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Allotment 2011 - My second season!


By balcony


Allotment 2011 – My second season!

My second season on the allotment is now getting underway. I have been down there on occasions during the winter but as I suffer from Reynard’s Syndrome, which causes poor circulation in the extremities, I find it difficult to spend time out in the cold as I lose all circulation in my toes & fingers & it can be very painful at times.

Anyway there is little that can be done down there during the winter. I did go down on the 20th of December & this is what I saw! The whole allotment appears to be covered in snow – actually it’s hoar frost!

Here’s a reminder of autumn! A lovely pear tree in flaming red – didn’t half light up the dismal days back then!

I went down on Boxing Day 2010 for a few minutes – too cold to do anything! I wanted to have a look at how my plants in the greenhouse were holding up. This is how the plot looked!

Buddelia before pruning & in full flower in the middle of July 2010:

Buddelia after pruning by Gerry!

I’m very impressed by the way the Lentils & Garbanzo beans (Chick peas) took all that hard frost & snow we had in December! Yet the poor Pinto beans succumbed at the very first whiff of frost! (I’ve deleted the photos of them that I put on here as we are now coming into spring & I don’t think anybody wants a reminder of what happens when a plant is killed by frost – we’ve all seen too many of them killed off during the winter).

The green manure looks like another victim of the cold winter. I had a look today at the bed (2nd March) but I can’t make out the shapes of the mustard leaves! Plenty of weeds now though!

These tiny little Lettuces “Tom Thumb” also survived the frosts & the snow but the rain eventually did away with them & I had to pull them up as they were rotting.

New Year 2011!

Now let’s get into the New Year 2011!

Here’s snapshot of some of the things I had growing in the greenhouse while looking forward to another year on the plot.

Around Christmas I sowed some onion seeds. It’s the first time ever for me! Last year I grew onions from sets – again a first for me! They did very well. I hope the onions from seed do at least as well!

Here then are the very first seedlings to be transplanted & you will see that I’ve sown some more in the tray behind the seedlings.

Today, 2nd March, I planted all the seedlings into the soil on the allotment, you can see them in the photo below.

I put some Garlic cloves into the soil on the plot around Christmas time. The ground had thawed out a little so I made holes with a broomstick handle & dropped the cloves into the holes scraping some soil over the holes but without firming down as I thought I had made the holes too deep.

I later got some more Garlic but this time I planted them in trays in the greenhouse & this is what they looked like near the end of January:

A couple of weeks ago I planted them into the beds on the allotment. The earlier sown ones have now come up as well & this photo shows them today:

They are in two beds but occupy only about a square meter, perhaps less.

I’ve planted the seedling onions in the same bed as the Garlic cloves but continuing on down from the cloves. Although I planted dozens of onion seedlings today I still couldn’t fill up the bed!

Below you can see the seed potatoes I’ve put out to chit on the greenhouse staging. The eyes are now just beginning to grow a fraction. I don’t have a more recent photo than this one of the day I put them out on the staging.

These are called “Rocket” & are first earlies. I saw they were highly praised by people growing them & who post on the BBC Gardening boards. When I went to Wilco’s to get a bag of seed potatoes I noticed these & remembered them from there & so I bought them. I’ve been told they have very nice BLUE flowers! I’ll be sure to take some photos when they come into flower!

I’m going to wait a couple of more weeks before planting them out. I see no advantage in putting them out now into cold, sodden soil – even if it does tend to dry out pretty quickly – I don’t want them rotting!

I’ve also sown a few seeds of the Green & Red Peppers my wife brought me back from Spain last year.

Red Peppers sown 15th February:

Another variety of Red Peppers:

I was astounded by the amount of seeds in each packet. The packet says there are 5 grammes of seed in each packet – that’s 100s of seeds in each packet! – quite literally! The seeds are loose, not in a foil envelope inside but the whole packet is made of foil with the picture & instructions printed on the outside.

The first packet I opened was the Lettuces & they spilt everywhere! I managed to get most of the seeds back into the packet but there must be thousands! I managed to sow a few but they have also come up amongst my transplanted onions!

Here is a photo of the seeds recently germinated – not sown, you will notice that I’ve tried to modify the caption on the photo but could only add on top!

