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Fiery July 2013 on 58


By balcony


Fiery July 2013

What a Fiery July we had this year! Three weeks of very high temperatures plus a couple or more with moderate temps on either side have given “wings” to everything growing on our allotments!

Here are some photos of Gerry’s allotments #58 & #59B:

Runner beans near plot division:

Runner beans near plot division now in flower:

Runner beans near plot division (close up):

Runner beans near plot division. First to be picked this year:

Beetroot 3 varieties near greenhouse at the end of June:

Beetroot 3 varieties near greenhouse a couple of weeks later:

As you can see in only a few weeks they have made a lot of growth. The 3 varieties are ‘Chioggia’, which is supposed to have alternate pink & white rings, but, so far, those that I’ve grown on my own allotment, Plot 12A, haven’t looked any different from the “normal” Beetroots!

In this bed I sowed them directly from the packet into a drill alongside the path & then put the seed packet on a short cane at the beginning of the drill. I did the same for ‘Baby Solist’ & for ‘Bolthardy’. I plan on digging up some this coming week, 2nd of August.

Courgettes at top of plot:

I was very lazy with the naming of my photos during July! It was easier & quicker to just name them Green & Yellow squashes rather than call them Courgettes & Yellow squashes or even to use the correct names on the packets!

Beginning of July:

Now beginning of August:

Courgettes just picked at end of July:

As of the present time I’ve had no Yellow Crookneck squashes (to give them their proper name!).

This is the first time I’ve ever grown these Courgettes or Yellow Squashes. They came from several packets of seeds my sister in Texas, USA, sent me in February this year.

Now for some quick growing “Monsters” (aka Pumpkins):

Pumpkins ‘Jack O’Lantern’, beginning of July:

Pumpkins ‘Jack O’Lantern’, middle of month:

Pumpkins ‘Jack O’Lantern’, end of month!

This last one just shows you why I call them “Monsters”! It’s pulled itself up off the ground & is climbing over the Asparagus plants!

A few days ago I decided some drastic action was need to curtail these “Monsters”. So I got out the secateurs & set to, cutting back every runner by about 2m! In each case I tried to find a fruit/flower/bud to cut back to. They had also formed dozens of secondary shoots from the main runners. These were much thinner but equally as aggressive as the main vines. These I also cut back by at least half each. To do the bed took me the better part of an hour under the constant threat of heavy rain! I was so focused on the job I clean forgot to take a few photos to show just how much I cut them back.

They don’t look any the worse for the drastic “haircut” I submitted them to but at the same time I’ve hardly had time to glance at them as other parts of the allotment were crying out for my attention as well as my own plot!

Then there was the fruit to pick before the birds ate it all or it dried up on the bushes:

White Currants just picked:

Black & White Currants just picked:

It takes quite some time to pick Currants but I got at least four containers worth of the Black ones, (the other 2 I picked a couple of days earlier),but only one of the White ones. I could have picked at least another 2 of the White ones but I’ve been too busy to stop & pick any more. The White bush had much more fruit this year than I’ve seen during the 4 years I’ve worked on Gerry’s allotments.

Gooseberry bushes near top of plot:

Gerry has about 6 bushes behind his shed & another 6 near the top of plot. The ones behind the shed looked good towards the end of June but they seemed to “dry up” during July. I found very few to pick. Gerry thinks it may have been mildew – but I don’t know/not so sure.

Gooseberries from top of Gerry’s plot just picked:

I picked almost 1.5kg of Gooseberries from the bushes near the top of his plot & I hardly made a “dent” in the amount there were on the bushes! Gerry has picked some as well but it is rumoured that many people in the lower part of the Allotments Field have had their bushes stripped of fruit.

Strawberries just picked from the bed at the bottom of Gerry’s plot:

We did quite well for Strawberries this year. In a week I was able to pick the bed twice & I believe Gerry also picked some. We don’t coincide very often on the plot & we normally only see each other on Sundays at church. That explains why I’m not sure what he has done, especially when it comes to harvesting fruit as it’s not very obvious if one or the other has been down harvesting it.

Strawberries picked again a week later:

I’m going to finish here with some photos of flowers we also have on the allotments.

Lilies flowering in front of our shed:

These Lilies were grown from seeds sent to me by a lady in the USA, from another gardening forum I post on, & are in their 2nd year. She had told me they normally take about 3 years from seed to first flowers so I was very surprised when I saw buds being to form at the beginning of June!

Lily 1st flower to open in front of the shed:

This was the very first flower of the Lilies from seed to open. It’s a lovely flower!

Shame the dreaded Lily Beetle ate away most of the leaves on the plants. I hope they built up enough energy to survive till next year. I will try & take precautions & be extra vigilant now that I know what can happen. I’m planning on moving them to my own allotment, Plot 12A, during the autumn/winter.

