The Allotment Wife


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Gooseberry Pruning

I was on my own today at the allotment as K is busy building the stage for the village play which is next week. So I went prepared as last night on Gardener’s World, the great Monty Don told us to prune our gooseberries to get rid of some of the inner twigs so this is what I’ve done. Apparently it helps prevent gooseberry sawfly but we’ll have to see. It’s certainly a task that needs thick gloves as the stems are so prickly.

Gooseberry

Continuing the pruning theme, our oldest rhubarb has got a lot bigger, but there are more flowers on it so I cut those off to encourage stem growth. The leaves are looking good though.

Rhubarb

There is also some new growth in the chrysanthemum and dahlia area, so that’s exciting!

New growth

Not so many flowers to gather this week, though there are more daffodils and tulips to come. Maybe the heat has put them off or something?

Daffodils 1

Daffodils 2

Tulips

Meanwhile, the lilies are getting there, at least in terms of foliage. I’ve not sprayed them yet though but will start when they’re a bit taller:

Lilies

Whilst there, I did a hoe through, particularly in the soft fruit area where the weeds are sneaking up, and also trimmed our plot edges with the shears so it all looks a lot neater.

Here is this week’s harvest of narcissi and tulips:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home – the little narcissi have an amazing scent! Interestingly, last week’s daffodils have all gone, but the tulips from last week are still going strong which is great!

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a lovely April weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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The Composting Queen

This week, K has mulched the bed with the dahlias in – there’s honestly nothing nicer than a newly mulched flower bed!

mulching

And I am having great fun making new compost from this and last week’s pruning:

compost

It may not look like much now, but in a while it will be worth its weight in gold, I can tell you!

Anyway, I cut back the rest of the chrysanthemums as they’re all over now, and so our only harvest is lettuce, LOL!

harvest

At this rate, we’ll be having lettuce for Christmas lunch too – it’s the healthy option for sure.

Anne Brooke Books

 

 


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Farewell to Courgettes

The great allotment autumn cull these week. We’ve cut down the courgettes and the asparagus, which really neatens up the plot. Here’s the courgettes before and after – it’s done us proud in terms of cropping so we’ll definitely get the same (El Greco) again. NB Apologies for the quality of some of these pics – my camera phone was having ‘a moment’!

courgette-1

 

courgette-2

I’m sure the courgette skeleton is some kind of alien – or at the very least a baby crocodile! Here’s the asparagus before being cut down too:

asparagus

We chopped up both the courgette and the asparagus for the compost. Chopping the courgette is strangely tuneful as the stems are hollow (weird!) and so start off giving out a bass tone as you begin cutting them, and then end up quite tenor as the stem gets smaller. I’m sure if K and I could make a record of this, it would be a hit, you know!

The lettuce is also doing well and so we harvested some of that to last us through the week:

lettuce

The chrysanthemums and dahlias are also looking amazing and benefitting from the mild weather at the moment. We particularly love that burnt orange colour of some of the chrysanthemums so hope we’re able to get more for next year – this lot were mixed, so no guarantees.

chrysanthemums-1

Here is this week’s harvest, which includes chrysanthemums, dahlias, marigolds, coreopsis, beetroot and lettuce.

harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

vase-1

vase-2

vase-3

vase-4

vase-5

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Luscious Lettuce

This week, it’s the turn of the lettuce to shine in Allotment World, and how glorious it’s all looking:

lettuce-1

lettuce-2

I do always feel so pleased when the winter lettuce is in full spate – such a happy plant. Not to say the dahlias aren’t still doing their thing as they most definitely are and there are more buds on the plants to come, hurrah!

dahlias-1

dahlias-2

The chrysanthemums are also really gorgeous right now and the joy is they last so long in the vase – almost two weeks in most cases! Another lovely autumn flower.

chrysanthemums

I also harvested one small courgette, a scattering of beetroot and one or two spare potatoes that were lying around trying to look innocent – ha! It doesn’t work with me, LOL! Added to the harvest were the lettuce, marigolds, dahlias, chrysanthemums and one echinacea that sadly didn’t last the journey, oh well.

harvest-1

harvest-2

Here are the flowers at home:

vase-1

vase-2

vase-3

vase-4

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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I Love Manure!

