Allotment Diary (June – Week 3)

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How much time have I spent on the allotments?

A lot of people seem to have the impression that I spend every waking hour on the allotments, compulsively pulling every weed and tending each plant with tender loving care.  Well I don’t my focus is on enjoying myself and growing lots of food.  I’m constantly working on new systems to reduce my workload and grow more/better at the same time.

With that context I thought it would be interesting to actually track how much time I do spend on the allotments, the total for this week is: 20 hours and that’s a lot more than usual because I’ve done a huge amount of harvesting and re-planting this week.

Allotment Finances

Wow, what a week it’s been, out biggest harvest ever as we complete the bulk harvests of the over-wintered veg. We’ve harvested a total of £4,183. Harvesting this much gives me immense freedom to spend money to save time and increase food quality and variety, without a hint of guilt, I’ve done that too this week.  We’ve spent a total of £869 this year, mostly one time investments and a lot of compost!

What we’ve harvested and eaten

I’ve a new feature in the database that I created to track my harvests, that automatically gives me a weekly summary view of my harvests (I only take one picture per harvest, so this is nowhere near everything we picked, but it’s a nice summary.  Below each photo is the total number of boxes we harvested, often more than shown in the photo.

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We harvested a total of £403 worth of veg this week, excluding everything from the store. This is a lot more than last week, because we did the bulk harvest of the broad beans, which are now all processed and frozen.  We also harvested a lot of garlic and onions.  We had 35 meals with ingredients from the allotment.

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We picked: Baking potatoes, trumbocino, cucumber, raspberries, gooseberries, red tomatoes, runner beans, bulk elephant garlic harvest, bulk garlic harvest, beetroot, mange tout broad beans, bulk broad bean harvest, bulk onion harvest, celery, courgettes, New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, strawberries, yellow tomatoes, carrots, onion scapes,  calabrese, cauliflower, sprout leaves, calabrese leaves, radish, radish leaves, lots of types of kale, true spinach, spring onions, salad rocket, sorrel,  mixed herbs, rhubarb, mangetout peas, shelling peas and loads of lettuce. We also raided the store for: onions, red beetroot, golden beetroot and dried apples.  Bold items are new.

People we are feeding

I’m delighted that another of our daughters has returned to the local area, so we are now harvesting for her too, so that makes nine families (Us, Elena, Jennie, Tessa, Tony, Diane, Anne, Chris, Christine) about 22 people and I’m also sharing any extra surplus with fellow allotmenteers and Diane’s chickens (which supply our eggs)!

What we’ve bought this week

  1. Multi-purpose compost (for the Christmas potato pots)
  2. Spent mushroom compost (to mulch the harvested garlic, broad bean and onion beds)
  3. Top soil (for the carrot containers)
  4. Seed compost (for the August sowings)
  5. Environmesh (for the beetroot beds)

Video’s this week

All about broad beans: planting, harvesting and more …

Thrilled with the garlic harvest, confused by the elephant garlic!

What it’s like to be self-sufficient

harvesting onions, planting brassicas and preparing for beetroot

Am I organic, no-dig, square foot, bio-dynamic or pragmatic?

What I’ve sown

It’s been a big sowing week, in went all of the beetroot for winter and spring and some winter carrots!

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  1. Beetroot Burpees Golden
  2. Beetroot Cylindra
  3. Beetroot Bolthardy
  4. Beetroot Mulatka
  5. Beetroot Boldor
  6. Carrot Night Bird
  7. Carrot Chantenary Red Core

What I’ve planted

Having cleared the broad beans, onions and garlic I’ve opened up a lot of space for planting.  This space is only available until October though because I will then need it for the field beans, broad beans, garlic and onions.  So I have to make sure I only plant stuff that will be finished by then.  I also filled a few pots with spare cucumbers:

  1. Aztec broccoli
  2. Graffiti cauliflower
  3. Green sprouting broccoli
  4. Calabrese
  5. Red cabbage (which might not be quite ready in time)
  6. Crown prince squash
  7. Butternut squash
  8. Outdoor cucumbers
  9. Outdoor gherkins

What I’ve potted on

  1. Nothing

First harvests of the year

Using the same technique my first harvest database now also gives me a nice summary view of the week’s first harvests.

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What we’ve run out of in store

  1. Dried pears – March
  2. Winter squash – March (we still have some in the freezer)
  3. Carrots – May week 2
  4. Garlic – May week 3 (we have still have pickled garlic and green garlic to harvest)
  5. Shallots – May week 4 (strictly speaking we didn’t run out, they just sprouted and got bad greenfly)
  6. Baking potatoes – May week 4
  7. Onions – June week 1 – we are processing the few that are left and freezing them
  8. Beetroot – June week 2 – I thought I’d finished last week, but when I emptied out the wood chip that I store them in I found three large beets in perfect condition 🙂

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Last harvests

  1. Celery – May week 1
  2. Last years kale – May week 1
  3. Perpetual spinach – May week 3
  4. Purple sprouting broccoli – May week 4
  5. Chard – June week 1

What’s left in store

  1. Dried Apples – 1/2 big cool bag

The store was almost empty, but it’s now refilling rapidly, I will update this list when I count up properly:

  1. Over-wintered onions – a few dozen – these are not really for keeping
  2. Pickled garlic – 6 jars
  3. Garlic – about 200 bulbs
  4. Elephant garlic – a few dozen bulbs
  5. Frozen broad beans – about 10 Kg
  6. Jams – dozens of jars
  7. Cordials – a dozen bottles

Water Reserves and Rainfall

I’m not tracking water now that the taps are on:

  1. Allotment reserves (Steve) :
  2. Allotment reserves (Jennie):
  3. Allotment reserves (Debbie):
  4. Home reserves :

What have we processed for preserving

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  1. Strawberry jam
  2. Strawberry and rhubarb jam
  3. Mixed fruit (strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry) jam
  4. Onions – chopped and fozen
  5. Garlic – pickled
  6. Broad beans podded and frozen

Highlights

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  1. The summer fruit is now coming thick and fast, Debbie is hard at work making preserves!
  2. We have baking potatoes again, we had a few weeks without them!
  3. The garlic and onions are excellent this year.  Last year we lost some in store in late winter – we almost ran out – so this year we are processing more of it to ensure abundant continuity of supply!
  4. I’ve cleared a lot of space on Jennie’s plot which is almost all replanted now.  A quick turnaround is key at this time of year to give the new veg time to mature before it’s replaced in October
  5. Although we’ve had tomatoes for months now, we finally got a harvest from the polytunnel plants, Tumbling Tom reds, very sweet!
  6. The squash bed is now fully planted!

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Lowlights

  1. None this week

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

2 Responses

  1. I’m amazed you have trumbocino this early. My vines are just now starting to bloom.

  2. In the polytunnel Dave, outside the fruits are only finger sized

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