The Allotment Wife


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Mildew Misery

O me miserum, as they would say in Rome many years ago – our mangetouts and peas have succumbed to the dreaded mildew and we’ve taken them out:

Mildewed mangetouts

Oh dear me. Not only that but my three lovely cosmos plants have died and there’s just no saving them – no idea why, sob! – so I’ve dug them up too …

Dead cosmos

However, it’s not all weeping and gnashing of teeth on the allotment front – the sunflowers are doing okay and getting taller by the second:

Sunflowers

The sweet peas and dahlias are also going strong, and the dahlias are now all but free from the dreaded blackfly, hurrah:

Sweet peasDahlias

Turning to the veggie mountain, the courgettes are growing apace and if you turn your back on them for more than a second, they become marrows, so we have to keep picking them. I do find courgettes funny as they’re ever so slightly prickly on the stems, leaves and even on the veg itself – not so much to be painful, but you’re aware of them when you’re scrabbling about for produce.

And I’m sure the lettuces are a tiny bit bigger this week though that might be just my wishful thinking, LOL!

Here are the two harvests of this week, which include beetroot, courgettes, mangetouts, peas, runner beans, blackcurrants (though not as many as last week as the birds have grabbed their share now), gladioli, dahlias, sweet peas, sweet williams, geums, echinacea and gaura.

And here are the vases at home – I particularly love the structure of the gladioli – such a gorgeous plant!

 

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Vases, vases everywhere!

The allotment is really going for it this week, which is fabulous. In the veggie & fruit corner are runner beans and the soft fruit area:

Runner beans

Soft fruit

This week we’ve also planted new crops for later in the season, including leeks and lettuces:

Leeks

I suspect I’ve put far too many of the red salad bowl lettuces in their space, but I’ll see how they do over the next few weeks – I can always move them if problems arise.

I thought you might like to see a general view of the allotment currently, so here it is:

Allotment 1

Meanwhile, the flowers are going wild, hurrah! We have dahlias, echinaceas, gauras and gladioli in assorted colours:

Not to mention sweet peas and the sunflowers coming on:

Two harvests this week, including: gladioli, cosmos, dahlias, sweet williams, penstemon, runner beans, mangetouts, courgettes, beetroot and blackcurrants.

Back at home, the vases are literally filling up the house and there is almost no room to move!

I am definitely going to have to buy more vases some time soon. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Gladioli are here!

Great news at the allotment – some of the gladioli are finally in bloom and are a gorgeous colour! They’re mixed, but I hope there are some more of these amongst the crop:

Gladioli

Just so beautiful – whoever thinks gladioli are unfashionable and tacky is an idiot to my mind! The dahlias seem a bit cheerier today, and I think I might be on the way to beating off the blackfly hurrah – here they are with the gauras:

 

The cosmos are also doing well, and the sunflowers are definitely getting taller but no blooms yet …

Cosmos

Sunflowers

I’m also getting to the last of the lilies now (sob!) but the sweet peas have got a second wind, I think – and the smell is wonderful:

Lilies

Sweet peas

There’s also a lovely little flower that’s just bloomed that we were given by a kind person on the allotment, but for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what it is. Still very beautiful though!

Flowers

In terms of the veg, the beetroot are going great guns and the crop is growing very large indeed!

Beetroot

However, in the potato bed, it’s a game of two halves – the tasty potatoes now all have the blight, and the tasteless Sarpo potatoes don’t, hey ho. We might be able to rescue some potatoes which taste of something, but it looks like on the whole we’re doomed with Sarpo again, LOL!

Potatoes

Elsewhere, the runner beans are running away, and the soft fruit’s enthusiasm knows no bounds:

Runner beans

Soft fruit

Here’s this week’s harvest, which includes golden beetroot, runner beans, peas, mangetouts, sweet peas, cosmos, echinacea (not brilliant but it’s there …), some of the dahlias, coreopsis, gaura, lilies and a geum. Oh, and there’s a pot of blackcurrants too!

Harvest

And here are the flowers in the vases at home:

 

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Yacon Revisited

Another couple of visits to the allotment this week and all seems to be ticking along fairly nicely. K has now planted up the Brussels sprouts (type: Revenge! Which is a name that always makes me laugh but they’re great sprouts) in the netting and we’ve sprayed them liberally with slug doom.

Brussel sprouts Revenge

The beetroot is also doing great things and even producing a crop – though we’ll leave it a while as we don’t need it right now.

Beetroot

The mangetouts are also going well, and just look at those runner beans – I love the red flowers, which we definitely didn’t expect as we thought they were white!

Mangetouts

The potatoes are also looking good, and we found another yacon (Peruvian ground apple) at Wisley today, so have planted that up too. A shame that the one from last year didn’t seem to survive but we’ll try again with this one – or maybe they’re annuals? I’m not sure.

