Allotment Diary (June – Week 4)
If you received this via email click here to get all of the images and videos!
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: 10.5 hours, that’s a little less than usual, because it’s been too hot to work, but I don’t have much of a backlog of work. The vast majority of that time is spent watering and harvesting.
It’s been a relatively quiet harvesting week. I hurt my back on Sunday so Debbie did the harvest on Monday and we decided to cancel deliveries to all but immediate family. We’ve harvested a total of £4,383. Harvesting this much gives me immense freedom to spend money to save time and increase food quality and variety, without a hint of guilt. We’ve spent a total of £879 this year, mostly one time investments and a lot of seeds and 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.
We harvested a total of £200 worth of veg this week, excluding everything from the store. This is a lot less than last week, because of my back. We had over 40 meals with ingredients from the allotment, including snacks (berries).
We picked: Pine berries, tayberries, red currants, chard, turnip greens, baking potatoes, trumbocino, cucumber, raspberries, gooseberries, red tomatoes, runner beans, beetroot, mange tout broad beans, celery, courgettes, New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, strawberries, yellow tomatoes, carrots, 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
Video’s this week
After last weeks flurry of video’s I’m back to my normal rate of a couple a week:
What I’ve sown
It’s been a big sowing week, the first of the chicories, which I use to add colour and crunch to the winter salad mixes, went in. More lettuces and some unusual choices! I discovered that the six courgettes that I sowed weren’t in fact courgettes, why remains a bit of a mystery. Anyway I’ve sown some more courgettes in the hope of a late harvest. I’ve also sown a batch of peppers, which I intend to try and over-winter as small plants. I’ve also started sowing my late tomatoes (more next week) which hopefully will be with us in October and November when I’ve pulled up the polytunnel plants to be replaced by winter veg.
Kale Nero di Toscana
Lettuce Moon Red
Radicchio Palla Rossa
Outdoor (cordon) Ildi
Courgette Black Beauty
Potato, Second-early Charlotte
What I’ve planted
I’ve planted a few carrots and the last of the tumbling tom tomatoes.
What I’ve potted on
That’s now it for the winter cabbage/Cauliflower, focus now switches to the spring veg in a few months! I’m still sowing calabrese and romanesco though.
Tundra (savoy) Cabbage
January King Cabbage
Red Drumhead Cabbage
North Forelander Cauliflower
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.
What we’ve run out of in store
- Dried pears – March
- Winter squash – March (we still have some in the freezer)
- Carrots – May week 2
- Garlic – May week 3 (we have still have pickled garlic and green garlic to harvest)
- Shallots – May week 4 (strictly speaking we didn’t run out, they just sprouted and got bad greenfly)
- Baking potatoes – May week 4
- Onions – June week 4 – we are processing the few that are left and making red onion marmalade
- Beetroot – June week 3 – 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 🙂
- Celery – May week 1
- Last years kale – May week 1
- Perpetual spinach – May week 3
- Purple sprouting broccoli – May week 4
- Chard – June week 1
- Broad beans – June week 3
- Garlic – June week 3
- Over-wintered onions – June week 3
- Spring cabbages – June week 4
- Spring cauliflowers – June week 4
What’s left in store
- Dried Apples – 1/2 big cool bag
- A few hundred garlic cloves
- A few dozen over-wintered onions
- Elephant garlic – a few dozen bulbs
The store was almost empty, but it’s now refilling rapidly, I will update this list when I count up properly:
- Pickled garlic – 6 jars
- Frozen broad beans – about 10 Kg
- Jams – dozens of jars
- Cordials – a dozen bottles
Water Reserves and Rainfall
I’m not tracking water now that the taps are on:
- Allotment reserves (Steve) :
- Allotment reserves (Jennie):
- Allotment reserves (Debbie):
- Home reserves :
What have we processed for preserving
We now have a new database for tracking all of the recipes that we use for our preserves, and all of the batches that we make of those recipes.
Strawberry Jam June 11, 2019
Pickled garlic June 21, 2019
Elderflower and lemon cordial June 21, 2019
Strawberry Jam June 18, 2019
Mixed fruit Jam June 21, 2019
Strawberry and rhubarb Jam June 20, 2019
Strawberry and rhubarb cordial June 22, 2019
Mint syrup June 27, 2019
Red currant jelly June 28, 2019
Red onion marmalade June 29, 2019
- The summer fruit is now coming thick and fast, Debbie is hard at work making preserves!
- We have chard and true spinach again after a few weeks without them, we also have NZ spinach and turnip greens. These are staples for stirfry and smoothies
- I’ve managed to germinate another bed of carrots, despite the heat
- The new plants in the squash bed all survived the heat
- All of my seedlings are on the patio at home, it’s too hot under-cover on the allotments and they are so easy to look after here
- I left a tray of salad on the patio (rather than the slug free raised bench) and I lost 30% of the seedlings, I resowed in the affected cells and new seedlings are now germinated!
- One of the golden purselane beds has a lot of greenfly, the other bed is fine
- I hurt my back, but it’s fully recovered now