The Allotment Wife


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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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Carrot Fly Chaos and Runner Bean Delight

Oh dear me, I fear the dreaded carrot fly has laid waste to our carefully tended crop of carrots, alas and alack. K brought back some carrots last week and they are poor stunted little things, though still quite tasty. We’ll gather the rest of the crop at some stage and see what can be made of them. It’s such a nuisance that you can’t tell when the carrot fly has visited as the foliage still looks fine. If we try for carrots again, then we’ll have to put some fleece round them as a barrier as the carrot fly can’t fly more than a couple of feet above the ground – so that might work.

In terms of other vegetables, there are exciting developments with the runner beans, which now have actual beans on them – though too small to harvest yet.

Runner beans 1 Runner beans 2

The courgette is also growing apace, so I’ve moved the marrow further away – I hope it survives the trip. This leaves the courgette still fairly near the coreopsis, but that might be okay. Its leaves have patches of white on them, but I don’t really know if that’s a bad or a good thing – will have to look this up at some point. We also have an unknown squash growing through our potato patch, so will wait with interest to see what it turns into!

Courgette Unknown squash

Turning to flowers, the cerinthe is coming along, and the coreopsis is totally abundant, hurrah:

Cerinthe Coreopsis

We also have a couple of dahlias, freesias and the red geum (Mrs Bradshaw) – though some of the dahlias are crawling with black flies so I have sprayed them to within an inch of their lives and will hope for the best.

Dahlia 1 Freesias Geums

The last of the lilies are looking good, the penstemon is coming along, and the sweet peas we abandoned near the compost are refusing to be lost (hurrah!) and are doing their own thing entirely, so we’re letting them do it … Good for them is what I say!

Lilies 1 Penstemon Sweet peas 1

So, this week I’ve been clever and brought my trug from home for the harvest, which has been: sweet peas, lilies, cornflowers, coreopsis, freesias, a dahlia and a few sweet williams (not so many of those now). I also took some of the spinach seedlings (at least I think that’s what they are …) from what is now the brassica bed and have potted them up, as you can see. It appears to be the case that everlasting spinach never ever dies, LOL … The veggie harvest is beetroot (including our golden beetroot), potatoes and the biggest lettuce in history. That should do us for the week then.

Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest 3

At home, I’ve allocated the flowers to vases in the best way I could think of, and the house looks lovely with them in it.

Vase 1 Vase 3 Vases 2

Have a lovely weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Brassica Plans and an Onion Mistake

This week, we’re getting nearer to planting out two new beds of Brussels sprouts, so I have taken out the last of the tulips to clear a second bed and stored them for next year. In the meantime, K has prepared the first bed – cleared last weekend – for the incoming sprouts.

Brassica bed in preparation

We’re also pleased to see that the potatoes are starting to have flowers – which I think means that the actual crop might be ready soon – we live in hope!

Potatoes

On the flower front, I’ve pruned the chrysanthemums and dahlias (dahlia pruning being a tip from Monty Don on last night’s Gardeners’ World) in order to make them bushier rather than too straggly, but I’ve left the ones with buds already on them. Will wait and see results … The cleome are now in bloom too, which is nice.

Cleome

K has also given the sweetpeas more string to climb up and woven them through so they’re not flopping about quite so much. We’ve also added a lot more to our compost bin, which looks to be coming on nicely now. But I think we have moles next to the raspberry patch – oh the horror! I found three mole hills, which I have kicked away and will hope they get the hint …

Our harvest today was two lettuces, garlic, one onion (mea culpa – I thought it was garlic so had already dug it up by the time K stopped me! Well, they all look similar to me, you know …!), beetroot, lilies, sweet williams and sweetpeas:

Harvest

So, it should be enough to keep us going for a while. Here are the flowers in vases, which I’ve put throughout the house:

Alliums and sweet peas in vase Lilies and sweet peas in vase Sweet Williams in vase

And tomorrow is my birthday (hurrah!) so I’m planning a day of celebration. Happy weekend to all!

Anne Brooke