Allotment Diary (August – Week 5)
How much time have I spent on the allotments?
There’s actually a fair bit of work to do on the allotments at the moment as I clear summer planting and replace it with winter veggies, so I’ve done 4 half days there this week and done a lot of tidying up too, I was surprised to see that this still only totalled 14 hours.
I’ve now added the value of our preserves into our running total harvest value, so that gives us a total for 2019 of £6,120+£357 = £6,477. We’ve spent a total of £1,000 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 £240 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store. We had 32 meals with ingredients from the allotment. We’ve continued processing some of the onions and shallots and moved them into the store, so I’ve added those to the total, lots more to go.
We picked: Pears, peppers, apples, sprouts, main crop runner beans, main crop French beans, new potatoes, cucamelons, main crop tomatoes, Sweetcorn, Crown Prince squash, Aztec broccoli, gherkins, french beans, chard, trumbocino, cucumber, raspberries, red and golden beetroot, courgettes, New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, strawberries, carrots, calabrese, sprout leaves, calabrese leaves, lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs and loads of lettuce. We also raided the store for: main crop potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic and dried apples. Bold items are new this week.
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)! We are of course not providing these nine families with all of the veg they eat, just what we happen to have as a surplus in any particular week. Only Debbie and I manage to be fully self-sufficient in veg and seasonal fruit.
What we’ve bought this week
- Many more seeds as I build up my stock for next year, I’m 80% of the way there now
- Fence pins, we use these as plant supports and to support all of our nets. We have so much more planted for winter this year that I’ve had to buy 40 more of them!!
- Seed compost, I’m stocked for for winter now. I’m only using Levingtons professional seed compost now, every alternative I’ve tried has either been a disaster, or has worked inconsistently for different crops
Video’s this week
What I’ve sown
I’ve finally caught up with the seed sowing, it looks like everything has germinated apart from one tray of old spinach seeds, I tried resowing from the same packet with no better results, so I’m resown again with new seeds (not ideal at this time of year).
What I’ve planted
What I’ve potted on
I dug up a few one year old strawberries and planted them into hanging baskets, that will be moved into the polytunnel in February, after they’ve had a dozen or more frosts.
First harvests of the year
Pears, which I’ve dehydrated
What we’ve run out of in store
- 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
- Onions – June week 2 (we have fresh onions now of course)
- Beetroot – June week 3 (we have fresh beets now of course)
- Carrots – June week 4 (we have fresh carrots now of course)
- Celery – August week 4
What’s left in store
The store is rapidly filling up now with preserves, dried fruit, garlic, shallots, onions and potatoes, but it’s not full yet so I’m not going to start tracking it until then.
Water Reserves and Rainfall
I didn’t intend tracking water reserves until the taps go off, however it’s been a remarkable month. We’ve been totally self-sufficient in water for over a month now due to huge amounts of rain. However the tap water has still been incredibly useful for washing the harvests.
- Allotment reserves (Steve) :
- Allotment reserves (Jennie):
- Allotment reserves (Debbie):
- Home reserves :
What have we processed for preserving
Debbie has been hard at work preserving, taking advantage of the bad weather to work her way through the surplus that we’ve accumulated, I’ve started dehydrating and I’ve also started my second batch of apple cider vinegar, which we drink every day.
- Started dehydrating pears
- A few really productive days on the allotment planting up for winter and generally tidying up
- Everything is going to plan so far
- No more losses to cabbage root fly
- The outdoor peppers and chillies have started to ripen at last
- The mini savoy have been great and actually not so mini!!
- Incredibly we are still harvesting a good number of side shoots from the calabrese, nearly 3 months after the main heads!
- While tidying up the plot last week I was bitten a few times by various insects, that seems to have been enough to trigger my immune system to go a bit haywire and I now have a very hot rash covering both of my legs. It’s incredibly itchy, my pulse is racing and I’m exhausted. I’m on steroids and only getting 5 hours sleep a night, hardly any deep sleep and very frustrating days.
- We’ve done pretty well managing caterpillars this year so far. However yesterday I noticed them on the polytunnel beets (they spread from there to the polytunnel peppers) and also on a few brassicas. I think we’ve got them under control again.
- I noticed the first cabbage aphid on some of the Kalettes, these can be quite a problem so I sprayed them with soapy water and neem oil and pulled off the worst leaves