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High summer on the allotment


By balcony


……………….. High summer down on the allotment …………………..

Summer was most punctual this year, it arrived right on the dot on 21st June! The past 2 weeks have been scorchers – it has meant more watering down on the allotment! (2 hours min!) (As well as on my balcony!)

Everything is growing at maximum speed – weeds included! LOL! :-D Even the greenhouse is coming along. Gerry has put a lot of the glass in but as the sheets are not of matching sizes it’s turning out to be a bit of a mishmash! Nevertheless Gerry is doing his best & single handedly is searching for glass, cutting it to size, taking it down to the allotment & putting it in the greenhouse. He usually does it while I’m not there.

Our greenhouse:

Gerry has put in a lot of glass but there is still more to put in, only I couldn’t wait till it was finished so I put the last tomato plants I had on my balcony into growbags in the greenhouse!

I put in six tomato plants in growbags a couple of days ago:

What foodstuff do we most closely associate with June? Why Strawberries of course! Tons of strawberries (literally!) are served during Wimbledon fortnight. Down on the allotment Gerry’s Strawberries are also ready for picking & below you can see the first 800g, (about 1 & 1/2 lb), I picked on the 21st.

Here is another photo of the 2nd lot of strawberries I picked on the 23rd. This time there was about 750g (about 1 & 1/2 lb):

This Blackberry bush (wild!) is absolutely smothered in flowers! It’s also covered in bees! Gerry says it produces very sweet blackberries later – I’ll tell you in a couple of months time what they are like. It stands at the entrance to his plots.

In my last blog I mentioned my experiments with Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans), well here are a couple of pictures of them growing nicely. They have feathery foliage & it seems they grow up to about 80 – 90 cm (about 2 & 1/2 ft). Here they are probably planted too closely together so will need thinning out. I have planted more in pots which I will plant out in a few weeks time.

You can see the little Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans) easier here:

The Pinto beans, another of my experiments, have now made their first true leaves & will start climbing in the next week or two. I did a search on the internet for the growing instructions & found they only grow about 45 -50 cm (about 18in) high – after I had put in 2m (about 6ft) canes!!! I thought they would grow high like Runner beans! I also discovered their life cycle is only about 90 -100 days – from sowing to harvesting! But I have sown some more in little pots & will plant them out in a couple of weeks time. This time I won’t be putting in more canes!

These three rows are the Lentils I sowed as part of my experiments! They are far too close together & I have to thin them out as well. I have sown some more in little pots & will plant them out in a couple of weeks time.

Here is a photo of the Pinto beans (Square pots) & Garbanzo beans (Chick peas – in round pots) just germinated. In a few days I will put them in the ground & put more seeds in pots for a last sowing.

Here you can see just how well my beetroot is growing, (just watered!):

Another update on my lettuces – they’re getting big now!

I’ve added several photos of my lettuces up till now but they have always been a look along the length of the rows so this time I thought I would put in a close up view of a couple at the end of the rows – before they all go or bolt!

Gerry’s potatoes are suffering in the heat of the last couple of weeks & so I have now begun to water them. We hadn’t given them any till now but now it’s necessary or there won’t be any potatoes at all!

Our tomatoes are growing so fast that they will be at the top of the cage I have made to support them in a month’s time! There are 4 different varieties, at the moment only those my daughter gave me for my birthday in May have fruit – the size of peas at the moment!

Gerry’s artichokes have now got flower buds but he won’t be eating them as he likes the plants for their architectural value:

To finish this blog I’m going to add what may be the last photo taken from inside the shed as the Raspberries are getting very high now & will shortly block the view down the allotment!

In a couple of weeks time I’ll upload a new update – if you can bear it!

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Mid-Summer night's Nightmare ...

Next post: *High summer down on the allotment (July No.1)*



Wow. You've been working hard...
... everything neat and healthy...

Those strawberries look delicious ! :o)))

30 Jun, 2010


MMMMM I am actually hungry for some fresh veg now!!!

