Weekly Allotment Update and Tour
The harvests are really starting to pick up now. I’ve just picked 20 litres of veg, that’s a respectable £20 worth, and it’s the second harvest of the week. It’s a tricky time of year though, picking enough to eat, but leaving the plants strong, so that they grow even better next week.
I’m also aggressively clearing beds to make way for spring crops. It’s always a difficult choice, deciding to pull up healthy plants now, especially when we could benefit from the food, but it’s key to an abundant spring.
An over-wintered bed might yield £10 of veg in March and nothing in April (when it’s replanted), but that same bed could yield perhaps £30-40 of veg in April if it’s planted now. That said a bed might be more valuable now when harvests are still meagre, whereas in April we will have a huge surplus. As I say, a difficult decision.
I tend to err on the side of clearing beds early though, because i’m always surprised at how rapid growth is and once we’ve reached self-sufficicnency, there’s unlikely to be a shortage from now on.
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.