I also sowed some of the Tomato seeds brought back from Spain by my wife. Again I’ve 100s of seeds!

I looked at the trays today but none of them show any signs of germinating at present. Perhaps the temps are too low for the moment. I’ll give them another week or 10 days before I sow some more at home & put them in the airing cupboard to germinate!

To finish I’m going to put in a couple of photos of the new strawberry bed I made up last autumn & my “traditional” photo taken of the plot from the shed!

New Strawberry bed after the winter & in desperate need of weeding if we are to get any Strawberries this year!

After an hour or so of hard graft this is now what it looks like!

I shall now stay on top of it & this will be the last time it gets into such a state – at least while I look after it!

Last year when I started my series of fortnightly blogs I added a last photo of the view as I saw it from the shed. As a lot of people liked that I’ve decided I’d do the same this year – at least until August when the Raspberries will block the view down the plot.

Actually this is not the most recent photo ( I haven’t taken any more yet) as since taking it I have cut the Raspberry canes right back to soil level & cleaned up all the leaves & weeds from the bed. They are just now beginning to sprout once again. These are autumn fruiting canes.

Well that’s the end of this first instalment for this year! Hope you won’t find it boring, I’ve tried to make it interesting but your comments are most welcome.

Until next month then. Enjoy your new growth & the spring flowers.

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Balcony, you are making good progress on preparing for the coming growing season. Your allotment clearing is impressive....even down to the strawberry sectionn and all that weeding.

Your seeds from Spain certainly are packaged in volume!! You will be able to sow in stages so everything doesn't mature at once. Best of luck with all your 2011 plans too.

3 Mar, 2011


Lots to do on your plot to control those weeds! Nice to see your garlic looking so strong - just like mine! I did the same as you - planting into 'plugs' then transplanting into the ground. Hope grows when you see things wanting to be taller doesn't it? March now - not long to some decent weather and temperatures. :o)

3 Mar, 2011


All looking good! I invested in a good hoe last year, excellent at keeping the weeds at bay!

3 Mar, 2011


Balcony, I really enjoyed your block very much. You bring back to me sweet memories of the past. I will tell you my story. I used to have something similar to yours some 25 years back and I even won many first prizes at my local shows. I was so addicted to it that I stayed there all day on Sundays. My good lady of course was not very happy with it and wanted me to give it up. In order to put pressure on me she refused to eat my vegetables! One day I decided I had enough, I packed my tools and said good bye.
I now grow mostly flowers in my back garden. I cannot grow many vegetables due to restricted space and some trees shading my garden. I will be following the progress of your plot and enjoy it............. thinking it is mine!!

3 Mar, 2011


Wow- a lot of work there! Good luck! Loved the autumn colour of the pear tree .

3 Mar, 2011


nice to see your allotment... you have been busy with it...good luck with it all.......

3 Mar, 2011


wow your going to have a bumper crop this year Balcony, you have been busy, budleia has been savaged lol, love the pear tree so pretty ,hopefully we will get some nicer weather soon, been very cold and frosty here, im off next week in hope to get in my garden and tidy up, your doing well Balcony, keep up the good work :o))

3 Mar, 2011


Thank you all for your great comments! :-)) I love the feedback we get on this site - I find it very encouraging! But please don't keep back any "not so encouraging" thoughts for fear of hurting my feelings!

Whistonlass: There were so many seeds in a packet that I could plant the whole allotment field with Lettuce seeds alone!

I'm thinking of a way to show people just how many seeds come in a packet perhaps taking a photo of them of a piece of paper with the seed packet alongside & then posting it on here. 5g doesn't seem very much but as seeds are so tiny 100s, if not thousands, are needed to make up that weight!

I was a bit annoyed with my wife when I found out how much she had paid for the seeds as I could have got them a lot cheaper over here but now I think they were a bit of a "bargain" after all!

I shan't be sowing all of them from any packet as there are far too many for our use even if I don't get a good germination rate! Judging by the germination rate for the lettuce seed I sowed that won't be a problem! I'll still have far more than I can use!!!

We don't seem to have a swap service on GoY but members do share plants & seeds so if anybody is interested in a few seeds just send me a PM with your name & address & I'll send you some - it'll be a pleasure! :-))

You are right, Nariz, the Garlic is growing away nicely! I've never ever grown it before!

