The Allotment Wife


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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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Autumn Flowers and Woodchip Paths

A lovely couple of hours at the allotment in glorious weather this morning – it really makes up for yesterday’s almost permanent rain – though then again the rain means I don’t have to water anything this weekend. Anyway, I did a hoe round, and K has taken some wood chips someone kindly donated to the allotments and put them down on our most weed-filled paths (on top of new black sheeting of course). I think they look lovely and we hope it will keep the weeds down for a while.

woodchip-path

The asters are also looking brilliant. The first one is Harrington’s Pink – and it smells of pineapples so I love it! K isn’t so sure, LOL.

aster-harringtons-pink

I can’t remember what this smaller pink aster is but it’s great as a vase filler:

asters

The dahlias and marigolds are also continuing to do well:

dahlias

marigolds

Plus I’ve finally planted the last tranche of daffodil bulbs so that’s all our early autumn planting done, hurrah! Next stop is the tulips in November, but we’d best buy some of those first.

daffodils

We’re really pleased with the lettuces and have harvested a couple of the bigger green ones too. They should definitely keep us going through the winter.

lettuce-1

lettuce-2

lettuce-3

Meanwhile the Peruvian Ground Apple (AKA Yakon) looks extremely happy at the moment so I hope we’re going to get a good crop from it.

peruvian-ground-apple

Here’s this week’s harvest, which includes autumn raspberries, beetroot, courgettes, lettuce, coreopsis, marigolds, penstemons, asters, dianthus and dahlias:

harvest

And here are the flowers at home. I’m particularly proud of those Harrington’s Pink asters!

vase-1

vase-2

vase-3

vase-4

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Yacon Revisited and a Missing Beetroot

Enjoyed a very pleasant hour or so on the allotment this morning. K sorted out the compost so it’s all in the compost bins now rather than lying messily next to the rhubarb patch, and I did a quick hoe round to keep the weeds more or less under control.

Having looked it up on the web thingy last week, we retrieved the heart of the yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple) from the shed and planted it as instructed back in the ground, though we are still letting the tubers dry out.

Peruvian Ground Apple

Whilst there, I dug up the Crocosmias (Emily McKenzie) as they were wasted on the allotment as they don’t last in the vase when cut. Instead I have planted them at home with my other crocosmias at the front. Hopefully, they’ll be a vision in red and orange next year.

I also harvested some spinach and two beetroots, one red and one golden – here they are with the dug-up crocosmias:

Harvest

Sadly, when I got home I was confused as I was also sorting the garden out by doing mega-pruning before I lost the light, and I appear to have added the golden beetroot into the garden waste bin by mistake, yikes!! I am officially a Bad Gardener! Next time, I will sort out the harvest BEFORE tacking the garden, eh … Still, at lease we have the red beetroot left and the spinach!

Have a great weekend, all.

Anne Brooke Books


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Yacon city

Today we have harvested the yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple) as the frost we had overnight has destroyed the leaves. We weren’t expecting much as we only planted it over the summer, but actually it’s given a really good crop – so we have saved some of the smaller tubers for planting next year, and will definitely buy another adult plant if we see one.

Yacons

It’s related to the sunflower, and a cross between a potato and a melon – this is the best way I can describe it! You can either eat them raw if you peel them or cook them in their skins. The raw taste is quite nice – like a subtle honey and very refreshing. We’re also going to cook one with Sunday lunch today – and save the rest as they keep for a while apparently, like potatoes.

I didn’t bother weeding anything as the ground was too hard and anyway I’m hoping the frost will do its work, at least for now! We did mulch the dahlias though, with the compost we’ve made on the allotment, so hopefully that will see them through the winter.

The rest of the harvest was spinach, a beetroot, one chrysanthemum and two coreopsis flowers.

Harvest.jpg

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Tulip planting

Spent a happy post-church couple of hours on the allotment this morning. K took down the runner beans and we saved them for seed for next year.

Runner beans for seedRunner bean seeds

Those we don’t use for seed, we’ll add to stews – it’s definitely the season to get the slo-cooker out, hurrah!

I also had a quick hoe round, and took out or pruned back the flowers, including the chrysanthemums, marigolds, cerinthe and coreopsis.

