The Allotment Wife


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Daffodils and an Early Bee

We’re nearly at the last of the early daffodils now, but they’ve been a lovely show. There was an early bee on one of them when I picked it, but I managed to persuade it to let go – eventually! I left one almost-open bud for it to feast on.

daffodils-1

daffodils-2

In other good news, there’s one tulip stem showing in our tulip bed, hurrah! So next week we’ll take the netting off as there’s no danger of squirrels stealing them now. Still a lot of moles around though – I kicked over loads of hills today …

tulip

Whilst there, I did a hoe round, and also had a good clear up of the first sprout bed, as K has now removed the netting from it. The sprouts have certainly done us proud. The rhubarb’s not quite there yet though, as you can see below – maybe next week, eh, LOL!

rhubarb

Today’s harvest is sprouts and those daffodils. We’ll use the sprouts tonight – or some of them anyway – as we have friends round for dinner. They can admire the daffodils too, I hope!

harvest-2

Here are the flowers at home – they’re so pretty, and I love them. Hope the next tranche turns up soon!

vase

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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Mole City and Gladioli Galore

Not much may be happening with what you can see at the allotment, but there’s plenty of mole activity, as you can see! There’s a mole Christmas party going on under the earth, I can tell you! What are the little chappies up to?!?

mole-city

Still, there’s good new on the early daffodils as there are now more shoots showing, so that’s hopeful for the January flower:

daffodil-shoots

And the first of the currant bushes is already in bud too, though K remembers it was early last year as well:

currant-shoots

Our main job this week though was taking the gladioli bulbs so we can dry them out and reuse them next year (hurrah!). They’re really easy to get out – much easier than tulips or dahlias are, though it helps that the allotment soil is just so brilliant and much better than at home. What I didn’t realise before we started to dig them up was that they produce lots of tiny ‘babies’ next to the main bulb which is just so cute. The trouble is that they all fall off very easily so next year we might have a veritable forest of really tiny gladioli, LOL!

Here they are uprooted:

gladioli-bulbs-1

gladioli-bulbs-2

And here they are in the shed, where we hope they’ll dry off. There were too many for the box we had so I just stuffed them on top!

gladioli-bulbs-3

The Brussels sprouts are still doing their thing:

brussels-sprouts

And the harvest is small (sprouts and lettuce) but perfectly formed!

harvest

Have a fabulous weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Mole City and Barbecue Delight

The moles are going mad at the allotment at the moment so I had to destroy a heck of a lot of hills!

Mole hills

Honestly, I’ve never seen so many – they must be having a party down there!

This week we’ve been planting more peas and netting them so they have something to grow up and we’re quite pleased with what we’ve managed to do:

There are flowers on some of the older peas, but no pods yet …

Here is the first of our week’s harvests, and also the end floral products (geums and sweet williams) in a vase:

The ‘harvest’ includes a job-lot of tulip bulbs which I will plant in the garden at home later this year – so I can get new ones for the allotment, hurrah!

Today (Sunday) has been great fun with the Allotment Working Party and barbecue. Before we got started on the grand tidy-up, K and I planted sunflower seeds and also cosmos (as they make great cut flowers).

Cosmos

This time, I remembered the rhubarb – there was loads of it! – and it makes up most of the harvest, alongside more geums, spinach and asparagus.

Harvest 2

I’ve put all the rhubarb into a rhubarb and nectarine crumble, which we are very much looking forward to during the week!

However, the main thing about today was keeping the allotments tidy, so K and I went round the perimeter, together with numerous other folks doing a variety of key jobs, in order to tidy up the undergrowth. It seems to have grown loads this spring – due to the weather we’ve been having, I’m sure – and I had to get rid of a few slugs as I went round too!

Then of course was the BBQ – which was great fun, with wonderful burgers and scrummy cake. A fabulous time was had by all, and special thanks to Helen and Pauline for arranging  a brilliant day!

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Runner beans and beetroot

 

A couple of visits to the allotment this week, now that summer is coming along. On Thursday, I hoed a few beds and took out the daffodil bulbs so K could prepare that bed for runner beans. I gave the bulbs a good wash and then put them in the sifter in the shed to dry out. When they’re drier, I’ll store them in a pot until I can plant them again later in the year.

Daffodil bulbs

Here is the first of our harvests this week: asparagus, a couple of tulips, geums and some Sweet Williams. A couple of the asparagus were too old so a bit too tough to eat, but the rest was fine.

Harvest 1

Today, I finished off the hoeing – a HUGE task in the soft fruit area! – while K put up the runner bean sticks & beans. Don’t they look lovely!

Runner beans

I also planted out two types of beetroot – one a golden one (Burpees Golden) and the other a red and white striped one (Choggia) – both of these taste just as good as the usual beetroot but don’t stain everything red, hurrah!

