The Allotment Wife


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Daffodil Delight and a Fabulous Frog

Lots going on at the allotment today. Next week, we get our annual inspection so I’ve trimmed the edges to make it look a lot neater – lots of fun with a pair of shears and some very dirty trousers now!

Anyway, it’s daffodil city on the plot, which is just lovely – even the narcissi which we thought were over have rebloomed:

Daffodils 1

Daffodils 2

Narcissi 1

Narcissi 2

The little narcissi with the dark orange centres (the pic immediately above) smell absolutely amazing so we can’t wait to get more of those.

The tulips are also on their way now and some even have buds showing. I’m convinced everything is arriving a month early at the moment whereas last year it arrived a month late. All very strange …

Tulips 1

The tulips above are growing where they shouldn’t be growing so obviously we weren’t as good at removing all the bulbs as we thought we were! But the ones below are definitely in the right place:

Tulips 2

The alliums and the aster are making a showing:

Alliums

Aster

And we also have lilies and the lupin, hurrah:

Lilies

Lupin

We need to sort out more flowers for summer as the last thing I want is a gap – perish the thought! We have some purple sunflowers at home which I think I’ll plant on the allotment, and of course I can plant more yellow sunflowers too. Plus we have the dianthus and the sweet williams still on the allotment, so hopefully they’ll put in an appearance at some point.

The rhubarb is on its way and there are now definitely shoots on the autumn raspberry bed:

Rhubarb 1

Autumn raspberries

Today, K also planted a row of early peas, as Monty Don was doing this on Gardeners’ World so we thought we’d give it a go. Here’s hoping the mice don’t get them first!

Early peas 1

Early peas 2

And we discovered a frog! Isn’t he cute – we left him well alone and hope he finds a home under the shed rather than under the bags of compost where he was actually hiding …

Frog 1

Frog 2

Frog 3

Just a harvest of those glorious daffodils today, though we’ve also bought home the rest of the peas to save them from the mice.

Harvest

And here are the flowers at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Vases 3

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Anne Brooke – Biblical Fiction & Prayer

 

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Sunflower and Aster Explosion!

Our first sight of the allotment this morning was two of our sunflowers lying collapsed across the path, oh dear me – must have been the storm during the week. Luckily they didn’t cause any damage and they were about due to come out anyway! It’s amazing how tiny a root system sunflowers all have for such a top-heavy flower – it’s a miracle how they stay upright at all …

resting-sunflowers

So we’ve taken the rest of the sunflowers out, and also removed the runner beans.This gave me a chance to get half of our planned daffodils into the empty runner bean bed – I put the new ones in today, but I’ll put the rest of the old ones from last year in next week. The new daffodils are supposed to bloom even earlier than the ones we had last year, so I hope they all do all right.

I’m also totally delighted with the new flowers – Little Carlow asters (they’re blue) – which we planted a few weeks ago just to see how they do. They’re TOTALLY amazing – and look stunning in their vase (see later) so I am so definitely going to get more next year.

little-carlow-asters

The dahlias are still going strong, though the stalks are shorter now so more of a challenge for flower arranging, LOL!

dahlias

The last of the gladioli is a beautiful red one – I’m sad to see them finish and we think we’ll get more of them next year and do more successional planting so they go on later into October, rather than finish now.

last-gladiolus

And the sweet peas are most definitely done! Didn’t get a chance to take them out today, but I’ll try to fit that in next week as I really don’t like them when they get this untidy:

dead-sweet-peas

We’ve also taken out one of the courgette plants, but the other has two large courgettes and two mini ones today, plus five or six still to come, so we’ll give that one a bit longer:

courgettes

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are fruiting far more than they did last year – is this possibly because I did what my stepfather told me (very rare, LOL!) and didn’t cut them down last year as you’re supposed to do? It certainly means you get loads more fruit, but not cutting them down might be something we do every 2 years, as this year they’ve got very untidy and are drifting over the path which makes things tricky.

