The Allotment Wife


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

A broken spade and daffodils galore

Have had a painful arm this week (frozen/impacted shoulder), so today was the first chance I’ve had to get to the allotment – thank goodness for anti-inflammatory pills! We wanted to plant our new collection of 100 assorted daffodil bulbs, plus the ones left over from last year, for cut flowers in the spring. K started to dig out the potato bed and then this happened!

Broken spade

Oh dear me. And it was a relatively new spade too! However, at least he still had the fork to use, but honestly those potatoes must be tougher than we thought …

Anyway, we’ve planted all the daffodil bulbs and put netting or branches across them to protect them from the squirrels. Here are therefore some very exciting pictures of bare earth where the daffodils are hiding …

Daffodils 1 Daffodils 2

Not much to look at now, but come next spring they will be a glorious ocean of yellow – we hope. Anyway, I have found a way to do a decent hoe whilst only using one arm, mostly, so have tidied up the allotment as best possible. In the meantime, K rediscovered our Autumn Raspberry – All Gold – which we bought earlier this year and promptly forgot about, so he staked it up so it looks a bit less messy.

Autumn Raspberry All Gold

We believe the main crop of Autumn Raspberries are Autumn Gold, which is why the leaves are slightly different.

The flowers continue to bloom too, which is great. Here are dahlias, cosmos, chrysanthemums and a late sunflower:

Chrysanthemums Cosmos Dahlias Sunflower

And here they are as part of our harvest, which also includes potatoes, one courgette, and Autumn Gold raspberries:

Harvest

Once at home, the flowers look amazing:

Vases

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


2 Comments

The Allotment Working Party

Today we’ve had the allotment working party, which has been great fun. We spent an hour or so tidying up the allotments and preparing for winter, and then it was time for the barbecue, hurrah! Special thanks to H for arranging it all, and I have to say a huge well done to S who produced the cupcakes, mmmm …. And, not only that, but the sun shone upon us so it’s been a perfect autumn day.

Meanwhile, on our allotment, the late sunflowers which arrived last week are still in bloom:

Sunflower 1 Sunflower 2

And we managed to gather a harvest of potatoes, beetroot, one courgette, more autumn raspberries and a barrel load of flowers, including chrysanthemums, cosmos, dahlias, asters, coreopsis and one lone geum.

Harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Vases

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

Tidying Up

A good tidy up round the allotment today. Plus K cut down the sunflowers that are now over and I staked the chrysanthemums as they’re starting to fall across each other.

Chrysanthemums 1 Chrysanthemums 2 Sunflower head

Funny how last year I would never have had the confidence to even consider staking anything up and would have had to get K to do it or at the very least ask for help. Now I go ahead without even worrying about it, gosh! Anyway we have taken some of the sunflower seeds for growing on next year, and left the rest for the birds. That seems fair. Monty Don would surely be proud of us1

I’ve also planted a leucanthemum for more autumnal cut flowers which I picked up at the Wisley Flower Show yesterday. I really love the fluffiness of them, and the soft yellow colour is great.

Leucanthemum

Here’s our harvest of peas, a courgette, two beetroot, sweet peas, a geum, asters, cosmos, dahlias, cornflowers and coreopsis:

Harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

Return to the allotment!

Another 2 weeks off, I’m afraid, with Virus No 2 – which was rather more debilitating and long-lasting than Virus No 1, oh well. Can’t say it’s been a great August all round, hey ho. However, K has kept me updated and definitely kept things going, with various harvests of runner beans, courgettes and lots of cut flowers. What a superhero!

Today, however, I feel well enough to get to the allotment (hurrah!) so have had a good hoe-round and deadheaded various flowers. The sunflowers are amazing and the tallest things on the allotment, goodness me.

Sunflower

They look very grand indeed. The rest of the flowers are doing well too, including the dahlias, crocosmia, asters, cosmos and coreopsis.

Dahlias Crocosmia Cosmos and coreopsis Asters and cosmos

The trouble with the dahlias is that the moment I cut them, the petals start falling off, so I don’t think they’re going to be a great entry into next Friday’s Allotment Show. Will try my best though, and maybe do other flowers as well. We’re also going to enter the Longest Runner Bean competition, and see if we have any decent onions or beetroot to enter as well – so wish us luck! Sadly, my specially bought chrysanthemums are never going to be ready in time for the show, so will just have to enjoy them as cut flowers in the house later in the season.

The autumn raspberries are starting to produce a good crop too.

Autumn raspberries

Here’s hoping the birds don’t take them all! And the peas K planted for next year are now in flower, but surely it’s too late to actually produce a crop at all! Maybe we should cut the flowers off, or wait and see what happens? Will have to decide at some point.

