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Gerry & Balcony's allotment


By balcony


My balcony has at last become to small to keep me in check & I’ve now got half an allotment.

As you will remember from my blog Half an allotment … a friend from church, Gerry, has let me use some of the space on his allotments. I’ve now been down several times & have made a start on clearing away a space so that I can plant some lettuces & onions. The lettuce seeds are making progress & I will take them down to the allotment in a couple of weeks.

Here are some of the onion setts I have planted on the balcony. I have planted each of the individual setts in its own small pot. I’ll take them down to the allotment in a few weeks time. Then I will fill the pots again with the setts that are still waiting.

No sign of the cucumbers germinating yet. On the other hand it’s only been a week or so since I sowed them in the picture below.

The Sweet Peppers have germinated well but not making much headway. I’m sure they need more light. I was thinking of putting them out on the balcony during the day when the weather suddenly changed for the worse again.

Below is a general view of the allotment looking up from the middle towards the top. The tree is an apple tree that apparently produces a lot of apples but which is very old & neglected. Gerry said something about pruning it but I thought it would be better to leave it as it is. After so many years with no attention a certain equilibrium between the tree & pests will have built up & any pruning will upset the balance. We’re going to leave it for this year & just observe it. we will then see if we do anything to it for next year.

The allotment is in quite a mess as Gerry had to have a very serious operation last summer & the allotment suffered from abandonment as he simply wasn’t in condition to go down & maintain it.

The patch below was sown with sunflowers last year & millions of weeds grew in among them! We cleared away all the remaining dead stems from last year & it is now ready to be dug over but I won’t be able to do it as the patch is far too big for me. I’m going to ask him if he has any plans for it, if he hasn’t I will see if I can use it for potatoes.

The lower half of this plot belongs to someone else. You can see, even at this distance, that they have done quite a bit of work on it.

The photos below are of the first small patch I began to dig over on 26th March. It’s taken me 4 sessions of various hours each to almost finish it. There is another half an hour’s work to do before the last few feet are finished.

It takes me so long to do a small area that a healthy person would have done in a couple of hours at most. I have to push the fork into the ground, lever it forward & then get down on one knee to lift up & turn the forkful over! I’m lucky that the soil is quite loose & seems to be in quite good heart. But trying to turn over the soil while standing up is totally impossible for me as it causes excruciating pain in my lower back. Even getting up & down for every forkful is agonizingly slow work. So I shan’t be doing much more once this plot is finished.

It was necessary to dig it all over as it was full of perennial weeds, Dandelions especially. Now they are all out & in a few weeks time this bed will be full of the onions (see photo above, I have several more trays full like this) I now have on the balcony as well as the lettuces I’ve started.

Below is the patch almost finished. One more session will see it finished! Phew! This photo is from the 29th. I couldn’t go down on the 30/31st because of the rain.

Below is a photo of the autumn fruiting Raspberries – awaiting pruning! We have made a start but less than a quarter has been done as yet. In the coming days I will see if I can finish pruning them down to ground level.

In this last photo, on this blog for the time being, the shed can be seen. As is immediately obvious it still needs to be put up! We are going to put it up at the far end of the plot as seen from this position. The place Gerry wants to put it up is beyond the Apple tree. It still needs to be levelled & the weeds present there removed. Gerry has already put down weedkiller so we should be able to clear it in the next spell of good weather. Then we will have to get someone to give us a hand to put it up.

In a few weeks time I will see about making up a continuation blog with whatever progress we have made.

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You have done an amazing job its looking better already. It is a lot of work but it will be well worth it in the months to come. I wish you and Gerry all the luck in the world. I notice you laid your cucumber seeds on top of the soil; is that how they are sown? i just put up a question about these seeds

1 Apr, 2010


Good luck with your allotment.
Is it far from your home ?

1 Apr, 2010


What a great job you are doing there,Balcony,it looks hard work,especially with your back not being too good.Don't overdo it.I suppose you know your limitations,but its hard,as a gardener to give up when you should..we all do it though.You are so lucky ,as I would love an allotment,but half of one would be plenty for me too.Nothing near me,and I don't drive now,so have to be content with my own little garden..which I am ,really,as manage to fit lots in,one way or another...good luck with it,and looking forward to seeing your progress....

1 Apr, 2010


Well done on all your efforts, we had tremendous onions, both red and white, from our allotment, far tastier and larger than the supermarket type. You will reap your rewards before you know it! : o ) )

1 Apr, 2010


Thats quite a large plot Balcony. digging is hard at the best of time but doublely so for you with your back problem, you are doing a great job and it will be worth all your hard work when you start to gather in your crops, your seedlings are doing well, so hope to watch the development as they grow, Good Luck

1 Apr, 2010


You should be so proud of what you have achieved so far. Make sure you put a good seating area in front of the shed - you must spend time surveying and enjoying!

1 Apr, 2010


wow you have been able to break out from your balcony prison
i am jealous as my garden is 4 meters by 6.
it has provided me with basic vegies since xmas

i shall look forward to your efforts and see if it will give me ideas for my next spring planting as my garden is approaching winter now.

same as you i do just a little bit at a time and just turn over enough for the next sequence of planting
good luck

1 Apr, 2010


I always wondered how you managed to 'contain' yourself,now you can really 'branch' out lol. Well done so far,I hope you have a wonderful summer :))

1 Apr, 2010


Thank everyone for your encouraging comments on my efforts on the allotment. :-)

I will take it as easy as I can & I have no intention of repeating the "exercise" of digging over another patch!

Great - about the cucumbers, I took the photo before covering the seeds very lightly with some more compost. If I had taken the photo afterwards the seeds would have been invisible, as they are now.

TT: The allotment is about 10 minutes walk from where I live so it's not very far. I don't have a car so I have to walk.

Megan, it was interesting to hear about your experience with the onions. It will be the first time I've ever grown onions. I've started off the setts in small, individual square pots. I think I get 15 in a tray & I have 5 trays. Once these are planted out in the allotment I shall fill them out again so I have more to follow on later.

Yes, PD, I've been able to break out of the restraints of my balcony at last! It will be the first time in 30 years I've had a space bigger than a balcony! Not since we lived here at the end of the 70s / beginning of the 80s, when we had a house with a garden, have I had a space larger than a balcony!

1 Apr, 2010


oh Balcony ,what a great job you have done i know you will enjoy it, when you have your veg etc planted & can sit back and wait for it all to come up ..good luck with your new plot ..:o))

1 Apr, 2010


Thanks, Joanella! There's a tremendous amount of work to be done yet before I can sit back & enjoy it!

Not much help either from the weather now as it is raining here again tonight & more is forecast for the weekend, so not much hope of spending much time down there.

1 Apr, 2010


i know you have a lot of work ahead, but its not a race ,its a hobby you have all the time in the world to do it at your own pace ,, and then you have the social side of it which is just as nice, i enjoy having a nosey at everyone elses plot to see their progress as well , looking forward to lots more pics in the coming months.. :o)

1 Apr, 2010


Gla dyou are getting on with your allotment...your going to have some great veggies....

2 Apr, 2010


Good luck with your allotment.

2 Apr, 2010


Good luck with your allotment. I think you'll enjoy it.

2 Apr, 2010


Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments! I really appreciate them! The British weather being what it is I haven't been able to make much progress on the allotment. I finished cutting the Raspberry canes down to the ground & I have spent some time clearing up the weeds that grew between the canes as well as cutting the Loganberry canes to ground level as well. I just hope I've not made a mistake with doing that. I know Blackberries fruit on this year's growth so I expect that Loganberries do as well! I really will have to look things up instead of going about it & hoping for the best! I don't want to upset Gerry after he has so kindly let me "loose" on his allotment!!!

5 Apr, 2010


I've just taken my own advice & looked up "Loganberry Cultivation" in Google. I've stuck my foot in it alright!

This is an extract from a site I found: " Fruit is produced in the second year, and all fruiting canes and the weakest of the new canes should be cut back to ground level in winter, leaving only four to six new canes to bear fruit the following season. "

On Dear, I'm afraid that Gerry isn't going to be very happy with me! :-(

5 Apr, 2010


I thought Gerry might have been upset at my cutting down his Loganberries but today he was showing me exactly where they are - just sprouting through the soil! He didn't say anything about my pruning them so I didn't either! On the other hand with us both attending the allotment we will be able to train the new canes in properly along the wires he has set up. Next year they should give fruit that is easy to pick from the canes tied to the wires.

Yesterday I finished hoeing the Raspberry plot & today they seem to have doubled in height since yesterday!

28 Apr, 2010

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