We are all looking forward to the temps rising this month so we can get out on the land & do our gardening! At the moment here in the East of the UK we have low cloud off the North Sea & cold winds from the North-East keeping temps very low.

Lulu, I agree with you, a good hoe is essential for keeping the weeds down! I bought myself one a few weeks ago.

Cos: I could easily spend a whole Saturday down on the plot but I have to leave it around 3pm, the time my wife finishes work, so as to get home (10 min walk) & make a start on lunch before she gets home! She is always exhausted on a Saturday & I always feel sorry for her, so I like to get lunch ready by 4pm if possible.

Thank you for following my efforts, I'm new at growing veg, this is only my 2nd season! If you are interested you could always read through the fortnightly blogs I made up last year! That's a whole lot of reading to do!

Red Aly: I thought the pear tree look very nice as well, it looked just like a column of fire - unfortunately it did nothing to warm up the chill autumn days! LOL!

Holly: I did most of the digging towards the end of November - fortunately! The soil is also quite light & so it was easy to just turn it over with a fork. I was very surprised at the progress I made as last year in April when I attempted my first digging it was real agony for my back & I had to go down on my knees to be able to turn a forkful of soil over! The people who saw me must have thought this poor guy has absolutely no idea whatsoever of how to dig - or they thought, more likely, I was mad!

San: Gerry said he was going to "prune" the Buddleia but I didn't imagine for one moment he was going to be so drastic! If I'd had had the time to do it myself I wouldn't have been nearly so drastic! But Buddleias, fortunately, don't "sulk" & just get on with trying to replace what has been taken away in as short a time as possible! This summer it will still be flowering its head off & the flower heads will probably be bigger hopefully attracting many more bees & living up to its common name of Butterfly bush!

Hope you get some better weather so you can get out & make a start on all those things we just have to do!

3 Mar, 2011


Well done, it must be very rewarding having an allotment, and so good for you in all ways, exercise and healthy eating, look forward to the next one.

3 Mar, 2011


There's plenty to be done now the season is changing. Good luck with your allotment this year ! I hope you have great results :o)

4 Mar, 2011


Thank you Dd & Hywel for your great comments. It's quite rewarding working on the allotment,yes. You get plenty of exercise alright! Last year I wrote in my blogs about eating sun warmed fruits - some for the first time in my life! There's always a lot to do on the plot as well. There's always something to do & it's difficult just to sit down for a few minutes for a tea or a bite to eat!

Thanks for the good wishes, Hywel! I hope the results are even better this year than last.

4 Mar, 2011


im sure your right Balcony the butterfly bush will live up to its name by summer, iv lots of plans this week for getting my garden up and running again, soon get into it once we start :o)

5 Mar, 2011


You have a lot of work to do but the results will certainly be worth it! I was actually so inspired by your blogs from last year that I decided in 2011 I would plant a LOT of vegetables. I haven't done much yet but order the blueberry bushes and strawberry plants, but over the next couple of months I'll be building some raised beds for tomatoes and beans.
I did plant brussels sprouts in a raised bed last fall, but I planted too late and I thought my sprouts were history. But as the weather warmed up I noticed that not only had all of the plants survived, they were growing! It was my first real attempt to grow vegetables since I was a child.

5 Mar, 2011


Sandra I hope you are able to get out & do some work this weekend.

I'm glad you were inspired by my blogs from last year, Lauram! It's good to grow some of your own veg. At least you know you're not adding to your "carbon footprint"! It will certainly be worth the effort!

Today I planted some lettuce seedling, that had been growing in the greenhouse, into the allotment soil. I planted 2 rows. I now have 3 seedtrays of lettuce seedlings in the greenhouse. I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before I plant them out.

I also sowed a row of beetroot seeds but I also have a seedtray full of seedling in the greenhouse. Again I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before putting the outside.

As the GH is unheated they have a similar temperature inside as outside though without the wind & rain. It obviously gets warmer when the sun comes out but we've seen very little of that for over a week now! Monday we are forecast a sunny but cold day. But I hope to do something more on the plot.

5 Mar, 2011

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