The Allotment Wife


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A Second Spring?

Post the Allotment Show, we’ve done a good tidy round and weeding on the allotment today. The sunflowers are still looking happy and – amazingly! – we have a foxglove in bloom. Hmm, must be really confused then!

Foxglove in bloom Sunflower

Whilst there, I planted some more foxgloves in the space where the scabious used to be as it wasn’t doing very much. I’m hoping these foxgloves will be ready for spring, but who knows!

Foxgloves

K also moves some perpetual spinach from the brassica bed and gave it its own kingdom where the potatoes were:

Perpetual spinach

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are doing wonderfully and they now have orange berries, gosh! How many of those we’ll lose to the birds has yet to be seen though …

Autumn raspberries 1 Autumn raspberries 2

Today, K dug the rest of the onions up, and we harvested runner beans, one small courgette, dahlias, sweet peas (though they’re almost over now), cosmos, cornflowers, coreopsis, geums, and that one foxglove:

Harvest Onion harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

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


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Big beans and geum joy

Much to our amazement, our runner beans – planted just last week – have grown, well gosh! They’re even starting to twist themselves around the poles, which is great.

Runner Beans

And the asparagus plant we’re leaving until next year is going to seed now, which is what is supposed to happen so that’s astonishing too. It’s a lot taller than I thought it would be though. Mind you, I still managed to harvest two asparagus tips, so we’ll have those as a starter tonight.

Asparagus

Nothing much happening in our spinach bed, however, although we’re now thinking of getting rid of half of it (as there are only two of us and there’s a limit to how much spinach two people can eat!) and planting the other half elsewhere. That way, we can use that whole bed for Brussels sprouts – which of course one can never – ever – have too many of …

In Flower News, the geum is now in bloom and is far bigger than the geums we have at home (which are Mrs. Bradshaw and Tangerine Dream, I think) – if only I could remember what type the allotment geum is, I would definitely get it for the geum corner at home. In the meantime, I have cut it for the house as it’s just so beautiful.

Geums

And the Sweet Williams are getting ready to strut their stuff as well, hurrah. Interesting, the astilbe also looks like it might do something soon, but I thought it was supposed to be an autumn plant. Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Astilbe Sweet Williams

We’re also carrying on washing the stones our kind allotment neighbours are leaving us (for which thank you!) and putting them across our marked out paths when they’re clean. It’ll take a while, but it’s looking good.

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Whole Plot and Nothing but the Plot

Looking back over my last few allotment posts, I don’t think I’ve taken a picture of the plot as a whole, so here’s a wider view of it to give you an idea of the whole thing:

Allotment Raised beds Soft fruit area 1 Soft fruit area 2

As you can see, the soft fruit area is coming along nicely. Turning to the topic of vegetables, we’ve planted the runner beans today – which means that for a short while we have the tallest runner beans on the allotment (gosh!) until other people plant them out of course!

Runner Beans

We’ve also cut the spinach right back (though harvested some first for the week) as a fellow-allotmenteer advised us to do so – as hopefully it means we’ll get lots of new plants sprouting which will be tastier than the old spinach:

Spinach

It gave us a chance to get rid of some of the weeds in that bed as well, though of course they’re bound to come back. Ooh, and we used our spinach yesterday when we had friends round for dinner as we stuffed some chicken pieces with it – and laid some of our asparagus across it too as a garnish (go, us!) – and very tasty it was as well. When I say “we” here, I mean “K”, as he’s much better at cooking main courses than I am. I’m much happier making puddings …

And we’ve harvested our first garlic bulb, hurrah! I’ve chopped it up and added it to today’s chicken joint – the smell was amazing. There’s plenty of garlic left over too, so shall use that during the week – which surely means we will be the smelliest people in the village, ha!

Garlic

Meanwhile, in Flower City, I’ve planted some more dahlias today, and am also very happy that the geum is doing well.

Dahlias Geum

But there’s sad news about the alliums I planted for cut flowers – maybe I should have read the description more thoroughly as they’re now in flower and appear to be only about an inch or two in height! No chance of cut flowers here – though they are pretty – unless I get a job-lot of egg-cups in …

Alliums

Happy Sunday and happy allotmenteering!

Anne Brooke Books