The Allotment Wife


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A new allotment year

On the allotment for the first time in 2015 today – we possibly would have turned up sooner but we’ve both succumbed to the virus this Christmas/New Year so just about on the mend now. Whilst there, I hoed the raised beds and the soft fruit area, and K planted a new tayberry – it won’t fruit this year, but should be okay for 2016.

Tayberry 1 4 Jan 2015 Tayberry 2 4 Jan 2015

Being a more than enthusiastic fan of the Brussels sprout, I harvested another plant for Sunday lunch, and very nice it’s been too!

Sprouts 4 Jan 2015

That means there’s one more plant left to harvest, but we’ve ordered some more so hopefully there’ll be a fresh crop later in the year. I love my sprouts!

Anne Brooke Books
Dryathlon 2015: help raise money for Cancer Research UK!


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Preparing for Christmas

K and I spent about an hour on the allotment today – he raked the leaves from the soft fruit area and I tried to hoe everything in sight without damaging anything – it’s particularly exhausting on the soft fruit bed as there are just so many weeds. Still, I think it’s looking a bit better after we had a go at it, and I think most of the autumn raspberry roots are still intact – I hope!

K also completed one of the two raised beds he was working on last week though the second one still needs more soil at some point. Oh and the brassica bed is looking grand – there are going to be loads of sprouts for Christmas so that’s brilliant as I LOVE sprouts and can never have too many. My plan is to go to the allotment on Wednesday as I’m off work now and harvest two of the four sprout plants and one of the cabbages. The sprouts are F1 so we gather they all grow at the same rate – so I’ll need to remember to take the loppers as the stems are quite thick.

Am hugely looking forward to that for sure! In the meantime, I’ve harvested some more of the winter lettuce which should last us a few days, hurrah.

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary’s Life and How to Survive It


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Raised beds and soft fruit

We’ve spent a happy couple of hours on the allotment in crisp sunshine today. I did the weeding and also gave the soft fruit area as thorough a clear out as possible – which is a lot easier now the autumn raspberries have shed their leaves.

Soft fruit 1

And K very nobly started building two new raised beds so we can extend our crop choices. And very good they look too, I think.

Raised Beds 1 Raised Beds 2 Raised Beds 3 Raised Beds 4 Raised Beds 5

Of course they’re not finished yet. We need to hammer them in properly – we did our best today with no hammer and no spirit level, so go us! And we also need to add more soil, and think about what we’d like to grow in them. We also need to put lining down and create a shingle/gravel path between them and the shed – so it’s in keeping with the raised beds path which was already there when we took it over.

So a lot to think about for sure! Oh and we harvested the last of the beetroot, a few carrots and a huge bunch of the winter lettuce.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary’s Life and How to Survive It


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The Whole Allotment and Nothing but The Allotment!

Great news today! The other half of the allotment is ours as of this weekend, so we are hugely excited! This means that, as well as having the raised beds, we now also have a shed, space for another raised bed (and perhaps also a greenhouse depending on what the Allotment Committee might think), and a glorious display of fruit bushes.

In the fruit area, there are at the moment a lot of raspberries, some currants and also rhubarb, so that’s wonderful. Plus there’s space to add more fruit once we decide what we like. Today we were there for a couple of hours or so – in the unexpected sunshine too! I did the hoeing and also cleared out about a quarter of the fruit bush area, while K put new windows in the shed as both of them were broken. We’ll need to add more insulation to the shed too, and get a couple of chairs and maybe a small table where we can sit and survey the land, so the winter is going to be hard work but lots of fun, I can see.

No more foxgloves today, but I did plant the rest of the tulips which I remembered to bring from the car this time (hurrah!) so we’ll hopefully have a lot of spring cutting flowers to look forward to next year.

Here are the pictures of our new expanded allotment:

Fruit bushes 1 Fruit bushes 2 Raised beds 1 Shed 1 Shed 2

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK


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Autumn harvest

A stint of weeding at the allotment today, and a good lot of harvest too. We took home foxgloves and penstemon for cut flowers, and beetroot, spinach, carrots and winter salads for eating during the week. It’s amazing that since cutting down some of the spinach last week, we now have fresh new leaves, hurrah.

Plus I have pruned the asparagus bed so it now looks pretty bare apart from the end of the stems nestling in the soil. Oh, and there are small Brussels sprouts starting their life journey on our brassicas, goodness me!

19 Oct Asparagus pruned 19 Oct beetroot 19 Oct Brassicas 19 Oct carrots 19 Oct Foxgloves 19 Oct harvest 19 Oct lettuce 19 Oct Nasturtiums 19 Oct Spinach 19 Oct verbena 19 Oct winter salads

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK


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Harvest and preparing for spring

At the allotment today planting spring bulbs for cutting flowers next year. It just saves having to take them out of the garden where they look so pretty – so we’ve decided to give over a couple of allotment beds to the cut flowers concept. We’ve planted 40 daffodils in the begonia and verbena bed, and also another set of daffodils in a spare corner elsewhere, plus alliums and also some garlic cloves. Well, it keeps the evil nibblers at bay, so they tell us!

Also did a good weed and tidy up while we were there – as well as having the pleasure of finally actually meeting Jackie, the lady whose plot we’re taking over. It was great to chat and also to find out that she might be leaving some of her glorious soft fruit bushes when she goes at the end of the year, so that would be wonderful, as we’re very keen on the soft fruit possibilities.