Beetroot

Apparently, this year, growing potatoes in pots is the new thing – so we have planted three (one per pot) and will wait to see what they do. The fun thing was that when the special pots arrived yesterday, they have a pull out centre which you can wear over your head and look like a dalek!! And, no, I DON’T have a picture of that but I have to say it was great fun, and ideal for scaring the neighbours, LOL!

Pot potatoes

I forgot to say that this week, we have had galloping moles zipping through our beds – which has caused great fun amongst the tulips, but at least makes weeding easier. The good news is that they now appear to have left our beds (the moles, not the tulips) and are heading towards the allotment gates – 7 molehills all in a row which I of course destroyed.

So here is our second harvest – and guess who forgot the rhubarb so there’ll be no crumble this week, oh no!! – which includes leeks, spinach, asparagus, geums, one daffodil and one tulip.

Harvest 2

Here are the flowers in their vase at home:

Vase

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Brassica Plans and an Onion Mistake

This week, we’re getting nearer to planting out two new beds of Brussels sprouts, so I have taken out the last of the tulips to clear a second bed and stored them for next year. In the meantime, K has prepared the first bed – cleared last weekend – for the incoming sprouts.

Brassica bed in preparation

We’re also pleased to see that the potatoes are starting to have flowers – which I think means that the actual crop might be ready soon – we live in hope!

Potatoes

On the flower front, I’ve pruned the chrysanthemums and dahlias (dahlia pruning being a tip from Monty Don on last night’s Gardeners’ World) in order to make them bushier rather than too straggly, but I’ve left the ones with buds already on them. Will wait and see results … The cleome are now in bloom too, which is nice.

Cleome

K has also given the sweetpeas more string to climb up and woven them through so they’re not flopping about quite so much. We’ve also added a lot more to our compost bin, which looks to be coming on nicely now. But I think we have moles next to the raspberry patch – oh the horror! I found three mole hills, which I have kicked away and will hope they get the hint …

Our harvest today was two lettuces, garlic, one onion (mea culpa – I thought it was garlic so had already dug it up by the time K stopped me! Well, they all look similar to me, you know …!), beetroot, lilies, sweet williams and sweetpeas:

Harvest

So, it should be enough to keep us going for a while. Here are the flowers in vases, which I’ve put throughout the house:

Alliums and sweet peas in vase Lilies and sweet peas in vase Sweet Williams in vase

And tomorrow is my birthday (hurrah!) so I’m planning a day of celebration. Happy weekend to all!

Anne Brooke


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Unexpected rhubarb and the missing leek

A quick trip to the allotment this morning just to say hello to it, though we had nothing to plant and therefore not much to do down there. K did some digging, and I did a quick hoe-round to keep the weeds down. The good news is that the moles seem to have headed off in the direction of the fence and away from our allotment, so I hope they keep going in that direction …

The other good news is that we can see tiny red tops of the rhubarb which has just started to grow, hurrah! I had no idea it started this early, but apparently it does and, hey, I’m not complaining.

Signs of Rhubarb 1 Signs of Rhubarb 2

Ok, I know they’re very small so you can hardly see them, but they’re hugely exciting for us! Whilst down there, we decided to plan a flower bed in front of the shed where we were intending to put the greenhouse, but that’s going to be too complicated now. We’ve marked out the space and also factored in enough space in front of the shed for a small table and a couple of chairs – so we have dreams of sitting out in the summer, surveying the estate (ha!). I thought I might put poppies in the flower bed – as the deer won’t eat them as they do at home – and maybe a rose bush too. Just to make it homely. We’ll have to see.

Meanwhile, today’s harvest is more winter lettuce (still hanging on in there!), three leeks and some unexpected potatoes that K unearthed when he was on digging duties.

Leeks, potatoes and winter lettuce

We proudly transported them all to the car, but on the way one of the leeks escaped and I had to retrace my steps to try to track it down. It was obviously making a quiet bid for freedom, but I’ve corralled it again now, go me!

Anne Brooke Books


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The horror of moles!

Down on the allotment today just pottering about, and we discover we have moles – oh no, the horror!!

Moles

We’ve kicked away the tell-tale mounds, but we know they’ll be back, oh dear me …

In the meantime, I did a general hoe-round as usual though there aren’t many weeds at the moment, thank goodness. And K planted a blackcurrant and a redcurrant in our soft fruit area.

Blackcurrant New soft fruit Redcurrant

Whilst there, we also harvested two more leeks for lunch, and what is surely the last of the winter lettuce.

Leeks and winter lettuce

Still pondering on the new raised bed we’re planning, and looking forward to getting started with plug plants (hurrah – we LOVE plug plants!) later this month. There’s so much to look forward to from now on. Spring is definitely on the way.

Anne Brooke Books