The Allotment Wife


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The Great Raspberry Cull

We finished off pruning the rest of the autumn raspberry canes which we started on a couple of weeks ago today – it’s hard work but extremely satisfying when it’s all done!

autumn-raspberry-prune

Weeding it will certainly be a lot easier now anyway. So we’ve taken back loads of canes for the garden waste at home, and there are still more at the allotment to bring back later.

raspberry-canes

As you may remember, I was hoping to get at least one of our early daffodils in bloom in January, but sadly (sob!), this is not to be … but I’m hoping these ones will be in flower early Feb:

daffodils

The sweet williams seeds we planted last year are coming along slowly, which is positive:

sweet-williams

I’m hoping for good things from them!

Just a few sprouts and the last of the potatoes to harvest this week, but we feel proud we’ve managed to make them last so far.

harvest

Have a great Sunday evening!

Anne Brooke Books


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Sprouts and slug city

Great news today! I have started driving again after my operation in December and everything was fine. It was ridiculous how nervous I felt before I got in the car – but though it felt weird, there wasn’t any pain and I managed to drive to the village and also to the allotment, hurrah!

K took out one of the blackcurrants to grow at home, and I weeded everything in sight. Much to our delight, the blackcurrant canes we poked into the ground last year are actually starting to sprout so nature has been kind:

Blackcurrant canes

At the same time, the beetroots are hanging on in there, the spinach is bearing up under all the rain, and the sprouts are taking over the whole of their beds:

And there’s even more excitement – the daffodils sharing their bed with the leeks are well on the way, and also the tulips are just beginning to show themselves, well gosh.

Anyway, here is today’s harvest of spinach and sprouts. The sprouts were full of slugs when I got home, but I dealt with them in the usual (violent!) way, hey ho. I am indeed the Scourge of Slugs everywhere …

Harvest

Have a fabulous weekend!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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A small harvest

Not much to do at the allotment today as it’s now definitely getting to be the end of our unseasonably warm autumn. Did a hoe round, and harvested some spinach and a couple of beetroots.

Harvest

I’ll add the spinach to the winter salad leaves from the garden and we can have that during the week. Will also use the beetroot leaves for the salad – oh and there’s good news about last week’s missing white beetroot. K found it in the garden waste and we ate it for Sunday lunch after all, hurrah!

Meanwhile, the Brussels sprouts are coming along well and there should be quite a big harvest of these in a couple of weeks or so – just in time for Christmas! I do love my sprouts … The pic isn’t great but you get the gist of it:

Brussels Sprouts

And, finally, the daffodil shoots are definitely on their way up, so I’m looking forward to spring already!

Daffodils

Have a fabulous weekend!

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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Cleome claws and odd apples

We found a Yacon (or Peruvian ground apple) in the garden centre this week – it’s a type of squash which is apparently tasty and low in calories, so we’ve planted it and we’ll see how it goes. It’s certainly a statement plant, though what exactly it’s trying to say is anyone’s guess.

Peruvian ground apple or yacon

This week, we’ve also composted more green garden waste, which the compost bin is eating away nicely, and I’ve done my usual hoe round to keep the weeds down. Earlier in the week, K brought back some potatoes, the first of the runner beans (hurrah!) and the rest of the stunted carrots.

Potatoes, carrots and runner beans

He also picked the first of the blackcurrants, and has made ice-cream, which is utterly fantastic, I must say. It’s odd how we’d never buy blackcurrant ice-cream in the supermarket (because it tastes so bland …) but the home-made stuff is just brilliant.

Blackcurrants

Meanwhile the courgette is coming along nicely, though I didn’t bother picking any more rhubarb as it started to rain quite heavily.

Courgette

On the flower front, we have sweet peas and cornflowers doing well, plus a good harvest of cleome – which has thorns!! Who knew?!? – gaura, astilbe, scabious and coreopsis.

Sweet peasCornflowersHarvest

Here are the flowers at home in their final places. I didn’t bother with the dahlias this time as they only last one day, tops, so there’s no point picking them!

Vase 2 Vase 3 Vases 1

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke


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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


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Asiatic lily and winter lettuce

I popped by the allotment during the week to pick some more daffodils for the house – only three ready, but there are a good number still to come, so we might have more later this week or next weekend.

Daffodil

We’ve also managed to finish off laying the edging to the bed in front of the shed, which is good news.

This weekend, there’s not really that much to do at the moment, but we did some weeding across the whole plot. K hoed and I hand-weeded the autumn raspberries to avoid damaging the roots. They’re coming along nicely, which is great.

Autumn raspberries

In other soft fruit news, the blackcurrant is surging ahead too:

Blackcurrant

We’re also pleased with how the winter lettuce has picked up now spring is almost here (hurrah!), so much so that I harvested some of the red leaves for the kitchen.

Winter lettuce

In more flower-related excitement, the tulips are doing well so far and the first of the Asiatic lilies has started to show itself.

Asiatic lily Tulips

Beyond that, we’d like to put in some more beetroot at some point, and of course we’ll need to build a fruit cage, but there’s time yet. Have a great and productive weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Unexpected rhubarb and the missing leek

A quick trip to the allotment this morning just to say hello to it, though we had nothing to plant and therefore not much to do down there. K did some digging, and I did a quick hoe-round to keep the weeds down. The good news is that the moles seem to have headed off in the direction of the fence and away from our allotment, so I hope they keep going in that direction …

The other good news is that we can see tiny red tops of the rhubarb which has just started to grow, hurrah! I had no idea it started this early, but apparently it does and, hey, I’m not complaining.

Signs of Rhubarb 1 Signs of Rhubarb 2

Ok, I know they’re very small so you can hardly see them, but they’re hugely exciting for us! Whilst down there, we decided to plan a flower bed in front of the shed where we were intending to put the greenhouse, but that’s going to be too complicated now. We’ve marked out the space and also factored in enough space in front of the shed for a small table and a couple of chairs – so we have dreams of sitting out in the summer, surveying the estate (ha!). I thought I might put poppies in the flower bed – as the deer won’t eat them as they do at home – and maybe a rose bush too. Just to make it homely. We’ll have to see.

Meanwhile, today’s harvest is more winter lettuce (still hanging on in there!), three leeks and some unexpected potatoes that K unearthed when he was on digging duties.

Leeks, potatoes and winter lettuce

We proudly transported them all to the car, but on the way one of the leeks escaped and I had to retrace my steps to try to track it down. It was obviously making a quiet bid for freedom, but I’ve corralled it again now, go me!

Anne Brooke Books


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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


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Manure City

K bought 4 bags of manure yesterday, so we took two of them down to the allotment today (the other 2 are for home, though of course we’ll need loads more!). The big problem was how to transport them from the car, across the playing field/football pitch to the allotments – we used the little trolley for putting our cases on and it worked okay, though it’s not brilliant – the base is too small. We’re going to have to buy a bigger-based one for more stability but I think you can get them fairly cheaply on the Web so that will be our next thing to do.

Anyway, once there, we put one bag on one of our new beds and the other on the corner of the soft fruit area – by the looks of it, we’re going to need about 20 or so more bags, so we’ll certainly be busy over the winter! While there, K turned the compost heap to give stuff more of a chance to break down, and I gave everything a quick hoe, though I was careful around the autumn raspberries as the roots are so shallow.

The exciting news is that the tulips and daffodils I planted for cut flowers for the house are now starting to come up, so I can’t wait to see how they’re going to be. I also harvested the last of the sprouts (half of which were for Sunday lunch today and half of which will be for tomorrow) and some more winter lettuce. I’ve washed that so it will keep for a good few days.

Anne Brooke Books
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