The Allotment Wife


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The Easter Allotment

A couple of visits to the allotment this week as I have time off from work, hurrah! I’m going to be wild and free today (yikes!) and do things in alphabetical order as it just seems easier. So not that wild and free then … Anyway, the alliums are coming along nicely, as are the asparagus and autumn raspberries:

Alliums

Asparagus 1

Asparagus 2

Autumn raspberries

I’m also pleased with how the lilies are getting along – and I have sprayed them this week for the first time as I thought they might be getting chewed a bit – the curse of the lily beetle! Ooh, and there are lupin buds on the lupin which you can just about see if you peer VERY closely at the picture:

Lilies

Lupin buds

Meanwhile the peas seem to have escaped the curse of the mice, although the ones we started off at home are doing much better than the ones which we planted as seeds straight into the soil – which just goes to show that Monty Don isn’t always right, goodness me!

Peas

We’re also pleased with how the rhubarb is getting along, and I harvested three sticks of it today to add to my apple crumble, which was surprisingly good, LOL.

Rhubarb

The soft fruit area is getting there too, and the bees seem to be loving it which is great news for a later harvest – we hope.

Soft fruit

Today, K set up a new sweet pea structure to give them more height when we get round to planting them, and as an added bonus it also helps hold up the shed guttering which suffered from the winds last month. You can just about see the netting in the picture, plus K’s hat and my fleece (didn’t need it) …

Sweet pea netting

The plant I’m most proud of though is the tulips which have given us a totally glorious display this season.

Tulips 1

Tulips 2

Tulips 3

Tulips 4

A couple of harvest pictures this week:

Harvest 1

This (above) was some asparagus, the tulips and the last of the scented narcissi.

Harvest 2

Today’s harvest shot (also above) is rhubarb (the first of the season!), asparagus and tulips. I’m also taking home the sunflower seeds as we’ll start them off at home this year, and then plan to plant them round the runner beans as usual.

Here are the tulips in the vases at home. I’m very happy indeed with the parrot tulips (the first red and white frilly ones) as usually I don’t like these in the garden, but they’re absolutely GORGEOUS in the vase, so I’ll definitely get more for the allotment next year.

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Vase 5

Vase 6

Vase 7

Have a very happy Easter Day everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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Striped Tulips and Asparagus Rising

We knew our allotment tulips have done well this week as a couple of lovely allotment people have been admiring them – we were stunned when we saw the flowers today!

Tulips 1

Tulips 2

Tulips 3

Tulips 4

Tulips 5

So thrilled with all this glorious abundance that I can’t even speak! Now there’s a shock, eh …

The tulips aren’t the only thing going for it either – last week, we had absolutely no asparagus at all and this week we have an enormous one (as it were!!) and there are others ready to spring up any day now, LOL!

Asparagus

Just looking at that picture makes me laugh!… Other excitements are the rhubarb – no flowers on them this week, phew – and the lilies.

Rhubarb 1

Lilies

I’m not spraying the lilies yet and they look okay – but possibly the dreaded lily beetle is just waiting for the right moment, yikes! We’re also pleased that the peas K planted a couple of weeks ago haven’t been eaten by mice after all, and are actually starting to sprout, well gosh! Alongside some weeds of course, but I’m leaving those in to distract the mice …

Peas

The onions K planted are also starting off, and the smell around that bed is just brilliant, even though they’re still so small!

Onions

Meanwhile the sweet williams are doing well, as is the soft fruit area & the autumn raspberries:

Sweet Williams

Soft fruit area

Autumn raspberries

Whilst there today, I planted another three rows of gladioli bulbs and K planted up a bed of potatoes:

Potato bed

Here is the harvest of tulips and a couple of asparagus stalks:

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Harvest 3

Here are some narcissi and the tulips at home:

Vase 6

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Vase 5

Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

Anne Brooke Books

 

 

 


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Gooseberry Pruning

I was on my own today at the allotment as K is busy building the stage for the village play which is next week. So I went prepared as last night on Gardener’s World, the great Monty Don told us to prune our gooseberries to get rid of some of the inner twigs so this is what I’ve done. Apparently it helps prevent gooseberry sawfly but we’ll have to see. It’s certainly a task that needs thick gloves as the stems are so prickly.