We were lucky enough to have 20 bags of manure delivered directly to our plot this week – courtesy of the lovely P (thank you!) – and K has been getting some of it onto the beds today while I did hoeing and plot tidying elsewhere on site. I really love manure – it makes everything look so rich and lush, and I find the smell weirdly exciting – don’t tell me that’s just me, LOL!

manure-3

manure-1

manure-2

manure-4

How can anyone resist that glorious earthy brown?…

Meanwhile the asters and dahlias continue to do well, and if our luck’s in, we might even get flowers in November – I do hope so.

asters

dahlias

And the chrysanthemums are on their way – I really love this pink flower:

chryanthemums-1

K dug up half the remaining potatoes today so that should keep us going for a while!

potatoes

And the harvest includes autumn raspberries, courgettes (still growing!), beetroot, lettuce, alongside asters, chrysanthemums, one crocosmia, coreopsis, dahlias and marigolds.

harvest

Here are the vases at home:

vase-1

vases-2

vases-3

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Lettuces and daffodils

Not too much hoeing to do at the allotment today as we’re now into autumn which is lovely news, even though that means no more summer flowers, sob! Still the autumn flowers are doing well. Here are the dahlias, still going strong:

dahlias

And our first chrysanthemum is now in bloom, with more to come:

chrysanthemum

We also have an assortment of flowers coming up, such as dianthus and asters and something else I’m not sure about but it looks as if it will be good, LOL!

allotment-flowers

allotment-shrub

I also planted some more daffodils for spring, but there are more left to plant, so will try to find a space for them next week.

daffodil-bulbs

While we were there, K took down the sweet peas, and I also need to think about removing the gaura and crocosmia at some point – which I hope to find space for in the garden at home – somewhere!

The plot has also gone lettuce-crazy with three separate crops really going for it, hurrah!

lettuce-1

lettuce-2

lettuce-3

Here is this week’s harvest, which includes autumn raspberries (all of which I have just used to make raspberry & chocolate brownies, yum!), courgettes, beetroot, onions, coreopsis, dahlias, asters, echinacea and marigolds.

harvest

We’ve taken a few courgettes, beetroot and onions to the URC this morning as it’s their harvest festival tomorrow. so all in a good cause, hurrah.

Here are the vases at home:

vase-1

vase-2

And tomorrow it’s the allotment working party & bbq, so I hope everyone has a great time at that! K will be going but I’m working at the university tomorrow helping new students arriving on campus – welcome to all! It’s that time of year again – hasn’t it gone quickly …!

Have a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books

 

 


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It’s (nearly) Showtime!

There are five days to go (not that we’re counting …) to the big Allotment Show which takes place this coming Friday, so the allotment folks are becoming quietly focused. Or it’s contained panic – but it comes to the same thing, LOL!

As a result, we haven’t taken any flowers for the house today – except for a few sweet peas – as I’m keen to put some flowers into the show so want to see how everything is doing Thursday night. However, I have cut down half of the gaura as they’re starting to be a bit of a nuisance even though the bees love them. They’re trailing through the dahlias so I can’t see what’s going on, and likewise on the other side with the chrysanthemums. NB: Sad to say the chrysanthemums are behind so there won’t be any from us at the show this year. Back to the gaura – I don’t think I’ll grow these again, as though they look nice in vases for about 1 or 2 days, they then kind of explode and the pesky petals and seeds get EVERYWHERE – I’m forever cleaning them up, so it’s really not worth it! I could replant them in the garden but we already have some and there isn’t really any room for more – so it’s the garden waste container for them, I’m afraid.

Gaura

Flowers I do have my eye on for possible show entries are the sunflowers (which came Second in the blooms section last year – in case you’d forgotten!!), the echinacea, the dahlias, the gladioli (if there are any left by then!) and the marigolds:

Sunflowers

Echinacea

Dahlias

Gladioli

Marigolds

I will have to do something creative with oasis this year, as that’s what other people did last time – I was the only one who just plonked them in water, LOL! Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Turning to veggie city, the courgettes have morphed into marrows again and are going full-tilt for world domination, go them:

Courgettes to Marrows

Courgette to Marrow family

However, they’re not as rampant as those runner beans – so if it comes to a dust-up between the marrow/courgettes and the beans, my money’s on the beans, every time … I only harvested a few runner beans today – enough for lunch and a couple of other meals this week for sure! – as we’re hoping to enter some of them in the veggie categories at the show, as well as the longest runner bean category.

K. has also dug up the potatoes, but sadly there are no super-large ones this year, probably due to blight, but we might see if we can find three roughly of the same shape and size for Friday. Oh, and the lettuce looks amazing – can’t wait to try some when the leaves are a bit larger! We also planted some new lettuce seeds and sweet william seeds in our spare bed to get another flower/salad crop going. It’s great to have new things at this time of year.

Lettuce

Anyway, here’s the harvest from today (not including the courgettes). I added the autumn raspberries to our apple crumble and very tasty they are too!

Harvest 1

And here are some sweet peas (mostly the perennial ones from home, with some allotment ones – the last of the crop, alas!):

Vase

Have a super Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books