The Allotment Wife


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Farewell to Courgettes

The great allotment autumn cull these week. We’ve cut down the courgettes and the asparagus, which really neatens up the plot. Here’s the courgettes before and after – it’s done us proud in terms of cropping so we’ll definitely get the same (El Greco) again. NB Apologies for the quality of some of these pics – my camera phone was having ‘a moment’!

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I’m sure the courgette skeleton is some kind of alien – or at the very least a baby crocodile! Here’s the asparagus before being cut down too:

asparagus

We chopped up both the courgette and the asparagus for the compost. Chopping the courgette is strangely tuneful as the stems are hollow (weird!) and so start off giving out a bass tone as you begin cutting them, and then end up quite tenor as the stem gets smaller. I’m sure if K and I could make a record of this, it would be a hit, you know!

The lettuce is also doing well and so we harvested some of that to last us through the week:

lettuce

The chrysanthemums and dahlias are also looking amazing and benefitting from the mild weather at the moment. We particularly love that burnt orange colour of some of the chrysanthemums so hope we’re able to get more for next year – this lot were mixed, so no guarantees.

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Here is this week’s harvest, which includes chrysanthemums, dahlias, marigolds, coreopsis, beetroot and lettuce.

harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

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Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

 

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The Day of the Dahlias

It’s astonishing how well the dahlias are now doing, and there are even more buds to come – should the weather be kind.

dahlias-1

dahlias-2

Not only that, but the asters look very pretty too:

asters

However, it’s still definitely autumn so everything is winding down – though I don’t think the courgette has yet got that message as it’s still producing fruits, and I harvested 3 of them today – more to come!

Anyway, I did a hoe round and also cleared the weeds on the paths, while K sorted out compost and tidied round the autumn raspberries bed – which are also on the way out in terms of produce, sadly.

Here is the harvest, which includes, a beetroot, courgettes, autumn raspberries, lettuce, echinacea, marigolds, coreopsis, asters and dahlias.

harvest

Here are the vases at home – I’ve tried to keep to a colour theme this time, and I think it works.

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Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Autumn Flowers and Woodchip Paths

A lovely couple of hours at the allotment in glorious weather this morning – it really makes up for yesterday’s almost permanent rain – though then again the rain means I don’t have to water anything this weekend. Anyway, I did a hoe round, and K has taken some wood chips someone kindly donated to the allotments and put them down on our most weed-filled paths (on top of new black sheeting of course). I think they look lovely and we hope it will keep the weeds down for a while.

woodchip-path

The asters are also looking brilliant. The first one is Harrington’s Pink – and it smells of pineapples so I love it! K isn’t so sure, LOL.

aster-harringtons-pink

I can’t remember what this smaller pink aster is but it’s great as a vase filler:

asters

The dahlias and marigolds are also continuing to do well:

dahlias

marigolds

Plus I’ve finally planted the last tranche of daffodil bulbs so that’s all our early autumn planting done, hurrah! Next stop is the tulips in November, but we’d best buy some of those first.

daffodils

We’re really pleased with the lettuces and have harvested a couple of the bigger green ones too. They should definitely keep us going through the winter.

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Meanwhile the Peruvian Ground Apple (AKA Yakon) looks extremely happy at the moment so I hope we’re going to get a good crop from it.

peruvian-ground-apple

Here’s this week’s harvest, which includes autumn raspberries, beetroot, courgettes, lettuce, coreopsis, marigolds, penstemons, asters, dianthus and dahlias:

harvest

And here are the flowers at home. I’m particularly proud of those Harrington’s Pink asters!

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Have a wonderful Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Lettuces and daffodils

Not too much hoeing to do at the allotment today as we’re now into autumn which is lovely news, even though that means no more summer flowers, sob! Still the autumn flowers are doing well. Here are the dahlias, still going strong:

dahlias

And our first chrysanthemum is now in bloom, with more to come:

chrysanthemum

We also have an assortment of flowers coming up, such as dianthus and asters and something else I’m not sure about but it looks as if it will be good, LOL!

allotment-flowers

allotment-shrub

I also planted some more daffodils for spring, but there are more left to plant, so will try to find a space for them next week.

daffodil-bulbs

While we were there, K took down the sweet peas, and I also need to think about removing the gaura and crocosmia at some point – which I hope to find space for in the garden at home – somewhere!

The plot has also gone lettuce-crazy with three separate crops really going for it, hurrah!

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Here is this week’s harvest, which includes autumn raspberries (all of which I have just used to make raspberry & chocolate brownies, yum!), courgettes, beetroot, onions, coreopsis, dahlias, asters, echinacea and marigolds.

harvest

We’ve taken a few courgettes, beetroot and onions to the URC this morning as it’s their harvest festival tomorrow. so all in a good cause, hurrah.

Here are the vases at home:

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And tomorrow it’s the allotment working party & bbq, so I hope everyone has a great time at that! K will be going but I’m working at the university tomorrow helping new students arriving on campus – welcome to all! It’s that time of year again – hasn’t it gone quickly …!

Have a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books

 

 


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Sunflower and Aster Explosion!

Our first sight of the allotment this morning was two of our sunflowers lying collapsed across the path, oh dear me – must have been the storm during the week. Luckily they didn’t cause any damage and they were about due to come out anyway! It’s amazing how tiny a root system sunflowers all have for such a top-heavy flower – it’s a miracle how they stay upright at all …

resting-sunflowers

So we’ve taken the rest of the sunflowers out, and also removed the runner beans.This gave me a chance to get half of our planned daffodils into the empty runner bean bed – I put the new ones in today, but I’ll put the rest of the old ones from last year in next week. The new daffodils are supposed to bloom even earlier than the ones we had last year, so I hope they all do all right.

