Cleome and Dahlias Cleome Coreopsis and courgettes Dahlias 1 Dahlias 2 Echinacea 1 Echinacea 2 Runner beans Sunflowers and runner beans Sunflowers Sweet peas Sweet Williams

In fact the runner beans are getting too big and stringy, so I harvested the smaller ones and put the others in the compost pile. I really HATE beans with strings in them – yuck! It’s very hard to spot the darn things too as they hide themselves within the leaves very cunningly. Meanwhile, the sunflowers are getting very tall, and I had to tie them in to the stakes at the top. The flowers are forming nicely, but no colour yet.

We have also harvested the blackcurrant bushes, which was great fun (with the juice all over my hands I looked like I might have killed someone!) and left the netting off so the birds can have the ones we’ve left. All in all, we’ve harvested 1.5 kilos (gosh!). Tonight, K has strained the juices so we can save them, and will make ice cream later, hurrah. We’ve also made ourselves a special kir royale with a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge (as you do …) and very nice it was as well. Definitely summer drinking.

Blackcurrants

On the left of the trug above you can also see some of the young perpetual spinach which is still coming back in the brassica beds – so that’s salad sorted!

Anyway, as I’ve been absent for a bit, the flowers have built up and I’ve managed to make seven vases (seven!) of today’s harvest. If I had to pay for seven vases of flowers, it would cost a fortune, so hurrah for the allotment flowers.

Seven vases 1 Seven Vases 2

And here’s the rest of our harvest, which includes potatoes, courgettes, onions and that lovely golden beetroot which is just fantastic – and so much easier to cook than the red beetroot:

Harvest 1 Harvest 2Golden beetroot

It’s great to be back at the allotment! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke


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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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The Allotment Working Party & BBQ

This Sunday, we’ve had the allotment working party and BBQ which has been hard work and great fun, all wrapped up together. We’ve thoroughly tided the plots and surrounding areas, and it’s looking good. K helped with the digging at various areas, and I tided round the perimeter and sorted some of the weeds out. Then it was time to party, hurrah! Great burgers, a fabulous cinnamon cake and wonderful company, so a pretty perfect day, all in all.

BBQ 1 BBQ2

Just after the party, we found out (thank you, HP!) that there were some plants going spare from one of the plot, so we grabbed a marrow and a courgette, and I have high hopes for these:

Marrow and courgette

During the week, we’ve also worked pretty hard too. K put up the fruit cage round the blackcurrants and redcurrants – though we’re leaving the autumn raspberries to fend for themselves, as the area is really too big. Here is the beginning of the cage, and its final state too:

Fruit cage beginnings Fruit cage

The rhubarb is back in full force (pun not deliberate!) and I have made a rhubarb crumble, and also a rhubarb and orange cake, which is really delicious, I must say – though tricky to cut as it’s quite moist.

RhubarbRhubarb and orange cake

I’ve also taken out some of the tulips for storing, and added in cosmos and asters for cutting, plus something else with a strange name that I can’t remember(!):

Cosmos, asters etc

There have also been a couple of harvests this week. The first is leeks, rhubarb and sweet williams:

Harvest 1

And the second harvest (today) is sweet williams, foxgloves, lilies, beetroot and one sweet pea (hurrah!):

Harvest 2

Here is the sweet pea in situ, and I’m thrilled they’ve started to flower so soon:

Sweetpeas

As a result of all these flowers, I’ve made up two vases this week, plus a number of bowls with flower heads of sweet williams and alliums. The first vase is sweet williams, foxgloves and one (ah bless!) geum:

Foxgloves, sweet williams and geum

And the second flower harvest is sweet williams and lilies:

Sweet williams and lilies

It’s been funny this week as someone on Facebook queried the fact that I was transporting foxgloves from the allotment to home, and of course they’re poisonous. I handle with care, naturally, but I’ve not noticed any increased heart rate or any other problems at all. However, in view of the fact that in the garden at home we grow monkshood and ricinus (the poisonous Castor Oil Plant), a few foxgloves here or there are probably not going to add any more danger to our gardening lives!

Happy Sunday, all!

Anne Brooke


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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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Unexpected tulips and allotment peace

Didn’t spend that long on the allotment today as there’s not a great deal to do at the moment. K and I cleared out the odd weed here and there, and I hoed over the soft fruit area as best I could. Today’s harvest was more of that glorious winter lettuce – which lasted all week from last Sunday when I picked some before and was as crisp as the end as it was at the beginning. Thank goodness for air-tight containers, eh! And we’ve also harvested the last of the carrots. Honestly, since growing carrots on the allotment, it’s the only time I’ve really enjoyed them, I can tell you – the joy of growing veggies for oneself, I think.

Unexpected news however – one of two of the tulips I planted a couple of weeks ago have started showing their shoots, oo-err, missus! I suspect they’re in for a shock once the winter really sets in but, as K says, they’re fairly hardy so should be okay. Heck, at least I know I’ve not killed them, yet …

I’ve also cut down the last of the coreopsis – not sure if it comes back next year or not, so have left it in for now. You never know. And I’ve also removed the last of the foxglove flowers as they’re really not going to do anything now. Hopefully they’ll give us a spring display however. Oh, and K cut a couple of blackcurrant stems and has now planted them in the veggie patch at home, hurrah.

The other great joy of the allotment is, I’ve found, simply being there and pottering around. It’s just so relaxing, and I don’t really have a great deal of opportunity to have any relaxing moments elsewhere, so I am seriously appreciating it.

Anne Brooke Books