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Late autumn down on the plot (October 2010)


By balcony


Late autumn down on the plot is now a reality! This month of October has seen more rain than the average in this region for October. The temps have likewise been below &, are at present, above average for this time of the year.

On the night of 21st October, we had our first frost of this new autumn/winter. We have had a couple more since then. I got down to the plot the next morning & found that the Pinto beans at the entrance to the plot had succumbed to the frost, as had all the other beds of them throughout the allotment.

The Lentils & the Garbanzo beans have resisted well, much to my surprise! One bed of Lentils, mixed with a few Pinto beans, is fine but the beans there have been killed.

This is what the Pinto beans looked like on October 30th, just before I removed all the pods, pulled up the plants, dismantled the framework & dug over the tiny plot!

When I got home I weighed the bag of beans & found I had 2.350kg/5lbs. After having shelled them I ended up with exactly 1kg/2.2lbs of beans! Just from a small area about a metre square! Enough beans for about 4 meals!

This 2nd plot of Pinto beans didn’t produce a single bean! All the pods were killed in that first frost. They were at least a month or more behind the ones above. I was a little disappointed but not really surprised as when I planted them I thought it was a bit hit or miss as to whether or not I would get any beans. I didn’t expect the frost so early on the one hand neither did I know they were so vulnerable to frost on the other. Now I know for another year!!! It was also an experimental crop – but one I’m very pleased with all the same!

A last photo of the Pinto beans but one that might yet produce some beans. This bed is at the very bottom of the allotment & has a little protection from some yellow plum trees, the hedge that runs all along the allotment field on that side & a very big Buddelia bush at the far end of the bed. Between them they must provide just that tiny little extra bit of protection from the first weak frosts.

This bed is still, (just about), alive. (30th October)

I have published a couple of photos of our Fig bushes before, well this is what they looked like after the first frosts! They haven’t lost all their leaves yet but as you can see they have been partially killed by those first frosts.

To the right of the picture above you can see the bed, full of tomato plants about a month ago, with the green manure just germinated. Beyond it is the base of the Runner beans, still alive at present though badly frost damaged.

Here is a photo of the Runner beans Gerry planted. They have been damaged by a couple of frosts but still cling on to life!

This is a 2nd photo of our Fig bushes. There were Runner & French beans at the end of this bed but I’ve now taken them out & dug over the patch. In May I began to plant the Raspberry canes I dug up from the old bed in this new bed, (when we put up the greenhouse), I want to finish it off with some of the suckers I’ve let grow all summer from the old bed.

They will provide competition for the Figs, so they shouldn’t grow so big now.

This is a photo of both life & death! Life in the Lentils & death in the squash.

That the squash should die came as no surprise, they looked pretty awful before the frosts, but that the Lentils should resist these first couple of frost DID come as a surprise!

I went down on 22nd October fully expecting to find all the pulse plants dead but great was my surprise to find that only the Pinto beans had succumbed.

On the left of the photo above you may be able to make out the patches of dark green that are the remains of the Pinto beans that were growing in amongst the Lentils – still a lovely shade of green!

Here is another sad photo, this time of my Sweet Pepper plants. Just one frost was enough to put paid to them!

Here is a photo taken a few weeks earlier when the plants were still actively growing & producing Peppers.

On a brighter note they did give me a lot of peppers. At first I thought I wasn’t going to get any but eventually they did start producing. We still have a bag of them here at home. They will last us another month or so. We use quite a few in our meals & in fact one meal we make, called Pisto, uses up about half a dozen at a time – if they are big, which mine certainly are not!


Here is a photo of the last of the Lettuces I sowed called Tom Thumb.

There is also a mysterious plant which has attractive white spots on greyish green leaves. I posted a question asking if anybody could identify them & it seems they may well be the Opium Poppy.

After having cleaned out & dug over the tomato plot I levelled it & sowed some Green Manure. Here is a picture of it shortly after starting to germinate.

