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*** Middling August on the plot (Part 1) ***


By balcony


.****** Middling August on the plot (Part 1) ******.

After one of the hottest & driest Junes for many a year July offered a more changeable weather pattern with hot, cool & even the odd rainy day. This month of August – up till the present time – is following the general pattern set during July. We have had a couple of showers in this region of the UK but nothing to “write home” about. The night of the 9th – 10th it seemed we had some rain but again it was nothing to get excited about. So it has been a case of traipsing up & down the length of the allotment with two heavy cans of water for about 2 & 1/2 hours a couple of times a week! It is getting to be a bit tiring now as I seem to spend more time watering than actual growing!

Having said that the allotment is looking really good with lots of things to harvest, like these Blackberries for instance:

I was cutting out the new, long branches a couple of days after taking this photo & getting myself almost sick on the fruit!!! I also got lots of scratches for my efforts as well! :-D

I picked these 3 punnets of blackberries on the 14th July. The bush didn’t look as if I’d taken even one when I finished!

We have had a couple of days with some showers this week & already some of the berries are getting mildew or botrytis.

Or these purple plums …

They may be Victoria plums. I have no idea. Shame the fruit isn’t clearer in these pictures of the trees. :-(

What about these yellow ones?

The apple tree is loaded down with so much fruit that the branches are really struggling under the weight of it! Lots of smaller apples are falling off the tree daily!

These Beetroots were from some seedlings a lady on the other side of the central path gave me. I’ve eaten quite a few now!

August begins with our first tomatoes beginning to ripen as well! :-)

As there are 3 or 4 different varieties they produce fruit differently. These cherry tomatoes being the smallest obviously produce ripe fruit earlier than the bigger ones.

The above photo is from the plants that the lady who gave me beetroot seedlings gave me when she discovered she didn’t have enough space for all the plants she had brought down to the allotment. Even though they were tall & spindly I planted them & the majority took quite well. :-) A couple did die but the majority are doing just fine. Gerry’s plants were just the opposite! Strong compact plants that made faster progress than any others. Yet they are beginning to produce ripe fruit a week later than the others. I suspect they are both the same variety from the fruit. They may both be “Gardener’s Delight”.

The 6 plants my daughter gave me for my birthday are producing enormous fruits. No wonder they are called “Money Maker”!

The great majority are from my own seedlings that I started off on my balcony. They looked pathetic when I put them in the ground & I honestly didn’t expect many to survive. But I don’t think I lost a single plant! Now they are producing big tomatoes. This variety is called “Alicante”.

I’m growing some Pinto beans & Chick peas in the greenhouse apart from the 4 pots of tomatoes for the Harvest Thanksgiving. Gerry is growing Runner beans & Sunflowers in pots for the same occasion.

On Sunday August 8th the sunflower competition took place on our allotment field – Gerry & I won first prize!

Here’s a photo Gerry took of me in front of our prize Sunflower! It measured 8ft 5in tall! Now we have a couple that are even higher! Shame the competition wasn’t held a week later – but we would likely have won all the same!

Here is the results sheet for the sunflower competition on Sunday 8th August. Jerry’s name & plot No. is high lighted in yellow. We won a bottle of wine though we haven’t received it yet!

For a little extra colour we have this Butterfly bush now coming to the end of its flowering period. The sweetcorn is planted in a bed close-by while the Jerusalem Artichoke (?) is flowering almost at its feet.

Jerry’s Artichokes are in full flower & this is a rather longer view than I’ve posted other times. To the left can be seen one of the 3 yellow plum trees.

More colour here with the Gladioli in full bloom! They bring some warming touch of colour.

For those of you still following my EXPERIMENTS here is a photo of the 1st Pinto beans I sowed, now with their 1st pods.

Here is a photo of the Garbanzo beans – also with their first pods.

The Lentils are looking rather sorry for themselves now but I don’t have a more recent photo than the last one I put in my last blog. I have sown a few more rows where the potatoes had been & they are coming on very well now.

Gerry’s squash plants are coming on a treat. Anybody who saw my last blog will remember how small they were. Now they are the size of Melons!

Here is a photo of Gerry’s mini sunflowers. I want to save some seed from these to sow again next year. The only problem being that he doesn’t have the packet any longer & isn’t sure if they are F1 hybrids. If that were the case then the seed would be useless!

I sowed some Sweet Peppers on my balcony about the same time as the Onions & Lettuces. Although they have been in the ground since April they haven’t looked very good. I thought I wasn’t going to get any peppers at all this year. But lo & behold as I was weeding them a week ago I came across the very 1st fruit! Now several other plants also have fruit! :-)

If you have difficulty seeing the 1st pepper, look just under the word “Pepper”!

I’m going to make a 2nd part to this month’s instalment while my computer seems to be working better. I’ve been having a lot of problems with it lately & was almost resigned to the fact that perhaps it was on its last legs. But it may only be a problem with my internet connection. Anyway that counts for the “promised” 2nd blog not appearing & for my limited presence on the forum these last weeks.

Well, on to part two …

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What an amazing array of fruit & veg you have there, just fantastic, you should have a stall at a farmers market ! Great blog.

