The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Update on allotment


By balcony


Here is an update (of sorts) to Gerry’s allotment plot 58 during the 2016 growing season which is drawing to a close now that we are in September & the start of autumn is only a couple of weeks away now.

I’ve actually spent very little time on the allotment this year owing to a number of different reasons chief amongst them being a 3 week stay in Spain. No, not a holiday unfortunately, my wife’s family lives over there & her mother is very ill & may soon pass away. My wife’s sister is normally her carer but she had urgent business that couldn’t be put of for any longer so we agreed to take her place caring for their mother for a few weeks. This was during July, the middle of the growing season in the UK.

Just before going off to Spain I sowed 3 rows of Beetroot Mixture seeds in the raised bed in front of the greenhouse. In fact that day I sowed many more seeds than I have ever done before thinking that I could thin them out once we get back from Spain. Unfortunately when I was able to get down to the plot, a few days later after our return, I found that none of the seeds had germinated! Of course I was upset about that as the previous crop of Beetroot had bolted & Gerry had pulled them out. It was beginning to look like I wouldn’t get any Beetroot this year!

Bolting Beetroot:

The crop that had bolted was from the same packet of seeds that I sowed in the greenhouse earlier in the year. I know some people say you should sow them in situ but I’ve been sowing a few crops of beetroot in the greenhouse & then transplanting them to the allotment for some years now & have had better results that way than sowing direct.

The other half of the raised bed had onions from sets that I’d planted out earlier in the year. These were doing very well. There were few weeds amongst them & these were dealt with quickly.

Onions just planted out in raised bed:

Onions growing very well in June:

Onions just harvested:

Last year I had grown potatoes in the raised bed, (once they were finished & had been dug up I put in horse manure & compost in the half where the onions grew), I was sure I’d dug them all out but no, I obviously missed quite a few as there were lots of potato plants, in rows, growing amongst the beetroots & onions!

Beetroot Mixture just harvested:

I had to let them grow as it would have meant disturbing the onions & beetroots.

When I lifted the onions I found about 1/3 of them had a fungus disease, possibly White Rot, as the basal plate showed a rotting mass of white “fluff”. If that was the cause it will mean the bed can’t be used for any of the Allium family for at least 10 years! Which means Garlic, Leeks, Spring onions & of course onions themselves can’t be sown in it any more! I mentioned this to Gerry & he said a few of his onions, that he had sown before Christmas 2015, had had the same problem. I said we will have to put some kind of permanent marker on the beds to remind us about this as we are bound to forget at some time during the next 10 years that we shouldn’t put any crops from the Allium family in these beds.


I didn’t sow any potatoes this year but Gerry sowed several beds of them in different places on the plot.

He has since harvested some but others he has left in the ground so as to harvest when he needs them. He told me the results hadn’t been too bad as I’ve not seen them.

Runner beans:

His runner beans at the very top of the plot don’t seem to have done nearly as well as other years when he has had far more than he could use.


He sowed a row of Beetroot seeds rather thickly but has never thinned the seedlings out with the result being that they are a long thick clump of leaves &, I imagine, little root! At least his germinated & grew!


He planted out some cabbages seedlings he had started off at home while I was away.

Cabbages at top of plot:

Brussels Sprouts near greenhouse:

Unfortunately the plants have been stripped bare of leaves by the Great White’s caterpillars! The same has happened to his Sprouts, planted in the bed in front of the greenhouse! These he had covered with netting but still they managed to get in & he has been left with skeleton like leaves.

Dwarf French beans:

He planted out Dwarf French beans also while I was away but I don’t think they did very well.


Butternut Squashes:

Gerry has decided to get rid of the bed of Raspberry canes alongside the greenhouse but he doesn’t seem to have decided yet just what he will put in their place next year. So this year there will be no Raspberries just as there have not been any Strawberries either. The bed at the bottom of the plot that I made up a few years ago had become so overrun with Bindweed it was practically impossible to get any fruit from it last year & this year I removed the black plastic sheeting I put down when I planted out the rooted runners later Gerry applied weedkiller to the whole bed. Next year he wants to plant something different there.

