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Spring & a new start to the growing season on the plot


By balcony


Yes, Spring is sprung (in the NH!) & we are making a new start to the growing season on the allotments! Have you been itching to get your hands dirty again? I know I have! But I have difficulty getting down to the plot I share with my friend, Gerry, from church.

At the end of of September 2015 he gave up his half plot to concentrate on his one whole plot. Two years before I’d also given up my half plot as I found I couldn’t manage it & Gerry’s 1 & 1/2 plots. He’d had a very serious operation & for more than a year he found it too much to spend more than a couple of hours a week on his plots. I’d also found my time was very much compromised with other activities – very often related to our grandchildren.

The last 6 months I’ve also had health problems & have had to make several visits to the local hospital for tests on my bladder. This is still ongoing & a satisfactory cure has still to be found.

In January it occurred to me I could plant out the onion sets I’d bought before Christmas in a seed tray in the greenhouse on Gerry’s allotment. Although I wouldn’t be able to plant them out for a few weeks I thought they would be able to make a start & gain a few weeks on the season. As it turned out they had to stay in the seedtray in the GH for much longer than I had thought at first.

I filled a seedtray with compost to overflowing & filled the tray with the biggest of the sets:

They must have spent the better part of 3 months in the GH! The onion sets were really crying out for more space by the time I was able to finally plant them out!

I’d also sown a 2nd tray with the remaining onion sets – these were smaller than the first sowing but, even though they hadn’t grown nearly as much, I planted them out on the same day as the first sowing & the Garlics. It will be interesting to see if there is much difference between the plantings at harvest time.

Back in the autumn of 2015 I started to dig in some horse manure that Gerry manages to get hold of. I was only able to do half this bed before the rains started & I started with my waterworks problems. So I used this half bed for my Onions & Garlic.

The Garlic weren’t nearly as bad.

I planted out the Garlic cloves alongside the Onion sets. Even though it’s not easy to see they are on the left of the photo, alongside the piece of blue string:

At the same time as I sowed the Onion sets & the Garlic I also sowed a tray of Beetroot seeds. They say you shouldn’t disturb the roots of Beetroot & for that reason they are usually sown “in situ”. Yet I’ve never found much in the way of problems doing this. I’ve been doing it for the 7 years I’ve been working with Gerry on his allotment plots as well as the 2 years on my own plot. I’ve sown some directly in the soil each year but I can’t say the results have been all that good.

This year I bought a big packet of Beetroot seeds in a mixture. There are yellow beets as well as white & one with pink & white rings. There are also long ones & short ones so it will be fun later when it comes to picking them!

The half bed that didn’t get any manure I’ve filled with the Beetroot seedlings & two rows of seeds.

I got enough seedlings to fill two half rows along the length of half a bed. I know they are very difficult to see but I assure you they are there! (on the right):

I sowed quite a few seeds in the two rows on the left but they haven’t germinated just yet:

At the present moment that is all I’ve done on the allotment for this year. I know Gerry wants to sow his potatoes but he heard Monty Don on the BBC Gardening World programme advise people not to be too quick in sowing them as the soil is still quite cold, so he has put off sowing them for the time being.

I don’t have any potatoes to sow. I put in a few Strawberry plants in the bed in front of the shed under the apple tree but I don’t know how well they will do this year. I weeded them a bit the last time I was down on the plot but they probably need a bit more attention.

In the same bed there are lots of spring bulbs that are presently flowering:

In a few weeks’ time the bright red Tulips will also be flowering – as they do every year!

Well these bright spring flowers mark the end of this first blog of the year on the allotment. As there is only the one plot this year the updates will be less frequent, (do I hear a sigh of relief?), but I will write an occasional blog & show you our work & produce.

Happy gardening everyone!

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Previous post: Some beautiful Amaryllis for 2016

Next post: Self-sown Anemone - cut down in the prime of life!



You've achieved a lot and it all looks extremely neat! It's a nice idea to have a few bulbs to brighten things up at this time of year too.

I hope your beetroot does better than my first and only attempt which resulted in no crop at all....

28 Mar, 2016


You do seem very organised Balcony and have achieved a lot despite not being able to get down to your allotment very easily, the weather has been causing a lot of problems hasn't it , one doesn't know whether to set or not as regards potato's, we get a couple of good days and then it turns nasty again, not sure whether we are coming or going really but not as bad here as elsewhere and for that we have to be thankful.
Hope you get your health issues sorted and also that Gerry has improved enough to join you more, I enjoyed reading your blog and hope to see more, you never know you might even be able to sit down and admire your plots amidst glorious sunshine soon, we all live in hope, lol.......