15 Aug, 2010


Wow what a blog! the fresh and juicy rasp berries brought water in my mouth.The tomatoes are so healthy and laden with fruits and the sunflowers are great.Happy farming balcony.

16 Aug, 2010


Whatever the weather your lottie can only be described as BOUNTIFUL, I enjoyed reading your blog.

16 Aug, 2010


Lovely show, Balcony! I have a self-seeded sunflower growing at the edge of the downstairs patio which is now peeping in at us on the upstairs balcony where we sit with coffee - not sure of the measurement but it's got to be over 9ft tall. Beautiful flowers! Interesting to grow garbanzos but they look as though the plants take up quite a lot of space? We buy ours from the 'bean lady' at the Monday market. I've also grown sweetcorn this year - although only 11 out of the 32 seeds germinated - but we have what looks like about 8 cobs nicely ripening in stages. Haven't yet nibbled at those - but you can bet I'll be tasting them shortly - whether or not they make it to the kitchen .....;o)

16 Aug, 2010


great blog balcony and your produce looks so yummy and healthy, love the sunflowers all in a row, lovely to have fesh food which you have grown yourself,

16 Aug, 2010


Another delicious instalment, Balcony. Many congrats on growing the winning sunflower!! Also, many Thanks for the info on the chickpeas in your previous blog, which I have just picked up on. ;-))

16 Aug, 2010


Thanks for your generous comments everyone, they make inspiring reading & are a great encouragement! :-)

Grandmage:"... you should have a stall at a farmers market !" ... I would but Gerry tells me we aren't allowed to sell the excess produce we may have - not even at a stall at the gate to the allotments! :-(

Thank you, Camillia & Heron. Glad you liked my blog. :-)

Nariz, the winning sunflower was a self sown one from Gerry's plants last year. They have come up like weeds all over the allotment, some like the winner, I left in place. The only thing I did to help it was to remove lots of flower buds! It is also growing on the very edge of the tomato plot so therefore it benefits from the water I give the tomatoes!!!

I agree, Sanbaz, it is nice to have your own home grown fruit & veg! At least you can be sure you' re not contributing to the increase in global emissions of CO2! They are also 100% organic as no artifical (or natural) insecticides have been used on the food at any moment. I eat, with total confidence, the fruit straight off the bushes & trees, warmed by the sun! Soooo much better than fridge cold fruit!

David, glad I could be of help! Thanks also for the congratulations! I don't really deserve them as the sunflowers grow with little help from me. I think the chickpeas need a soil with a lot more humus in it than they have found where I've planted them. They only grow about 30cm (1 ft) but about twice as wide. I haven't seen any actual seeds as yet because, although a couple of plants have died, the seed pods, which I haven't tried to open yet, contain very small seeds & need more time to develop. I think they must be the size of peas but the pods only have 2 or 3 seeds in them. They seem to need a lot of water as well. The warmth of this summer I think suits them. Do a search for Garbanzo beans & see what you come up with, that's what I did as I knew nothing about them - or the Pinto beans or the Lentils!

16 Aug, 2010


What a wonderful variety of fruit and Veg also colourful flowers too, its amazing how much you have grown in such a short time, everything looking so tempting and healthy! well done to you and Gerry, hope you have recieved and enjoyed your bottle of wine, Thanks for sharing;0)

17 Aug, 2010


Thanks so much, PP! We do have quite a variety & the Sunflowers Gerry grows every year are spectacular! I especially like the miniature Sunflowers & I want to save some seed for next year. I'd like to grow some on my balcony as the 2m high plants are a bit overwhelming! I did grow some one year for the Gardener's World trails. They also reached their full height! I uploaded some photos of them here last year.

There are some multi-headed ones I'd like to save seed from also for next year - but to grow on the allotment. I've changed my avatar photo for the picture Gerry took of me under the multi-headed one that won us the 1st prize of a bottle of wine in the Best Sunflower Competition 2010!

BTW, the wine was left in the shed by Eileen, the lady who has her allotment almost opposite us over the path. She was asked to judge the plants on the sites while the reps were on holiday.

18 Aug, 2010


Many Thanks for this further info on the chickpeas, Balcony - will do a search!

I also, now prefer, the dwarf sunflowers, which are very often multi-headed, and easier to view, lol! Some of these would look great on your own balcony!

It does seem daft not to be able to sell surplus produce from allotments, but there is a strict rule re not using an allotment to grow stuff for sale, alas! :-((

21 Aug, 2010


This morning Gerry gave me a photo, which he also framed, very similar to the one in my avatar! Much to my embarrassment he showed it to everyone at church this morning! After the service several people asked me about the Sunflowers.

I did very little to help this Sunflower. It grows on the edge of the tomato bed. It obviously benefits from the water I give the tomatoes . I've only fed the tomatoes on a couple of occasions so this wouldn't have benefited it hardly at all. I did remove quite a few flower buds while it was still at a height I could reach in the hopes of getting it to grow higher! I expect that helped a little but you can still see there are a number of flowers on the stem.

It was self sown, one of Gerry's from last year. There are more of these multiheaded sunflowers around the allotment that I have let grow, others I pulled up where they were in the way of my plantings.

22 Aug, 2010

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