Allotment Diary (July – Week 2)

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How much time have I spent on the allotments?

The total for this week is: 17 hours, which is up a little on last week because I’ve been doing a lot of planting and tidying up, it’s our allotment open day in a few weeks and I want to do a bit extra each week to get ready.  I like the open day, it’s a great opportunity to inspire more people to grow their own food, all year round.

Allotment Finances

I’ve now added the value of our preserves into our running total harvest value, so that gives us a total for 2019 of £4,890.   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.


We harvested a total of £200 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store. We had 35 meals with ingredients from the allotment. Debbie created preserves with a total value this year of £163 and a profit of £135 after subtracting the cost of ingredients we didn’t grow (sugar, vinegar etc)!

2019-07-12 15.01.55 (Medium).jpg


We picked: Aztec broccoli, gherkins, french beans, Pine berries, Tayberries, red currants, chard, turnip greens, baking potatoes, trumbocino, cucumber, raspberries, gooseberries, red tomatoes, runner beans, red and golden 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, sorrel,  mixed herbs, rhubarb, shelling peas and loads of lettuce. We also raided the store for: onions, red beetroot, golden beetroot and dried apples.  Bold items are new this week.

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. Nothing

Video’s this week

Planting carrots and talking about successions and interplanting

Planting beetroot, inter-planting and taking drastic measures!

What I’ve sown

I sowed the lettuces that we will be eating in early autumn today.  For the first time these will go on Jennie’s plot, allowing me to focus my plot totally on winter and early spring crops.  This is possible because I’m no longer growing potatoes on Jennie’s plot, so we have a lot of extra space.

I’ve also sown another 6 clumps of sprouts, which grow together just fine as relatively small plants, with huge quantities of the most fantastic small (6″) sprout leaves, which we eat steamed and in smoothies, they are my favourite brassica leaf.  Also for smoothies and stir-fry I’ve planted one of the hardier chards, to complement the bright lights that I sowed a few weeks ago.

I’ve also planted a very late batch of tomatoes, which will give us a nice harvest in winter/spring, if we manage to repeat last years experience.


  1. Indoor (bush) Maskotka
  2. Sprouts Brendan (clumps of 3)
  3. Kale Red Ruble
  4. Lettuce Bijou
  5. Lettuce Lobjoits Green
  6. Lettuce Moon Red
  7. Chard Fordhook Giant
  8. Lettuce Navara
  9. Lettuce Grenoble Red
  10. Lettuce Tesy

What I’ve planted

I’ve done a lot of planting this week, of particular note is a bed of Red Ruble, my first kale grown specifically to harvest as baby leaf for salads and smoothies.  My main bed of winter carrots, destined to be harvested for storage in late October/November and eaten in late winter/spring, my main bed of autumn carrots, to be harvested and eaten in October and November.  I’ve also planted my maincrop beetroot, to be harvested in October for storage and another bed to be harvested in autumn as required.  In total that’s about 400 carrots and 200 beetroot.

Finally I planted the late summer lettuces,  I always struggle with the timings of late summer lettuce, never quite having enough.  The reason is that my lettuce beds always seem to abundant in spring that I neglect to sow their replacements and then all of a sudden those amazing spring beds shoot to seed, or are the victim of drought/prests and I’m left with nothing.  Every year I just about pull through, although last year I think I had to skip harvests for a week.


  1. Beetroot Burpees Golden
  2. Beetroot Cylindra
  3. Lettuce Tesy
  4. Lettuce Lobjoits Green
  5. Lettuce Cantarix
  6. Lettuce Grenoble Red
  7. Beetroot Bolthardy
  8. Beetroot Mulatka
  9. Kale Red Ruble
  10. Carrot Autumn King
  11. Carrot Nantes 5

What I’ve potted on

A few brassicas

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.  Not much new this week, just Aztec Broccoli, which is really more of a spinach alternative, quite good though and very prolific.



What we’ve run out of in store

The only thing we have in store now from last year are dried apples and a few things in the freezer.  I’m not going to track things going into the store at this point as it’s too complicated.  In October after we harvest the beetroot/carrots etc I will start again.)

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
  6. Onions – June week 2 (we have fresh onions now of course)
  7. Beetroot – June week 3 (we have fresh beets now of course)
  8. Carrots – June week 4 (we have fresh carrots now of course)

What’s left in store

The only thing we have in store now from last year are dried apples and a few things in the freezer.  I’m not going to track things going into the store at this point as it’s too complicated.  In October after we harvest the beetroot/carrots etc I will start again.)

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

We have a new database for our preserves now and Debbie’s been hard at work.  These are the new preserves for this week!



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  1. I’m making big changes to the way that we manage the allotments: changing the mix of veg we grow to increase the emphasis on staples, reducing our mandatory workload, changing harvest days to provide us with complete freedom for the week to go on holiday or take day trips, moving the summer leafy greens to the back garden where they are much easier to water and where we can harvest daily, I’m going to build a new structure for bringing on the summer seedlings in the garden so again they are easier to water.
  2. The weather has been cooler, so I’ve managed to spend some time on the allotment tidying up.  I actually like weeding/tidying, just not too often.
  3. I’m experimenting with reducing the frequency of watering to once a week for outside beds and twice a week for the polytunnels, however if it’s really hot I might need to water the salad beds twice a week.  That helps me a lot because it aligns with my two harvest days.


  1. The beans are still very slow, unbelievably slow in fact.  Talking to other plot holders this is definitely down to timing.  People who had success with their beans planted them just before a warm spell, allowing them to get well established before the cold spell hit.  Those like me timed it so that they planted just before the cold spell.
  2. I planted the summer lettuces about two weeks too late, the main salad beds are running to seed now, so it will be touch and go whether we have sufficient supply.  This seems to happen to me every year!

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

4 Responses

  1. Interesting to see you growing the Aztec Broccoli. Is that the same as Huauzontle? I grew that several years ago but we really didn’t know quite how to use it other than treat it like spinach and saute it. As I recall it held up well in our hot summers, though it never formed flowers.

  2. Ours is covered with flowers and we use it exactly as you did, as a summer spinach, we use it in smoothies and stirfry

  3. When I have a little more time I’m going to look at the videos. I’m a believer in interplanting but know I can learn more. All your seedlings look great. How often I miss the optimal time to plant seeds. And good news to have another daughter in the area. We mourned the move of my son and wife to Seattle about two years ago. They were one of the families in what I called our three-family garden. But a great job in Seattle and we enjoy our visits.

  4. Hi Sue, Seattle is a lovely place to visit when it’s not raining! Timing is the hardest thing to manage as a self-sufficient gardener, every region is different and every year too, even different batches of seed planted days apart can perform very differently. : All the best – Steve

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