The Allotment Wife


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Narcissi Delight

Lots of the little narcissi tete-a-tete on the allotment today – very cute indeed, if tiny.

narcissi-tete-a-tete

There are other taller daffodils coming along too, but they’re not ready yet!

daffodils-1

daffodils-2

Maybe next week, eh, LOL!

The tulip bed is looking grand and I’m really excited about that one. Can’t wait to see them in bloom.

tulips-1

We were also surprised to see some of the alliums I planted on the off chance are on their way too, which is great. I do love alliums.

alliums

No great changes in the autumn raspberry & summer soft fruit area, but I’m sure the rhubarb is coming along:

rhubarb

Can’t wait for the first rhubarb crumble of the season, but I don’t think it’s going to be soon.

Our harvest today has been the leeks (which haven’t done very well but smell amazing) and those narcissi (which look really lost in that tea towel …):

harvest

However, at home, I found a tiny glass and now think the narcissi look pretty good in it – I’ve put this vase on the dining room table to brighten up mealtimes.

vase-1

vase-2

Have a fabulous weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

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Rhubarb and tidying

Just time to do a quick tidy  and hoe round of the allotment this morning – first time on the allotment in 2017, hurrah! We unexpectedly have an early sign of rhubarb but it’s a tad small to harvest as yet …

rhubarb

On the other hand, the leeks have done nothing exciting for weeks so we may well just have to harvest and eat them as they are at some point – we were hoping for something larger(!), but they seem to be in hibernation for the moment:

leeks

However, the daffodils shoots look hopeful and it would be great to have at least one bloom in January – we’ll have to wait and see …

daffodils

While K dug up the potatoes, I tidied up one of our ‘mix & match’ beds which hasn’t worked out so well, and there are just the sweet williams left in there now. We’ll have to start planning what to grow around them!

sweet-william-bed

And here is today’s harvest of potatoes and sprouts – yum!

harvest

Happy New Year, and have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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The autumnal allotment

We seem to have more autumn leaves across the allotment this year than ever before – here they are on the soft fruit area!

autumn-leaves-on-soft-fruit

All very beautiful and at least that saves mulching the fruit, LOL! Meanwhile the Brussels sprouts are doing okay. I didn’t bother putting any slug doom on them this week as they looked okay really.

brussels-sprouts

The lettuce is still doing us proud – though I’ve taken out the remains of the red lettuce now, this green variety looks unstoppable.

lettuce

However, the leeks seem to have hit some kind of glass ceiling and haven’t grown any bigger for ages, we don’t think. All very odd.

leeks

Anyway, I actually went round and did a spot of hoeing though there’s really not a lot to get rid of – apart from in the sprout cages, but I won’t bother weeding those until we actually get in to harvest the sprouts.

Talking of harvest, this week’s is lettuce and a couple of the (small but tasty) leeks:

harvest

AND – BIG drumroll at this point!!! – the yacon (Peruvian ground apple) which K has taken up now. It’s produced far more of a crop than last year (hurrah!) and also has some small tubers which we can use to grow plants for next year. So thrilled about this one, as you don’t even have to cook it and it tastes great. The longer you leave it (within reason) the sweeter it gets. A wildcard substitute for potato, yum!

yacon-harvest

Have a great 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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Vases, vases everywhere!

The allotment is really going for it this week, which is fabulous. In the veggie & fruit corner are runner beans and the soft fruit area:

Runner beans

Soft fruit

This week we’ve also planted new crops for later in the season, including leeks and lettuces:

Leeks

I suspect I’ve put far too many of the red salad bowl lettuces in their space, but I’ll see how they do over the next few weeks – I can always move them if problems arise.

I thought you might like to see a general view of the allotment currently, so here it is:

Allotment 1

Meanwhile, the flowers are going wild, hurrah! We have dahlias, echinaceas, gauras and gladioli in assorted colours:

Not to mention sweet peas and the sunflowers coming on:

Two harvests this week, including: gladioli, cosmos, dahlias, sweet williams, penstemon, runner beans, mangetouts, courgettes, beetroot and blackcurrants.

Back at home, the vases are literally filling up the house and there is almost no room to move!

I am definitely going to have to buy more vases some time soon. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Bursting with growth

The allotment is really leaping into summer now. A couple of visits this week, including this morning, and the mangetouts are now so tall that K had to build a tepee for them to scramble up.

Mangetouts

We’ve had a nice harvest from them as well, which is quite a challenge to find as the green of the bean blends in so well with those leaves! Honestly, you can be staring a mangetout in the face and just not see it. I now understand why people prefer purple beans – much easier to harvest!

K prepared the one-and-a-half beds we’re allocated for Brussels sprouts and put up the netting supports. We’ll probably add the netting and the sprouts themselves next weekend.

And the beetroots are continuing to do well, hurrah!

Beetroot

While K set up the tepee and the sprouts support, I trimmed the edges of our plot with the shears. It’s a strangely satisfying task, I must say, and I’m happy with the result:

It certainly makes everything look a lot tidier.

There’s good news on the lilies too which are now starting to bloom – here you can see the progress from Thursday to today:

Plus we have our first sweetpea, though they’re not doing as well as last year – perhaps because they’re in shade near the shed? Though that didn’t seem to bother them last summer and these are the same type too.

Sweetpea

It’s really the same story with the asparagus which hasn’t cropped so well this year. I think it’s because we didn’t mulch them very much (if at all) so next year we must make sure to do that, as I absolutely love asparagus in season.

There are no complaints with the sweet williams though, which are as amazing as ever, and look really incredible in vases – as well as lasting as cut flowers for a very long time (see later vase pics!):

Sweet Williams

This week’s two harvests have included the sweet williams, forget-me-nots, cosmos, geums, lilies, foxgloves, rhubarb, mangetouts, asparagus, and the rest of the old leeks (too tough to eat now, so they’ll do as compost) which have been removed for the Brussels sprouts.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books