The Allotment Wife


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I Love Manure!

We were lucky enough to have 20 bags of manure delivered directly to our plot this week – courtesy of the lovely P (thank you!) – and K has been getting some of it onto the beds today while I did hoeing and plot tidying elsewhere on site. I really love manure – it makes everything look so rich and lush, and I find the smell weirdly exciting – don’t tell me that’s just me, LOL!

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manure-1

manure-2

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How can anyone resist that glorious earthy brown?…

Meanwhile the asters and dahlias continue to do well, and if our luck’s in, we might even get flowers in November – I do hope so.

asters

dahlias

And the chrysanthemums are on their way – I really love this pink flower:

chryanthemums-1

K dug up half the remaining potatoes today so that should keep us going for a while!

potatoes

And the harvest includes autumn raspberries, courgettes (still growing!), beetroot, lettuce, alongside asters, chrysanthemums, one crocosmia, coreopsis, dahlias and marigolds.

harvest

Here are the vases at home:

vase-1

vases-2

vases-3

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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The magic of muck

Much excitement at the allotment today as we took a couple of wheelbarrows full of horse manure from the field next door. The owner of the horses there has kindly gathered it together for us so that’s just brilliant.

Horse manure

We spread it over two of the raised beds, but it’s amazing how much we will eventually need as it hardly covers it – but every little makes a difference, as they say.

Bed with manure

Still, the rhubarb is slowly getting bigger and now there’s another tiny sprout on the right to join it, so that’s looking hopeful. We did think about forcing it, but actually we like a longer season of rhubarb so decided against it.

Rhubarb

Meanwhile, to our surprise, a couple of small daffodils are forcing themselves up where we laid out the beginnings of a path next to the shed – I remember the lady who had the plot before telling us she’d planted daffodils there, but they didn’t show up last year. It’s really quite nice to see them!

Daffodils

Finally, we harvested two of the sprout plants and a handful of daffodils – I really do love those deep gold crowns in the middle – when they’re fully out, they’ll be stunning.

Harvest

At home, I added the new daffodils to some I’d already bought last week from the local shop. You can just see the golden centres at the front of the vase.

Vase daffodils

Have a great weekend!

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 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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Manure City

K bought 4 bags of manure yesterday, so we took two of them down to the allotment today (the other 2 are for home, though of course we’ll need loads more!). The big problem was how to transport them from the car, across the playing field/football pitch to the allotments – we used the little trolley for putting our cases on and it worked okay, though it’s not brilliant – the base is too small. We’re going to have to buy a bigger-based one for more stability but I think you can get them fairly cheaply on the Web so that will be our next thing to do.

Anyway, once there, we put one bag on one of our new beds and the other on the corner of the soft fruit area – by the looks of it, we’re going to need about 20 or so more bags, so we’ll certainly be busy over the winter! While there, K turned the compost heap to give stuff more of a chance to break down, and I gave everything a quick hoe, though I was careful around the autumn raspberries as the roots are so shallow.

The exciting news is that the tulips and daffodils I planted for cut flowers for the house are now starting to come up, so I can’t wait to see how they’re going to be. I also harvested the last of the sprouts (half of which were for Sunday lunch today and half of which will be for tomorrow) and some more winter lettuce. I’ve washed that so it will keep for a good few days.

Anne Brooke Books
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