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The October Plot


By balcony


The October Plot

The October plot is quite a different plot from the September plot! It’s very noticeable that the days are hurrying towards their shortest time in December. Everything is shutting down now, the leaves are falling off the trees (time to collect them & compost them for leaf mould!) & most plants will have been harvested before the end of the month.

Talking about harvesting, here are a few photos of my harvesting results:

Beetroot Bolthardy just harvested

I’ve now lost count of the number of times I’ve sown & harvested beetroot this year! I was even allowed to pull up some from the lady’s plot across the path. She said she had asked several other people if they would like some but they had plenty of their own! She happened to ask me at a time when I was between crops of mine.

Cucumber Marketmore just harvested

I’ve been able to harvest quite a few cucumbers in spite of the powdery mildew that has covered them all growing season! I had greater success in the greenhouse than out on the plot! Does anybody know of a variety that is more resistant to this mildew?

Sweet Peppers harvested

I am rather disappointed with the Sweet Peppers, these all came from the plants I grew from the seeds my wife brought me back from Spain last year. I’ve come to the conclusion that these Peppers are of a small variety & not like the big ones we get in the supermarket! Only a very few were longer & thinner the majority, as you can see in the photo are not much bigger than a thumb! These came from the bed of around 70 plants!

The Sweet Peppers in the photo below grew in the other half of the 3 Sisters’ bed. There were around 40 plants in this bed. There were less Peppers even though the plants looked stronger!

Sweetcorn harvested from 3 Sisters’ bed

Gerry took these home but he hasn’t mentioned to me anything about them!

Sweetcorn F1 Incredible harvested

I took these home but as I wasn’t able to cook them immediately I forgot about them in the fridge for a couple of days! I eventually got around to cooking & eating them – nothing much to say about them – perhaps as I didn’t use them earlier they had lost some of their sweetness. I’ve heard that Americans will even go so far as to take a pan of boiling water down to the plants & pop the cobs into the water within a minute of harvesting them!

Tomatoes Mallorquin from GH just harvested:

These came from the most ripe truss at that moment. I took them off to give the rest time to ripen a little more before the weather became too cold.

Here you can see how much just 1 truss weighed when I got them on the scales at home.

Tomatoes Self sown from greenhouse

How this plant got in here I’ve no idea! Obviously a seed came from somewhere & germinated in the soil between the concrete slabs that run down the centre of the GH & the plastic that covers the ground where I have the growbags with the tomato Mallorquin & the Cucumbers. It doesn’t look like any of the three varieties that Gerry & I grew last year. (Alicante, MoneyMaker & Gardener’s Delight).

Tomatoes Gardener’s Favourite harvested

These Toms came from self-sown seed that somehow survived the winter in the soil. This was the only one to be harvested of the several plants that escaped my attention till they were too big to pull up (Yes, I’m a big softy at heart!). I spent much of the summer pulling up these “weeds” as they came up amongst my Sweet Peppers! The Sunflowers were just as bad as well! They kept popping up all over the place!

Tomatoes Mallorquin

These were harvested from the GH a couple of weeks after those in the previous photo. As you can see it was well worth picking those before to let these ripen! I still have a couple of trusses more waiting to be picked.

Amaryllis Red with white stripe

This was just waiting for my return from a 2 week absence from the plot! We went to visit my wife’s family & our 2 sons for 10 days & on my first day back on the plot, Sunday, just to water the plants in the GH, I noticed a red splash which on investigation turned out to be this Amaryllis! I hadn’t noticed the bud when I watered the pots with tomato fertilizer the day before leaving for Spain!

Fig tree

Up until recently this Fig tree was hidden amongst the autumn fruiting Raspberries. While I was away it had grown a little higher & was now visible. No figs to pick though as the very late frost we had in May, coinciding with a similar trip to Spain, (only 4 days though),killed all the growth they had put on & last year’s brevas, as the immature figs are called, so nothing for this year. Hopefully we will get some for next year as new growth next year will be protected by fleece!

Lettuce Tom Thumb just planted out

It may seem strange to plant out Lettuce so late in the growing season, now coming to an end, but I noticed that last winter they survived the heaviest frosts we had as well as all the snow & ice. So I thought they will be able to survive a few light frosts as we were bound to have some warmer days before the real winter cold set in. What I didn’t expect was that we would have daytime temps around 13-15ºC at the end of October!


I have no idea if Peanuts are frost hardy, I doubt it but my plants have survived the first very light frost we had on the night of October 14th! A frost forecast for the 21st didn’t happen! Phew! So these are still growing! I have no idea what size plants they normally make or if there are any peanuts in the soil beneath them. I’ll find out shortly.

Pinto & Garbanzo beans & Lentils

These Legumes, as this family of plants is called, are still doing quite well. The Pinto beans are very susceptible to frost, more so than runner/green beans. The light frost of the 14th damaged many of the plants but didn’t kill them outright. The next day I made it my first duty to go around the plants & pick as many pods as I could. But I ended up pulling up the plants as it was quicker & I put them in the GH to dry off till I can open the pods & extract the beans. The plants mostly were no more than 6" high & many of them were going over any way.

The Garbanzo beans (aka Chick peas) & the Lentils proved to be frost resistant last year so I’ve not bothered with those for the moment. Any way they are there more as green manure than as a crop to harvest. I found last year it was too much work to get a few beans & lentils. In comparison the Pinto beans are much, much more rewarding!

Sunflowers Tall at top of plot

As you might imagine all the Sunflowers have now finished flowering & Gerry has even cut off dozens of seedheads for his birds. I started to pull up some of them but more than 3/4 of them remain. I haven’t pulled up any of the Mini sunflowers yet or the Little Dorrit ones. Gerry has harvested many of their seedheads as well. I’ve saved a few for my wife who likes to eat Sunflower seeds. A very popular pastime in Spain!

Tomato Mallorquin just harvested

These are the last fruits of Tomato Mallorquin that had been growing outside in the soil just behind the shed. I picked them before a subsequent frost could damage them. I’m disappointed with this tomato as the fruits were small & very late in forming. Next year I’ll go back to the more “traditional” varieties of tomatoes. I think they need a GH to grow & fruit well. The one plant in the GH on the allotment has, eventually, produced much bigger fruits as well as better looking. Yet Gerry had a dozen plants in his GH at home & they were a disaster for him! I have 3 plants on my balcony at home; these have done better than the ones grown out in the open on the allotment but not as well as the one in the GH on the plot.

Carrots Autumn King before lifting

Carrots Autumn King after lifting

I was surprised to see the roots so forked! I’ve been told there are two main reasons why this should happen, 1: soil too rich/manure & 2: stony ground. Well the first certainly can’t be true as this bed has had no manure put into it in years as Gerry didn’t know of a place to get any till this year. As for stony, well this is more of a possibility, but I think a hard pan 3-4" down is more likely. I dug this bed over after lifting the carrots & I encountered this hard pan a little way down.

Parsnips White Gem after lifting

Much the same reason as for the carrots. I noticed months ago that the Parsnips were pushing out of the soil & some seemed to be growing on their sides. So I thought at the time that the bad had a hard pan a couple of inches down. Which proved to be the case.

Also this was my first time ever at growing either of these two crops. Advice on watering Parsnips & Onions changes according to who you ask! Some say they never water after watering after planting out while others say they water them like other crops! So confusing for a newbie!

Beetroots Bolthardy before lifting

Beetroots Bolthardy after lifting

I lifted these because I wanted to clear the ground & finish digging the bed over. There were in the same bed I planted up with Lettuce Tom Thumb. They also looked big enough to harvest & were unlikely to get much bigger even if I left them for a few more weeks.

I’m quite pleased with efforts of growing Beetroot this year as it is only my 2nd season growing them. I have one last bed at the very top of the plot but these won’t be ready to harvest for months I should imagine – if they are frost resistant, something I don’t know – yet!

Godetias at top of plot

My wife likes these little plants a lot & most years I grow a few plants on the balcony for her. I also had a few this year but they didn’t do very well so I bought another packet of seeds which I sowed in a tray in the GH on the allotment. Unfortunately I could never seem to find the right moment to prick them out into pots to take home & put on the balcony. Eventually I decided to plant them out of the plot even though I wasn’t really expecting them to put on much of a show before the frosts killed them off. But it seems the warmer weather of late has saved them for the time being! As I’ve no photos of the view from the shed I’ve put this one on to end this instalment of the continuing “saga” of the allotment through the year!

Lots of photos for the last (probably) blog of the growing season on the plot. I may make up a last one sometime in November. I still have to make up one for Plot 12A!

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Amaryllis-once again on the move!

Next post: Plot 12A - The overgrown Raspberry bed’s demise



You've done so well with your planting and growing...
wonderful :o)

23 Oct, 2011


A brilliant selection of crops, as with a cold spring and dry summer you have done really well on the plot.

Dear Bilbobaggins, Broad Beans should be planted the first week of December. Then they germinate gradually, the tips are protected by surface soil in January, and they dont get Blackfly in April. Best get another packet of Claudia Aquadulce and try again.

23 Oct, 2011


Not a bad year then Balcony, pleased to see all your harvest, its certainly well worth the effort....

23 Oct, 2011


Homegrown sweet peppers can NEVER be as large as those bought in shops, Balcony, due to growing regimes. Your own should have been smaller, but more nutritious, methinks?

The beetroots look wonderful! It has been a good year for these, and now am not in wonder that the allotmenteers are looking to give some away, before they get too large and "woody".

Your other "queries", I think, will depend on future variety choices and, of course, weather.

Have enjoyed your fantastic progress, thus far! :-))

23 Oct, 2011


A good crop Balcony! We grew a small patch of sweetcorn but, knowing how quickly the sweetness goes, we only picked when we were ready to eat! Straight off the plant and onto the BBQ is wonderful! We also had great success with our Sweet Peppers this year - I put that down to our good Summer. I used the seeds of a Pepper given to me by my Spanish Neighbour and the results were great - 4" fruits with thick walls! I already have more seed dried out and waiting to be sown in January! :o) I look forward to your November blog to find out how the peanuts fared.

24 Oct, 2011


wow you have been busy wonderful bumper crops :)

24 Oct, 2011


Interesting blog and lovely photos Balcony.

24 Oct, 2011


Thanks to everyone who posted a comment! :-)) I'm so happy that you all liked my blog! I do try to make each one a little different to the others so they don't just before an "illustrated list" of plants on the allotment. LOL!

Thanks. TT!

Bilbo: Although there may look to be quite a few tomatoes most are small & the crop doesn't compare with last year's. Probably the fault of our cold summer. :-(( I haven't got around to pulling the plants up yet, too many other things to do & too little time to do everything!

Thank you for your nice comment, Dianebulley.

Thanks, Lincslass, for reading my blogs on the allotment.

You are too kind, David, with your comments! It's not too much to expect SP with similar sizes to the shop bought ones, last year when I grew only a few for the 1st time on the plot I got a few that were almost that size!

I'm chuffed to know how much you think of my blogs, I do my best to make them interesting!

Nariz, I should have cooked the Sweetcorn earlier but I kept forgetting about it in the fridge! :-(( Glad yours turned out nice & sweet! :-)) Certainly the Spanish climate/weather suits Sweet Peppers better than our British weather! Peanuts still alive at the present moment!

Yes, Kimola, it keeps me very busy trying to stay on top of everything! I did manage to get some good crops as well.

Thank you, Frybo for your vote of confidence on my blog! :-)) All the photos are taken on my mobile phone, I later upload them to my computer & edit them using Picasa 3. Mostly it's to add a caption but also to darken some of them as they often come out too light. The contrast I've found makes the photos seem more real, the plants in them look more like 3D objects instead of 2D!

25 Oct, 2011


You've got some great veggies there Balcony...

26 Oct, 2011


Thanks, Holly! Glad you think so.:-))

27 Oct, 2011


That corn on the cob looks scrumptious!
A lot of very interesting things in this blog for me.

31 Oct, 2011


Smashing Blog Balcony...

I did read your Blog on Amaryllis from seed, tho I wouldn't haven't the patience for that, my late Mum would have taken that task on :)))
I might give it a's got two chances I suppose, and they do look stunning...

Love all the veg... we have a small Veg garden, and have been bringing it to life this year...Parsnips one of our favs we'll be growing next year...Have done well with Bell Peppers this year from two Plants in a large Pot, and have picked lbs, and tho it's now in our Sun Room, it's still going strong and we're still picking...Toms too, I make a lot of Chutney so grow a lot of Tomatoes..
I will read with interest your veg growing and results, as we hope to be more and more self sufficient with our Vegetables, as time goes on...

31 Oct, 2011


Gurthbruins, glad you find a lot of interest on my blog, it's a real "ego-booster" when someone finds your blog interesting - & says so! ;-))

Crissue: Thanks for reading my blog on Amaryllis seedlings. Even if you don't have the patience to grow there from seed you can always buy a bulb, they seem to be cheaper this year in the UK. I've seen them for £6 when other years they were selling for £10! (Boxed & in a supermarket, loose & unnamed you can get them for half that amount!). They grow practically without any care, at least their first year when bought from a shop or GC, just a little water to get them started & a site with lots of light & some warmth is all you need, a windowsill indoors will do them fine. Why don't you give it a go?

Here is a link to a company in the USA that sells these bulbs & has a page of instructions on their care:

1 Nov, 2011


Thanks balcony, I will think about it...:)))

2 Nov, 2011


Did your Godetias all come out the same colour? Maybe I sowed a mixed packet - I can't remember now. They do look pretty. :-)

5 Nov, 2011


No, they are only available in mixed colours as far as I know. Nevertheless perhaps there are seed catalogues that offer single colour varieties but I've never been interested in looking.

6 Nov, 2011


No, nor me.

6 Nov, 2011


Think that the word "few" is very apt for many homegrown edibles, Balcony., and applies to many fruits grown in our own gardens/allotments/greenhouses. It is always great to see a vine or bush smothered with blossom, with the promise of a large crop to follow. Took me a gr8 deal of courage, when I first started growing edibles, to cut most of them off in their prime, to allow a select few to carry on, and grow bigger and better.

The result is that, by the time of harvesting, each one you pick may end up being a bit more expensive than a shop-bought one, but you know it has been treated well (not pumped full of "steroids" and H2o to make it look bigger and better).

Forking carrots remains a mystery with me, too. For the last couple of years, have had to sow seed in containers filled with compost (no stones), and still see many forked ones. Adding sharp sand to the compost has made no difference. Have decided that this one is a bit like the creation of human twins! :-D)

Shame about the Sweetcorn - both yours and ours. Have grown this successfully for a few years now, but ours perished with the weather this "summer". NEVER harvest sweetcorn until the water in the pan is boiling, or the "barbie" is fired up. Sweetcorn is one of those crops which, once harvested, begin, immediately, to turn their natural sugars into starch, so will lose its "sweetness" very quickly. Having found this out for myself, through growing, would never look back. those cobs look gr8, though! :-))

10 Nov, 2011


Thanks, David, for your comments. When I was pulling out the dead sweetcorn plants last Friday I found some cobs I'd missed when I was harvesting them a few weeks before. They were part of the 3 Sisters' bed & the runner beans made it very difficult to see if I had picked all the cobs.

Rather difficult to boil water on the allotment! I'd have to take a portable gas stove down to heat up the water & boil them! We are not allowed fires on the allotments.

I had to go & talk to a fellow a couple of Saturdays ago because he was burning Raspberry canes. He has had two plots side by side for donkey's years & seems to think he is a law unto himself. Fortunately he listened to me & put it out as the smoke was suffocating me 5 or 6 plots down from his. We still continue to be friends & he doesn't seem to hold me any rencor.

10 Nov, 2011


Glad to read that he saw sense in your wisdom, and no "love" lost!", so to speak. Actually, since my comment, had been thinking of a portable/camping stove like the one I keep in the boot of my car for picnics, but didn't mean to imply that the timing had to be so critical, lol, although you do make mention of a sort of " taking the mountain to Mohammed" practice in this blog. They will survive, with all sugars intact, for a few hours. Have been trying to find what you grew in the 3 Sisters bed. We have always grown sweetcorn and beans side by side as, of course, they are a match made (almost literally) in "Heaven", as beans being one of the few plants able to extract nitrogen from the air and deposit it in the soil around their roots, and sweetcorn being shallow rooting canes, but greedy for nitrogen.

But, I digress...did you get to eat the cobs you discovered last Friday?

10 Nov, 2011


No, they were dry & dead - completely inedible!

Besides the beans & corn I tried to grow water melons but they all died. I tried in a couple of other places as well with no luck. But I shall try again next year following the instructions I found on a website but neglected to follow!

10 Nov, 2011

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