The Allotment Wife


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Ring out the old, ring in the new!

The last allotment post for 2016 and indeed the last day of 2016 – what a rollercoaster year it’s been, LOL.

On the allotment front, we’re pleased to see that the January daffodils are well on their way:

daffodils-1

And the later (Feb) daffodils are also starting to sprout, hurrah!

daffodils-2

daffodils-3

We’ve also taken the opportunity to replace our old and rubbish  (green & purple) secateurs with shiny new red ones that actually cut – which should make things a heck of a lot easier …

secateurs-new-and-old

Whilst there, K dug out the potato bed (see harvest pic!) and I weeded the beds and fruit area, as well as the areas of pathway. This was made a far easier job by the lack of frost this morning, phew …

Here is today’s harvest, which consists of the last of the winter lettuce, potatoes and sprouts, together with a couple of gladioli bulbs we missed and which we’re bringing home for storage.

harvest

Have a fabulous new year, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Daffodils and dianthus

A bit chilly on the allotment today, but the soil was warm enough – so I did a spot of hoeing here and there. Nothing serious though.

The daffodil shoots are really going for it now! Here there are in the early daffodil section:

daffodils-1

And here are one or two coming up in one of the other beds too:

daffodil-2

I also took a picture of the dianthus today as – though it’s not doing anything – I really LOVE the green cushion shape it makes. It’s just so comforting! I actually want to cuddle it, but I do appreciate that would look odd … Even for me.

dianthus-cushion

So, not much of a harvest today – K dug up half the lettuce, and there are sprouts for tomorrow’s lunch – with more of these to come for Christmas, hurrah!

harvest

Have a fabulous weekend, all.

Anne Brooke


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Mole City and Gladioli Galore

Not much may be happening with what you can see at the allotment, but there’s plenty of mole activity, as you can see! There’s a mole Christmas party going on under the earth, I can tell you! What are the little chappies up to?!?

mole-city

Still, there’s good new on the early daffodils as there are now more shoots showing, so that’s hopeful for the January flower:

daffodil-shoots

And the first of the currant bushes is already in bud too, though K remembers it was early last year as well:

currant-shoots

Our main job this week though was taking the gladioli bulbs so we can dry them out and reuse them next year (hurrah!). They’re really easy to get out – much easier than tulips or dahlias are, though it helps that the allotment soil is just so brilliant and much better than at home. What I didn’t realise before we started to dig them up was that they produce lots of tiny ‘babies’ next to the main bulb which is just so cute. The trouble is that they all fall off very easily so next year we might have a veritable forest of really tiny gladioli, LOL!

Here they are uprooted:

gladioli-bulbs-1

gladioli-bulbs-2

And here they are in the shed, where we hope they’ll dry off. There were too many for the box we had so I just stuffed them on top!

gladioli-bulbs-3

The Brussels sprouts are still doing their thing:

brussels-sprouts

And the harvest is small (sprouts and lettuce) but perfectly formed!

harvest

Have a fabulous weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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The daffodils are here!

Great excitement and rejoicing at the allotment today, as the first of the daffodils are finally out, hurrah! So I can truthfully say that, like last year, our cut flowers display started from February. Don’t they look lovely in the vase? 🙂

I think the tulips might be a tad bigger than last week, but it’s hard to tell and anyway far too early for them.

Tulips

Over in the soft fruit area, the autumn raspberries are forging ahead with enthusiasm.

Autumn raspberry

However, our leeks are still thin and weedy, alas – soon we will harvest one or two and see if they’re worth struggling over. I fear not!…

Leeks

The spinach is looking rather bedraggled too, but I took a handful and also the last of the beetroot:

 

This leaves us with two-and-a-half free beds, well gosh – so we will have to try to think of something to put in them. Maybe some winter lettuce? Will have to see.

Our harvest today was two sprout plants, the beetroot, spinach and the daffs:

Harvest

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


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Tulips Galore

It’s the turn of the first tulips on the allotment this week to shine: here they are from bed to vase:

Tulips 2 TulipsTulips 3

I will have to get a shallower round-bottomed vase at some point fairly soon, as these tulips are quite short, but the ones coming up next to them look as if they will be even shorter – and I don’t want to drown them! The vase above actually came with an Interflora delivery a while back – we didn’t much like it so put the flowers in question in another vase. Now, however, it’s come into its own as it’s perfect for tulips, even though it’s an odd colour.

The Asiatic lilies are coming up well too, and I’ve sprayed Ultimate Bug Killer on them and the tulips too, plus K put slug pellets down, so we can try to avoid the nasties … Last week, I had to throw away three daffodils as they’d been chewed so badly, which was a shame.

Asiatic lilies

Meanwhile, in terms of veggies, the autumn raspberries and especially the rhubarb are coming on well:

Autumn raspberriesRhubarb

Some of the rhubarb we planted last year is also coming up, though we won’t be able to harvest it until next year. I’m rather worried about the asparagus bed though – not a single sign of life there at all, and surely the season for asparagus is May. What have I done to the poor things??? I really don’t know, but it’s a worry, as I love asparagus and was really looking forward to having a crop, sob! Oh well.

