The Allotment Wife


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The Winter Allotment

In today’s gorgeous light, I really do think the allotment looks stunning, if bleak:

winter-allotment-1

winter-allotment-2

However, even in the midst of this, the first signs of the spring to come are here already (hurrah!) and the January daffodils we planted in October are beginning to sprout:

daffodil-shoot-1

daffodil-shoot-2

Honestly, it’s such a sign of hope that I really got quite emotional about these! Anyway, not much else to do around the allotment – especially as the hard frost this morning means no hoeing though all the weeds are probably dead, LOL – so we got on with composting stuff from our garden. Here is the compost before it – um – composts:

compost-1

And here is the totally amazingly rich finished compost which we – yes, you guessed it! – did earlier!

compost-2

Meanwhile, the Brussels sprouts are growing apace:

brussels-sprouts

And we have even had our first sprouts harvest, alongside the winter lettuce and leeks, well gosh!

harvest-1

harvest-2

I love sprouts so much and am ridiculously excited about this too. What a day!

Have a fabulous Sunday

Anne Brooke Books

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Frost devastation

Well, the sharp frosts we’ve had in the mornings this week have certainly ripped through the allotment – no gentle fading into winter here! Here are the poor dahlias:

dahlias

And the marigolds are a goner …

marigolds

As is the Peruvian Ground Apple (Yakon) …

peruvian-ground-apple

Oh dear me! We’ve cut down all the dead things, except the yakon as its harvest is still growing under the soil and we don’t need to dig it up until later. I don’t think the loss of the leaves will do much harm at this stage.

On a happier note, no matter how delicate the lettuce looks, it’s a tough trooper and the frosts mean nothing to it, as you can see!

lettuce

The leeks continue to grow (slowly!) …

leeks

Although maybe the rhubarb isn’t too sure about the weather:

rhubarb

Never mind, you can’t keep a good rhubarb down!

I also planted 100 tulips in a spare bed (where the beetroot used to be – see below) – and this time I’ve gone for the scattergun approach (as beloved of Monty Don) rather than the straight lines I usually favour. It certainly makes planting less dull, and hopeful they’ll be a nice display for the spring:

tulip-planting

Once done, K mulched them and then put netting on top to stop the squirrels digging them all up again. Funny how squirrels go for tulips, but leave daffodils alone. Anyway, we’ve used the old sunflower stems to weigh the netting down and hope that will keep them safe:

tulip-netting

Here is the vegetable harvest, which consists of some good old lettuce and the rest of the beetroot which we can wash, dry and store at home:

vegetable-harvest

Only chrysanthemums to harvest in terms of flowers this week:

flower-harvest

And here they are in the vase:

vase

Have a great week, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books
Lori Olding Children’s Author


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Spring at last!

Am well enough to get to the allotment this week, and had a hoe round. Mind you, I took it slowly as this post-viral thing is really exhausting – had to have a sleep when I got home! Anyway, the allotment is a riot of daffodils and narcissi and the narcissi smell is amazing. I also love the fact that the narcissi are multi-stemmed so there are loads more to come.

There are some leeks next to the daffodils too, and I harvested three of those for eating during the week. Actually there were loads of people at the allotments today, which was lovely, and one little boy was fascinated by the amount of flowers on our plot, so I gave him a few smelly narcissi for his mum – shame I couldn’t remember which variety they were though, as they came amongst a bag of others!

And we have our first tulips, hurrah! Can’t believe it and the colour is wonderful.

Tulips

Talking of produce being early, our first asparagus is on its way too – a FULL MONTH earlier than last year, well gosh.

Asparagus

It looks faintly rude (LOL!) but that’s asparagus for you … The rhubarb is also doing well, but the funny thing is that the plants that are doing the best are those we can’t harvest this year, as they need to be left until their second year – so I hope the rest of them get a spurt on as well:

Rhubarb

Finally, I gave the peas K planted last week a quick water – they seem to have survived the slight frost earlier in the week, hurrah. Oh, and the autumn raspberry experiment is going well, I think.

Autumn raspberries

Here’s the harvest, which includes leeks, spinach, daffodils, narcissi and the tulips – plus a kitchen roll holder for planting pea seeds once we’ve cut it in half(!):

Harvest

And here are our lovely allotment flowers in their vases at home:

Have a great weekend and stay healthy!

Anne Brooke Books


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First planting of the year

Out in the allotment today and we’ve planted 15 gladioli bulbs which is our first actual planting of this year, hurrah! We’re doing succession planting for the first time ever (go us, eh!) and so we’ll plant more in 2 weeks’ time and then the last batch two weeks after that. Here they are just before we bury them in the soil:

Gladioli

This week, we also have some more daffodils as cut flowers for the house – though they’ve been a little stressed out by last night’s frost!

Daffodils

Doesn’t stop them looking pretty grand once in their vase though:

Vase

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is showing itself for the first time, though probably not enough for crumble just now, LOL:

Rhubarb

A sign of good things ahead though. And talking of good things, it looks like we might be able to get some manure from the lady who owns the horses in the field next to the allotments, so that’s brilliant news. We’ll have to bring a trolley and a bag to put it in next time we’re on site. Manure is always good!

Finally, a harvest today of those lovely daffodils, plus sprouts, which we’ve had for lunch and will also see us through another meal or two for sure.

Harvest

What with the harvest, we now have a couple of empty beds, so are having fun thinking of what we can put in them next. I do love the start of spring!

Have a fabulous Mothering Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Yacon city

Today we have harvested the yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple) as the frost we had overnight has destroyed the leaves. We weren’t expecting much as we only planted it over the summer, but actually it’s given a really good crop – so we have saved some of the smaller tubers for planting next year, and will definitely buy another adult plant if we see one.

Yacons

It’s related to the sunflower, and a cross between a potato and a melon – this is the best way I can describe it! You can either eat them raw if you peel them or cook them in their skins. The raw taste is quite nice – like a subtle honey and very refreshing. We’re also going to cook one with Sunday lunch today – and save the rest as they keep for a while apparently, like potatoes.

I didn’t bother weeding anything as the ground was too hard and anyway I’m hoping the frost will do its work, at least for now! We did mulch the dahlias though, with the compost we’ve made on the allotment, so hopefully that will see them through the winter.

The rest of the harvest was spinach, a beetroot, one chrysanthemum and two coreopsis flowers.

Harvest.jpg

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books