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♪♪♪ Half an allotment is better than ... ♪♪♪


By balcony


♪♪♪ Half an allotment is better than … ♪♪♪ to the tune of ♪♪♪ Half a sixpence …♪♪♪

(Thanks to TT for the musical notes! )

Today I went down with my friend, Gerry, from church who said I could have half an allotment as he has two (or 1 & 1/2 not too sure!) We spent the better part of two hours clearing away dead growth from last year. He had a serious operation last year & has hardly touched the allotment since recovering .

See updates below:

He has many Gooseberry bushes which, although he said they gave a lot of fruit last year, I believe need some serious pruning! Lots of the branches are covered in lichen, just like old trees! Anyone know of a good website that gives advice on pruning of these bushes?

Update: A photo of the Gooseberry patch:

He also has many raspberries, autumn fruiting he told me. Should they be cut back to ground level this spring? He said something about digging them up. As they are established plants can they be lifted & divided or should they be thrown away? I’d like to plant some on my half of the allotment if they can just be dug up & divided.

Here’s a photo of the Raspberry canes before I cut them back to the ground!

Well, actually the photo above contains the Loganberries as well only they are difficult to see. They are the greyish “lines” that go from the white posts & wires towards you in the photo.

Apparently he has some loganberries which have got very much out of hand & have grown for several metres along the ground, how can we get them back under control? Is it possible to cut them hard back now & train in the new growth? I don’t know if they fruit on this year’s wood or last years. I don’t want to cause him to miss a crop by telling him to cut them back if they fruit on last year’s growth!

Update: I’ll now answer my own question: I cut them back to the ground but later found out I should have left a couple of the strongest canes as they fruit on 2nd year canes not first year ones like Blackberries! Sorry no photos of “before”! LOL! (Not much point of putting in photos of “after” as there’s nothing to see! LOL! )

What can we do about horseradish? He has lots of it in his plot & can’t get rid of it! He dug up a couple of the plants this morning & I saw they have very thick taproots. He told me that if any piece remains in the ground it will grow again!

No update on this question as yet!

And Jerusalem Artichokes? I was doing a little research on the web trying to find out more about them. He has given me a couple of kilos of roots. Some pages say you can treat them just like potatoes & even eat them raw. I thought I might save a few small pieces to grow on my balcony as it seems they are related to sunflowers & have sunflower like flowers. If I find we like them I may grow a few plants on the allotment as well.

Update on this question: I cut them up & fried them like you would potato chips!

When should potatoes be planted? Can I plant them in the coming weeks of March? I haven’t grown spuds for more years than I care to remember! Well that is except for a couple of plants in an old compost bag which I grew on the balcony a couple of years ago! I found they took up far too much of my precious space for too little harvest to repeat the experiment!

No update available at the moment.

As neither my wife nor I like “greens” I shan’t be planting anything other than lettuces! I bought a packet of seeds today & I shall sow a few of them in the next day or two. Do they need a little heat to start off? I know they are plants that like cool weather to grow well. Can I just sow them & keep them on my balcony till they are ready to go to the allotment?

Update: No photos of the lettuce seeds still growing on my balcony.

I want to sow in the next few days a few seeds of tomatoes “Alicante” I bought today. I’ll only plant a few for the time being as I want to grow a couple of plants on the balcony, like other years & later put some on the allotment.

Update: The tomato seeds have still not germinated, so … no photos!

I also bought a packet of sweet pepper seeds. I grew a few plants in a growbag about three years ago on the balcony. I found they were much slower growing than the tomatoes & it was near the end of the summer before they bloomed & didn’t have time to set fruit before the autumn was upon us. This year I want to try again & I intend to give them a longer growing season by sowing them now.

Update: No recent photo but they are about to produce their first true leaves.

I hope we get a warm summer so that I get some fruits. We use quite a few at home but find them very expensive. In Spain they laugh at us when we tell them how much a single pepper costs! For that price they can buy them almost by the kilo!

Well I’ll update you on further blogs as to my progress on the allotment & include some photos in the next ones.

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Hi Balcony,
First welcome to the wonderful world of allotmenteering! Lol
It's a bit early yet to be planting anything really. Potatoes, I don't plant until at least the end of March but keep a good eye on the weather forecasts for possible frosts. The same for tomatoes and peppers. Do you have a greenhouse or are you growing them outside? (There are varieties that will grow better outdoors than others which need a lot more heat, also keep an eye on them and if you see ANY signs of brown appearing, get them out of the soil and into the incinerator as soon as possible as it is blight and can wipe out all of your plants in a matter of hours!)
Lettuce are very fast growers and do need a little heat to start so I would hold off on those as well. As for your fruits etc. I don't really know enough about them to comment but I do know I wish I had some in my plot! Lol

10 Mar, 2010


I had autumn raspberries in my previous garden. I used to cut the old canes off in the spring. New ones will grow during the summer ready to fruit in the following autumn. Good luck with your alotment. I hope you enjoy having it .

11 Mar, 2010


glad you have an allotment now Balcony good luck with all your work on it...

11 Mar, 2010


Avis, did you want to grow horseradish or just buy some root for cooking? If it is the first then perhaps I can help you out. PM me with your address & I could send you some roots.

Thanks for your advice, Ian. Tomatoes & pepper seeds will be sow indoors as will the lettuce. I'll keep the former indoors for a few weeks after they germinate & I've pricked them out. Although I have a "greenhouse" on the balcony it's cold one & will only serve to keep the wind off them. Nevertheless I wouldn't consider planting them in the allotment till end of April / beginning of May but on the balcony they will have to spend at least the days outside, coming in at night. I want them reasonably developed by the time they go into the ground. The lettuce should be able to resist the frost free nights out on the balcony & even go into the ground much earlier than the tomatoes & peppers.

Hywel, thanks for the advice on the raspberries. I'll have to see what Gerry, my friend from church, wants to do with them. Can congested clumps be dug up & split, replanting younger portions? Other than strawberries, I've never grow any other fruit!

Thanks, Holyeves, I hope to enjoy the allotment & it's produce later. I'll keep you all informed from time to time with updates & a few photos.

11 Mar, 2010


Hi balcony, Glad to hear you got a allotment, we just got ours, shed going up
this weekend, then we will get clearing it,

11 Mar, 2010


Good luck with your allotment.

11 Mar, 2010


Yes you can replant raspberries, It will peobably do them good to be thined out. I've always grown them. They are quite easy.

11 Mar, 2010


It sounds as you are in for a very busy time with your new allotment, just think of all the wonderful things you will be able to grow, happy gardening Enjoy!

11 Mar, 2010


Wow - a lot of work, but well worth it, Balcony. :-)

11 Mar, 2010


Oh, lucky you!! :-)

12 Mar, 2010


It will be a lot of work!

13 Mar, 2010


Pepperpot we will see about getting the shed put up very soon. We have decide where it will go & now we have to level & prepare the area & see what we have.

It would seem that you don't have one - or even 1/2! David. Sorry for you but are you on your town council's allotment list? There is generally a long waiting list. :-(

Today I sowed the first seeds of the year, some tomatoes, peppers & lettuces. A few plants will go on the balcony & the rest to the allotment, but not until after Easter.

13 Mar, 2010


Hi Balcony, All done shed up, I hav'nt seen it yet cant wait, going to allotment
tomorrow, had some gardening goodies for mothers day pressis, so they can go in the shed, ie--camping stove and kettle to make a cuppa, and 2 folding chairs,(do know when i'll find time to set on them lol.

14 Mar, 2010


Hi Balcony, All done shed up, I hav'nt seen it yet cant wait, going to allotment
tomorrow, had some gardening goodies for mothers day pressis, so they can go in the shed, ie--camping stove and kettle to make a cuppa, and 2 folding chairs,(do know when i'll find time to set on them lol.

14 Mar, 2010


I spoke to Gerry, the guy from church who is letting me use 1/2 of his allotment, about the shed & he told me that he was going to recruit another one of the guys & then between the 3 of us put it up. As he hadn't spoken to him yet I don't know yet when we will be going down. But I hope it will be during this week. I'm dying to get started. :-)

14 Mar, 2010


Hi there. I've got a tiny weeny alotment too, and last year was my first year.
I experimented with potatoes and totally agree with what a waste of space they are - if your space is restricted. The only spuds I'm doing this year are a few salade/new potatoes which seem to take up less room, the results really are soooooo delicious, and you can pick them and get rid of them fairly early on in the season - leaving space for other stuff to grow before the growing season finishes. In the mean time you could start chitting them indoors now.
Enjoy your alotment - I totally adore going to mine for the peace, quiet with nature all around me. AND for the results!! Anne

19 Mar, 2010


Thanks Anne for your comments any comments from anybody on what to do with my piece land would be most welcome.

I have sown some tomato,sweet pepper & lettuce seeds. When I checked the tomato & pepper seeds that are in the bottom of the airing cupboard today I saw no sign of them germinating - nothing to be surprised about after all they have only been in there for 6 days! It will probably be a few more days yet before they germinate. I forgot to check the lettuce seeds which are outside on the balcony, nevertheless, I doubt they have germinated either just yet.

19 Mar, 2010


I've made a few updates to the blog above & have now included a few photos!

5 Apr, 2010


So you have! :-))))

5 Apr, 2010

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