The Allotment Wife


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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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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


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Pootling Along

A nice pootling kind of a morning at the allotment today. We hoed round and made sure everything was okay, as far as possible. I was expecting a little more from the sweet peas we planted last week but they’ve not done very much so far:

Sweet peas

However, on the plus side, the tulips are still doing their best, and even the daffodils are hanging on in there:

It’s really the lilies which are putting on something of a growth spurt, and the gladioli are poking their heads up a little more too:

LiliesGladioli

On the veggie front, we’re pleased with the rhubarb, the asparagus and the spinach, and had enough of the latter two to take as part of our harvest, hurrah!

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries and gooseberry have plenty of foliage which is good news.

Here’s the harvest we gathered, which includes leeks too – and it’s odd as they really make my eyes sore even from just having them in the car, which hasn’t happened before – the soreness lasted all afternoon and has only just gone, so goodness knows what that is about! I LOVE leeks! K suggested wearing a gas mask next time we harvest the leeks, but I don’t think it’s a good look, LOL!

Harvest

Finally, here are the tulips in their vases at home.

Vases

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Tulips Encore

Just back from a glorious holiday in Amsterdam and on the Rhine and I now have total tulip mania. However, by the looks of our allotment after a week of being away, I really didn’t need to go to Amsterdam to find the tulips!

Not only that but I think we have a couple of gladioli shoots on the way up – the ones that K planted a few weeks ago:

Gladioli

You have to look very closely to see them though! I also think that we might have a dahlia on the way though it will be very early if it’s true …

Dahlia

Meanwhile, the lilies I’d forgotten I’d left in their bed are doing well, and we have one of our sweet williams almost in bloom too:

However, the main focus of our visit (apart from catching up with the weeding, lol) was planting the first of our sweet peas next to the shed. Here they are in situ:

Sweet peas

The soft fruit area is doing well too, and we’re particularly pleased with the gooseberry:

The spinach is also growing fast, as is the rhubarb:

And, finally, the asparagus is now definitely on the way, though still small.

Asparagus

So, today’s harvest was the tulips, a few stray narcissi, leeks and the spinach:

Harvest

And here are the tulips in their vases at home – I’m very pleased with them indeed, especially the red ones!

 

 


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Raspberry surprise

These last couple of weeks, we’ve been patiently waiting for our autumn raspberries to turn red so we can pick them before the birds do. However, it now appears they’re actually Autumn Gold raspberries so they don’t turn red at all – Allotmenteer Fail! So yesterday, we picked as many as we could and I have added them to the apple and blackberry crumble I’m making for Sunday lunch today (blackberries courtesy of the hedges hereabouts, and apples courtesy of our neighbour and our own apple tree at home!).

Autumn Gold raspberries

Sad to say, the autumn raspberries are a bit bland (lack of sun possibly?) so a crumble is the best place for them. We’re thinking of having red autumn raspberries next year to give us a clue as to when they’re ready to harvest – though I fear the birds will be keener on those.

However, as you can see, there are plenty more yellow raspberries to come:

Soft fruit

Whilst there, K took out the cornflowers which are all but over, and planted sweet williams ready for next year.

Sweet Williams

Earlier in the week, I took out all the sweet peas as they were definitely over, sadly. However, the asters and cosmos are  doing well so I have picked those for home – the asters last absolutely ages in a vase, I must say.

Asters and cosmos 1 Asters and cosmos 2

In veggie news, the beetroot and leeks are doing well:

Beetroot Leeks

So we’ve managed to gain a pretty good harvest, all in all:

Harvest

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Tidying Up

A good tidy up round the allotment today. Plus K cut down the sunflowers that are now over and I staked the chrysanthemums as they’re starting to fall across each other.

Chrysanthemums 1 Chrysanthemums 2 Sunflower head

Funny how last year I would never have had the confidence to even consider staking anything up and would have had to get K to do it or at the very least ask for help. Now I go ahead without even worrying about it, gosh! Anyway we have taken some of the sunflower seeds for growing on next year, and left the rest for the birds. That seems fair. Monty Don would surely be proud of us1

I’ve also planted a leucanthemum for more autumnal cut flowers which I picked up at the Wisley Flower Show yesterday. I really love the fluffiness of them, and the soft yellow colour is great.