Peas

The leeks we planted earlier look a bit sad, so we have planted some new ones given to us by my stepfather (who also gave us the runner bean seeds) – the new ones definitely look stronger …

Leeks 1 Leeks 2

And here’s this week’s harvest: lots of various flowers, and underneath a handful of runner beans and a couple of courgettes.

Harvest

Have a good – and healthy! – bank holiday weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

It’s showtime!…

… or nearly anyway … The date of the Allotment Show is now set for Friday 4 September at 5pm, with judging from 5.45-6.30pm, and then it’s open to all until 7pm. After which we collapse into a heap and consume lots of cheese and wine (sadly none of it grown on the allotments, LOL!).

Last year, K and I were very new at the whole thing so we just enjoyed the produce and the company, and loved seeing the lovely H (well done again, H!) walk away with the top prize, hurrah! This year, we’re going to be very brave and try to enter one or two things – maybe some onions, the runner beans, and some flowers if there are any good ones around on the day.

Onions

You may remember that I planted some special show chrysanthemums a while back, but there’s no sign of any buds yet (sob!) so I will have to rely on the dahlias, or possibly a second wind for the coreopsis. I fear there’s not a vase large enough for the sunflowers!…

Anyway, I did pop into the allotment during the week, and harvested some courgettes and absolutely loads of runner beans. There were far too many for the two of us to eat so – with a vague folk memory of my mother blanching things for the freezer many lightyears ago and the help of the trusty Interweb thingy – K and I blanched them and have stored them in the freezer, go us! Basically this means that we put the runner beans into boiling water for 2 minutes, and the thickly chopped courgettes for one minute, and then plunged them into a big bowl of ice cold water. After drying them off, K then put them into portion-sized sandwich bags, and sucked the air out with a straw. Yes, we really are that strange, but it works like a dream!

Back at the allotment today when I did a hoe-round and K did the watering. Nothing to plant at the moment, but I did gather up the dead rhubarb leaves and kick away all the mole hills so I hope I’m doing some good.

The peas K planted last week are doing well, as are the Brussels sprouts.

PeasBrussels sprouts

The Peruvian Ground Apple has recovered too, and is okay as long as we keep it well watered.

Peruvian Ground Apple

Sad to say, the one almost-ripe autumn raspberry of last week has been taken by the birds, but there are more on the way (no doubt to feed the birds again!):

Autumn Raspberries

On the flower front, the gaura are looking good, but they’re not great in vases so I’m leaving them where they are.

Gaura

And the echinacea is very pretty too:

Echinacea

Here is our harvest of potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, sweet peas, coreopsis, dahlias, cornflowers and a geum:

Harvest

And, as you can see, I’ve run out of vases at home, and am having to make do with wine glasses! The buddleia came from the garden as I accidentally cut a branch off when deadheading yesterday.

Vases 2 Vase 3 Vase 1

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

The first of the summer flowers

Very rainy at the allotment today, but we had our raincoats and hats so kept out the worst of the wet. However, I think I should have worn my wellies, as my old walking shoes don’t keep out the rain, sadly. Today, K sorted out the compost section so the slats are now removed and we can use the bins instead. A lot of what is in the old compost appears to be just soil, so we’ll bring the soil sieve down at our next visit and sort it out. It will be easy enough to put the soil back on the allotment – and certainly easier than the 2 days it took us to de-weed and de-bramble our front garden at home!

Anyway, the exciting thing for me is the allotment flowers are on their way for sure now. Today, we have alliums large and small, foxgloves, geums, lilies and Sweet Williams.

Alliums Foxgloves Geum Lilies Sweet Williams

Meanwhile in the veggie area, the rhubarb is growing back apace, hurrah. I’ve not harvested any today as I want to try to make a rhubarb and orange cake next week so I’m saving it for that.

Rhubarb

We’re still letting the asparagus go to seed now, and so far the carrots are surviving against the dreaded carrot fly (fingers crossed, eh!)…

Asparagus bed Carrots

We’re also very pleased with the lettuce, and in addition the runner beans and sunflowers have put a bit of a spurt on.

Lettuce Runner beans with sunflowers

And the soft fruit area is now a veritable forest of hope – we’ll have to net it pretty dang soon though!

Soft fruit 1 Soft fruit 2

Today there is also exciting (well, sort of!) news as I have planted some chrysanthemums that I’m hoping to display at the allotment show in September, if they’re any good, that is. I’ve never done this sort of thing before but it will be nice to have a go if we can, as we did enjoy last year’s show very much. I foolishly forgot to take a pic of them, but I will try to remember next time.

I’ve also planted cornflowers, a scattering of marigolds (Naughty Marietta – we love that name, but sorry, no pic yet!) and more beetroot (which you can compare with the older beetroot next to it below).

CornflowersBeetroot 2 Beetroot 1

Finally, here is the harvest of small alliums, Sweet Williams, lilies foxgloves, lettuce and beetroot, plus the cut flowers in vases at home:

HarvestCut flowers

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books