Allotment Diary (April – Week 2)

 Allotment Finances
We’ve harvested a total of £1730 of fruit and veg this year
We’ve spent a total of £458 this year, mostly one time investments

What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested a total of £228 worth of veg this week, excluding everything from the store. This is a lot higher than last week, in fact we had our biggest ever harvest day on Tuesday, but not our biggest week because we didn’t have any of the bulk harvests we enjoy in summer/autumn.  We had 39 meals with ingredients from the allotment.

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We picked: calabrese, broccolini, purple sprouting broccoli, sprouts, sprout tops, romanesco leaves, calabrese leaves, red cabbage leaves, radish, radish leaves, lots of types of kale, cabbage, true spinach, perpetual spinach, mizuna, giant red mustard, chard, kalettes, spring onions, celery, salad rocket, sorrel, claytonia, lambs lettuce, leeks, pea shoots, lots of bean tops and loads of lettuce. We also raided the store for: carrots, potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, red beetroot, golden beetroot and dried apples.

How many people are we feeding?

We are stable for now at eight families (Us, Elena, Jennie, Tony, Diane, Anne, Chris, Christine) about 20 people and we will probably stay at this level for a few weeks now, sharing any extra surplus with fellow allotmenteers.

What we’ve bought this week

Videos published
I published three short videos:

Growing early beans, peas and carrots – just for fun

Growing early tomatoes – just for fun

First Harvest of the Early Potatoes

What I’ve sown

  1. Gherkin Vento pickling Cucurbits
  2. Lettuce Little Gem Salad Leaves
  3. Outdoor (bush) Legend Tomato
  4. Outdoor (bush) Losetto Tomato
  5. Outdoor (cordon) Amish Paste Tomato
  6. Outdoor (cordon) Crimson Crush Tomato
  7. Purselane Golden Salad Leaves
  8. Winter Squash Crown Prince Cucurbits

What I’ve planted

I’ve harvested the last of the Lambs Lettuce and planted true lettuces and radish in it’s place.  I’ve also harvested the last of the chicory and planted six more kale plants and radish in place of that.

I’ve potted on

  1. Bedford Sprouts
  2. Marathon Calabrese
  3. Dazzling Blue kale
  4. Carvelo Nero kale
  5. Red Russian kale

First harvests of the year

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  1. New potatoes, we harvested the first three seed potatoes
  2. Asparagus

What we running out of

We have run out of dried pears and winter squash

Last harvests of the year

Lambs Lettuce

What’s left in store

Potatoes – 2/3 medium sized bags
Garlic – a few bulbs
Carrots – 1.5 big boxes
Onions – 2/3 large box
Shallots – 1/2 large box
Beets – 2.5 big boxes
Dried Apples – 1 big cool bag

Water Reserves and Rainfall

Allotment reserves (Steve) : 2400 litres, down by 200 litres
Allotment reserves (Jennie): 450 litres
Allotment reserves (Debbie): 400 litres
Home reserves : 750 litres

It’s been dry for a couple of weeks now, with no rain forecast for the next ten days, but fortunately although it’s sunny, it’s also cold so the ground has not totally dried out, but I need to water the beds as every one of them is full of veg.  I’m also bringing 80 litres a day from home to keep the water butts full.  As soon as it warms up (next week) we will start getting through water at a depressing rate!

What have we processed for preserving



Incredibly we had our biggest ever harvest this week.  Harvesting more in April than August is quite a vindication of my new strategy to maximise harvests in spring rather than winter.  This basically means we picked more veg in a week in April than a month in Winter and it’s much higher quality, picked in much nicer conditions.  We still grow enough in winter to make sure we have plenty to eat, but a smaller surplus.

I made a big effort this year to make sure that we have new potatoes as early as possible and as late as possible.  Blight scuppered my ‘late as possible’ plan, but the early as possible plan has worked out very well and we should have an abundance of new potatoes for the next few months.

Thanks to longer days we are now able to harvest in the evenings, which is cooler and we can also enjoy a day out.


I’m in a race against time now!  The winter brassicas are coming to and end much faster than usual and the over-wintered (as small plants) and spring sown varieties are on a go slow because of the nightly frosts.  I think we will have continuity of supply, but I’m pleased we grow a surplus usually because I think we will have just enough for us.

Some of the winter brassicas now have cabbage aphid, so we will have to pull them up early, to try and avoid them spreading to this year’s plants.

The allotment water has not been switched on and we have no idea when it will be switched on as the committee hasn’t even discussed it yet.  We are used to it being switched on in early April, so the lack of information on this makes it very difficult to plan.

Lack of rain and tap water makes planting out all of the new seedlings something of a lottery.

Frosts every night this week means lots of messing around with fleece.

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

7 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    I have always experimented with planting times and tried to push the limits of my microclimate, not always successfully but often enough to keep me trying. It’s amazing what you manage to grow in such a challenging climate.

  2. I agree with Michelle. Lots of “leaves” at this time of year. Aphids on the brassicas are my nemesis and usually result in removal of the crops before I’m willing to let them go. A cool spring like this one slows the onslaught.

  3. Thanks Michelle, as I’ve probably mentioned before deciding to be self-sufficient in veg and inexperienced helped a lot.

  4. We are removing all of our kalettes at the moment as the cabbage aphid has moved in and we don’t want them to move on to this years main brassica crop that’s being planted in about 3 weeks.

  5. Kathy says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog Steve and find it inspiring. I have tried to be as self sufficient as possible for some time, but your efforts make mine look like a pale shadow!=, and make me want to be more organised to deal better with time like this hungry gap.
    I wish you lived closer as I could give you some Winter Squashes!!

  6. Winter squash was a bit of a disaster last year, only the Crown Prince performed. We decided to go self sufficient 2 years ago, making that decision certainly focussed the mind! Intentionally growing a surplus also helps a lot, when things go wrong, the surplus suffers, but we are still fine. : all the best – Steve

  7. Those potatoes are lovely! There’s nothing quite like a new potato, and having them in April is quite amazing. Timing for succession planting is always challenging. In our area the weather is so variable it’s hard to blindly follow a schedule. Our overwintered brassicas are nearing the end but the spring planted ones will be a while before they produce anything.

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