The Allotment Wife

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A Second Spring?

Post the Allotment Show, we’ve done a good tidy round and weeding on the allotment today. The sunflowers are still looking happy and – amazingly! – we have a foxglove in bloom. Hmm, must be really confused then!

Foxglove in bloom Sunflower

Whilst there, I planted some more foxgloves in the space where the scabious used to be as it wasn’t doing very much. I’m hoping these foxgloves will be ready for spring, but who knows!


K also moves some perpetual spinach from the brassica bed and gave it its own kingdom where the potatoes were:

Perpetual spinach

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are doing wonderfully and they now have orange berries, gosh! How many of those we’ll lose to the birds has yet to be seen though …

Autumn raspberries 1 Autumn raspberries 2

Today, K dug the rest of the onions up, and we harvested runner beans, one small courgette, dahlias, sweet peas (though they’re almost over now), cosmos, cornflowers, coreopsis, geums, and that one foxglove:

Harvest Onion harvest

Here are the flowers at home:


Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

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Brassica Plans and an Onion Mistake

This week, we’re getting nearer to planting out two new beds of Brussels sprouts, so I have taken out the last of the tulips to clear a second bed and stored them for next year. In the meantime, K has prepared the first bed – cleared last weekend – for the incoming sprouts.

Brassica bed in preparation

We’re also pleased to see that the potatoes are starting to have flowers – which I think means that the actual crop might be ready soon – we live in hope!


On the flower front, I’ve pruned the chrysanthemums and dahlias (dahlia pruning being a tip from Monty Don on last night’s Gardeners’ World) in order to make them bushier rather than too straggly, but I’ve left the ones with buds already on them. Will wait and see results … The cleome are now in bloom too, which is nice.


K has also given the sweetpeas more string to climb up and woven them through so they’re not flopping about quite so much. We’ve also added a lot more to our compost bin, which looks to be coming on nicely now. But I think we have moles next to the raspberry patch – oh the horror! I found three mole hills, which I have kicked away and will hope they get the hint …

Our harvest today was two lettuces, garlic, one onion (mea culpa – I thought it was garlic so had already dug it up by the time K stopped me! Well, they all look similar to me, you know …!), beetroot, lilies, sweet williams and sweetpeas:


So, it should be enough to keep us going for a while. Here are the flowers in vases, which I’ve put throughout the house:

Alliums and sweet peas in vase Lilies and sweet peas in vase Sweet Williams in vase

And tomorrow is my birthday (hurrah!) so I’m planning a day of celebration. Happy weekend to all!

Anne Brooke

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More mulching and a brassica clear-out

I think we’ve done good work on the allotment today. Mulching was our main aim so we’ve put on 5 more bags and done the main chunk of the soft fruit beds, plus around the more mature bushes where the weeds were worst. I think it looks quite respectable now:

Soft fruit bed 1 Soft fruit bed 2 Soft fruit bed 3 Soft fruit bed 4 Soft fruit bed 5

I also did a quick hoe round the rest of the plot and the raised beds, but there wasn’t a lot to do, to be honest. K and I then cleared out the brassica bed, and put the remains of the plants onto the compost heap, so there’s more green stuff on there now which is good. We’ll leave the hoops in the brassica bed for now, as we may as well. Not sure yet what we’re going to replace the brassicas with, but we’ll think of something!

Brassica Bed 1 Brassica Bed 2

Meanwhile, in the raised beds, the narcissi are coming up, though sadly the stocks I planted with them seem to have died a death. No idea why. All the stocks I put in at home have all died too, so I really don’t know what to do about them. Will they come back again? Are they just resting? Who knows … If I don’t see anything else there by February I’ll probably crack and get something else to go in there, but will have to see.

Narcissi 1

However, the sweet williams are going great guns, hurrah! So hope to have lots of lovely flowers to cut from them later on.

Sweet Williams

Finally, today’s harvest of leeks and winter lettuce is small, but perfectly formed. Ideal for Sunday lunch, hurrah!

Leeks and winter lettuce

Anne Brooke Books
Dryathlon 2015: Please give generously to Cancer Research UK during January!

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A Christmas harvest

K at work today, so I’ve popped down to the allotment to harvest our Christmas dinner – or the veggie parts of it anyway! So here are our lovely sprouts (I LOVE sprouts!) and some cabbage:

Sprouts and cabbage 1 Sprouts and cabbage 2

I had to take the loppers as the stems are so thick, but I love the loppers (ah, that feeling of existential power, eh …) so no problem there. And there’s more to come from the brassica bed too, so that’s good news:

Brassica bed 1 Brassica bed 2

The only problem I had was having to peel back the netting to get at the little treasures. If I’d had any sense, I would have taken the plastic pins fully out first before peeling it off, but I didn’t think of that, so had to spend some time extricating them from the net where they were still attached when I was putting them back. I shall remember for next time! For now, I think it’s just about okay from any predators.

