The Allotment Wife


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A quiet week

Not much going on at the allotment this week so we’re just keeping things under control and watching things grow – which is always nice! That said, we did plant out a few rows of beetroot – though I have to be careful at this stage as they’re very similar to weeds!

Beetroot

Oh, and we’ve also gone for a lone courgette as we planted three courgettes last year, and there was just so much produce! So we’re hoping that one will be more sensible:

Courgette

Finally, we also got the sweet peas in, which is good news.

Sweet peas

Here is this week’s harvest, which is asparagus and tulips:

Harvest

And here they are in the vase at home:

Vase 1

Vase 2

Have a great Sunday, 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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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


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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


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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


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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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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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Carrot Fly Chaos and Runner Bean Delight

Oh dear me, I fear the dreaded carrot fly has laid waste to our carefully tended crop of carrots, alas and alack. K brought back some carrots last week and they are poor stunted little things, though still quite tasty. We’ll gather the rest of the crop at some stage and see what can be made of them. It’s such a nuisance that you can’t tell when the carrot fly has visited as the foliage still looks fine. If we try for carrots again, then we’ll have to put some fleece round them as a barrier as the carrot fly can’t fly more than a couple of feet above the ground – so that might work.

In terms of other vegetables, there are exciting developments with the runner beans, which now have actual beans on them – though too small to harvest yet.

Runner beans 1 Runner beans 2

The courgette is also growing apace, so I’ve moved the marrow further away – I hope it survives the trip. This leaves the courgette still fairly near the coreopsis, but that might be okay. Its leaves have patches of white on them, but I don’t really know if that’s a bad or a good thing – will have to look this up at some point. We also have an unknown squash growing through our potato patch, so will wait with interest to see what it turns into!

Courgette Unknown squash

Turning to flowers, the cerinthe is coming along, and the coreopsis is totally abundant, hurrah:

Cerinthe Coreopsis

We also have a couple of dahlias, freesias and the red geum (Mrs Bradshaw) – though some of the dahlias are crawling with black flies so I have sprayed them to within an inch of their lives and will hope for the best.

Dahlia 1 Freesias Geums

The last of the lilies are looking good, the penstemon is coming along, and the sweet peas we abandoned near the compost are refusing to be lost (hurrah!) and are doing their own thing entirely, so we’re letting them do it … Good for them is what I say!

Lilies 1 Penstemon Sweet peas 1

So, this week I’ve been clever and brought my trug from home for the harvest, which has been: sweet peas, lilies, cornflowers, coreopsis, freesias, a dahlia and a few sweet williams (not so many of those now). I also took some of the spinach seedlings (at least I think that’s what they are …) from what is now the brassica bed and have potted them up, as you can see. It appears to be the case that everlasting spinach never ever dies, LOL … The veggie harvest is beetroot (including our golden beetroot), potatoes and the biggest lettuce in history. That should do us for the week then.

Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest 3

At home, I’ve allocated the flowers to vases in the best way I could think of, and the house looks lovely with them in it.

Vase 1 Vase 3 Vases 2

Have a lovely weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Cute coat hangers and a bird crisis

The wonderful K has solved the problem of garden pegs (to hold netting down) – the ones we get in garden centres just seem to get tangled in the netting and cause lots of cursing (me) and sighing (him) so he’s made his own by just cutting wire coat hangers in half. They work brilliantly, but we now need more hangers for our clothes, LOL!

Coathanger pegs

This week we’ve planted another bed of Brussels sprouts (using those pegs for the netting) as in my view you can never have too many sprouts.

Brussels sprouts

Speaking of netting, we had a bit of a crisis earlier in the week as a female blackbird found its way into our fruit cage and I couldn’t sort the netting out on my own to let it escape, as the net is laced together at the top. I had to get K to come down and help me get the bird out – which we did in the end – and then we have refitted the net and added lots of soil as a barrier at the bottom to prevent birds getting in again.

Soft fruit cage

The autumn raspberries are doing okay too, and I’m still managing to keep the weeds down in the area, which is good news.

Autumn raspberries 1

The courgette we planted a couple of weeks ago is also doing well, though rather overshadowing the marrow I have probably planted too close to it, oh well. Meanwhile the runner beans are growing apace, and there’s another flush of rhubarb, so I’m making rhubarb and strawberry (from home) crumble today.

CourgetteRunner beansRhubarb

In the wonderful world of flowers, we now have astilbes, a dahlia, lilies, taller sunflowers and more sweet peas.

Astilbe 1 Astilbe 2 Dahlia Lilies 1 Lilies 2 Sunflowers Sweet peas

As a result the vases are looking good, though I have to say the red lilies do NOT travel well and start wilting the absolute second I pick them – which is a shame as they’re very beautiful.

Flowers in vases 1 Flowers in vases 2 Lilies in vase

So here’s this week’s harvest in total, which also includes a geum, sweet williams and our first small potato crop!

Harvest 1 Harvest 2

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke


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The Allotment Working Party & BBQ

This Sunday, we’ve had the allotment working party and BBQ which has been hard work and great fun, all wrapped up together. We’ve thoroughly tided the plots and surrounding areas, and it’s looking good. K helped with the digging at various areas, and I tided round the perimeter and sorted some of the weeds out. Then it was time to party, hurrah! Great burgers, a fabulous cinnamon cake and wonderful company, so a pretty perfect day, all in all.

BBQ 1 BBQ2

Just after the party, we found out (thank you, HP!) that there were some plants going spare from one of the plot, so we grabbed a marrow and a courgette, and I have high hopes for these:

Marrow and courgette

During the week, we’ve also worked pretty hard too. K put up the fruit cage round the blackcurrants and redcurrants – though we’re leaving the autumn raspberries to fend for themselves, as the area is really too big. Here is the beginning of the cage, and its final state too:

Fruit cage beginnings Fruit cage

The rhubarb is back in full force (pun not deliberate!) and I have made a rhubarb crumble, and also a rhubarb and orange cake, which is really delicious, I must say – though tricky to cut as it’s quite moist.

RhubarbRhubarb and orange cake

I’ve also taken out some of the tulips for storing, and added in cosmos and asters for cutting, plus something else with a strange name that I can’t remember(!):

Cosmos, asters etc

There have also been a couple of harvests this week. The first is leeks, rhubarb and sweet williams:

Harvest 1

And the second harvest (today) is sweet williams, foxgloves, lilies, beetroot and one sweet pea (hurrah!):

Harvest 2

Here is the sweet pea in situ, and I’m thrilled they’ve started to flower so soon:

Sweetpeas

As a result of all these flowers, I’ve made up two vases this week, plus a number of bowls with flower heads of sweet williams and alliums. The first vase is sweet williams, foxgloves and one (ah bless!) geum:

Foxgloves, sweet williams and geum

And the second flower harvest is sweet williams and lilies:

Sweet williams and lilies

It’s been funny this week as someone on Facebook queried the fact that I was transporting foxgloves from the allotment to home, and of course they’re poisonous. I handle with care, naturally, but I’ve not noticed any increased heart rate or any other problems at all. However, in view of the fact that in the garden at home we grow monkshood and ricinus (the poisonous Castor Oil Plant), a few foxgloves here or there are probably not going to add any more danger to our gardening lives!

Happy Sunday, all!

Anne Brooke