28 Mar, 2016


sorry you have not been well and I hope you get your bladder sorted.
your early sowing has certainly paid off. now take it steady at the allotment wont you.

29 Mar, 2016


I may be thick but what is the NH ?

Sorry to hear about your health problems. I hope it can be treated soon.

Now that's an idea - I could start my onion sets off in trays ...

Good luck with your allotment :)

29 Mar, 2016


Thanks for the comments! :-))

Steragram, if the plot looks "neat" it's only because there is practically nothing growing in it at present, well, apart that is from the fixed, permanent planting like fruit trees & bushes & the Asparagus. Gerry has been digging it over & adding some horse manure.

I really don't anticipate problems with the Beetroot - seedlings or seeds. I seem to be able to get quite decent crops without doing anything special. I'll see if I can get some better photos the next time I go down so you can, hopefully, see the seedlings I planted out. Who knows if the seeds have sprouted as well by then!

Thank you Lincslass for your concern for my health. I'm waiting on the report to come through the post but it will show they have found nothing to be concerned about. I've managed to get an appointment to see the urologist but it won't be for another month yet!

I've done practically nothing this year on the allotment - it's practically all Gerry's work! He's done the digging & clearing out of last year's remains. I can only claim credit for the raised bed where I sowed the Beetroot & planted out the onion sets!

Thank you also, Sb, for your advice on taking it steady - if I take it much more steady I'll spend the rest of the year without lifting a finger on the allotment! LOL! :-D)

Hywel, "NH" means the Northern Hemisphere! As I talked about spring having sprung I thought it was clear! I wonder if anyone else thought the same as you but was too embarrassed to ask???

I'm glad you like my idea of starting the onion sets off early! But I would advise against planting them in a seedtray as I did - if they are left long all the roots become so entangled it's almost impossible to separate them without damaging them! We will have to wait & see if the damage I did to the roots has a detrimental effect on the onions later on.

What I should have done was to have put them in small, individual black pots like I did the very first year I started with Gerry. That was 7 years ago & I'd never grown onions before. I put 1 onion set in each small pot, (about 15 square pots fit in a standard seedtray), I later planted them out in Gerry's allotment & they didn't do bad at all if I remember correctly!

Since that year I've always planted the sets directly in the ground (except this year of course!) & I generally have had some very good results!

Thank you for your wishes for recovery from my illness! :-))

4 Apr, 2016


I didn't understand, but I'm just thick ! lol ...

I've planted my onion sets in little pots. I usually put them straight into the ground. Maybe they'll do better now.

6 Apr, 2016


Hope you get better results, Hywel!

8 Apr, 2016


I didn't get NH either but my OH suggested its meaning. but I was going to ask so you were not alone Hywel.

8 Apr, 2016


I'm glad it wasn't only me. I don't feel so bad now :)

I planted the onions today Balcony :) They're in a Perspex shelter now.

8 Apr, 2016


Please don't anyone be embarrassed by the meaning of a word you don't know or a few letters, just ask, I for one won't be offended! At the moment of writing it's so easy to get trapped in one's circle of thought & it can be so obvious that, as they say "a child could understand it!", but we need someone to bring out the "lamp" so everyone can see what is meant.

Please don't leave it to Hywel alone to "stick his oar in" I always try to be helpful so if anything I write isn't clear just "ASK!" LOL!

Pleased to hear you've planted out your onions, Hywel. :-)) I hope you get better results this year. Having had a bad chesty cough develop into bronchitis I haven't been down to the allotment since the day I took the photos in this blog! For that matter I've hardly put a foot out of the house for nearly a week! The longest I've been out of the house was to go to the doctor's on Tuesday - about an hour. Then only because they refused to send a doctor to do a house visit even though my wife & I felt so bad we didn't have the strength to go out!

Today we made the same trip again but for her this time as she had had pain in her ear for a week. She didn't say anything on Tuesday when we went to see the doctor for me because she said she was beginning to feel better. (Remind anyone of the dentist's?)

Thanks to online shopping we were able to get groceries so we haven't died of hunger! LOL!

14 Apr, 2016

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