The Allotment Wife


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A Pioneer Raspberry

A lovely sunny morning on the allotment today – here is a picture of the plot for you:

Plot 1

As you can see, the sunflowers on the left top of the picture are getting very tall indeed and are some way beyond their canes, but none the worse for it. Their companion runner beans aren’t that far behind them either.

Runner beans and sunflowers Sunflowers and Runner Beans

Whilst there, I did my usual hoe round, but not many weeds now it’s high summer. K also planted some peas to join the ones he planted a couple of weeks ago, which are doing fine. We’ve had a grand vegetable harvest today of red and white beetroot (red on the outside and red & white inside), a courgette, runner beans and potatoes – so that will keep us going for a few days at least.

Vegetable harvest

The huge surprise of the day is that we have one autumn raspberry, hurrah! Just the one, but hey it’s crop, isn’t it? Not quite ripe yet, but getting there …

Autumn Raspberries Autumn Raspberry

Meanwhile, the gauras are looking fantastic:

Gaura

And the flower harvest is a selection of cleome, gaura, sweet williams, dahlias, cornflowers, coreopsis (and sweet peas which I forgot to take a picture of) …

Flower harvest

… which look very nice in the vases at home:

Vases

Have a very happy weekend!

Anne Brooke

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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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The Sick Allotmenteer

There’s been a severe lack of allotmenteering on my part this week due to (a) being sick over the weekend (grrrr) and (b) social engagements during the week. However, K has kept me updated, and it seems as if things are doing well. We had a first harvest of courgettes, plus more runner beans and potatoes, which is great.

Courgettes and runner beans

My lovely husband has also very sweetly kept the flower harvest (sweet peas, spiky cleome and coreopsis mainly) going, and watered the plot wherever possible, so that’s good too. We do appear to be having some issues with our new Peruvian ground apple, which is looking delicate so I hope it recovers soon.

I hope to be well on the way to recovery soon too and plan to pop in to the allotment on Thursday if I’m up to it.

Hope you all have a good week!

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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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!

Potatoes

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.

Cleome

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:

Harvest

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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A very early potato and a handful of lettuce

Popped down to the allotment after church this morning, and I planted up some cleome, coreopsis and gaura for the cutting garden:

Cleome, coreopsis and gaura

That means I’ve got about 2 or 3 more rows left empty in that bed – which is in front of the shed – so am planning to put more cutting flowers there later on. Yesterday, our show chrysanthemums (gosh!) turned up, so it might well be them. I can never resist a big, blowsy, sock-it-to-em flower.

Meanwhile, K dug out the daffodils to give the potatoes more of a chance to spread out. We washed the best of the bulbs and put them in a bucket to dry off

Daffodil bulbsPotatoes

After that, I’ll store them in the shed ready for planting for next year. I put the ones that didn’t survive on the compost heap. Talking of which, we now have not one but two compost bins at the allotment which we plan to use instead of the fenced off compost area. We think this will be easier to contain and sort out. K had planned to dismantle the fencing today, but we need a different kind of screwdriver, so will have to do this later in the week.

Meanwhile, we have a harvest – of sorts! Whilst digging out the daffodils, K disturbed a very early potato – which we cut in half and shared at lunch today – and added two beetroots and a good handful of lettuce to the collection. We’ve also had the beetroot leaves with lunch and they were delicious – tastier than spinach certainly, and such a pretty colour too with that red stripe to them. We’ll use the actual beetroot and lettuce later in the week, but I have to say the smell of the freshly-cut lettuce is simply amazing! I never really knew lettuce has a smell, but actually it does.

Harvest

Have a great bank holiday.

Anne Brooke Books