autumn-raspberries

So, here’s our harvest – the courgettes (the mini ones are SO cute and you can even wear them as earrings, LOL!), some autumn raspberries (no time to pick all of them today!), plus the gladiolus, the Little Carlow asters, crocosmia, penstemons, marigolds, dahlias and coreopsis:

harvest

Here are the vases at home – first off, those glorious asters, which I put together with the penstemons, and I think it works very well:

vase-little-carlow-asters-and-penstemons

I kept the dahlias together which I think they like best:

vase-dahlias

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the crocosmia and gladiolus as I don’t really have a vase small enough for them, so made do with a champagne glass:

vase-crocosmia-and-gladiolus

I’m really happy with how the marigolds and coreopsis have gone together though – the yellow and gold are stunning!

vase-coreopsis-and-marigolds-1

vase-coreopsis-and-marigolds-2

Have a super weekend!

Anne Brooke

 

 


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It’s (nearly) Showtime!

There are five days to go (not that we’re counting …) to the big Allotment Show which takes place this coming Friday, so the allotment folks are becoming quietly focused. Or it’s contained panic – but it comes to the same thing, LOL!

As a result, we haven’t taken any flowers for the house today – except for a few sweet peas – as I’m keen to put some flowers into the show so want to see how everything is doing Thursday night. However, I have cut down half of the gaura as they’re starting to be a bit of a nuisance even though the bees love them. They’re trailing through the dahlias so I can’t see what’s going on, and likewise on the other side with the chrysanthemums. NB: Sad to say the chrysanthemums are behind so there won’t be any from us at the show this year. Back to the gaura – I don’t think I’ll grow these again, as though they look nice in vases for about 1 or 2 days, they then kind of explode and the pesky petals and seeds get EVERYWHERE – I’m forever cleaning them up, so it’s really not worth it! I could replant them in the garden but we already have some and there isn’t really any room for more – so it’s the garden waste container for them, I’m afraid.

Gaura

Flowers I do have my eye on for possible show entries are the sunflowers (which came Second in the blooms section last year – in case you’d forgotten!!), the echinacea, the dahlias, the gladioli (if there are any left by then!) and the marigolds:

Sunflowers

Echinacea

Dahlias

Gladioli

Marigolds

I will have to do something creative with oasis this year, as that’s what other people did last time – I was the only one who just plonked them in water, LOL! Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Turning to veggie city, the courgettes have morphed into marrows again and are going full-tilt for world domination, go them:

Courgettes to Marrows

Courgette to Marrow family

However, they’re not as rampant as those runner beans – so if it comes to a dust-up between the marrow/courgettes and the beans, my money’s on the beans, every time … I only harvested a few runner beans today – enough for lunch and a couple of other meals this week for sure! – as we’re hoping to enter some of them in the veggie categories at the show, as well as the longest runner bean category.

K. has also dug up the potatoes, but sadly there are no super-large ones this year, probably due to blight, but we might see if we can find three roughly of the same shape and size for Friday. Oh, and the lettuce looks amazing – can’t wait to try some when the leaves are a bit larger! We also planted some new lettuce seeds and sweet william seeds in our spare bed to get another flower/salad crop going. It’s great to have new things at this time of year.

Lettuce

Anyway, here’s the harvest from today (not including the courgettes). I added the autumn raspberries to our apple crumble and very tasty they are too!

Harvest 1

And here are some sweet peas (mostly the perennial ones from home, with some allotment ones – the last of the crop, alas!):

Vase

Have a super Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Marrows everywhere!

After another week, the tiny courgettes we left undisturbed last Sunday have turned into monsters! But at least the autumn raspberries are the usual size, LOL

Harvest 1

We’ve not harvested so many runner beans as usual today as the Allotment Show is in a fortnight’s time and we’re planning to enter the Longest Runner Bean comp – go us! Still, we did take a few, plus a couple of beetroots too.

The dahlias are looking amazing at the moment though sadly we’re getting to the last of the gladioli, oh well. Next year, we’ll do a later seasonal planting as well so we might get some for the Allotment Show.

Dahlias

Gladioli

The sunflowers are astonishingly tall so I’ve tied them together with string to give some support and also some flexibility. No point putting canes up as the sunflowers are stronger!

Sunflower

Meanwhile the sweet peas must have heard us say they were for the chop last week as they’ve rallied a little -though still definitely reaching their end.