Anyway, in better news, the spinach and the winter lettuce look good:

SpinachWinter lettuce

K harvested some lettuce for the week’s meals, and we also did a hoe round, though we hand-weeded the autumn raspberries as best we could. Plans for the week are potting up the runner beans and seeing what might need planting from our stock.

Anne Brooke Books


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The onset of Spring

Earlier in the week, I harvested quite a few daffodils from the allotment, plus three or four more this weekend. Here they are from allotment to vase!

Daffodils at allotment 1 Daffodils at allotment 2

Daffodils at home

Such happy flowers, I always think. Meanwhile, the tulips and astilbe are on their way, with the tulips now having buds, which is great:

Astilbe Tulips

Anyway, today, while I hoed round, K added chicken pellet manure to the bed where we plan to plant the beans, as they’re hungry critters, we’re told. We also have plans to trail some sweet peas up the side of the shed, but we need taller poles than were in the garden centre this morning, so will need to get them later.

Meanwhile, the rhubarb, spinach and winter lettuce are doing well:

Rhubarb Spinach Winter lettuce

And in the fruit area, the autumn raspberries and blackcurrant are coming along. Yesterday, my stepfather told me that he never cuts back his autumn raspberries but just gets rid of the dead wood and leaves them. So next year we might experiment with half cut back and half not, and see how things go.

Autumn raspberries Blackcurrant

Happy Easter to you all!

Anne Brooke Books


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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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Daffodils: from earth to vase

A lovely morning spent on the allotment today as we both have a week off work, and the daffodils are now in bloom! Honestly, I was so delighted when I saw them that I could barely speak at all. I’m just so thrilled by it, and how wonderful they look too.

Allotment daffodils 1 Allotment daffodils 2 Allotment daffodils 3Allotment daffodils 4

The bulk of the morning was K putting down some really pretty edging donated to us by our neighbour around the new bed, and I think it looks very effective indeed.

New bed 1 New bed 2 New bed 3

We’ve planted two rows of mixed astilbe at one end so we have good cut flowers for later in the summer. They come in red, pink, lilac and white, so a good combination if everything survives.

Astilbe bed

I also planted 15 freesias, but have saved some for planting later so we can get a spread of cut flowers throughout the season – at least I hope we can! I’ve put them next to the three rows of asiatic lilies which are at the end – only the labels for now though …

Freesia bed

In terms of plants we can actually see (hurrah!), the tulips are growing apace so I’ve rolled back the netting away from the tallest so they don’t get tangled up in it. The Sweet Williams, spinach and winter lettuce are also doing well.

Spinach Sweet Williams Tulips Winter lettuce

K planted a bed of potatoes, and also a bed of onions which I managed to take a shot of before he covered them up, and he then laid sticks across the top to try to dissuade pests as we didn’t want to cut the netting on the tulips. I hope they survive!

Onion bed 1Onion bed 2

Last but by no means least, we have a couple of small rhubarb leaves now, which is grand.

Rhubarb 1

Whilst there, I did a gentle hoe round, but I kept it light as my neck has been giving me grief this week and I don’t want to make it any worse. I didn’t use the hoe around the autumn raspberries though, but just pulled weeds out by hand carefully as I don’t want to hurt the raspberry roots. We also had an excellent piece of advice from a fellow allotmenteer who kindly said that we didn’t need to put a cage round the raspberries as the birds don’t take that many – so we only need to cage round the currants and gooseberries etc which makes the task a lot easier when we do that – so thank you for that!

All in all, a very satisfying allotment session, and I can’t wait to see what’s grown next time we go!

Anne Brooke Books


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Yellow raspberries and wicked squirrels

Yesterday, we bought 5 yellow raspberries (All Gold), and K planted them on the allotment this morning.

Raspberry All Gold 1 Raspberry All Gold 2

The rhubarb is also coming along nicely, and we managed to harvest a very small crop of the world’s tiniest beetroot and some winter lettuce.

Beetroot and winter lettuce Rhubarb

As we’re keen to have an area for sitting in front of the shed, plus another raised bed there, we have marked the paths around the bed so we know what we’re doing a bit more. I think we’ll lay slates on the paths in the end as they’ll be lighter to transport than gravel, but we’ll have to see.

Planned path Planned paths and bed 1 Planned paths and bed 2

We’re thinking of putting wild flowers in that new bed, but no final decision as yet. I’d rather like a block of solid colour as it can look amazing, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime, the narcissi are doing well and look like they might burst into flower any moment now, hurrah!

Narcissi

Sadly, however, the squirrels (wicked squirrels!) have found my lovely tulip bed and dug out the middle of it, sob! Thankfully they’ve left some around the edges, so there’s still hope as we can now see the tips of them. As a result and to discourage further digging, we’ve netted the bed. Next year, we’ll do that when we plant the tulips!

Netted tulip bed Tulip bed 1

Have a great Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books