Two weeks later:

There are remarkably few weed seeds among the White Mustard I sowed as green manure! The seed in the first of these two plots is about to have the first true leaves come out.

I did the same with the potato plot just behind the shed. I don’t have a recent photo of that plot with the seed germinated.

Has anybody got an apple tree flowering in October? This young one on our plot has had some flowers for most of October! Shame they won’t give us some apples though!

Here are some very cheery photos of some Annual Chrysanthemums. The seed was sent to me by a person in the South of Spain. He saw some photos of mine on Picasa on the web & we started off a short round of correspondence by email on the plants we were growing.

The Cosmos, which have been flowering very well for some months, have been damaged by the first frosts but they still continue to produce flowers – as you can see below:

Here was a very gratifying surprise towards the middle of the month & most unexpected:

This is the very last of my Amaryllis seedlings to flower! I put this last bulb in a pot & put it on our living room table where it continued to flower for at least another week!

About a week after I took the above photo I dug up all the Amaryllis – now no longer can they be considered seedlings as practically all the 50+ plants have flowered.

I’m particularly pleased with these white ones with red flushing or veining! They are the result of the cross between the pure white Amaryllis & the pure red one. I’ve had no pink ones though!

Well there you have it – all the news on the allotment is now up to date. Not sure if I shall make one at the end of November on the allotment. I’ll see if it is worth it then.

Just remembered, I’ve not said a word about the greenhouse! I’ll do a brief blog on it in a few days time then. I’ll also do a blog on Autumn colours here & towards the middle of the month another on my visits to Cambridge Botanical Gardens in September as promised.

Hope you all enjoy this blog.

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i did enjoy your blog Balcony, most interesting,you did well with your peppers there ..i grew quite a few plants but only got really small peppers from them.i love the colours of the amaryllis .:o)

31 Oct, 2010


I was also impressed with your crop of peppers...and they don't look all that small, Balcony. It's a lot of effort to grow your various beans....have you decided if you will plant them again next year? I seem to remember you mentioning doubts about doing so.

Odd that you have flowers on your apple tree....the plants and trees must be all confused with our strange weather patterns. Lots of effort to put your photos up must have lots of patience :)

31 Oct, 2010


What a lot of hard work you put into your allotment, Balcony. Well done for all your efforts! :o))

1 Nov, 2010


Sad to see the plants succumbing to the frosts, but it has been very interesting following your beans. Great peppers, too. I look forward to reading about the greenhouse and the Botanics, too. :-)

2 Nov, 2010


All in all Balcony I reckon you've had a splendid year down on the plot! It is always sad to see the last few things going over but now, of course, you can take some time to plan next years crops and thumb your way through the seed catalogues choosing which varieties you want to plant (one of my favourite winter pastimes! Lol).

Oh and I'm not at all jealous! Lol

2 Nov, 2010


Thanks for your comments everyone, it's always nice to get a bit of feedback!

I'm quite pleased with the peppers but next year I may try growing some in the greenhouse as well as outside. My wife brought me back several packets of seeds from her trip to Spain in September. I think I included a couple of photos in one of my September blogs on the allotment.

It is rather sad to see how the frost has put paid to some plants, especially my Pinto beans, that if I had protected them, they could have lived another month, especially in light of the very warm weather we have been having of late. They grow less then a metre/3ft high so wouldn't have been too difficult to protect.

I picked all the beans off another plot of Pinto beans today. I got almost the same weight, before shelling, as with the 1st plot. As I haven't shelled them yet I don't know how much I will end up with but I suspect it will be a little less than the last ones. We made our first meal of them yesterday & they were very tender. :-))

2 Nov, 2010


Lots going on there. I like the idea of green manure.
You can recharge your batteries now , ready for the spring. There will be lots to do.
I like the chrysanthemums. They're always colourful :o)

5 Nov, 2010


Glad you liked the Chrysanthemums, Hywel :-)) I was very pleased with them as well! They certainly brought some colour into the plot!

6 Nov, 2010

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