PotatoesYacon

Meanwhile, things are really pleasing on the flower front too. The cosmos are slowly getting larger and the dahlias are on their way:

CosmosDahlias

I’m also happy with the lilies, and the sweet peas are progressing so we’ve had to add a layer for them to climb up. This time, K has made an arch, which I think looks great.

Lilies

Sweetpeas 1Sweetpeas 2

We’ve also bought more cut flowers where we were at Wisley and planted them up – they are dianthus (I just LOVE that smell of cloves – it’s amazing!), penstemon and asters:

New cut flowers

Here are the two harvests from this week, which include lilies, sweet peas, sweet williams,  cosmos, asparagus, mangetouts and rhubarb.

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Here are the vases at home (which include the dianthus though they weren’t yet on the allotment when I cut them!):

Finally, I decided to make oasis flower arrangements with the rest of the sweet williams so here they are:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Bursting with growth

The allotment is really leaping into summer now. A couple of visits this week, including this morning, and the mangetouts are now so tall that K had to build a tepee for them to scramble up.

Mangetouts

We’ve had a nice harvest from them as well, which is quite a challenge to find as the green of the bean blends in so well with those leaves! Honestly, you can be staring a mangetout in the face and just not see it. I now understand why people prefer purple beans – much easier to harvest!

K prepared the one-and-a-half beds we’re allocated for Brussels sprouts and put up the netting supports. We’ll probably add the netting and the sprouts themselves next weekend.

And the beetroots are continuing to do well, hurrah!

Beetroot

While K set up the tepee and the sprouts support, I trimmed the edges of our plot with the shears. It’s a strangely satisfying task, I must say, and I’m happy with the result:

It certainly makes everything look a lot tidier.

There’s good news on the lilies too which are now starting to bloom – here you can see the progress from Thursday to today:

Plus we have our first sweetpea, though they’re not doing as well as last year – perhaps because they’re in shade near the shed? Though that didn’t seem to bother them last summer and these are the same type too.

Sweetpea

It’s really the same story with the asparagus which hasn’t cropped so well this year. I think it’s because we didn’t mulch them very much (if at all) so next year we must make sure to do that, as I absolutely love asparagus in season.

There are no complaints with the sweet williams though, which are as amazing as ever, and look really incredible in vases – as well as lasting as cut flowers for a very long time (see later vase pics!):

Sweet Williams

This week’s two harvests have included the sweet williams, forget-me-nots, cosmos, geums, lilies, foxgloves, rhubarb, mangetouts, asparagus, and the rest of the old leeks (too tough to eat now, so they’ll do as compost) which have been removed for the Brussels sprouts.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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Bounteous Harvest

The allotment is really getting going for the summer now. I popped in during the week to pick some flowers and check the asparagus, which is doing well, and came away with this harvest:

Harvest 1

The potatoes we planted in their pots last week are also starting to grow:

Potatoes in pots

Today, we’ve spent more time there, hoeing and tidying up, and K has planted the onions:

Onions

There’s good news on the beetroot front too – they were looking a bit fragile last week but they appear to have cheered up this week, so we’re hoping for a good crop later.

Beetroot

Ooh, and the mangetouts have their first pods, plus the flowers are fabulous!

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of rhubarb, spinach, leeks, mangetouts, asparagus and flowers (geums, forget-me-nots and cosmos):

Harvest 2

I really do feel like Lady Bountiful today with my trug, LOL!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Mole City and Barbecue Delight

The moles are going mad at the allotment at the moment so I had to destroy a heck of a lot of hills!

Mole hills

Honestly, I’ve never seen so many – they must be having a party down there!

This week we’ve been planting more peas and netting them so they have something to grow up and we’re quite pleased with what we’ve managed to do:

There are flowers on some of the older peas, but no pods yet …

Here is the first of our week’s harvests, and also the end floral products (geums and sweet williams) in a vase:

The ‘harvest’ includes a job-lot of tulip bulbs which I will plant in the garden at home later this year – so I can get new ones for the allotment, hurrah!

Today (Sunday) has been great fun with the Allotment Working Party and barbecue. Before we got started on the grand tidy-up, K and I planted sunflower seeds and also cosmos (as they make great cut flowers).

Cosmos

This time, I remembered the rhubarb – there was loads of it! – and it makes up most of the harvest, alongside more geums, spinach and asparagus.

Harvest 2

I’ve put all the rhubarb into a rhubarb and nectarine crumble, which we are very much looking forward to during the week!

However, the main thing about today was keeping the allotments tidy, so K and I went round the perimeter, together with numerous other folks doing a variety of key jobs, in order to tidy up the undergrowth. It seems to have grown loads this spring – due to the weather we’ve been having, I’m sure – and I had to get rid of a few slugs as I went round too!

Then of course was the BBQ – which was great fun, with wonderful burgers and scrummy cake. A fabulous time was had by all, and special thanks to Helen and Pauline for arranging  a brilliant day!

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

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