The Allotment Wife


Leave a comment

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

Advertisements


2 Comments

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


2 Comments

Yacon Revisited

Another couple of visits to the allotment this week and all seems to be ticking along fairly nicely. K has now planted up the Brussels sprouts (type: Revenge! Which is a name that always makes me laugh but they’re great sprouts) in the netting and we’ve sprayed them liberally with slug doom.

Brussel sprouts Revenge

The beetroot is also doing great things and even producing a crop – though we’ll leave it a while as we don’t need it right now.

Beetroot

The mangetouts are also going well, and just look at those runner beans – I love the red flowers, which we definitely didn’t expect as we thought they were white!

Mangetouts

The potatoes are also looking good, and we found another yacon (Peruvian ground apple) at Wisley today, so have planted that up too. A shame that the one from last year didn’t seem to survive but we’ll try again with this one – or maybe they’re annuals? I’m not sure.

PotatoesYacon

Meanwhile, things are really pleasing on the flower front too. The cosmos are slowly getting larger and the dahlias are on their way:

CosmosDahlias

I’m also happy with the lilies, and the sweet peas are progressing so we’ve had to add a layer for them to climb up. This time, K has made an arch, which I think looks great.

Lilies

Sweetpeas 1Sweetpeas 2

We’ve also bought more cut flowers where we were at Wisley and planted them up – they are dianthus (I just LOVE that smell of cloves – it’s amazing!), penstemon and asters:

New cut flowers

Here are the two harvests from this week, which include lilies, sweet peas, sweet williams,  cosmos, asparagus, mangetouts and rhubarb.

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Here are the vases at home (which include the dianthus though they weren’t yet on the allotment when I cut them!):

Finally, I decided to make oasis flower arrangements with the rest of the sweet williams so here they are:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


4 Comments

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


Leave a comment

Flowers on their way

I’ve had a look back at last year’s allotment diary and I think it’s true to say that everything is actually about a month behind – and a couple of people I’ve spoken to confirm this. Last May/June, I was harvesting lilies, sweet williams and geums galore, but right now most of these are only really on their way and are still going for growth.

The sweet williams are definitely in bloom though:

Sweet Williams

There are still no flowers on the lilies though, but the growth is pretty good:

Lilies

Other greenery going strong with no blooms are the dahlias, the chrysanthemums and the gaura.

Dahlias

We’ve also planted our other chrysanthemums in that space now, as you can see, plus the Little Carlow aster:

Aster Little Carlow

Still, there are cosmos flowers (if small) plus sunflower seedlings, hurrah:

Over in the veggie area, the beetroot are growing apace:

Beetroot

Plus the mangetouts and the potatoes are flourishing:

I have also pruned the spinach to stimulate new fresh growth as the smaller leaves are just so much nicer than the big ones.

Spinach pruned

And we have gooseberries, hurrah – though I hope the birds don’t get them:

Gooseberries

Meanwhile, one of our lovely allotment neighbours has kindly donated a spare lupin and some zinnias to our cutting garden (thank you, L!):

Lupin and zinnias

As you can see above, we’ve taken out all the old daffodils and tulips, so now have space for other stuff, which is great news. I’m adding to the daffodils to the collection in the shed for planting next year, but I’ll take the tulips home for adding to the garden in November.

Here are the two harvests of this week, which include sweet williams, geums, cosmos, forget-me-nots, spinach, rhubarb, mangetouts, asparagus and those pots of tulip bulbs for taking home:

Here are the forget-me-nots, sweet williams, cosmos and geums in the vases at home:

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


5 Comments

Bounteous Harvest

The allotment is really getting going for the summer now. I popped in during the week to pick some flowers and check the asparagus, which is doing well, and came away with this harvest:

Harvest 1

The potatoes we planted in their pots last week are also starting to grow:

Potatoes in pots

Today, we’ve spent more time there, hoeing and tidying up, and K has planted the onions:

Onions

There’s good news on the beetroot front too – they were looking a bit fragile last week but they appear to have cheered up this week, so we’re hoping for a good crop later.

Beetroot

Ooh, and the mangetouts have their first pods, plus the flowers are fabulous!

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of rhubarb, spinach, leeks, mangetouts, asparagus and flowers (geums, forget-me-nots and cosmos):

Harvest 2

I really do feel like Lady Bountiful today with my trug, LOL!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

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