The Allotment Wife


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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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The sprouts are palely loitering*

Back at the allotment today (we gave it a miss last weekend because of the weather), and I was initially rather worried about the state of our sprouts as a lot of them looked pale and rather ill (if sprouts can get ill). However, all is not lost as all it turned out to be was the outer skin drying off, but inside they’re absolutely fine.

Harvest

Here they are above with one lone beetroot and a handful of spinach. When I got home, it took me 50 minutes (gosh!) to peel, wash and prepare all of the sprouts from the three plants and we now have two bowlfuls of them. It’s interesting as last week we had a portion of shop-bought frozen sprouts with dinner, and honestly they were totally bland – I could hardly taste a thing. So the fresh and home-grown sprouts win hands down.

We also hoed round the allotment though there weren’t many weeds due to frost earlier in the week, and K put down a lot of chicken pellet manure across all the raised beds. We like to give everything a serious boost and it’s great stuff.

In the daffodil bed (well, one of them), the buds are so nearly there. I did think one or two might even be out as we had daffodils in bloom in the house last February, but our luck wasn’t quite in this week. There’s always next week though!

Daffodils

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries have a few leaves on them. We’re leaving most of them unpruned this year, as per my stepfather’s method of cultivating them, and will see how they turn out. He swears by letting them grow on – which is of course utterly against Monty Don’s advice – so we’ll have to see who is right!

Autumn Raspberries

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books

(*Almost a Keats quote but not quite!…)


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The Wintry Allotment

Our first snowfall came today – which for me was horrific as I utterly HATE snow. It’s the work of the devil, don’t you know. LOL! Anyway, thankfully for us in the south-east of the UK it hasn’t lasted long – or not hereabouts anyway, so K and I still visited the allotment just to see how it was doing.

And it’s all very wintry – as you can see! Here is the overall view:

And here are a couple of close-ups of the beds:

 

I wasn’t expecting to be able to do any hoeing as I thought the soil would be too hard, but in actual fact it was all fairly soft, so we managed a fair weed round – not that there was that many weeds anyway.

K also brought down two bags of compost from home – but we’ll wait until the snow has gone until we actually mulch anything. There was a slight problem with our little trolley – which isn’t that great as it is – as one of the wheels came off, but luckily it was after he’d deposited the compost, so hopefully it’s mendable.

And once more we’ve harvested the sprouts, hurrah:

Harvest

Have a great week, everyone, and happy gardening!

Anne Brooke Books
The Old Bags’ Sex Club (Erotic Romance)


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Soggy allotment

Good news – my cold is better and my shoulder is pain-free enough to allow me a visit to the allotment today, hurrah! I managed to hoe gently and with the other hand as much as possible to clear out the weeds before winter – while K cut down the sunflowers and asparagus.

Asparagus and sunflowers

They’d been battered by the wind and rain, so were definitely due to go. Here is the allotment in the rain – we got so wet we had to change when we got back home!

Allotment in rain

Last week, while I was still ill, K planted some new autumn raspberries (red ones) and here they are in their new position:

New Autumn raspberries

And autumn is definitely having an effect on the blackcurrants which are now leaf-free virtually (all the better for hoeing, of course …).

Blackcurrants in autumn

Despite the season and the weather, our harvest consisted of a lot of chrysanthemums, some dahlias, one or two coreopsis and one geum (Mrs Bradshaw). On the vegetable front, K harvested runner beans for seed, and some sprouts for tomorrow’s lunch.

Harvest

Here are the flowers in their vases at home – great to have cut flowers in November, I must say!

Vases 1 Vases 2

Have a great weekend.

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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Tulips Galore

It’s the turn of the first tulips on the allotment this week to shine: here they are from bed to vase:

Tulips 2 TulipsTulips 3

I will have to get a shallower round-bottomed vase at some point fairly soon, as these tulips are quite short, but the ones coming up next to them look as if they will be even shorter – and I don’t want to drown them! The vase above actually came with an Interflora delivery a while back – we didn’t much like it so put the flowers in question in another vase. Now, however, it’s come into its own as it’s perfect for tulips, even though it’s an odd colour.

