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:

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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:

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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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The Composting Queen

This week, K has mulched the bed with the dahlias in – there’s honestly nothing nicer than a newly mulched flower bed!

mulching

And I am having great fun making new compost from this and last week’s pruning:

compost

It may not look like much now, but in a while it will be worth its weight in gold, I can tell you!

Anyway, I cut back the rest of the chrysanthemums as they’re all over now, and so our only harvest is lettuce, LOL!

harvest

At this rate, we’ll be having lettuce for Christmas lunch too – it’s the healthy option for sure.

Anne Brooke Books

 

 


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Winding Down for Winter

Not much happening at the allotment this week, and there’s sadly no flowers to pick for home, so definitely the end of the season. It’s lovely to potter about though.

Still, we did manage to dig up all the gaura and compost it – it’s not good as a cut flower (too much stuff drops off and makes a mess) and we’ve got more than enough at home so there’s no need to replant it. However, I did dig up the crocosmias and replanted them at home – though they’re not a great cut flower, they do look beautiful in the garden.

However, the good news is that the Brussels sprouts are doing well and we’re looking forward to having those for Christmas:

brussels-sprouts

And, of course, the lettuce is still going for the burn and there’s definitely enough to see us through this week!

lettuce

So, here’s the harvest – which is basically the lettuce and the crocosmias, LOL:

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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Farewell to Courgettes

The great allotment autumn cull these week. We’ve cut down the courgettes and the asparagus, which really neatens up the plot. Here’s the courgettes before and after – it’s done us proud in terms of cropping so we’ll definitely get the same (El Greco) again. NB Apologies for the quality of some of these pics – my camera phone was having ‘a moment’!

courgette-1

 

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I’m sure the courgette skeleton is some kind of alien – or at the very least a baby crocodile! Here’s the asparagus before being cut down too:

asparagus

We chopped up both the courgette and the asparagus for the compost. Chopping the courgette is strangely tuneful as the stems are hollow (weird!) and so start off giving out a bass tone as you begin cutting them, and then end up quite tenor as the stem gets smaller. I’m sure if K and I could make a record of this, it would be a hit, you know!

The lettuce is also doing well and so we harvested some of that to last us through the week:

lettuce

The chrysanthemums and dahlias are also looking amazing and benefitting from the mild weather at the moment. We particularly love that burnt orange colour of some of the chrysanthemums so hope we’re able to get more for next year – this lot were mixed, so no guarantees.

chrysanthemums-1

Here is this week’s harvest, which includes chrysanthemums, dahlias, marigolds, coreopsis, beetroot and lettuce.

harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

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vase-4

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Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Luscious Lettuce

This week, it’s the turn of the lettuce to shine in Allotment World, and how glorious it’s all looking:

lettuce-1

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I do always feel so pleased when the winter lettuce is in full spate – such a happy plant. Not to say the dahlias aren’t still doing their thing as they most definitely are and there are more buds on the plants to come, hurrah!

dahlias-1

dahlias-2

The chrysanthemums are also really gorgeous right now and the joy is they last so long in the vase – almost two weeks in most cases! Another lovely autumn flower.

chrysanthemums

I also harvested one small courgette, a scattering of beetroot and one or two spare potatoes that were lying around trying to look innocent – ha! It doesn’t work with me, LOL! Added to the harvest were the lettuce, marigolds, dahlias, chrysanthemums and one echinacea that sadly didn’t last the journey, oh well.

harvest-1

harvest-2

Here are the flowers at home:

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vase-2

vase-3

vase-4

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books