Sweet peas

Anyway, here is the ultimate harvest, including courgette/marrows, beetroot, runner beans, autumn raspberries, gladioli, echinacea, coreopsis, geums, and dahlias.

Harvest 2

And here are the vases at home – the stock is definitely slowing down now as I only have 3 vases instead of 5. Autumn is on its way …

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a great Sunday – and Bank Holiday Monday, hurrah!

Anne Brooke 


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Runner Bean Riot

Oo-err, we can’t get to the allotment for one week and the runner beans have gone mad! This is the trug I normally get everything in but not today …

Runner beans

The courgettes aren’t that far behind either and definitely have marrow aspirations:

Courgettes

I think courgette/marrow soup is definitely on the menu for us! Mind you, the beetroot are going for it too:

Beetroot

That should last us the week for sure. Flowers are doing well, and the gladioli and echinacea have bounced back:

Gladioli

Echinacea

And here are the sunflowers, getting even taller!

Sunflower

Dahlias are doing well as well, and are still blackfly-free, hurrah!

Dahlias

We’ve also got some crocosmia growing, though I had thought I’d taken them all home last year – obviously not! I shall have to have another go to get them home when they’ve finished flowering this year:

Crocosmia

Here is the harvest, which consists of gladioli, sweet peas, sweet williams, geums, dahlias, echinacea, coreopsis and marigolds.

Flower harvest

And here is the total harvest – also including some autumn raspberries!

Harvest

Whilst there today, K watered and I hoed, but there honestly aren’t too many weeds anyway, hurrah! We also did some composting using stuff from home, and took down the pea frames. I managed to get a splinter in my finger in the middle of doing that (ow! ow!) but thankfully K is a GENIUS at getting splinters out of fingers and managed to rescue me, phew. Heaven alone knows how he does it but it’s wonderful.

Here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Sunflower season

The first sunflower is in bloom, hurrah! And it looks particularly lovely in its vase – only one flower needed, LOL (see later)!

Sunflower

The echinacea and gladioli are also doing well:

Echinacea

Gladioli

Meanwhile, there is quite a glut of runner beans – the gift that just keeps on giving! – and we’ve frozen loads of them now for later in the year. Plus we have to keep harvesting the courgettes before they make it to the dizzy height of marrows, and the beetroot are getting super-sized. Must be the glorious weather!

We’ve also filled up one of our allotment composting bins – mainly from flowers I’ve deadheaded and/or pruned in the garden at home – and are now fixing our sights on the 2nd bin we have there. Monty Don will be so proud of us!

Here are this week’s two harvests, including runner beans, courgettes, beetroot, sweet peas, sweet williams, geums, coreopsis, echinacea, dahlias, gladioli and that sunflower:

Here they are in the vases at home:

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Mildew Misery

O me miserum, as they would say in Rome many years ago – our mangetouts and peas have succumbed to the dreaded mildew and we’ve taken them out:

Mildewed mangetouts

Oh dear me. Not only that but my three lovely cosmos plants have died and there’s just no saving them – no idea why, sob! – so I’ve dug them up too …

Dead cosmos

However, it’s not all weeping and gnashing of teeth on the allotment front – the sunflowers are doing okay and getting taller by the second:

Sunflowers

The sweet peas and dahlias are also going strong, and the dahlias are now all but free from the dreaded blackfly, hurrah:

Sweet peasDahlias

Turning to the veggie mountain, the courgettes are growing apace and if you turn your back on them for more than a second, they become marrows, so we have to keep picking them. I do find courgettes funny as they’re ever so slightly prickly on the stems, leaves and even on the veg itself – not so much to be painful, but you’re aware of them when you’re scrabbling about for produce.

And I’m sure the lettuces are a tiny bit bigger this week though that might be just my wishful thinking, LOL!

Here are the two harvests of this week, which include beetroot, courgettes, mangetouts, peas, runner beans, blackcurrants (though not as many as last week as the birds have grabbed their share now), gladioli, dahlias, sweet peas, sweet williams, geums, echinacea and gaura.

And here are the vases at home – I particularly love the structure of the gladioli – such a gorgeous plant!

 

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books