Harvest Highlights From Our Allotments In 2017

2018-01-01 14.04.51

Here’s a quick video review of some of our allotment harvest highlights for 2017.

The allotments have proven to be incredibly life enriching, allowing us to work outdoors, be part of a lovely community and eat wonderful – near – organic food. In 2018 we expect to be 95% self-sufficient in veg and maybe 60% in fruit, although we’re not religious about it, we still eat the best seasonal fruits that the world has to offer and cucumbers and courgettes in winter.

Looked at in terms of numbers we’ve harvested 1500, 2 litre, containers of veg in total, with a very conservative value of about £3000 and we’ve easily covered our costs, with enough left over to fund all of our 2018 costs. This year (2018) I’m expecting to harvest £4000 in value, all of it profit.

We’ve had a surplus from March until late November, in 2018 we’re hoping to have a surplus throughout the whole year. Everything was grown without inorganic fertilisers, but with just a whif of organic pesticide on the broad beans and globe artichokes. Our large surplus allows us to be self sufficient, while also keeping our friends and family well fed. We do trade veg for back yard eggs, tomatoes, grapes and weekly home made cakes. Most of the time though we give our surplus away and it’s a joy to do it.

Here’s a summary of what we grew last year:

Leaves:
Red lettuce
Green lettuce
Lambs Lettuce
Chard for salad
Chard for cooking – like spinach (big leaves)
Beetroot leaves for salad
Beetroot leaves for cooking – like spinach (big leaves)
Spinach for salad
Spinach for cooking (big leaves)
Rocket
New Zealand Spinach (like spinach for cooking)
Sweet potato leaves
Red giant mustard leaves, used like spinach (but very peppery)
Mizuna
Pac choi
Brussels sprout leaves – like tender cabbage
Broccoli leaves – like tender cabbage
Red kale
Curly kale
Cabbage
Brussels sprouts
Rhubarb
Kalletes (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts)
Radicchio
Chicons
Pea shoots (for salad leaves)
Green smoothie mix ( a mix of all of the above in one container for smoothies – it’s can be bitter so I recommend you add a banana)

Beans and Peas:
Broad beans
Runner beans
Runner/French bean cross
French beans (green)
French beans (purple)
Mange tout peas (green)
Mange tout peas (purple)
Soya beans

Edible Flowers:
Globe artichoke
Cauliflower
Purple sprouting broccoli
Kale flowers (like green sprouting broccoli)
Cabbage flowers (like green sprouting broccoli)

Roots:
Orange carrot
Purple carrot
Yellow carrot
White carrot
Purple Beetroot
Yellow Beetroot
French breakfast radish
Cherry radish
Round radish – quite peppery
New potatoes
Potatoes
Parsnip
Turnip
Sweet potatoes
Oca

Squash:
Green courgette
Yellow courgette
Kuri squash
Butternut squash
Cucumber

Alliums:
Japanese onions
Spring onions (green)
Spring onions (red)
Leeks
Red onions
White onions
Welsh onions
Chives
Shallots

Tomatoes and Peppers:
Brown cherry tomatoes
Yellow cherry tomatoes
Red cherry tomatoes
Mini bell peppers
Bell Peppers

Berries:
Strawberries
Cherries (red desert)
Cherries (white desert)
Cherries (red cooking)
Blueberries
Raspberries (red)
Raspberries (yellow)
Blackberries
Gooseberries (green)
Gooseberries (red)
Loganberries
Black currants
Red currants
White currants

Other Fruit:
Cooking apples
Desert apples
Pears
Plumbs
Red desert grapes
Green desert grapes

 

If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and one of our daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot.

On Jennie’s plot for example we focus on potatoes, squash, alliums and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do a monthly tour of each allotment, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhKoRR-NiCJn5Y6rZf0RCCqycu3xvofX.

Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in summer, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible.

My wife and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.

I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease. I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat the most organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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