The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

It's all go now that spring has sprung!


By balcony


It’s all go now that spring has sprung!

As most of you will know that is the pure truth for us gardeners! Now that we also have the extra hour of light in the evening & the lengthening days when the sun is getting stronger & we notice the difference day by day we are desperate to get out & get our hands dirty!

I’ve had little to say about the allotments during the winter but that is now about to change. I will try to bring you up to date on what I’ve been doing over the winter & the helper who has been a real Godsend to me during the last month or so.

I hope to start my fortnightly blogs on the allotments I share with Gerry & my very own half allotment, Plot 12A.

How should I do it I wonder??? Should I make a weekly blog, alternating Gerry’s plots with Plot 12A, my own plot? Or should I “mix ‘n’ match” them both in the same fortnightly blogs. I think perhaps I’ll start this new season of blogs with the “mix ‘n’ match” approach as there is so much to mention.

Let’s make a start with my very own plot 12A as this has undergone the greatest transformation:

First a look at what Plot 12A looked like when I first took it over in September 2011:

The first 3 photos give you an idea of what work I had to contend with at the start & the state of the plot whose tenancy I took on in September 2010. This is just a quick look, month by month, of what I’ve done since. Please bear with me.

This first photo shows the first of the old Raspberry beds that I dug up as they were terribly overgrown & would never produce any decent crops in the future.

This 2nd photo is a view of the bed above now finished. It took me a long time because first I had to skim off the Couch grass or Twitch & the old Raspberry canes. Having done that I had to dig over the bed with a fork trying to remove as much as possible of the roots of both these plants. When that was complete I had to go back over the bed & add horse & chicken manure. Once that was done it was a case of raking it more or less level & then covering it with soil improver.

As Gerry was able to make several trips to get hold of horse manure & soil improver I dug the former in each bed & then, after covering the beds, I used soil improver to fill up the paths between beds making it much easier to access them without standing on the soil.

As my daughter was able to get hold of a couple of really big packing cases from the firm where she works & Gerry was able to bring them down to the plot I was able to start laying out the wooden boards to make up the raised beds I wanted to do.

Here is one of the beds after I had put in the temporary pegs to hold the boards in place as I went along.

Many of you will still recall the heavy snow & frosts we had in February. Well this is how my plot looked at that time. Snow stopped work!

At the beginning of March one of my brothers came down from Northants & stayed with us for some weeks. Thanks to his work on my allotment I was able to get an awful lot more work done than if he hadn’t have helped me. That allowed me to get my very first crop of new potatoes into the ground. He cut the hoops to size for me & even pushed them into the ground!

Finally here is my helper, Ken, as he was finishing off the remodelled compost heap. The compost bin has now been completed & the plot is practically finished.

That then has been a quick run through of the work that has been done on Plot 12A since September 2011 to March 2012.

Gerry’s allotments Spring 2012

Now I shall add a few photos from Gerry’s allotments & a few comments.

Gerry dumped the soil conditioner he brought in his trailer here, at the very top of his plot. I’ve already removed a great deal of it in this photo but you can get an idea of what it is like.

This soil conditioner is made from the composted green material that the local council collects all over the county & which is composted on a site they have a couple of miles from Huntingdon, where we live. This is an industrial process & the result material is sterile & probably doesn’t contain nutrients for the plants but it makes an excellent mulch! It won’t allow weeds through either, well, at least not the annual ones. Most perennial weeds have been removed during the last few years I’ve worked on the plots with Gerry.

Gerry bought some new potatoes, ‘Rocket’, which are 1st Earlies & my brother, Ken, planted them for him.

At the beginning of March Gerry brought down some Broad beans which I put in the soil. I don’t know the name of the variety & he doesn’t remember! After planting them out I then covered the ground with soil conditioner.

I also planted some Broad beans, Aquadulce Claudia, of my own that I had received in a swap with a gardener on another forum where I also post. I planted them alongside Gerry’s as I want to compare how the plants do & the final yield we obtain from them.

