The Allotment Wife


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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


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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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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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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


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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


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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