Here are some Lavenders, also grown from seeds I sowed about 3 years ago, together with some ‘Snapdragons’ or ‘Bunny Rabbits’ (Antirrhinums) I planted last year but didn’t remove when they had finished flowering.

1st Sunflower of 2013 to open:

Last photo of Sunflowers during July:

We didn’t sow any Sunflowers at all this year. We just let self-sown ones grow where they didn’t interfere with our growing operations.

Amaryllis flower just opened in the Greenhouse on the plot:

This is the only Amaryllis to flower on the allotment this year. As soon as I spotted the bud forming, (it was already about 30cm high!), I moved it it into the greenhouse so it would have more protection from the elements & I could admire it every time I went into it!

With these few photos of flowers I’m putting an end to this blog – until the next one!

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A good harvest , there , Balcony ; to be proud of !
Lots of hard work , but great pleasure I'm sure in the result .
I like the way you "share" the care of the allotments with Gerry , and then only meet on Sundays .

5 Aug, 2013


I slice Courgettes, fry in butter, drain, then freeze them
for Pizzas in the winter. The silly leaflets keep coming through my door. I just laugh.

I make the base, cook it. Then put a layer of tomato puree, covered with home grown frozen cooked Courgette slices, then cooked Onions, then chopped smoked Ham, then sliced Tomatoes, then sprinkled with English cheese. Thats a good meal !

6 Aug, 2013


Nice to see your allotment doing well. You've got some good crops this year again :o)
Hasn't that Amaryllis got a tall stem !

6 Aug, 2013


Thanks Driad, it is a lot of hard work. I do get pleasure as you say from harvesting the things I plant & take care of. :-))

@Bilbobaggins: Funny how some things grow for some people but not for others! You have "more peas than we can freeze." I can't seem to get them to grow very well here! This year I sowed them in tubes in the greenhouse on the allotment several times with very poor results. Once planted out they made little growth. So I sowed half a packet on the plot division & got - wait for it - Sweetpeas!!! :/(

Thanks for the recipe, Diane!

You are right, Hywel, the stem is rather tall - even for an Amaryllis! Unfortunately it has finished flowering now so I will probably have to wait for some months before I see any more. I haven't noticed any buds on more plants - yet!

9 Aug, 2013


A bumper crop for you & Barry & not without effort it has to be said.
Well done!
Not long before I harvest my own wee crop.
The neighbours are drooling, waiting for me to lift & divvy up the spoils.
They've enjoyed the lettuce & spring onions & swear they tasted better than shop or market bought. Lol.
Spuds, carrots & sunflowers to go.
Sadly, they're reluctant to try nasturtium, although I've used both leaves & flowers in salads.
I'm going to put some of the seeds aside for pepper & buds for pickling.
Nothing ventured...right? Lol.
Again...well done, Balconey!!!

20 Aug, 2013


How has your harvest gone, Mouldy?

We've started harvesting Onions & Potatoes & Tomatoes & ...

We have lots of Pumpkins as well now. They are just starting to change colour! We also have Courgettes & Yellow Squashes.

I must write a new blog ... soon!

As I've been looking after our granddaughter all of the school holidays as well as working on the allotments I've found very little time to write on here! Next month I should be able to write more often again.

30 Aug, 2013


I'm going to lift the carrots & spuds this coming weekend, Balconey & leave the chives in 'til next year.
The lettuce is still producing like mad.
I'm unsure when to harvest the sunflowers, though.
Any advice, mate?
My best pal, Sylvia, has had her daughter & granddaughter around for most of the summer, in our backcourt.
Very interested in gardening, is this young granddaughter, aged 8.
Always asking if I want her to dig. Lol.
She'll be assisting me with the lifting. ;-)

1 Sep, 2013


Sorry Mouldy, I haven't spent much time on the gardening forums as I usually do. I have been looking after our granddaughter during the summer holidays & haven't spent much time on here. I'm so far behind in reading blogs & looking at people's photos that I will have to start again from Monday & just forget the ones that have passed me by!

As for your question on Sunflowers I've cut off a few heads this week & brought them home to dry on a table in the corner of our balcony. The birds will let you know! I found several heads that were TOTALLY empty of seeds - the birds had had the lot!!! At the same time there are buds that still haven't opened yet on some plants! All of the Sunflowers on the allotment are self sown I didn't sow any this year. I asked Gerry but he said not to sow any this year.

As they hang their heads it can be very difficult to know when to harvest them. As this autumn it seems is going to be relatively dry & warm you could wait till the backs of the heads go yellow but it's not advisable to wait till they go brown. Then the seeds - if the birds haven't had them all - will fall out or the heads will start to rot, releasing the seeds which seem unaffected by the rotting heads. If the head is still very green it might be advisable to wait till they begin to go yellow. Just keep an eye open for our feathery friends!

Glad your granddaughter is so interested in helping you - encourage her while she is still interested!

8 Sep, 2013


Thanks for the info, mate, although the birds, hereabouts have less of a clue than me, I kid you not!
They're fed by the neighbours & takeaway shops & wouldn't know where to start. Lol.
The granddaughter isn't mine, Balconey, although I treat her as if she was.
I'm a 'jaffa'. Lol.
She's my best pal's.

9 Sep, 2013


Hope the info is of use to you.

Sorry about the mistaken "identity"! I misread what you wrote! Reading it again I see you had actually made it clear who she was :

"My best pal, Sylvia, has had her daughter & granddaughter around for most of the summer"

I must have fixed my attention on: "Very interested in gardening, is this young granddaughter, aged 8."

When I replied I'd obviously thought she was yours!

Have you cut off any Sunflower heads yet? I cut a few the other day & brought them home to dry. My wife asked me this afternoon if they were dry enough now to eat & if she could roast some in the oven.

Which reminded me of the strong impression I got during my first winter in Cuenca, Spain. I was very surprised to see that the youths ate Sunflower seeds by the kilo! Here in the UK we used to give them to small pet mammals like Hamsters or to cage birds - humans didn't eat them, back then! The youths would sit on the railing in the High Street & while they chatted & whiled away a few hours they ate Sunflower seeds, roasted, salted, raw & the shells formed a carpet on the ground beneath them! Now the youths in the UK eat them & we see shells covering the ground in a few places! Who would have imagined it 40 years ago?

11 Sep, 2013


I'm impressed when my neighbours admit to eating anything 'foreign', as they term it.
Syvia's granddaughter was a fussy eater, 'til this summer.
Through gentle chats with her, as we've tended the garden together, encouragement & wee tastes of foodstuffs she once hated, we've managed to try out & accept many more things in her diet.
One of the sunflower heads has her name on it. Lol.
There are a few just turning yellow now, so she won't have long to wait.
There's absolutely no reason to apologise, mate!
I'd have loved to have kids, Balconey, but nature (& possibly a stepfather, who was prone to kicking) decided otherwise.
It played a small part in the breakdown of my marriage, too, but them's the breaks.
Besides, my garden is full of babies. ;-)

11 Sep, 2013


LOL! Hope you have her Sunflower staked as the plants can get very heavy & a gust of wind can topple them in an instant! It's happened to several on our allotments during the last couple of weeks.

Have you uploaded any photos of them?

Your garden may be full of babies but my balcony is now full of dying Petunias. :-((

11 Sep, 2013


I did a blog on the very same thing, mate.
'Death of a Titan'.
I lost the tallest sunflower to high winds, unfortunately.
Needless to say, the rest have been 'strapped in', after that! Lol.
Of the survivors, two are multi-headed
My baskets & the 3-tiered planter are the same with my petunias already dead & I'll be removing & replacing them, shortly.
I won a gardening 1st prize my housing assoc runs each year.
The neighbours put my name forward & didn't tell me. Lol.
Those B&Q gardening vouchers will be put to use the second they drop through the letterbox. ;-)

13 Sep, 2013


"I won a gardening 1st prize my housing assoc runs each year."

Many congratulations, Mouldy! :-)) Well done! I'm so glad you got that prize!

I never enter the competition our local council holds each year, not even last year when our housing association ran one as well. Our block of flats won 2nd prize! Then only because our caretaker went around to every flat - except ours! - to get them to put a couple of troughs of flowers on their balconies! He was able to get troughs, compost & plants for them all with a grant from an association that helps with these sort of things. He had visions of a block of flats he had seen in London, whether in person or a picture I don't know, of all the balconies with hanging Petunias or Geraniums that hid a lot of the building with their flowers.

I tried not to dampen his spirits too much but I knew it was very unlikely to ever happen. This year nobody but me has a single living plant on their balconies - at least that I can see from the street! There is however one notable exception; some months ago somebody moved into a 6th floor flat & I have been able to see some plants over the top of their balcony. In one window of the flat it looks like they have lots of Orchids! :-))

19 Sep, 2013


Well done Mouldy... Fantastic!

19 Sep, 2013


They probably gave me the prize to keep the other gardeners on their toes & to ensure I keep at least 3 back courts tidy. Lol.
Their B&Q giftcard arrived in the post this morning, sadly, too late, as all my local superstore has in stock for winter is Jasmine.
Is it just me, or are they havhng a laugh?!

20 Sep, 2013


Should be lots of stuff still in stock at this time!

20 Sep, 2013


That's what I thought, too, Paul, but they only have Jasmine.
How pathetic is that?!

21 Sep, 2013


That's a real shame, Mouldy! Our B&Q had tons of plants a couple of weeks ago when my wife & I visited it! Only Wilkos could rival it!

Does you giftcard have an ending date on it? If it is still valid for 6 months you could use it to buy some spring flowers!

23 Sep, 2013

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