The Asiatic lilies are coming up well too, and I’ve sprayed Ultimate Bug Killer on them and the tulips too, plus K put slug pellets down, so we can try to avoid the nasties … Last week, I had to throw away three daffodils as they’d been chewed so badly, which was a shame.

Asiatic lilies

Meanwhile, in terms of veggies, the autumn raspberries and especially the rhubarb are coming on well:

Autumn raspberriesRhubarb

Some of the rhubarb we planted last year is also coming up, though we won’t be able to harvest it until next year. I’m rather worried about the asparagus bed though – not a single sign of life there at all, and surely the season for asparagus is May. What have I done to the poor things??? I really don’t know, but it’s a worry, as I love asparagus and was really looking forward to having a crop, sob! Oh well.

Anyway, in better news, the spinach and the winter lettuce look good:

SpinachWinter lettuce

K harvested some lettuce for the week’s meals, and we also did a hoe round, though we hand-weeded the autumn raspberries as best we could. Plans for the week are potting up the runner beans and seeing what might need planting from our stock.

Anne Brooke Books


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The onset of Spring

Earlier in the week, I harvested quite a few daffodils from the allotment, plus three or four more this weekend. Here they are from allotment to vase!

Daffodils at allotment 1 Daffodils at allotment 2

Daffodils at home

Such happy flowers, I always think. Meanwhile, the tulips and astilbe are on their way, with the tulips now having buds, which is great:

Astilbe Tulips

Anyway, today, while I hoed round, K added chicken pellet manure to the bed where we plan to plant the beans, as they’re hungry critters, we’re told. We also have plans to trail some sweet peas up the side of the shed, but we need taller poles than were in the garden centre this morning, so will need to get them later.

Meanwhile, the rhubarb, spinach and winter lettuce are doing well:

Rhubarb Spinach Winter lettuce

And in the fruit area, the autumn raspberries and blackcurrant are coming along. Yesterday, my stepfather told me that he never cuts back his autumn raspberries but just gets rid of the dead wood and leaves them. So next year we might experiment with half cut back and half not, and see how things go.

Autumn raspberries Blackcurrant

Happy Easter to you all!

Anne Brooke Books


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A rhubarb mountain

I picked another three daffodils during the week, one of them one of the larger variety, and they do look good in their vase in the dining room. This weekend, K is busy building the stage set for the village play so I went down to the allotment on my own this morning, and have spent about an hour and a half hoeing the beds and hand-weeding the autumn raspberries. The soft fruit area is doing pretty well, with blackcurrants and raspberries coming along.

Blackcurrants Raspberries

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is going for it and actually has leaves – so it’s a mountain! Well, almost, anyway …

Rhubarb

I also harvested some more winter lettuce which we can have during the week.

Winter Lettuce

The really exciting news – for a flower girl like me – is that there are more Asiatic lilies showing themselves now, and even one lone and very red-looking Astilbe, goodness me indeed!

Asiatic lilies Astilbe

I also met the Allotment treasurer and had a very fine chat about allotments, raspberries and the joys of travel, which was great fun!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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Asiatic lilies and the first raspberry shoots

Much excitement at the allotment today, as the rhubarb has grown and looks like it might even have a leaf or two, well gosh!

Rhubarb

Not only that but as I was weeding round the raspberries, I noticed that one or two of them actually have buds! Heavens above, whatever next, eh? Thank goodness Nature knows what she’s doing, as we’re just winging it …

Raspberry buds 1 Raspberry buds 2

In other soft fruit news, there are buds aplenty in the overwintered bushes, so that’s great too.

Soft fruit

Meanwhile, over in the cut flower beds, the first daffodils actually have their blooms, though they’re not out yet – but you can at least see the shape of them at the top, hurrah. And there are also more tulips showing themselves now, which is great – especially after last week’s squirrel disaster.

Daffodils Narcissi Tulips

And today, we had a delivery of 25 asiatic lilies so we’ve put them in the corner of the bed where the brassicas were last year – it may not look much now, but it’s all going on underneath the soil – honest!

Asiatic lily bed

Apart from that, I did the usual hoe round, helped by K who also dug through one of the new raised beds. Although we didn’t harvest anything today, it does feel as if Spring has truly begun.

Anne Brooke Books