The Allotment Wife


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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


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More signs of Spring

Not a great deal to do on the allotment today, though I did hoe round, and K dug through one of the beds near the shed.

Still, the narcissi are coming along nicely, though I’m afraid to say I’ve had to remove all the stocks I’d planted between them as they were all dead, oh well. The same thing has happened at home, so maybe it’s a bad year for stocks? Anyway, the narcissi look healthy, at least!

Narcissi

And another small harvest today – winter lettuce and the very last of the leeks, which have been very tasty as part of our Sunday lunch just now.

Leeks and Winter Lettuce

Have a great week!

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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More mulching and a brassica clear-out

I think we’ve done good work on the allotment today. Mulching was our main aim so we’ve put on 5 more bags and done the main chunk of the soft fruit beds, plus around the more mature bushes where the weeds were worst. I think it looks quite respectable now:

Soft fruit bed 1 Soft fruit bed 2 Soft fruit bed 3 Soft fruit bed 4 Soft fruit bed 5

I also did a quick hoe round the rest of the plot and the raised beds, but there wasn’t a lot to do, to be honest. K and I then cleared out the brassica bed, and put the remains of the plants onto the compost heap, so there’s more green stuff on there now which is good. We’ll leave the hoops in the brassica bed for now, as we may as well. Not sure yet what we’re going to replace the brassicas with, but we’ll think of something!

Brassica Bed 1 Brassica Bed 2

Meanwhile, in the raised beds, the narcissi are coming up, though sadly the stocks I planted with them seem to have died a death. No idea why. All the stocks I put in at home have all died too, so I really don’t know what to do about them. Will they come back again? Are they just resting? Who knows … If I don’t see anything else there by February I’ll probably crack and get something else to go in there, but will have to see.

Narcissi 1

However, the sweet williams are going great guns, hurrah! So hope to have lots of lovely flowers to cut from them later on.

Sweet Williams

Finally, today’s harvest of leeks and winter lettuce is small, but perfectly formed. Ideal for Sunday lunch, hurrah!

Leeks and winter lettuce

Anne Brooke Books
Dryathlon 2015: Please give generously to Cancer Research UK during January!