The Allotment Wife


Leave a comment

Cute coat hangers and a bird crisis

The wonderful K has solved the problem of garden pegs (to hold netting down) – the ones we get in garden centres just seem to get tangled in the netting and cause lots of cursing (me) and sighing (him) so he’s made his own by just cutting wire coat hangers in half. They work brilliantly, but we now need more hangers for our clothes, LOL!

Coathanger pegs

This week we’ve planted another bed of Brussels sprouts (using those pegs for the netting) as in my view you can never have too many sprouts.

Brussels sprouts

Speaking of netting, we had a bit of a crisis earlier in the week as a female blackbird found its way into our fruit cage and I couldn’t sort the netting out on my own to let it escape, as the net is laced together at the top. I had to get K to come down and help me get the bird out – which we did in the end – and then we have refitted the net and added lots of soil as a barrier at the bottom to prevent birds getting in again.

Soft fruit cage

The autumn raspberries are doing okay too, and I’m still managing to keep the weeds down in the area, which is good news.

Autumn raspberries 1

The courgette we planted a couple of weeks ago is also doing well, though rather overshadowing the marrow I have probably planted too close to it, oh well. Meanwhile the runner beans are growing apace, and there’s another flush of rhubarb, so I’m making rhubarb and strawberry (from home) crumble today.

CourgetteRunner beansRhubarb

In the wonderful world of flowers, we now have astilbes, a dahlia, lilies, taller sunflowers and more sweet peas.

Astilbe 1 Astilbe 2 Dahlia Lilies 1 Lilies 2 Sunflowers Sweet peas

As a result the vases are looking good, though I have to say the red lilies do NOT travel well and start wilting the absolute second I pick them – which is a shame as they’re very beautiful.

Flowers in vases 1 Flowers in vases 2 Lilies in vase

So here’s this week’s harvest in total, which also includes a geum, sweet williams and our first small potato crop!

Harvest 1 Harvest 2

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The first of the summer flowers

Very rainy at the allotment today, but we had our raincoats and hats so kept out the worst of the wet. However, I think I should have worn my wellies, as my old walking shoes don’t keep out the rain, sadly. Today, K sorted out the compost section so the slats are now removed and we can use the bins instead. A lot of what is in the old compost appears to be just soil, so we’ll bring the soil sieve down at our next visit and sort it out. It will be easy enough to put the soil back on the allotment – and certainly easier than the 2 days it took us to de-weed and de-bramble our front garden at home!

Anyway, the exciting thing for me is the allotment flowers are on their way for sure now. Today, we have alliums large and small, foxgloves, geums, lilies and Sweet Williams.

Alliums Foxgloves Geum Lilies Sweet Williams

Meanwhile in the veggie area, the rhubarb is growing back apace, hurrah. I’ve not harvested any today as I want to try to make a rhubarb and orange cake next week so I’m saving it for that.

Rhubarb

We’re still letting the asparagus go to seed now, and so far the carrots are surviving against the dreaded carrot fly (fingers crossed, eh!)…

Asparagus bed Carrots

We’re also very pleased with the lettuce, and in addition the runner beans and sunflowers have put a bit of a spurt on.

Lettuce Runner beans with sunflowers

And the soft fruit area is now a veritable forest of hope – we’ll have to net it pretty dang soon though!

Soft fruit 1 Soft fruit 2

Today there is also exciting (well, sort of!) news as I have planted some chrysanthemums that I’m hoping to display at the allotment show in September, if they’re any good, that is. I’ve never done this sort of thing before but it will be nice to have a go if we can, as we did enjoy last year’s show very much. I foolishly forgot to take a pic of them, but I will try to remember next time.

I’ve also planted cornflowers, a scattering of marigolds (Naughty Marietta – we love that name, but sorry, no pic yet!) and more beetroot (which you can compare with the older beetroot next to it below).

CornflowersBeetroot 2 Beetroot 1

Finally, here is the harvest of small alliums, Sweet Williams, lilies foxgloves, lettuce and beetroot, plus the cut flowers in vases at home:

HarvestCut flowers

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


1 Comment

The Whole Plot and Nothing but the Plot

Looking back over my last few allotment posts, I don’t think I’ve taken a picture of the plot as a whole, so here’s a wider view of it to give you an idea of the whole thing:

Allotment Raised beds Soft fruit area 1 Soft fruit area 2

As you can see, the soft fruit area is coming along nicely. Turning to the topic of vegetables, we’ve planted the runner beans today – which means that for a short while we have the tallest runner beans on the allotment (gosh!) until other people plant them out of course!

Runner Beans

We’ve also cut the spinach right back (though harvested some first for the week) as a fellow-allotmenteer advised us to do so – as hopefully it means we’ll get lots of new plants sprouting which will be tastier than the old spinach:

Spinach

It gave us a chance to get rid of some of the weeds in that bed as well, though of course they’re bound to come back. Ooh, and we used our spinach yesterday when we had friends round for dinner as we stuffed some chicken pieces with it – and laid some of our asparagus across it too as a garnish (go, us!) – and very tasty it was as well. When I say “we” here, I mean “K”, as he’s much better at cooking main courses than I am. I’m much happier making puddings …

And we’ve harvested our first garlic bulb, hurrah! I’ve chopped it up and added it to today’s chicken joint – the smell was amazing. There’s plenty of garlic left over too, so shall use that during the week – which surely means we will be the smelliest people in the village, ha!

Garlic

Meanwhile, in Flower City, I’ve planted some more dahlias today, and am also very happy that the geum is doing well.

Dahlias Geum

But there’s sad news about the alliums I planted for cut flowers – maybe I should have read the description more thoroughly as they’re now in flower and appear to be only about an inch or two in height! No chance of cut flowers here – though they are pretty – unless I get a job-lot of egg-cups in …

Alliums

Happy Sunday and happy allotmenteering!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

More Sweet Peas and an Asparagus Mystery

This week, K and I have tidied up the messy area next to the shed and planted some more sweet peas that we’ve been growing in the little plastic greenhouse at home. We’re really pleased with the result, and think the rest of the area could be given over to a path next to the raised bed and some pots, maybe. Perhaps even some tumbling tomatoes in pots, which might look good.

Sweet peas

The good thing is that I could use some of the stones from this area to lay on one of our strips of lining to form a path, or rather more of a path. Over in the asparagus bed, things are growing well and we’ve harvested more asparagus today, which has been totally delicious. However, we know that there are two new plants in the bed and we’re not supposed to harvest those in the first year – the trouble is we can’t remember which they are so we’re relying on a bit of guesswork and a lot of prayer.

Asparagus

There’s good news about our potatoes as well – post our frost moment, the new earthing-up seems to have done the trick and they’re happily growing back, hurrah.

Potatoes

While K was digging out the bed for the new sweet peas, I spent some time hand-weeding the soft fruit area, and between the paths too, just to keep things vaguely under control. The soft fruit is looking pretty good, so that’s exciting.

Soft fruit 1 Soft fruit 2

Here’s a picture of this week’s harvest (asparagus, rhubarb and spinach):

Harvest

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is truly the gift that just keeps on giving, though it is getting rather chewed up by slugs (or something), no matter how much Slug Doom I scatter over them. However, this week’s crop has done us proud as presents for a friend and a lovely rhubarb and ginger crumble with cream for lunch today, bliss. Plus K made a lovely spinach soup with cream and leeks (shop-bought, oh the horror …) which was totally amazing – definitely must do that again!

Rhubarb

And in the cut flower beds, the astilbe is coming along, the sweet williams are thinking about being in bloom and – best of all – the sunflower seeds (Russian Giant) are starting to sprout, so it really feels as if summer is just around the corner.

Astilbe Sweet Williams

Sunflowers

And I’m happy with how the lilies are – I keep spraying them, so no lily beetle (yikes!) as yet …

Lilies

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke


2 Comments

Time for Sweet Peas and a Potato Disaster Averted

This week’s main job has been putting in the sweet peas. K created a climbing frame next to the shed for one lot and put the other lot in next to the compost frame so they can climb up there.

Sweet peas 1 Sweet peas 2

Speaking of the compost bin, K also turned it to try to persuade it to break down more but it really needs more green matter, so we will have to try to remember to add the grass from the next lawn mowing to it.

Whilst there, I harvested more rhubarb, which we plan to use for a rhubarb fool and also a crumble, which should keep us going over the weekend.

Rhubarb

Plus I also harvested four asparagus tips (and there’s more to come) plus another armful of spinach, which is going great guns at the moment.

Spinach

And there’s good news about our potatoes – we were very worried that they might have got blight, even though K says it should be too early for that. We were just about to dig them up when the lovely couple in the plot next to us stopped us and said it was frost problems, rather than blight – and the cure is to earth them up and then more shoots can grow through. We were very grateful indeed (thank you, hugely!), and K earthed them up.

Potatoes

Interestingly, the potatoes K planted amongst the tulips haven’t come to any harm at all, so presumably the tulips are providing them with enough shelter from the frost – we must remember this next year!

Potatoes in tulips

In other parts of our plot, the soft fruit is doing very well and it’s starting to get very exciting indeed.

Soft fruit 1 Soft fruit 2

And the beetroot and young alliums are looking hopeful too, though really need to be bigger!

Alliums Beetroot

Plus you get a very special shot of my left foot, you lucky people! Think yourself lucky, as it’s apparently Naked Gardening Day so at least I have clothes on … Have a great and fruitful bank holiday weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


6 Comments

A rhubarb mountain

I picked another three daffodils during the week, one of them one of the larger variety, and they do look good in their vase in the dining room. This weekend, K is busy building the stage set for the village play so I went down to the allotment on my own this morning, and have spent about an hour and a half hoeing the beds and hand-weeding the autumn raspberries. The soft fruit area is doing pretty well, with blackcurrants and raspberries coming along.

Blackcurrants Raspberries

Meanwhile, the rhubarb is going for it and actually has leaves – so it’s a mountain! Well, almost, anyway …

Rhubarb

I also harvested some more winter lettuce which we can have during the week.

Winter Lettuce

The really exciting news – for a flower girl like me – is that there are more Asiatic lilies showing themselves now, and even one lone and very red-looking Astilbe, goodness me indeed!

Asiatic lilies Astilbe

I also met the Allotment treasurer and had a very fine chat about allotments, raspberries and the joys of travel, which was great fun!

Anne Brooke Books


Leave a comment

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