Gooseberry

Continuing the pruning theme, our oldest rhubarb has got a lot bigger, but there are more flowers on it so I cut those off to encourage stem growth. The leaves are looking good though.

Rhubarb

There is also some new growth in the chrysanthemum and dahlia area, so that’s exciting!

New growth

Not so many flowers to gather this week, though there are more daffodils and tulips to come. Maybe the heat has put them off or something?

Daffodils 1

Daffodils 2

Tulips

Meanwhile, the lilies are getting there, at least in terms of foliage. I’ve not sprayed them yet though but will start when they’re a bit taller:

Lilies

Whilst there, I did a hoe through, particularly in the soft fruit area where the weeds are sneaking up, and also trimmed our plot edges with the shears so it all looks a lot neater.

Here is this week’s harvest of narcissi and tulips:

Harvest

And here are the vases at home – the little narcissi have an amazing scent! Interestingly, last week’s daffodils have all gone, but the tulips from last week are still going strong which is great!

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a lovely April weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Vases, vases everywhere!

The allotment is really going for it this week, which is fabulous. In the veggie & fruit corner are runner beans and the soft fruit area:

Runner beans

Soft fruit

This week we’ve also planted new crops for later in the season, including leeks and lettuces:

Leeks

I suspect I’ve put far too many of the red salad bowl lettuces in their space, but I’ll see how they do over the next few weeks – I can always move them if problems arise.

I thought you might like to see a general view of the allotment currently, so here it is:

Allotment 1

Meanwhile, the flowers are going wild, hurrah! We have dahlias, echinaceas, gauras and gladioli in assorted colours:

Not to mention sweet peas and the sunflowers coming on:

Two harvests this week, including: gladioli, cosmos, dahlias, sweet williams, penstemon, runner beans, mangetouts, courgettes, beetroot and blackcurrants.

Back at home, the vases are literally filling up the house and there is almost no room to move!

I am definitely going to have to buy more vases some time soon. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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The Gladioli are here!

Great news at the allotment – some of the gladioli are finally in bloom and are a gorgeous colour! They’re mixed, but I hope there are some more of these amongst the crop:

Gladioli

Just so beautiful – whoever thinks gladioli are unfashionable and tacky is an idiot to my mind! The dahlias seem a bit cheerier today, and I think I might be on the way to beating off the blackfly hurrah – here they are with the gauras:

 

The cosmos are also doing well, and the sunflowers are definitely getting taller but no blooms yet …

Cosmos

Sunflowers

I’m also getting to the last of the lilies now (sob!) but the sweet peas have got a second wind, I think – and the smell is wonderful:

Lilies

Sweet peas

There’s also a lovely little flower that’s just bloomed that we were given by a kind person on the allotment, but for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what it is. Still very beautiful though!

Flowers

In terms of the veg, the beetroot are going great guns and the crop is growing very large indeed!

Beetroot

However, in the potato bed, it’s a game of two halves – the tasty potatoes now all have the blight, and the tasteless Sarpo potatoes don’t, hey ho. We might be able to rescue some potatoes which taste of something, but it looks like on the whole we’re doomed with Sarpo again, LOL!

Potatoes

Elsewhere, the runner beans are running away, and the soft fruit’s enthusiasm knows no bounds:

Runner beans

Soft fruit

Here’s this week’s harvest, which includes golden beetroot, runner beans, peas, mangetouts, sweet peas, cosmos, echinacea (not brilliant but it’s there …), some of the dahlias, coreopsis, gaura, lilies and a geum. Oh, and there’s a pot of blackcurrants too!

Harvest

And here are the flowers in the vases at home:

 

Have a great Sunday!

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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The Annual Allotment Show!

Big excitement this week as we all started preparing for the Allotment Show which took place on Friday. K and I went up to the allotment Thursday evening to prepare, and decided to put our golden beetroot, potatoes (for the heaviest potato competition), runner beans (for the novelty veg and longest runner bean competitions) and onions into the show, together with a variety of flowers, including coreopsis, marigolds, dahlias, cosmos and cornflowers.

Here are our potatoes, beetroots and onions:

Potatoes, beetroot and onions 3 Sept

And here is our flower harvest:

Show produce 3 Sept

This time, for the flowers, I took kitchen towel and plastic bags – so I could wet the kitchen towel and keep the flowers as fresh as possible. I must say that paid off really well, and none of the dahlias lost their petals on the journey home (shock! Horror!) so I have starting using damp kitchen towel as standard now for getting the flowers home.

Whilst there, we also looked at our lovely sunflowers, and thought: why not? We could get them home somehow and work out how to put them into the show – surely it’s not beyond the wit of allotmenteers! Here they are:

Sunflowers 1 3 Sept Sunflowers in recycling bin 1 3 Sept Sunflowers in recycling bin 2 3 Sept

And yes, once we’d struggled to get them home that night, the only place we could store them was in the recycling bin, which we half filled with water!

Astonishingly the sunflowers survived the night, though sadly our heaviest potato fell out of the bag on the way home and split in half – oooh nooo! Must remember to use stronger bags next year …

That night, K prepared the onions, potato and beetroot, and I spent a fun half hour cleaning and measuring the runner beans. I put the horseshoe shaped one to one side for the novelty veg category. The following day, I found a strong box, filled it with bubble wrap and put all our flower entries (bar the sunflowers) in vases in it for carrying purposes. Makes mental note to get more suitable vases for next year’s show, though I did buy a last minute pair of lovely recycled vases at Tesco which were very cheap and look great, so maybe more of those. I only had one accident with the flower-box preparation and didn’t break the vase, so go me, indeed.

Working out what to do with the sunflowers was fun too – in the end we filled a Brabantia bin with damp kitchen towel and bubble wrap, put more damp kitchen towel round the stems and tied them together in the bin. Getting them into the car was fun, but not as much fun as it was for our fellow allotmenteers when we arrived at the hall, ha! If there was a category for tallest exhibit, I’m sure we would have won it, mind you.

And the show was full of lots of lovely produce, including beetroot, carrots, courgettes, dahlias, flowers, potatoes, marrows, a huge pumpkin, lettuce, runner beans, novelty veg(!), onions, parsnips, soft fruit, squashes, sweetcorn, top fruit (i.e. apples etc) and of course miscellaneous, plus some lovely fluffy sunflowers I was really envious of.

Beetroot, with our Golden Beetroot on the left 4 Sept Carrots 4 Sept Courgettes 4 Sept Dahlias 4 Sept Flowers with ours at the left front 4 Sept Heaviest potato with ours on the right 4 Sept Largest marrow 4 Sept Largest pumpkin 4 Sept Lettuce 4 Sept Longest runner bean with our short one on the left 4 Sept Novelty Veg 4 Sept incl our horseshoe runnerbean Onions with ours at centre back 4 Sept Parsnips 4 Sept Potatoes 4 Sept Runner beans 4 Sept Soft fruit 4 Sept Squashes 4 Sept Sweetcorn and leeks 4 Sept Top fruit and Miscellaneous 4 SeptSunflowers 4 Sept

Here are our entries of dahlias, coreopsis, cosmos, cornflowers, golden beetroot, longest runner bean, marigolds, novelty horseshoe runner bean, onions (on the white plate) and those sunflowers in the bin:

Our coreopsis 4 Sept Our cosmos and cornflowers 4 Sept Our dahlias and coreopsis 4 Sept Our golden beetroot 4 Sept Our long runner bean 4 Sept Our marigolds 4 Sept Our novelty horseshoe runner bean 4 Sept Our onions 4 Sept Our sunflowers 1 4 Sept

And the judging began! We were traumatised so went home for a pizza as we couldn’t take the angst, LOL. When we returned, all of our entries had been totally outclassed by the amazing produce of our fellow allotmenteers (though we have made lovely soup out of the veggies!), but astonishingly, our sunflowers won 2nd PRIZE in the flower category! Honestly, we’ve never been so thrilled in our lives!

2nd prize for sunflowers in flowers comp 4 Sept 2 2nd prize for sunflowers in flowers comp 4 Sept 3 2nd prize for sunflowers in flowers comp 4 Sept 2015 1

And the Best in Show category was deservedly won by R & S for their excellent beetroot:

Best in show beetroot 4 Sept

Definitely a cause for BIG celebrations all round, and the post show party was wonderful too!

Getting the sunflowers home was equally entertaining as getting them there, and they are now in pride of place at the front door:

Sunflowers at front door 1 Sunflowers at front door 2

Happy allotmenteering, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books