30 Jun, 2010


You like your experiments Balcony!.....I like hearing about them. I'm very envious of your strawberries though....I've only had 3 berries........I pulled my first beetroot today and they are delicious.....spuds as well....they are very tasty.....I will have to update my blog too.....look forward to your next one...

30 Jun, 2010


Your allotment looks superb. Well done to both of you. I am quite envious.

30 Jun, 2010


Well done. Everything looks wonderful. Lovely blog. :o)

30 Jun, 2010


Silly question, but what, exactly, is an "allotment"? :)

30 Jun, 2010


Not a silly question to other cultures! An allotment is a piece of land rented - or alloted - to gardeners by their local Council. I think (I could be wrong) that this practise started during the 1940s to help out people in cities who had very little, or no, garden in which to grow veggies. It has now become a desirable asset and many Councils have long waiting lists for pieces of allotment land. No doubt more knowledgeable allotment owners will add to this (or correct it!) :o)

1 Jul, 2010


Hi Gardennut...
Not a silly question...
An allotment is an area of ground, which is often hired and not owned by the gardener using it. Most people use the area for growing fruit and vegetables.

Nariz... we posted at the same time ! :o)))

1 Jul, 2010


I think allotments go a lot further back than the 40's Nariz. I could be wrong (and I often am) but I have a recollection of something I read that says they go back to Victorian times!
A great blog Balcony and I'm sooooooo jealous. I had to give my plot up earlier this year. After waiting for what seemed forever to get it, I found I couldn't manage it after all!

1 Jul, 2010


Thank you all for your lovely & encouraging comments! :-)

Gardennut: Not a silly question at all as many people may not know & if somebody doesn't pluck up the courage to ask a "silly" question then these people will never know!

Here is a small quote from a Wikipedia page on allotments:

"A 1732 engraving of Birmingham, England shows the town encircled by allotments, some of which still exist to this day. St Ann's Allotments in Nottingham, created in the 1830s, are currently regarded as the oldest allotments site in England, as well as the largest site of Victorian gardens in the world. Following the Inclosure Acts and the Commons Act 1876 the land available for personal cultivation by the poor was greatly diminished. To fulfil the need for land allotment legislation was included. The law was first fully codified in the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, it was modified by the Allotments Act 1922 and subsequent Allotments Acts up until 1950."

This page also offers information on allotments, or the nearest equivalent, in other countries.

We are luckier than I expected with the Strawberries because they have had no fertilizer or compost or manure at all. I've tried to keep them as weed free as possible but it has been an uphill fight all the way, especially against the bindweed that chokes everything out. I've spent many hours on the Strawberry bed alone, to detriment of other areas of the allotment, so I think I'm entitled to a few of them!

Both Gerry & I have picked them straight of the plants & eaten them there & then. One day I picked a few while doing some weeding & they were warm! I'd never eaten a warm Strawberry before! It was really delicious! Very sweet, too!

Yesterday I picked a third tub & got 700g (about 1 & 1/4 lb) I don't think such quantities will be forthcoming again before neat year.

Both Gerry & I think the best we can do is to dig up the plants & replant them elsewhere. I think most of the plants should be thrown away as they have been cropping for several years. To that end a couple of days ago I pinned runners down into little black pots so that we can use them as new plants for next year. I'm not prepared to repeat this year's experience next year!

1 Jul, 2010


Everything's doing well there. That's good.
I see you're using a plant propagator without it's cover - I do that aswell lol
Good luck for the rest of the season :o)

1 Jul, 2010


I feel much more educated - thank you for the info everyone!! And your produce looks really fantastic, by the way!! :)

1 Jul, 2010


Well done to you both, such varied planting and the strawberries are produving a bumper crop!

1 Jul, 2010


What a wonderfully productive plot. As well as your own plantings, I envy you the possibility of blackberries. I have not found anywhere I can pick them in the wild in Lincoln except for places where the bushes are heavily polluted by traffic fumes.

I am looking forward to hearing more about your experimental plantings.

Gerry sounds like a very handy and patient person and seems to be doing very well with the glass. The greenhouse looks very good already.

Keep it up guys!