Pruned coreopsis Bare cerinthe area

So it’s all looking a bit bare, but there are signs of Spring as the daffodil shoots start to show themselves.

Daffodil shoot

Anyway, here are the tulips bulbs, and their eventual destination in the old runner bean bed.

Tulip bulbsTulip patch

As you can see, there are loads, but we stuffed them in anyway, and also netted them to put the squirrels off. I lost a few tulip bulbs last year to the pesky squirrels and want to try to avoid that this year at least.

In another news, the Brussels sprouts and spinach are coming along nicely. I meant to harvest some spinach today for lunch, but I forgot. Still we used the beetroot leaves instead which were very nice indeed. I’ll have to remember to harvest the spinach next week before the leaves get too big and chewy. The young leaves are just so much nicer.

Brussels sproutsSpinach

K has also a week or so ago lengthened the rhubarb patch and put two more plants in so here it is in the new form:

Rhubarb patch

The Peruvian Ground Apple is also growing apace, which is confusing as it should be going yellow by now – which is apparently the sign for when it’s ready to harvest. All very odd but I imagine it’s the warm autumn we’re having. We will just have to wait and see …

Peruvian Ground Apple

Finally, here is today’s harvest, which includes beetroot, chrysanthemums and the runner beans for seed.

Harvest

And here are the chrysanthemums in their vase at home. Sadly, this is the last of them and I’ve cut the rest down. They are sprouting leaves again at the base, which is strange as I thought they were annuals, so I might get another slight bloom before the frosts set in – you never know. And even if I don’t, we’ve had fresh flowers from the allotment from February to November, which is pretty good going, I think.

Chrysanthemum vase

Have a good and peaceful week, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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It’s showtime!…

… or nearly anyway … The date of the Allotment Show is now set for Friday 4 September at 5pm, with judging from 5.45-6.30pm, and then it’s open to all until 7pm. After which we collapse into a heap and consume lots of cheese and wine (sadly none of it grown on the allotments, LOL!).

Last year, K and I were very new at the whole thing so we just enjoyed the produce and the company, and loved seeing the lovely H (well done again, H!) walk away with the top prize, hurrah! This year, we’re going to be very brave and try to enter one or two things – maybe some onions, the runner beans, and some flowers if there are any good ones around on the day.

Onions

You may remember that I planted some special show chrysanthemums a while back, but there’s no sign of any buds yet (sob!) so I will have to rely on the dahlias, or possibly a second wind for the coreopsis. I fear there’s not a vase large enough for the sunflowers!…

Anyway, I did pop into the allotment during the week, and harvested some courgettes and absolutely loads of runner beans. There were far too many for the two of us to eat so – with a vague folk memory of my mother blanching things for the freezer many lightyears ago and the help of the trusty Interweb thingy – K and I blanched them and have stored them in the freezer, go us! Basically this means that we put the runner beans into boiling water for 2 minutes, and the thickly chopped courgettes for one minute, and then plunged them into a big bowl of ice cold water. After drying them off, K then put them into portion-sized sandwich bags, and sucked the air out with a straw. Yes, we really are that strange, but it works like a dream!

Back at the allotment today when I did a hoe-round and K did the watering. Nothing to plant at the moment, but I did gather up the dead rhubarb leaves and kick away all the mole hills so I hope I’m doing some good.

The peas K planted last week are doing well, as are the Brussels sprouts.

PeasBrussels sprouts

The Peruvian Ground Apple has recovered too, and is okay as long as we keep it well watered.

Peruvian Ground Apple

Sad to say, the one almost-ripe autumn raspberry of last week has been taken by the birds, but there are more on the way (no doubt to feed the birds again!):

Autumn Raspberries

On the flower front, the gaura are looking good, but they’re not great in vases so I’m leaving them where they are.

Gaura

And the echinacea is very pretty too:

Echinacea

Here is our harvest of potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, sweet peas, coreopsis, dahlias, cornflowers and a geum:

Harvest

And, as you can see, I’ve run out of vases at home, and am having to make do with wine glasses! The buddleia came from the garden as I accidentally cut a branch off when deadheading yesterday.

Vases 2 Vase 3 Vase 1

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books