The Allotment Wife


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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


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Daffodils: from earth to vase

A lovely morning spent on the allotment today as we both have a week off work, and the daffodils are now in bloom! Honestly, I was so delighted when I saw them that I could barely speak at all. I’m just so thrilled by it, and how wonderful they look too.

Allotment daffodils 1 Allotment daffodils 2 Allotment daffodils 3Allotment daffodils 4

The bulk of the morning was K putting down some really pretty edging donated to us by our neighbour around the new bed, and I think it looks very effective indeed.

New bed 1 New bed 2 New bed 3

We’ve planted two rows of mixed astilbe at one end so we have good cut flowers for later in the summer. They come in red, pink, lilac and white, so a good combination if everything survives.

Astilbe bed

I also planted 15 freesias, but have saved some for planting later so we can get a spread of cut flowers throughout the season – at least I hope we can! I’ve put them next to the three rows of asiatic lilies which are at the end – only the labels for now though …

Freesia bed

In terms of plants we can actually see (hurrah!), the tulips are growing apace so I’ve rolled back the netting away from the tallest so they don’t get tangled up in it. The Sweet Williams, spinach and winter lettuce are also doing well.

Spinach Sweet Williams Tulips Winter lettuce

K planted a bed of potatoes, and also a bed of onions which I managed to take a shot of before he covered them up, and he then laid sticks across the top to try to dissuade pests as we didn’t want to cut the netting on the tulips. I hope they survive!

Onion bed 1Onion bed 2

Last but by no means least, we have a couple of small rhubarb leaves now, which is grand.

Rhubarb 1

Whilst there, I did a gentle hoe round, but I kept it light as my neck has been giving me grief this week and I don’t want to make it any worse. I didn’t use the hoe around the autumn raspberries though, but just pulled weeds out by hand carefully as I don’t want to hurt the raspberry roots. We also had an excellent piece of advice from a fellow allotmenteer who kindly said that we didn’t need to put a cage round the raspberries as the birds don’t take that many – so we only need to cage round the currants and gooseberries etc which makes the task a lot easier when we do that – so thank you for that!

All in all, a very satisfying allotment session, and I can’t wait to see what’s grown next time we go!

Anne Brooke Books


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A Harvest of Leeks

This morning, K and I have continued to mulch the soft fruit area and a couple more of the raised beds, though obviously there’s a lot more mulching to do! The trolley we bought during the week has proved very handy for transporting the compost bags and is foldable so we can keep it in the car easily.

Mulched soft fruit area 1 Mulched soft fruit area 2

Whilst there, we tried to harvest our last carrot but sadly someone else has got there first and it proved full of holes so we composted it instead. However, all was not lost, as we harvested the first of our leeks (hurrah!) and some more of the winter lettuce. The leeks smell amazing.

Leeks Winter lettuce

We’ve also had a rethink about having a greenhouse as it will mean going down to the allotment twice a day during the summer to open and shut the windows and we really don’t have the time – maybe when we retire, eh! Instead, we’ll probably put another raised bed in the space and use it for flowers as it’s in front of our planned seating area. K is also thinking about putting a cage round the whole soft fruit area so we can protect it from the birds, but that needs some more thinking.

And the tulips are poking their heads above the soil for definite now, which is great.

Anne Brooke Books
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