Leucanthemum

Here’s our harvest of peas, a courgette, two beetroot, sweet peas, a geum, asters, cosmos, dahlias, cornflowers and coreopsis:

Harvest

And here are the flowers in their vases at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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A Second Spring?

Post the Allotment Show, we’ve done a good tidy round and weeding on the allotment today. The sunflowers are still looking happy and – amazingly! – we have a foxglove in bloom. Hmm, must be really confused then!

Foxglove in bloom Sunflower

Whilst there, I planted some more foxgloves in the space where the scabious used to be as it wasn’t doing very much. I’m hoping these foxgloves will be ready for spring, but who knows!

Foxgloves

K also moves some perpetual spinach from the brassica bed and gave it its own kingdom where the potatoes were:

Perpetual spinach

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are doing wonderfully and they now have orange berries, gosh! How many of those we’ll lose to the birds has yet to be seen though …

Autumn raspberries 1 Autumn raspberries 2

Today, K dug the rest of the onions up, and we harvested runner beans, one small courgette, dahlias, sweet peas (though they’re almost over now), cosmos, cornflowers, coreopsis, geums, and that one foxglove:

Harvest Onion harvest

Here are the flowers at home:

Vases

Happy Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books


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Is my courgette a marrow?!…

A nice, relaxed, pottering week at the allotment this week – which is great for me as work has been fairly nightmarish (is that a word?…) and the days very long, and I just needed to have some me time. So a big thank you to our allotment for being a chill-out zone Big Time.

And it’s proving amazing how quickly things grow. I did a mini-harvest on Thursday and decided the courgettes weren’t worth picking yet, and then on Saturday, here’s what I find:

Veg harvest

You can see the scale of it next to the normal sized courgette in the trug. I’m not even sure if courgettes can turn into marrows (maybe someone out there will enlighten me …) but it’s as near as darn it, that’s for sure. Alongside them, we have more potatoes, runner beans, and the largest of the golden beetroot, whose leaves I’m also saving for salads.

Our runner beans are also going for it – we’ve now stored five or six little bags in the freezer, after blanching them, and will probably have enough to get us through the winter once they stop cropping. I’m going to leave a few of them unharvested though in an attempt to enter the Longest Runner Bean competition at the Allotment Show in September – that should be fun!

Meanwhile the sunflowers are continuing to do their stuff and at the moment are the tallest ones on the allotment, well gosh!

Sunflower 2 Sunflowers 1

The cosmos, coreopsis and dahlias are looking good too:

Cosmos and coreopsis Dahlias

And of course, the bees are loving all these blooms – speaking of which, I was a bit worried as a bee flew into the shed as I was shutting it up, and I couldn’t get it out. But K told me that it would find its own way out in due course, as they’re used to this sort of thing. And as my husband is a secret Bee Whisperer (every time we have a trapped bee, he leans in close to it, whispers “be gone, little bee …” and strangely they always obey!… and, yes, this is true!!), I am reassured …

Here are the harvested flowers – dahlias, sweet peas, coreopsis and cornflowers – and ultimately at home in their vases:

Flower harvest Vases 1 Vases 2

Have a great and relaxing Sunday

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


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A Pioneer Raspberry

A lovely sunny morning on the allotment today – here is a picture of the plot for you:

Plot 1

As you can see, the sunflowers on the left top of the picture are getting very tall indeed and are some way beyond their canes, but none the worse for it. Their companion runner beans aren’t that far behind them either.

Runner beans and sunflowers Sunflowers and Runner Beans

Whilst there, I did my usual hoe round, but not many weeds now it’s high summer. K also planted some peas to join the ones he planted a couple of weeks ago, which are doing fine. We’ve had a grand vegetable harvest today of red and white beetroot (red on the outside and red & white inside), a courgette, runner beans and potatoes – so that will keep us going for a few days at least.

Vegetable harvest

The huge surprise of the day is that we have one autumn raspberry, hurrah! Just the one, but hey it’s crop, isn’t it? Not quite ripe yet, but getting there …

Autumn Raspberries Autumn Raspberry

Meanwhile, the gauras are looking fantastic:

Gaura

And the flower harvest is a selection of cleome, gaura, sweet williams, dahlias, cornflowers, coreopsis (and sweet peas which I forgot to take a picture of) …

Flower harvest

… which look very nice in the vases at home:

Vases

Have a very happy weekend!

Anne Brooke