Allotment Diary (September – Week 3)

How much time have I spent on the allotments?

Most of my time this week has been spent expanding my rain water harvesting system, I’ve upgraded from 2.6m3 to 4.6m3 and that’s involved moving lots of storage containers and water around to make room.  I’ve also given half of my existing storage a good clean out.

It’s cost me £110 and I’ve lost space that had a yield of £80/year, all to save £3.70/year worth of rain water, but although it’s a stupid financial decision from that perspective, it will pay for itself in yield from the rest of the plot.  As you will see later, last weeks harvest from my plot did in fact pay for the whole project.

Although I’ve spent 8 hours on the allotment, our main focus at the moment continues to be enjoying the good weather, which is just perfect for cycling and hiking.

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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 £6,805 +£536 = £7341.   We’ve spent a total of £1,155 this year, mostly tools, seeds, water storage and a lot of compost!

What we’ve harvested and eaten

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We harvested a total of £190 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store, a lot less than last week as we didn’t do any bulk harvests. We had 30 meals with ingredients from the allotment.  We still have a lot of onions and shallots to process and store, so these are not yet included in totals.

We picked: Pears, peppers, apples, sprouts, main crop runner beans, main crop French beans, new potatoes, cucamelons, main crop tomatoesSweetcorn, Crown Prince squashgherkins, chard, cucumber, raspberries, red and golden beetroot, courgettes, New Zealand spinach, 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 and pears. 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)!  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

Two IBC tanks for water storage

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Video’s this week

September Allotment Tour

Preparing for a self-sufficient winter – Part 4 – bottling/canning, freezing and dehydrating

What I’ve sown

All the veg that I’m sowing now is for over-wintering, or for baby leaf

Rocket Salad Rocket Salad Leaves
Calabrese, Florret Marathon Brassica
Cauliflower, Florret All year round Brassica
Bunching Onion Sturon Allium
Bunching Onion White Lisbon Allium
Kale Dazzling Blue Kale Brassica

What I’ve planted

Planted a full bed with Salad Rocket and another with spare Grenoble Red lettuce

What I’ve potted on


First harvests of the year


What we’ve run out of in store


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)
  9. Celery – August week 4
  10. Golden Purselane – 1st September
  11. Sweet Corn – 20th September

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.

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

What have we processed for preserving

We are still making preserves at quite a rate, I’m a bit behind on the dehydrating but the main crop pears are almost ready!



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  1. We are getting some rain again, although the thunder storms are less welcome for young plants
  2. We passed last year’s harvest total last week and we still have 3.5 months to go.  We still have the bulk harvest of beetroot to come, a lot of pears and apples, a little soft fruit and a lot of peppers, tomatoes, salad leaves, cooking leaves, cabbages, sprouts, carrots and kalattes to harvest this year.  We also have a fair bit for 2020 in the ground too, with more being planted every week.
  3. The autumn/winter salad beds are now all ready for harvest, it looks like a lot but it will be just enough come mid winter
  4. We have a new allotment contract that kicks in January 2021, fortunately none of the changes will affect us (provided I’m not in an auto-immune flare) as they are all in line with our own strategy of rain water harvesting over winter, changing our food mix and moving the high value crops to our back garden.   They do affect our daughter a little though and so she will have to depend more on Debbie and I to do the watering for her as eventually she won’t be allowed to use a hose pipe.



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. What gorgeous harvest baskets. Your rainwater tanks are very nice. Plants do prefer rainwater don’t they. I notice such a difference. Enjoy your time of cycling and hiking. Lovely sunset photo.

  2. Hi Sue, I’ve never really had enough rain water to do a comparison of tap and rain, but plants certainly like water! The tanks started filling up yesterday and I’m hoping to have one filled by the end of the month 🙂

  3. I’ve never done a true comparison of rain water vs tap water, but anecdotally ours seem to prefer the rain. Our tap water is heavily chlorinated, which could be one factor. As always your harvests are amazing.

  4. Hi Dave, summer is almost a low spot for us harvest wise as we have so much space dedicated to autumn/winter and early spring veg that our harvest volumes dip quite a lot, although we still have plenty to eat, this suits us because we don’t spend much time on the allotments in summer. Next year we will be changing our growing mix a little, to increase the summer staples and I have a few of your favourite squash seeds ready for spring! As to the tap/rain water debate, I have two observations. First is that in an allotment environment we can never use anywhere near as much tap water that a rain storm delivers, I think even if we watered for several hours with a hose (which we never do) it would be 1/4 of a good summer storm. It’s partly this volume of water that the plants are responding too. We also almost never use hose water, always preferring to water with a can, using tap water that’s been ‘resting’ in a dip tank for at least 24 hours, all of the chlorine has gone by then.

    Finally tap water is mildly acid, while tap water is mildly alkaline, which most veg prefers. Considering these three factors I think tap water used as described is just fine, but it’s no substitute for a good storm, which is the only way to practically keep the soil hydrated. That’s one of the main reasons that we are moving the summer leafy greens to our house garden, because we have much more rain water collection capacity here as well as unlimited tap water.

    All that said now we are in autumn, we have much more rain than is needed to keep the ground hydrated, so we tend to have a lot of veg under polythene where it thrives regardless of the types of water. : All the best – Steve

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