Allotment Diary (July – Week 4)

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How much time have I spent on the allotments?

The total for this week is: 8 hours, it’s been a relaxed week, if you exclude the hassle of dealing with the council’s strategy to switch off the allotments water supply.

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 £5,356.   We’ve spent a total of £931 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. I only take one picture per harvest, so this is nowhere near everything we picked, but it’s a nice summary.


We harvested a total of £197 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store. We had 35 meals with ingredients from the allotment. This week Debbie created preserves with a value £6 and a profit of £5.4 after subtracting the cost of ingredients we didn’t grow (sugar, vinegar etc)!  Actually we also harvested the first of three beds of main crop shallots, but I’ve not had chance to price those up, so they will be added to next weeks tally.

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We picked: Cucamelons, main crop tomatoes, main crop shallots, over-wintered shallots, Sweetcorn, Crown Prince squashAztec broccoligherkins, 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, spring onions, sorrel,  mixed herbs, shelling peas and loads of lettuce. We also raided the store for: dried apples.  Bold items are new this week.

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People we are feeding

We are feeding 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. Seeds
  2. Seed compost for the rest of the year

Video’s this week

July allotment harvest, highs and lows!

July allotment tour – big problems but no shortages

What I’ve sown

All of my attention is now turning to keeping us well fed in Autumn, winter and early spring!

  1. Kale Nero di Toscana
  2. Lettuce Freckles

What I’ve planted

I’m now quite short of space for winter plantings, so I’m clearing existing beds as fast as I can, I cleared a few beds this week, but with the weather being so bad I held off on planting.

What I’ve potted on


First harvests of the year

I harvested half of the main crop shallots this week, but I didn’t get a photo, or figure out how much they are worth, so that will be added to my totals for next week.  I also harvested some more of the maincrop tomatoes.


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. Although we only have a single courgette plant (which is still giving) due to the still unexplained disappearance of 6 plants, the Tromboncinos are worthy alternative and we have so many of them!
  2. We seem to have got through our shortage of salads, the new beds are ready to give a few leaves, just as the old beds are giving their last few hearts, we don’t have a surplus, but we have enough
  3. Our strategy to intentionally grow a surplus has saved us yet again.  We’ve had so many crops fail this year that without this strategy we would have run out and not had enough food for ourselves, but we’ve not had a single shortage for the family.  In my view this is the only way to be self-sufficient and stress free.
  4. All of our water storage is full and I’m taking the opportunity to thoroughly hydrate all of the polytunnel beds and low tunnels, to make space for further rainfall next week!  This has been an unprecedentedly wet summer for us, in stark contrast to last years drought.
  5. All this rain means no need to water now for at least a few weeks
  6. We harvested the first of three beds of spring planted shallots, all grown from seed (almost everything I grow is from seed now).  The crop was amazing, although a few bulbs were slightly soft.
  7. Calabrese side shoots continue to be amazing this year, as have the main heads. It’s been over a month now and the same 6 plants just keep on giving!
  8. The beans have finally reached the top of their canes!
  9. The tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, it’s been a very slow year, we still don’t have a surplus to make preserves with though, just enough to sprinkle on salads

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  1. The germination of my winter carrot beds has been terrible, maybe 20%, due to the hot dry weather in early July.  Luckily I did plant a few beds earlier in the year, so we will hopefully have just enough, bit not enough to share.  Next year I’m going to sow by winter carrots in June, so if they fail I can have another try in July.
  2. I experimented with inter-planting lettuce and cauliflower this year, a complete disaster, I pulled the whole bed this week, without a single leaf being harvested.  Inter-plating in my view is something to be used very carefully, all to often it compromises the yield and makes managing successions difficult.
  3. Lots of worried people have been talking to us about the plans to remove the water supply from the site, the general opinion seems to be that we should get organised
  4. The weather has been crazy: hottest days, storms, heavy rainfall, the plants have no idea whats happening to them
  5. The very hot weather and lack of rain a few weeks ago means quite a few leeks, chard and onions have run to seed.  I’ve never had onions planted from seed, go to seed, but that’s what we get if we don’t water I guess
  6. The caterpillars have arrived, so we’ve started to spray with BT, a few plants inevitably suffered before we noticed.  Some of the gooseberries have been decimated by sawfly, which also happens every year, one day they seem fine, the next no leaves!

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. The broccoli is lovely, and so are the bowls of salad. Your tromboncinos seem to have a thicker neck than mine, though I have to say mine are variable. I think the bigger neck makes it easier to spiralize.

  2. We have tromboncinos of every shape and size Dave, they do best I think when they hang vertically and that makes them grow straight and huge!

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