1 Jul, 2010


Just as an addition to your strawberry patch - we walked along one of the lanes here yesterday and picked 30 strawberries. Shame they are the wild variety and 30 amounts to a very small handful! ;o)

2 Jul, 2010


Those strawbs are wonderful. So glad to see everything flourishing like mad. Yes, of course, I can bear the next update! :-))

4 Jul, 2010


Thanks again for your positive feedback, I'm so pleased you like my blogs on the allotment! :-) Be prepared for the next instalment about the middle of the month!

The strawberries have done better than I thought they would with the bindweed choking them out! I think I've exhausted the bed now! There may be a few late ripe ones & I've seen a few flowers but I don't think I shall be getting more than another 100g, if that! I'm positive we can get a great deal more from them if they are looked after better & are fed & watered better. Younger plants should help as well. I've found berries as big as you'll find in any supermarket though they were the exception rather than the rule. :-( Perhaps next year we can turn that around!

There are tons of Blackberries here & far from any road as well! Only a few minutes walk from here there are several bushes that have grown together & give 1,000s of berries every year, the majority of which go to waste!

4 Jul, 2010


wow balcony you have been busy, everything looks great and so healthy to, those strawberries look so yummy to,, ;o)

4 Jul, 2010


They were, Sanbaz! I'll finish the last few that remain tonight! :-) I'll have a last look tomorrow in the strawberry bed but I'm not hopeful of finding more than a handful!

That must have been interesting, Nariz, finding wild strawberries! You don't say how they tasted, did you like them?

Gerry is, as you say Felinfan, a patient man, can't say the same for myself! As you will have seen, in my blog above, I've put the tomatoes in the growbags in the greenhouse before poor Gerry has even finished putting in the glass! As for being a handyman, he certainly is that! He dismantled the greenhouse & brought it all to the allotment without any help from me, not that I wouldn't have helped him if he'd told me before doing it. He even erected the majority of the framework without much help from me either. He's put in most of the glass without out help as well! I feel a bit guilty but if he won't tell me what he is going to do then there's not much I can do about it, is there?

Hywel, you say "I see you're using a plant propagator without it's cover -", I think you must mean the mini greenhouse where I put the pots of Pinto beans & Garbanzo beans while waiting for them to germinate. Gerry brought it down at the same time as the proper greenhouse. Up till I put the beans in it to germinate it's done nothing but get in the way! Perhaps in we wrap it up in bubble wrap we could use it as a cold frame. Though there should be plenty of space in the greenhouse, especially when the tomatoes have finished. We'll have to find some place to store it so that it isn't in the way. It's been exposed to the elements for a number of years I would think judging by the colour of the paint & the advanced rust. I don't know if it will last more than a couple of years more. It can't be dismounted or it will just fall apart & be fit only for throwing away.

Avis, thank you for your suggestion of the icecream maker but we don't have one. Sounds like a delicious way of preserving some strawberries for a future moment!

4 Jul, 2010


Daggs Allotments, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire....

These allotments were establish in 1546 and are thought to be among the oldest allotments in the country. They recently featured in the National Garden Scheme. :o)

13 Jul, 2010


I saw that program today TT!

13 Jul, 2010


Yay :o)

13 Jul, 2010


Those blackberry flowers promise a wonderful harvest:I am so jealous!
You are doing so well, that is a whole lot of eating to be done. Do you like cooking as well?
I am looking forward to reading about the ultimate results of your experimental plantings.
Keep them coming, we are all learning things on here.

13 Jul, 2010


All Very Best Wishes for the insepction, you 2!!!!!!!!!

13 Jul, 2010


Thanks, David! :-) We won't meet the highest standards - this year at least! ;-)

Felinfan: You are quite right about the promised harvest of blackberries as there are 1,000s of green berries on the bush!!! After the thunderstorm & the tremendous downpour we have had this evening no doubt we will be up to our ears in Blackberries in a month's time!!! :-D I'll have to send you a kilo or two!

I'll be posting the latest update to the allotment blogs in a day or two, so keep a look out for it! :-)

14 Jul, 2010

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