Happy Christmas to all our Allotmenteers and to everyone else too!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary’s Life and How to Survive It

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Preparing for Christmas

K and I spent about an hour on the allotment today – he raked the leaves from the soft fruit area and I tried to hoe everything in sight without damaging anything – it’s particularly exhausting on the soft fruit bed as there are just so many weeds. Still, I think it’s looking a bit better after we had a go at it, and I think most of the autumn raspberry roots are still intact – I hope!

K also completed one of the two raised beds he was working on last week though the second one still needs more soil at some point. Oh and the brassica bed is looking grand – there are going to be loads of sprouts for Christmas so that’s brilliant as I LOVE sprouts and can never have too many. My plan is to go to the allotment on Wednesday as I’m off work now and harvest two of the four sprout plants and one of the cabbages. The sprouts are F1 so we gather they all grow at the same rate – so I’ll need to remember to take the loppers as the stems are quite thick.

Am hugely looking forward to that for sure! In the meantime, I’ve harvested some more of the winter lettuce which should last us a few days, hurrah.

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary’s Life and How to Survive It

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Autumn harvest

A stint of weeding at the allotment today, and a good lot of harvest too. We took home foxgloves and penstemon for cut flowers, and beetroot, spinach, carrots and winter salads for eating during the week. It’s amazing that since cutting down some of the spinach last week, we now have fresh new leaves, hurrah.

Plus I have pruned the asparagus bed so it now looks pretty bare apart from the end of the stems nestling in the soil. Oh, and there are small Brussels sprouts starting their life journey on our brassicas, goodness me!

19 Oct Asparagus pruned 19 Oct beetroot 19 Oct Brassicas 19 Oct carrots 19 Oct Foxgloves 19 Oct harvest 19 Oct lettuce 19 Oct Nasturtiums 19 Oct Spinach 19 Oct verbena 19 Oct winter salads

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

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Harvest and preparing for spring

At the allotment today planting spring bulbs for cutting flowers next year. It just saves having to take them out of the garden where they look so pretty – so we’ve decided to give over a couple of allotment beds to the cut flowers concept. We’ve planted 40 daffodils in the begonia and verbena bed, and also another set of daffodils in a spare corner elsewhere, plus alliums and also some garlic cloves. Well, it keeps the evil nibblers at bay, so they tell us!

Also did a good weed and tidy up while we were there – as well as having the pleasure of finally actually meeting Jackie, the lady whose plot we’re taking over. It was great to chat and also to find out that she might be leaving some of her glorious soft fruit bushes when she goes at the end of the year, so that would be wonderful, as we’re very keen on the soft fruit possibilities.

Plus we’ve harvested leeks, beetroot, carrots and one pea pod(!), so that should keep us going for a few days, hurrah. Strangely, however, we have a few cauliflowers in the brassica bed, but they really shouldn’t be there till spring! Suspect we’ll have to take them out and throw them away as I don’t think they look too tasty … Finally, the nasturtiums are doing very well indeed, as you can see in the pics – and there’s yet another foxglove or two, and even a penstemon, which I’ve picked for the vase at home.

Begonia Foxgloves Harvest Nasturtiums

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

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A small harvest

Having been ill for about 3 weeks, I’m now well enough today to venture to the allotment to see what’s going on. Goodness, how things have grown. K and I did the weeding, though with the weather there’s no need to water. In fact, it was raining while we were there.

And we have a small harvest of French beans, goodness me! Our first harvest of the vegetables we’ve actually planted. Not only that but the carrots, potatoes and marigolds are all doing very well, and the nasturtiums are starting to show themselves too, which is grand. The slug pellets are working (hurrah!) and we’ve put more down today.

We didn’t stay long as I’m getting quite tired, but it was great to be out there again. I do enjoy it.

Allotment 1 Brassicas Carrots French beans and leaks French beans, marigolds, leaks, carrots French Beans Nasturtiums Potatoes Sunflowers

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

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Brassica bed and the weed slaying cushion

A morning working on the allotment today. At first, I did some gentle weeding and watering while K got on with tidying the outskirts of the plot and pulling up the larger weeds. We then planted out the penultimate couple of beds – one with nasturtium seeds (Milkmaid – which is a climber/trailer) and one with brassicas, including kale, cabbage and cauliflower. Hence the need for a polytunnel.

Brassica bed 1 Brassica bed 2 Brassica bed 3

Notice the lovely Weed Slaying Cushion (AKA a very handy kneeler) that my lovely friend L got me for my 50th birthday – thank you, L! Much appreciated. I fully intend to beat the weeds to death with it at every opportunity.

Oh and for the first time ever I actually used a peg and twine method for planting the nasturtium seeds, which I’ve not done before. It’s great – so much easier than me guessing on the straightness of the line! Will definitely do that again.

Before heading home for lunch, I also managed to dig up and de-weed most of the area around the shed, though I think I got rather too carried away and my shoulder now hurts, hey ho. I’ve put a job-lot of Deep Heat on it and will be rather more sensible next time …

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy