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***Summer's End down on the plot (1st Part)***


By balcony


Summer’s End down on the plot

Well now we have reached the end of August & the summer, or so it seems! These last two weeks have been more like autumn than summer! The longed for rain has finally put in an appearance!!! Since the 13th it has bucketed down on several occasions. But Thursday 26th was the wettest day by far as it rained almost continuously for more than 24 hours! The rain actually started during the evening of the 25th. The soil is no longer like sand – more like cement! But the weeds LOVE it!

Here are a few pictures taken after the first rains of how much the weeds have grown:

The Pinto beans & Lentils were so smothered in weeds they were hardly visible! This is the view from one end before I started …

… & this is the view from the opposite end a couple of hours later when I’d finished!

When I finished weeding the rows seemed unnaturally bare!

The green you see behind the cleared rows is the weeds waiting for me to pick them up & cart them off to their finally resting place – the compost bin!

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are doing very well. As the plants have been in the growbags for some weeks I decided it was time to start giving them some tomato fertilizer.

Just a few days after taking the above photo I discovered this:

Yes, my lovely looking tomatoes were actually hiding a secret – Blossom end rot! I knew that it is a problem sometimes caused by lack of calcium but I was surprised as they were growing in compost specially formulated for tomatoes. When I did a search on the web for this problem I found it is also caused by irregular watering. Then I knew just when it happened. Some weeks earlier while we were having such high temperatures I didn’t go down to the allotment on Sunday & the following Monday I went down much later than usual. When I arrived I saw the plants were wilting badly. Of course I ran to the tank & filled a can with water & gave them a good soaking. Later in the day it looked as if nothing had happened but, unknown to me, it had! After that day I made sure they never ran out of water again! But the damage was done! The above photo is the proof! Now, however, the tomatoes are fattening up nicely.

Before I leave the tomatoes I want to show you how well the tomatoes outside on the plot are doing. I’ve eaten some of the cherry tomatoes straight from the plants & they are truly DELICIOUS!

I eat them like sweets!

The following photo is of Alicante, just beginning to ripen! These tomatoes are the size of dessert apples! I haven’t tried any as yet because the cooler, wet weather has slowed down the ripening process.

The leaves are bluish green not the deep green of the other varieties! The distinction doesn’t seem to be so visible in photos as when they are seen naturally. If you look carefully you may be able to see the difference in the next photo, one is Money Maker (with the fruits), the other is Alicante:

Another of my Amaryllis seedlings has flowered down on the allotment! This is the 2nd plant to flower. Just behind it you can see 3 flowers of Morning Glory climbing up a sunflower.

My Sweet Peppers are at last making Peppers! I had thought they weren’t going to make any. I first grew a few plants on my balcony about 3 years ago but the flowers formed so late that the fruits never got round to growing before the summer ended.

Here is a close up shot of one of Gerry’s squashes. It ha grown a great deal in the last couple of weeks but Gerry told me he needs to plant them out earlier to get bigger fruits. this one is almost the size of a football already!

Here are a few Before & After photos of the weeds growing amongst my Pinto bean seedlings. These 3 photos are all of the same bed & all taken from the same side:

I’d never seen so many nettle seedlings in one place before in my entire life!

There are two sections to this bed with a middle path with 3 rows on each side. the right half was weeded first then I had to get up to go round the other side to do the 2nd half & that was when I took this photo!

I thought I would take a photo of the big old apple tree that our shed is hiding under! As you can see it is so weighed down with apples some of the branches are less than a metre from the ground!

Unless you want to see little more than a wall of Raspberry canes they’re will be no more photos taken from the inside of the shed looking down the allotment for the foreseeable future. Instead I’ve posted a photo of Eileen’s allotment as seen from the central/main path.

She is also the lady who gave me her left over tomato & beetroot plants. I think she won the prize for the best kept allotment as well! Though we pipped her at the post for 1st prize, (by 1/2 inch), for the tallest sunflower on the allotments!

Here is my prize!

I think I need to make a 2nd part to this blog, like I did last time because I have so many things to show you & I think that a blog with 20 photos is more than enough for one sitting!

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Middling August on the plot (Part 2)

Next post: ***Summer's End (not quite) down on the plot (2nd Part)***



Well done Balcony, I used to get a lot of blossom end rot when I first had my greenhouse, will admit its been easier since I retired as I`m able to water at more appropiate times. Lovely sunflower and the wine looks a drop of good stuff as well, enjoy it........

29 Aug, 2010


Mmmm! Rosado! Seems to be one of Spain's favourite tipples over the past several years! Well done!

30 Aug, 2010


Thank you for your kind comments. :-) I always feel encouraged when people leave their comments.

Thank you, Avis.

Lincslass, this is the first time I've ever had Blossom End Rot on my tomatoes. In fact, aside from very little fruit & elongated plants last year, I've never had any problems with tomatoes even though I've grown them for 20 years! In Spain one year I grew a lot of tomatoes that were even smaller than the cherry ones we now grow. We had tonnes of them! I still conserve photos of them! I need to digitalize them.

Nariz, Vino rosado used to be my favourite wine when we lived in Spain. I'm afraid wine is too expensive for us to buy here :-( Thank you for liking my blog. After last week's cooler weather & the rains we are forecast some nice sunny weather for this week. :-)

30 Aug, 2010


hi Balcony ,enjoyed reading your blog and your pics,what a lot of weeds you had to clear i bet your back was aching after that lot,we have had blight on our toms on our site i also have had blossom end rot but still got some at home doing ok..good job i planted so many lol..congratulations on the sunflower thats a fine specimen you did well with it..hope you enjoyed the wine ..look forward to your next blog :o)

30 Aug, 2010


I really liked your blog Balcony my friend -you certainly have a lot going on there. I had blossom end rot one year due to irregular watering I have learned my lesson as I am sure that you have. I didn't think you would get it like that after missing watering for just about a day and a half though. I will need to be even more careful now after hearing that.
We have a few sunflowers growing. All the seeds were collected from a dwarf sunflower last year but quite a lot of them have grown to full size. Seems like they have 'reverted back'. Like Joanella, I am looking forward to part B of your blog now my friend. :-)

30 Aug, 2010


Such a shame about those first tomatoes, but the rest look so tasty. The beans and lentils look great after all your hard weeding (at least nettles mean fertile soil, however).. Gerry's squash is impressive, and just look at all those apples! Eileen's plot is a great substitute for your end-of-blog shed view, and hope that you enjoyed your prize! :-))

30 Aug, 2010


I too enjoyed your blog Balcony, I admire you for showing your failures as well as all your successes.....some wouldn't. You must have had a really bad back after all that weeding, those kneelers are great aren't they. I've not heard of 'Pinto beans, they are late, are they frost hardy?

30 Aug, 2010


Thanks again for your great comments - makes me feel very happy to know my blogs are appreciated! Part "B" will be along in a few days, probably before the end of the week, I hope!

The weeds are something wicked! You can't begin to imagine how many have grown since we had our first rainfall on the 13th!!! It takes me all my time now to weed whereas I used to water before!

As for not being afraid to show my failures as well as my successes - well I don't want to appear overly presumptuous, like everyone else I have my ups & downs & I think it's a help to others if they see both sides of the coin as it were!

I do however try to get rid of most weeds before I take a photo only this time I thought I'd do something different & put a before & after photo on the blog.

The blossom end rot occurred during some very hot weather. It has only happened to the lowest truss of the tomatoes in the greenhouse. The tomatoes growing outside haven't had that problem. They have had a different one - splitting! I'd been watering then 2 or 3 times a week but all that rain we had between the 25th & 26th was too much for them. Even the cherry tomatoes have suffered the same fate. The normal size toms are the size of large dessert apples! I shall have to find an apple to put beside them as a comparison!

30 Aug, 2010


Good blog Balcony, always learn something new with you.
Well done on the prize !

30 Aug, 2010


Only too glad to contribute to everyone's knowledge a little. I also learn many things from people who write on here, so it becomes a reciprocal process whereby we all learn something new! :-)

Heron, you asked "I've not heard of 'Pinto beans, they are late, are they frost hardy?"

Excuse me for not replying but yesterday I got carried away with other things. Pinto beans are a bean with brown markings on the seeds & are very popular in Spain & in Mexico. Here is a page I wrote about them some months ago:

You will also see I write about the Chick peas (aka Garbanzo beans) on the same page. There are pictures of both beans on the same page.

As to the 2nd half of your question as to whether they are hardy I don't think so. The plants are quite small, not at all like runner/French beans! They do climb a little but they are quite dwarf plants. I will no doubt be posting more photos of the Pinto beans in later blogs, so keep an eye out & we will learn together!

31 Aug, 2010


im jealous its just spring here and the last frost i hope today
so will be planting tomatoes soon meanwhile have many plants inside.
waiting to be planted outside.
beans seds are in and should be up well after the frosts.

3 Sep, 2010


a super blog Balcony and very inspirational as we have just taken on an overgrown plot full of brambles and nettles, so it lovely to see what can be achieved

5 Sep, 2010


Sorry to make you fell jealous, PD, but you can soon make us feel jealous as you move into your summer & we head on in to our winter! Careful with your beans, better to sow them later than risk losing them with a late frost! That's what happened here. We are totally unaccustomed to frost here in early May & many of the guys on our allotment site put out their beans during the last week of April & lost many plants with the early May frosts. Many had their potatoes set back for the same reason, fortunately just the day before Gerry had earthed up his potatoes which protected them from the frost! At least have some in reserve - just in case. Better late than sorry!

Mageth, thank you for your very kind comment which I appreciate very much. :-) Don't try to cut them all down in one fell swoop. Better to take your time & cut the brambles back little by little. As you go cut the long branches into manageable pieces about 30 cm (12") long. You will see the wisdom behind this piece of advice when you go to dispose of the remains & will thank me! Be sure to wear thick gloves & try to get hold of a lopper if some branches are old & thick.

I cleared out the gardens of the old Red Cross Centre here about 8 years ago. It was impossible to get round the back because of the brambles & nettles. I used a pair of loppers & secateurs & soon learnt the best way to tackle it. It took me several weeks but eventually I cleared it all away & restored the gardens.

5 Sep, 2010


thanks for the advice Balcony. Fortunately the council strimmed the site for us. we are laying half under weed suppressant and digging the other half. are brambles one of those plants that will rejuvinate from small pieces of root?

7 Sep, 2010


"are brambles one of those plants that will rejuvinate from small pieces of root?"

Not like bindweed or couchgrass or Dandelion, no. But it will regrow from root still in the ground. So if your local council has strimmed them down for you they have only done you half a favour! You now won't have to actually cut them down *BUT* you will have to dig out the roots! If you only remove the top growth & not the roots than next spring they will grow with increased vigour!

Weed suppressant fabric or membrane with not do the job for you! Brambles will only try to push off the material! You have no other choice if you want to be rid of them other than getting down to soil level & physically digging them out - it's hard work, believe you me I know!

7 Sep, 2010


Oh bother! :o(((

8 Sep, 2010


I had to dig out a couple of smaller bramble plants from amongst the Gooseberries behind our shed today. I first cut them down to within a few inches of the ground then I dug into the soil at their base a couple of inches or so till I was able to get a handful & pulled them up, slowly so as not to break the root. I succeeded in getting out 3 roots this way!

We put some new roofing felt on the roof of the shed this morning & to get around the back of the shed Gerry cut away some of the branches on the Gooseberry bushes. He told me he's thinking of grubbing them out. He has had the allotment nearly 10 years & they were already there when he took it over. Many of the branches are covered in lichen, just like the apple tree the shed sits under.

8 Sep, 2010

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