At the end of March the Rhubarb alongside the shed is beginning to grow strongly & there was a nice clump of bright yellow Daffs. I thought they made a good photo opportunity & something to cheer up a rather dismal looking plot at the present moment.

A short time ago I bought a 2nd bag of seed potatoes. The first bag, ‘Rocket’, I put in on my own plot at the very beginning of March. These spuds are also 1st Earlies but they are called ‘Arran Pilot’. They have been planted a month after ‘Rocket’.

I used a very thick dibber to plant them in a bed filled with compost. After I finished putting the in I watered the soil back down over them. The compost & the soil were very dry in spite of some rain a few days before. After I had finished watering them in I covered the whole bed in a thick layer of soil conditioner which I hope will allow them to go through their growing period without further watering. I’m doing my very best to use as little water as possible this summer.

The Onion sets, ‘Sturon’, which we planted between Ken & myself in the bed just in front of the greenhouse, are now beginning to grow. I lost my seed onions, ‘Alisa Craig’, to a mouse that got into the GH & dug all the seedling out of the compost & left them to die on the surface of the compost one weekend. So I got some sets. I’ve also planted some sets in my plot & have another bag I must sow in the next few days.

Some of you may remember we have a couple of Fig trees growing on the allotments. As we have had late frosts for two years in a row during May I decided that this year I would try & do something to stop them getting frosted this year. So when Gerry brought down a couple of bags of horticultural fleece I thought I’d use it to cover the trees & hopefully stop them from getting frosted the following spring. That’s why they look like “wigwams”! The bed has been covered in soil conditioner to stop the weeds from coming up amongst the Raspberry canes.

View from the Shed

To finish this first blog of the new growing season I’m including one of my “traditional” photos of the “View from the Shed” that I try to end my blogs with.

Here then are some lovely Daffs that contrast so strongly with the rather dismal scene of the rest of the allotment as seen from the shed on a misty day!

Please leave comments on the blog below. ALL comments are welcome. Until next time, happy gardening to one & all.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Next post: Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) Anglo-American Hybrid seeds



Wow, Balcony .... you've all worked so hard ... so many improvements.

I hope you're rewarded with lots of produce from all the allotments. And well done to Ken for his work too. :o)

9 Apr, 2012


Looks like lots of hard work Balcony, but great fun.
Good luck with your crops this year.

9 Apr, 2012


Wow - you've done some hard graft there Balcony!!

9 Apr, 2012


You have been working very hard and you deserve to be pleased with the results :))

9 Apr, 2012


What a transformation :-) I look forward to seeing the updates! Hopefully it'll be a good year for crops.

9 Apr, 2012


A lot already done Balcony, it was good of your brother to help out, makes all the difference, I hope you and Gerry have a good year....

9 Apr, 2012


so much beautiful produce to harvest as the year progresses. Excellent blog Balcony, thanks.

9 Apr, 2012


Thank you so much to you all! I'm glad you find the blog interesting!

Yes, it has been an awful lot of very hard work but I really hope it will be worth it in the end!

Just this evening I put in a bag of Onion sets 'Sturon' in my own plot. I've now planted up 3 beds with onion sets 2 of which are on my plot & 1 on Gerry's.

As I have been doing every time I put something in the ground, I put a layer of soil conditioner over the onion sets after giving them a good soaking. We had some rain yesterday but the soil has hardly noticed the difference!

I'll probably do a blog only on my allotment, 12A, next week, then one on Gerry's the week after. On Gerry's there is still relatively little to see although his beans have grown a lot since the photo I posted, mine, being smaller to start with, have made a lot less progress. I hope to harvest a few of the Tom Thumb lettuces next week. I have lots more lettuces sown in the greenhouse as well as Beetroot & some dwarf beans as well as some more peas.

10 Apr, 2012


Such an interesting blog, most enjoyable.

10 Apr, 2012


You've done a lot, and nice that you've had some help too.
It will be interesting to see what the year holds for you on the allotment ...

10 Apr, 2012

Add a comment

Recent posts by balcony

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    21 Jan, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    6 Jun, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Jul, 2008