The Allotment Wife


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Flowers on their way

I’ve had a look back at last year’s allotment diary and I think it’s true to say that everything is actually about a month behind – and a couple of people I’ve spoken to confirm this. Last May/June, I was harvesting lilies, sweet williams and geums galore, but right now most of these are only really on their way and are still going for growth.

The sweet williams are definitely in bloom though:

Sweet Williams

There are still no flowers on the lilies though, but the growth is pretty good:

Lilies

Other greenery going strong with no blooms are the dahlias, the chrysanthemums and the gaura.

Dahlias

We’ve also planted our other chrysanthemums in that space now, as you can see, plus the Little Carlow aster:

Aster Little Carlow

Still, there are cosmos flowers (if small) plus sunflower seedlings, hurrah:

Over in the veggie area, the beetroot are growing apace:

Beetroot

Plus the mangetouts and the potatoes are flourishing:

I have also pruned the spinach to stimulate new fresh growth as the smaller leaves are just so much nicer than the big ones.

Spinach pruned

And we have gooseberries, hurrah – though I hope the birds don’t get them:

Gooseberries

Meanwhile, one of our lovely allotment neighbours has kindly donated a spare lupin and some zinnias to our cutting garden (thank you, L!):

Lupin and zinnias

As you can see above, we’ve taken out all the old daffodils and tulips, so now have space for other stuff, which is great news. I’m adding to the daffodils to the collection in the shed for planting next year, but I’ll take the tulips home for adding to the garden in November.

Here are the two harvests of this week, which include sweet williams, geums, cosmos, forget-me-nots, spinach, rhubarb, mangetouts, asparagus and those pots of tulip bulbs for taking home:

Here are the forget-me-nots, sweet williams, cosmos and geums in the vases at home:

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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Yacon city

Today we have harvested the yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple) as the frost we had overnight has destroyed the leaves. We weren’t expecting much as we only planted it over the summer, but actually it’s given a really good crop – so we have saved some of the smaller tubers for planting next year, and will definitely buy another adult plant if we see one.

Yacons

It’s related to the sunflower, and a cross between a potato and a melon – this is the best way I can describe it! You can either eat them raw if you peel them or cook them in their skins. The raw taste is quite nice – like a subtle honey and very refreshing. We’re also going to cook one with Sunday lunch today – and save the rest as they keep for a while apparently, like potatoes.

I didn’t bother weeding anything as the ground was too hard and anyway I’m hoping the frost will do its work, at least for now! We did mulch the dahlias though, with the compost we’ve made on the allotment, so hopefully that will see them through the winter.

The rest of the harvest was spinach, a beetroot, one chrysanthemum and two coreopsis flowers.

Harvest.jpg

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Tulip planting

Spent a happy post-church couple of hours on the allotment this morning. K took down the runner beans and we saved them for seed for next year.

Runner beans for seedRunner bean seeds

Those we don’t use for seed, we’ll add to stews – it’s definitely the season to get the slo-cooker out, hurrah!

I also had a quick hoe round, and took out or pruned back the flowers, including the chrysanthemums, marigolds, cerinthe and coreopsis.

Pruned coreopsis Bare cerinthe area

So it’s all looking a bit bare, but there are signs of Spring as the daffodil shoots start to show themselves.

Daffodil shoot

Anyway, here are the tulips bulbs, and their eventual destination in the old runner bean bed.

Tulip bulbsTulip patch

As you can see, there are loads, but we stuffed them in anyway, and also netted them to put the squirrels off. I lost a few tulip bulbs last year to the pesky squirrels and want to try to avoid that this year at least.

In another news, the Brussels sprouts and spinach are coming along nicely. I meant to harvest some spinach today for lunch, but I forgot. Still we used the beetroot leaves instead which were very nice indeed. I’ll have to remember to harvest the spinach next week before the leaves get too big and chewy. The young leaves are just so much nicer.

Brussels sproutsSpinach

K has also a week or so ago lengthened the rhubarb patch and put two more plants in so here it is in the new form:

Rhubarb patch

The Peruvian Ground Apple is also growing apace, which is confusing as it should be going yellow by now – which is apparently the sign for when it’s ready to harvest. All very odd but I imagine it’s the warm autumn we’re having. We will just have to wait and see …

Peruvian Ground Apple

Finally, here is today’s harvest, which includes beetroot, chrysanthemums and the runner beans for seed.

Harvest

And here are the chrysanthemums in their vase at home. Sadly, this is the last of them and I’ve cut the rest down. They are sprouting leaves again at the base, which is strange as I thought they were annuals, so I might get another slight bloom before the frosts set in – you never know. And even if I don’t, we’ve had fresh flowers from the allotment from February to November, which is pretty good going, I think.

Chrysanthemum vase

Have a good and peaceful week, everyone.

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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The Missing Allotmenteer

Still no allotment for me, this time due to the fact I have a rather nasty cold, sigh. Never mind, I think I’m on the mend now. In the meantime, K popped to the allotment to give it a general tidy up and see what harvest was available. He managed a few autumn raspberries, plus two very small courgettes, but the harvest season is definitely on the way out now, sob! As a result, he took out the courgette and (unproductive) marrow plants for this year – though we hope to get another courgette plant for next season – though not the marrow as it didn’t do anything.

Whilst there, K chatted to a fellow allotmenteer who was wanting to borrow a spade for a quick job – sadly ours broke a couple of weeks ago and we’ve not replaced it yet, so we couldn’t be of any help. However, the lovely allotmenteer said he might have a spare spade or two at home and he would bring one along next time to save us buying another one – what a lovely man! We are very grateful indeed.

Finally, the flowers are coming to their natural end too, but K did manage to pick chrysanthemums, dahlias, cosmos and coreopsis, and here they are in their vases:

Vase 1 Vase 2

Happy weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Allotment by Proxy

At the moment, I have problems with my left arm so I’m not supposed to do any gardening – at least not heavy gardening, so I haven’t visited the allotment this week at all. However, K has spent some time there today and moved some of the old raspberries and currants so they’re closer together. He has also planted the Autumn Raspberry canes (Polka) he bought yesterday. These are red rather than gold, so we may have more trouble with the birds next year – although we notice other people have unnnetted red autumn raspberries and the birds aren’t causing too many problems.

Anyway, he has harvested one of the Brussels sprouts as the leaves were being chewed to oblivion, so though they’re not large, I’m aiming to have these for Sunday lunch tomorrow. Here they are with some of the Autumn raspberries (Autumn Gold).

Autumn raspberries and Brussel sprouts

He also harvested some dahlias, chrysanthemums and cosmos so I have put these in vases for the house. The chrysanthemums from last week are still going strong too, so that’s grand.

Vases

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books