Gooseberries bushes behind shed:

He has also cut back, quite severely, the overgrown Gooseberry bushes behind the shed which obviously means that there will be no Gooseberries from the 6 bushes next year.

Yet the other 6 bushes near the top of the plot he hasn’t touched though they are probably in a worse condition. Perhaps he didn’t want to lose ALL his Gooseberries next year!

The Black & White Currant bushes near these Gooseberry bushes are also very overgrown & are in need of some TLC!


Gerry has several Asparagus beds on his allotment but he has one that is bigger than any of the others & that is located at the very bottom of his plot.

There have been next to no plums at all this year. The Yellow Plum tree, (he now only has the one having given up his half plot where there were several trees), has had very few plums this year the same as his two Victoria Plum trees at the top of his plot. Last year they had the best crop I’d seen on them since I started helping him about 8 years ago. He also has a black plum tree he thinks is called ‘Black Czar’. It had masses of flower in the spring but has produced just ONE plum this year! Like the other fruit trees last year it had a tremendous crop of plums! There must have been a late frost as ll the fruit trees have a very bad production this year unlike last year’s which was record breaking!

Yet the apple tree over the shed, a cooker, possibly Brambly Seedling, has done much better again this year!

Last year the crop was the worst I’d ever seen since I’ve worked on the plot. Again I imagine it is the fault of the weather. Last year March, & April, especially, were fantastic months for fruit tree pollination whereas May was a poor month with lots of very cold weather. Just the opposite of this year’s weather.

Well that about sums up the allotment plot this year. As you all know I gave up my own allotment plot last year, in September, as I couldn’t manage it & help Gerry & attend to all the other demands on my time. As you can see I’ve done very little work on Gerry’s plot this year but fortunately his health has been much better & he has been able to do a lot more than for some years. Giving up his other, half allotment plot, has also freed him up more time to concentrate his attention on his main plot.

Well that’s all for now I don’t know if I will write another account on the plot this year, it seems unlikely as the season is drawing to a close.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Spiders in the kitchen!

Next post: Geranium & Fuchsia cuttings from our son



You've not done badly at all Balcony...
I found my beetroot were very slow to germinate this year and my French beans(climbing variety ) didn't germinate after 4 sowings.The whole plot has been a little slow but I have, like you, produced quite a lot although some ha e been a bit later than usual!

8 Sep, 2016


Might be an idea to find a GOW adviser from the Questions Column who lives locally to come along for a weekend stay and give practical advice. Tugbrutil is very good, Owdboggy. and many others too.
Farmers growing vegetables would never survive if they had all these disappointing plant failures.
Worth a try.

9 Sep, 2016


You did Great Balcony under your circumstances. Probably much better than in my best years, when I too had an allotment. Unfortunately I gave it away 20 years ago, as I lacked the energy to continue. Very hard work but very rewarding.

9 Sep, 2016


I didnt mean to be offensive Balcony. Expert opinion written down may be very helpful next year. Its so easy to forget detail as we grow older.

The T/V people are too keen on latin names
and selling varieties to boost garden centre profits.

They are not so helpful for ordinary gardeners.
e.g.. soil testing, sowing seeds in moon phases, soaking
seeds for 12 hours, etc.
I received a very helpful booklet from Scotland detailing
Moon Phases for sowing each month. The waxing moons
middle days are the best days as the soil warms up. and we get some rain. If not, the rule is 'always water the rows.' The Moon Phases can be found on- line after February.
Glad Gerry is better and active again.

10 Sep, 2016


Thank you all for your comments but I must stress again I've done very little this year & the great majority is Gerry's work, not mine. I've only grown onions & the failed Beetroot in the raised bed this year everything else is Gerry's. The potatoes I had came from tubers that survived the winter in the ground.

Thank you, Diane, for your information & I wasn't offended by your comments.

12 Sep, 2016

Add a comment

Recent posts by balcony

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Nov, 2014

  • Gardening with friends since
    23 May, 2016

  • bjs

    Gardening with friends since
    13 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008