Plus we’ve harvested leeks, beetroot, carrots and one pea pod(!), so that should keep us going for a few days, hurrah. Strangely, however, we have a few cauliflowers in the brassica bed, but they really shouldn’t be there till spring! Suspect we’ll have to take them out and throw them away as I don’t think they look too tasty … Finally, the nasturtiums are doing very well indeed, as you can see in the pics – and there’s yet another foxglove or two, and even a penstemon, which I’ve picked for the vase at home.

Begonia Foxgloves Harvest Nasturtiums

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK


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Early peas and a spinach mystery

The allotment looks pretty good today – it rained a lot during the week so there was no need to do any watering. Instead we weeded the beds and gathered a small harvest. Much to our amazement the peas which are supposed to blossom in spring are already in flower and there are even two small pea pods on them. K harvested those, and took the rest of the flowers off. It seemed to be the most sensible thing to do.

In the meantime, the foxgloves are growing apace, so we may get a few cut flowers out of these before the season is over. And the nasturtiums look amazing!

However, the main mystery of the week is the everlasting spinach. I’ve been harvesting it regularly since we got the allotment, but today K decided to cut some of it down for the autumn. Um, apparently, not all of it is spinach after all! It’s actually … um … celery. Well, there’s a turn-up for the books. So possibly, a lot of what we’ve been eating is not spinach leaf but celery leaf, hey ho. We hang our heads in shame, eh!… Anyway, we’ve harvested some celery (proper) and will treat ourselves to it tomorrow.

Earlier, in the week, K also harvested a small amount of carrot, leek and beetroot – so lunch will be soup. K is the soup expert, so it will be good.

20 Sept flower bed 20 Sept foxgloves 1 20 Sept Foxgloves 2 20 Sept leeks and carrots 20 Sept nasturtiums 1 20 Sept nasturtiums 2 20 Sept nasturtiums 3 20 Sept nasturtiums 4 20 Sept peas

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy


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The Allotment Show and a dash of blight

Had a great time at the Allotment Show on Friday evening, and well done to Helen for deservedly getting Best in Show, and the essential cup! It’s very much encouraged K and me to have a go next year. I think we’ll try our hand at runner beans and squashes, but not the huge pumpkins – they’re amazing but probably quite tricky!

Brassicas and sweetcorn Carrots Flowers and preserves Helen - Best in Show Leaks and runner beans Lettuces Marrows and novelty vegetables Onions Potatoes Pumpkins 1 Pumpkins 2 Runner Beans Soft Fruit Squashes 1 Squashes 2

I’m tempted to try some dahlias too as I love flowers, but we’ll have to see if there’s space next year.

Anyway, Sunday morning I decided against church – I’ll go next week instead – so K and I weeded the allotment, and I – sadly – viewed our potato bed which has been devastated by blight. Sob! K dug it all up and he’s now replanted half the bed with spring onions, cos lettuces and chives. Not sure what we’ll put in the other half of the bed – maybe blight-resistant potatoes at some point? He also put poles up for the peas so we hope that will encourage them to reach for the stars, as it were.

The good news is that other things appear to be doing well – the leeks and carrots are growing apace, and the asparagus is absolutely huge. The marigolds are also putting on a good display, and – astonishingly, as surely it’s a spring flower? – there is one foxglove. Gosh! Today’s harvest for lunch has been spinach, two leeks and a few potatoes from the blighted crop, ah well.

Asparagus Flower bed 1 Flower bed 2 Foxglove Marigolds and peas Peas and marigolds

 

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Lori Olding – Children’s Author
Gay Reads UK


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The week before the Allotment Show

No, before you ask – we’re not entering anything into the Allotment Show. We’re way too new! Though we will go along on Friday and see how things are. It will be great to meet more people, and I’m always keen on getting any tips as we need all the help we can get for sure. Plus there’s a cheese & wine evening afterward so that sounds good too.

Anyway, today K and I weeded and watered the allotment, and K took out the French beans (which are basically over) and planted peas and leeks instead. He also planted more beetroot, as we’re really enjoying that, so hopefully they should work okay.

Today’s harvest included everlasting spinach, the last few of those French beans and two beetroots. We ate the spinach for lunch, but I’ll do the beetroot and the beans tomorrow.

Gorgeous weather today too, so it was a pleasure to be out there.

Anne Brooke Books
Lori Olding Children’s Author
Gay Reads UK


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A small harvest

Having been ill for about 3 weeks, I’m now well enough today to venture to the allotment to see what’s going on. Goodness, how things have grown. K and I did the weeding, though with the weather there’s no need to water. In fact, it was raining while we were there.

And we have a small harvest of French beans, goodness me! Our first harvest of the vegetables we’ve actually planted. Not only that but the carrots, potatoes and marigolds are all doing very well, and the nasturtiums are starting to show themselves too, which is grand. The slug pellets are working (hurrah!) and we’ve put more down today.

We didn’t stay long as I’m getting quite tired, but it was great to be out there again. I do enjoy it.

Allotment 1 Brassicas Carrots French beans and leaks French beans, marigolds, leaks, carrots French Beans Nasturtiums Potatoes Sunflowers

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy