The allotment in June – what’s growing on?!

allotment_may

The weather has been amazing! I hope it’s been good with you too. As a result of this I’ve been busy in my greenhouse, garden and veggie patches and I’ve neglected blogging for some time. I’ve literally been getting home from work, gardening and sleeping for weeks now. Great work life balance, but not so great for the work blog life balance!

However, I’ve been given a bit of a kick start back into things via Michelle at Veg Plotting who’s inspired a load of bloggers to get involved in the The Bloggers’ Cut for the Chelsea Fringe 2013.

I’d never heard of the Chelsea Fringe before but it sounds cool! Definitely a people’s event with a focus on the environment, community and art and more importantly participation. So over on Veg Plotting you can see a number of bloggers’ links sharing their recent exploits in their gardens.

I actually started this post last week, so this is what my garden and allotment looked like back then. The only difference over the week is that my alliums are in full flower, the clematis and the aquilegias are out and everything is really coming on. The warm weather combined with a good dose of rain last week provided the perfect growing conditions.

tulips_at_allotment

The tulips are still flowering at home and at the allotment and they’ve been outstanding this year. As well as some new bulbs we planted last Autumn the tulips I planted under my trees at least 5 years ago are still going strong and just get bigger and better with age.

tulips_under_elder

I planted them under my trees after a visit to Levens Hall in Cumbria where they had planted perfectly spaced big red tulips under the topiary. It reminded me of something out of Alice in Wonderland and I just loved the red/green combination. Mine aren’t perfectly spaced but then neither is anything in my garden, I just took the inspiration and made it my own.

tulips_under_fruit_trees

The bulbs have multiplied over the years and the tulip heads are literally huge! Many people replace tulips each year because they just don’t last but some are perennial and will actually naturalise, how long for I do not know. On my recent trip to Great Dixter, head gardener Fergus Garret was talking about some research they’re doing on tulips and trying to work out how to tell if they’re perennial or not. He suggested that the larger the bulb the more likely they are to keep coming back. Sounds about right since these were huge bulbs to begin with.

tulips_under_fruit_trees_2

Veggie wise I still have a lot of seedlings in the greenhouse but outside things are coming along nicely too. My potatoes are all through, onions are growing, broad beans have been flowering for a while but still seem shorter than usual and my peas are growing nicely, but not as good as Bill’s (my allotment neightbour)! The fruits are doing very well and I also have tons of broccoli, kale, squash, courgettes, pumpkins and beetroot.

In the greenhouse I have chillies, sweet peppers, cucumbers, spring onions, my pink onions are still in there, half my giant leeks (the other half are outside), tomatoes, celery and probably some other stuff that I’ve forgotten about! No crops as yet apart from some small broad beans, lettuce and spring onions.

greenshouse_view_maybroadbeansinside_the_greenhouse_maypotatoes

I also have tons of sweet peas and begonias ready for planting out. I’ve kept the sweet peas outside for a while now so they don’t go soft. I did a few sweet pea experiments this year and found that the seeds sown before winter that came up in the cold greenhouse around February are the strongest, biggest and best looking! I think they like a bit of a cold start perhaps?

greenhouse_and_shed

Back to the other theme of The Bloggers’ Cut, Michelle wants to know what our favourite kind of cake for gardening is. This weekend I enjoyed eating some jam and cream doughnuts but I’m very easy going when it comes to cake and will eat pretty much anything.

Something that sprung to mind, however, was a very special cake I made last year during the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday – ‘Herman the German Friendship Cake‘. I was reminded of this because Adam started a bank holiday project last week but was still finishing up this weekend – our new shed! I’m so excited! Anyway, last year we had some of our dearest friends staying, the weather was gorgeous and Adam started his first bank holiday project, the appropriately named ‘Jubilee Bench’.

He finished the bench in time for us to share a lovely BBQ and to finish off Herman. Have you ever heard of this cake? I was given a yeasty cake mix and told to ‘feed it’ regularly then bake it. I have to say it was one of thee most amazing cakes I’ve ever had!!!! We all loved it. Here’s a photo from that awesome day (Adam on the left) where we celebrated the arrival of the Jubilee Bench. Sorry no photos of the cake, it all went down just far too quick.

jubilee_bench

How are things getting on in your garden? Have you been enjoying some good weather? Have you started any new projects or perhaps you’ve baked a cake?

29 Responses to “The allotment in June – what’s growing on?!”

  1. gardeninacity June 4, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    Your tulips are fabulous, I like the combination of colors in the first picture. The garden is going well, I feel a lot less frantic now that I’ve taken a long weekend and have gotten close to caught up on chores. Of course, you never ever get completely caught up on chores. Haven’t baked a cake lately, but Judy made a cheese and tomato gallette the other day and it was delicious. Looks like you’ve been super busy and productive!

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      Hi Jason! Long weekends to catch up are great but I know what you mean, I’m still lagging behind even though it’s all I do??!! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  2. judithegardener June 4, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Lovely Blog Anna and your allotment is looking fabulous! :-) x

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      Ah thanks Judi! I hope you’re well and enjoying working in this wonderful weather! x

  3. Cathy June 4, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Have been doing a lot of baking recently… the garden is waterlogged! You are going to have so much veg this year you’ll be selling it at the market next! ;-)

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Ah the dream of being able to make a living off my veg is something I often think about! Not good news about the water logging :( I hope you get some good weather to balance that out. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  4. djdfr June 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    I have found the problem with tulips to be something eats them.

    I know Herman, he may actually be lurking in the freezer. I liked the results so much, I kept a portion instead of giving it all away as indicated in the instructions and used it for quite a while. It is basically a sourdough culture made with milk. I already have one for my bread and it was hard to keep up with two, so I put Herman on ice. :-)

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Haha! Herman will keep! This is a good thing! I felt a bit burdened by the responsibility of it all at first but when I tasted the results I was stunned! It’s thee best cake ever! :)

  5. Sue@GLAllotments June 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Evenly spaced isn’t my style either. As for broad beans – ours are shorter this year too – by the way I notice you have weevils nibbling as do we!

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      Yes we do! We also found a few Lilly beetles as well, I think pests may be a problem this year. I had tons of greenfly on a cucumber as well…. Not good!!!

  6. Ricki Grady June 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Ah, the tulip conundrum: I have been planting mostly species tulips for longevity. I do love the long stemmed ones, and the few I’ve put in here and there have seemed to defy common lore and come back regularly. Your red ones look great, and their randomness is much more pleasing to my eye than regimental placement. I’m more of a pie person, but I do make a mean cheesecake on special occasions.

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Oh I love a good cheesecake! In fact, I also love pie! I’m very easily pleased! I love the big red tulips and find myself touching them a lot, cupping them because they’re just so big and perfect in their randomly placed way! Thanks so much for dropping by Ricki! :)

  7. Caro June 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi Anna! Lovely to see how your garden is getting on – I love the idea of a friendship cake, how cool is that! I’m wondering how deep you planted your huge tulip bulbs? I heard or read somewhere that bulbs planted deep (like 20cm) withstand winter conditions better and don’t have to be dug up. Anything that creates one less garden chore has to be good!

    • Anna B June 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi Caro! I honestly don’t know for sure because it was years ago but I do know they’ve had a few layers of mulch on top since then including wood chippings, so they could well be very deep. Hope all is good with you! Thanks for dropping by :)

  8. Cathy June 5, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Anna – good to hear something from you but we can see how busy you have been. Fantastically productive! I was intrigued to read about the tulips, including the tulips planted under the trees – must try and read more about that. I have had expereince of Herman too, although didn’t realise at the time that it had a sourdough starter although I have tinkered with sourdough bread since then. We have had a number of lily beetles this year – I found one for the frist time last year and was quite tolerant – but not so this year!

    • Anna B June 5, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Hi Cathy! Thanks so much for your comment! It is nice to be back in the blog world and will be catching up on lots of reading too. I really don’t like ‘disposing’ of creatures but since the lily beetles aren’t native and they really do make a mess, they have to go in my books! They cause a lot of plant destruction! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  9. VP June 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Hi Anna,

    So glad that Bloggers’ Cut helped you get your blogging mojo back :)

    I’ve had some friendship cake! I was offered a starter last year, but not trusting my keeping it alive, I opted for a large chunk to bring home with me after staying with friends in Wales. The same friends who gathered in Karen’s garden for her version of Bloggers’ Cut!

    As my aim was to get everyone together for this virtual event, I think your choice of cake is most appropriate :)

    Thanks for joining in Anna!

    • Anna B June 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      Hi Michelle! Thanks for the invite into the event. I was a great boost to get me back into blogging and to learn more about the Chelsea Fringe, which sounds brilliant! Right up my street. Thanks again for the invite and for dropping by! :)

  10. wellywoman June 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    I know what you mean. It’s one of those times of year when everything seems to need attention and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m just managing to keep up with everything but only just. ;) Loving the tulips under the tree. As for cake I like a good lemon drizzle or any cake made from ground almonds. Feeling hungry now.

    • Anna B June 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      Hello Wellywoman! Cake is just a brilliant thing basically isn’t it! A flavour for everyone! I never seem to get to do everything I want to and I’ve already forgotten to sow things that I wanted to, yet it’s all I’ve been doing?! Thanks so much for your comment :) I hope you’re enjoying some good weather too!

  11. Janet/Plantaliscious June 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Evenly spaced can be over rated, I think I prefer your slightly more casual look. And it sounds as if you have the perfect balance given how crazy all things gardening are after the long cold Spring now that there is some warmth around. Though I am glad you squeezed a post in too. Can’t wait to see the shed. Am trying to steer clear of cake as I made three bakewell tarts in three weeks for each of three different sets of visitors and I think I need to eat some of the salad currently going mad in the garden instead. Just for a while.

    • Anna B June 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Hi Janet! yes, I should cut down on the cake too! Isn’t it great that more and more crops are starting to come through, brilliant news about your salads! I’m very excited about the shed being finished too. I think there will be a couple more weekends of work left yet though. Thanks so much for dropping by! :)

  12. Anna June 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    There are certainly not enough hours in the day at the moment Anna so says somebody who is no longer working :) Good to see you post again. It sounds as if you are enjoying life, the allotment and cake. We were given a ‘Herman’ starter some time ago. I think that something may have gone amiss in its feeding as it was so stodgy that we could not eat it all :(

    • Anna B June 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      Hi Anna! Aw that’s a shame about Herman. I did find the whole concept of feeding it and just leaving it to grow rather odd and was very doubtful it would turn out ok but luckily it did. There’s never enough time to do everything you want to do inthe garden, work or no work, it’s a never ending job but luckily for us an enjoyable one :-) thanks so much for dropping by. I hope you’ve got the lovely weather too!

  13. thesneakymagpie June 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    It’s been so busy lately my back is in constant pain but all the effort is worth it and I also signed up for an allotment space which should become available within a year so I am so excited. I baked a little lately and my favourite garden cake is a lemon loaf or banana bread. I am hoping to cover my garden in tulips this autumn and I really hope they are perennial, when I used to live in Amsterdam I bought some bulbs for family members and they naturalised to the point that they now have hundreds every week to pick.

    • Anna B June 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Sneakymagpie! That’s really cool about the tulips! I love banana bread too and lemon drizzle..I’m starting to feel hungry (again) ! Great news about getting on the allotment waiting list! I hope you can get your plot :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

  14. annie_h June 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Yes I’m very behind with blogging and reading blogs so only just commenting on yours now. Tulips have been fabulous this year mine have only just gone over. Its great that we’ve had some sun and some warmth at last and all seems to be growing well for you.

    • Anna B June 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Annie! I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the tulips too, mine have only just gone too. The warmer the weather got the faster they faded. Now I have other stunning plants coming into bloom, I should get them photographed and captured as it is nice to see the changes in the seasons. Hope everything is growing well for you too :) Thanks for dropping by!

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  1. Down at the allotments – what's growing on! - dig the outside - July 20, 2013

    [...] really enjoying myself at the allotment lately. I’m finding it a wonderful place to put my feet up and relax and I also love potting on in [...]

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