I’m also totally delighted with the new flowers – Little Carlow asters (they’re blue) – which we planted a few weeks ago just to see how they do. They’re TOTALLY amazing – and look stunning in their vase (see later) so I am so definitely going to get more next year.

little-carlow-asters

The dahlias are still going strong, though the stalks are shorter now so more of a challenge for flower arranging, LOL!

dahlias

The last of the gladioli is a beautiful red one – I’m sad to see them finish and we think we’ll get more of them next year and do more successional planting so they go on later into October, rather than finish now.

last-gladiolus

And the sweet peas are most definitely done! Didn’t get a chance to take them out today, but I’ll try to fit that in next week as I really don’t like them when they get this untidy:

dead-sweet-peas

We’ve also taken out one of the courgette plants, but the other has two large courgettes and two mini ones today, plus five or six still to come, so we’ll give that one a bit longer:

courgettes

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are fruiting far more than they did last year – is this possibly because I did what my stepfather told me (very rare, LOL!) and didn’t cut them down last year as you’re supposed to do? It certainly means you get loads more fruit, but not cutting them down might be something we do every 2 years, as this year they’ve got very untidy and are drifting over the path which makes things tricky.

autumn-raspberries

So, here’s our harvest – the courgettes (the mini ones are SO cute and you can even wear them as earrings, LOL!), some autumn raspberries (no time to pick all of them today!), plus the gladiolus, the Little Carlow asters, crocosmia, penstemons, marigolds, dahlias and coreopsis:

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Here are the vases at home – first off, those glorious asters, which I put together with the penstemons, and I think it works very well:

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I kept the dahlias together which I think they like best:

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I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the crocosmia and gladiolus as I don’t really have a vase small enough for them, so made do with a champagne glass:

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I’m really happy with how the marigolds and coreopsis have gone together though – the yellow and gold are stunning!

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Have a super weekend!

Anne Brooke

 

 


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It’s (nearly) Showtime!

There are five days to go (not that we’re counting …) to the big Allotment Show which takes place this coming Friday, so the allotment folks are becoming quietly focused. Or it’s contained panic – but it comes to the same thing, LOL!

As a result, we haven’t taken any flowers for the house today – except for a few sweet peas – as I’m keen to put some flowers into the show so want to see how everything is doing Thursday night. However, I have cut down half of the gaura as they’re starting to be a bit of a nuisance even though the bees love them. They’re trailing through the dahlias so I can’t see what’s going on, and likewise on the other side with the chrysanthemums. NB: Sad to say the chrysanthemums are behind so there won’t be any from us at the show this year. Back to the gaura – I don’t think I’ll grow these again, as though they look nice in vases for about 1 or 2 days, they then kind of explode and the pesky petals and seeds get EVERYWHERE – I’m forever cleaning them up, so it’s really not worth it! I could replant them in the garden but we already have some and there isn’t really any room for more – so it’s the garden waste container for them, I’m afraid.

Gaura

Flowers I do have my eye on for possible show entries are the sunflowers (which came Second in the blooms section last year – in case you’d forgotten!!), the echinacea, the dahlias, the gladioli (if there are any left by then!) and the marigolds:

Sunflowers

Echinacea

Dahlias

Gladioli

Marigolds

I will have to do something creative with oasis this year, as that’s what other people did last time – I was the only one who just plonked them in water, LOL! Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Turning to veggie city, the courgettes have morphed into marrows again and are going full-tilt for world domination, go them:

Courgettes to Marrows

Courgette to Marrow family

However, they’re not as rampant as those runner beans – so if it comes to a dust-up between the marrow/courgettes and the beans, my money’s on the beans, every time … I only harvested a few runner beans today – enough for lunch and a couple of other meals this week for sure! – as we’re hoping to enter some of them in the veggie categories at the show, as well as the longest runner bean category.

K. has also dug up the potatoes, but sadly there are no super-large ones this year, probably due to blight, but we might see if we can find three roughly of the same shape and size for Friday. Oh, and the lettuce looks amazing – can’t wait to try some when the leaves are a bit larger! We also planted some new lettuce seeds and sweet william seeds in our spare bed to get another flower/salad crop going. It’s great to have new things at this time of year.

Lettuce

Anyway, here’s the harvest from today (not including the courgettes). I added the autumn raspberries to our apple crumble and very tasty they are too!

Harvest 1

And here are some sweet peas (mostly the perennial ones from home, with some allotment ones – the last of the crop, alas!):

Vase

Have a super Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Marrows everywhere!

After another week, the tiny courgettes we left undisturbed last Sunday have turned into monsters! But at least the autumn raspberries are the usual size, LOL

Harvest 1

We’ve not harvested so many runner beans as usual today as the Allotment Show is in a fortnight’s time and we’re planning to enter the Longest Runner Bean comp – go us! Still, we did take a few, plus a couple of beetroots too.

The dahlias are looking amazing at the moment though sadly we’re getting to the last of the gladioli, oh well. Next year, we’ll do a later seasonal planting as well so we might get some for the Allotment Show.

Dahlias

Gladioli

The sunflowers are astonishingly tall so I’ve tied them together with string to give some support and also some flexibility. No point putting canes up as the sunflowers are stronger!

Sunflower

Meanwhile the sweet peas must have heard us say they were for the chop last week as they’ve rallied a little -though still definitely reaching their end.

Sweet peas

Anyway, here is the ultimate harvest, including courgette/marrows, beetroot, runner beans, autumn raspberries, gladioli, echinacea, coreopsis, geums, and dahlias.

Harvest 2

And here are the vases at home – the stock is definitely slowing down now as I only have 3 vases instead of 5. Autumn is on its way …

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a great Sunday – and Bank Holiday Monday, hurrah!

Anne Brooke