The Allotment Wife


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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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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


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The Beginning of Autumn

There’s a definite nip in the air these days, and I’m getting the feeling that the allotment is slowing down after the summer. I did manage to harvest quite a lot of flowers during the week, but it was noticeable today that they hadn’t rebloomed quite as much as they’ve been doing. I even managed to put all the flowers – coreopsis, dahlias, cosmos and leuchanthemums into one bunch rather than several.

Harvest

However, the autumn raspberries are doing well and I shall put those into tomorrow’s crumble. K and I have sampled one or two, and they definitely have more taste to them than they did last week so that’s good. We also harvested two pea pods (!) and a beetroot.

I don’t think we’re going to bother with potatoes again on the allotment – blight has been a nightmare; the only ones that work are the blight-free tasteless ones, and they’re no fun to eat. We might try potatoes at home again next year though. On the other hand, we’ll have a go at carrots again if we can battle off the dreaded carrot fly, and will do more peas, and also the beetroot.

Oh, and great fun at home with the raspberries, as whilst washing them I got rid of two beetles, three earwigs and released two ladybirds back into the wild. There’s a whole ecosystem in there!

Anne Brooke Books


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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


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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


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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