Allotment Diary (September – Week 4)

How much time have I spent on the allotments?

Not much time on the allotment this week, mainly harvesting and tweaking the water collection system and moving water from the collection tanks to the storage tanks, a total of 8 hours, big push next week though as we almost finish the transition to winter.

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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 £7,118 +£576 = £7,694.   We’ve spent a total of £1,175 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 £277 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store, a lot more than previous weeks because we did a double harvest and the first bulk harvest of peppers and beets/carrots. 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: Grapes, field bean tops, Pears, peppers, apples, sprouts, kalettes, main crop runner beans, main crop French beans, new potatoes, main crop tomatoes, gherkins, 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 eight families (Us, Elena, Jennie, Tessa, Tony, Diane, Anne, Chris) 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

Nematodes, September is the time to get the slugs under control on the allotment and in the garden, then it will be manageable all through winter and early spring.  In April I will apply nematodes again and that will keep them under control until September.


Video’s this week

Autumn Allotment Finance Update

What I’ve sown


What I’ve planted

Jennie and Jon planted the field beans on their plot, a fantastic way to improve the soil ready for next years brasscas and to give us all a great spinach alternative all through winter.

Debbie planted salad rocket on her plot, another lovely hardy winter salad.

What I’ve potted on


First harvests of the year

Grapes, we only have outdoor grapes, seedless for eating fresh and we have several dozen bunches, which are excellent in fruit salads.

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
  12. Courgettes – 28th 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. I finally got around to supporting the end of the polytunnel gutter, which suffered a bit in the very high winds
  2. The transition to winter veg is going exceptionally well, almost all of the beds are in good condition and next week I will almost finish the switch over
  3. The peppers continue to ripen and we have a nice mix of green and red sweet peppers and lots of red hot peppers.  I’ve decided to leave one of the low tunnel beds for another week and the last one for two weeks to make the most of the ripening time
  4. Almost all of the tomatoes in the polytunnel have been ripened, which is great because the plants come out next week


  1. Lots of people are complaining to us about the new allotment contract, but I’m not getting involved because none of the changes really affect us, in fact they are broadly in line with our plans.  The few issues that we were concerned about, we have already complained about and had rejected, so we have implemented our contingency plans.
  2. The beans are coming to an end, we’ve decided to try harder with French beans next year and I’m quite excited about the possibilities.  We are also moving a lot of beans to the back garden so if we have a surplus we can share it with our friends (one of the new allotment rules bans us from sharing our surplus with friends and neighbours).
  3. I don’t grow many flowers, but the new allotment rules ban us from growing them unless they are edible, so I will gradually be removing them over the next year.  Some perennial lovelies can’t be removed though as they are intertwined with the roots of trees, so they will have to stay

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

6 Responses

  1. Janine McQueen says:

    Dear Steve.
    I sat last night watching your videos, and cried a bit. Your journey sounded much like my struggle to find ways to manage my symptoms. First was diet and I was eventually able to walk without a cane. I was a farmer and had to learn to slow down I think.
    I have always been looking for others ideas and liked your smoothie idea. So I went to my garden and picked a bunch of greens and made my version of a smoothie. Not bad.
    Thank you for your honest and helpful videos.
    I live in a Zone 4 in Ontario, Canada so winter vegetables are a challenge! But I have a little poly tunnel so I keep trying.
    Janine McQueen

  2. Hi Janine, it’s a long hard road, some setbacks but good progress : all the best – Steve

  3. How nice–grapes. I’d like to try them someday. If my marionberries keep having problems with botrytis I may changeover to grapes. I’m just getting ready to plant arugula too.

  4. I nearly gave up on them, but I’m pleased I gave them another year as they are great in a fruit salad and my grandson (3) loves hunting for them : all the best – Steve

  5. I’m curious about the field beans. The only legumes I’ve grown for the foliage are peas. I’m always looking for new greens and for ways to improve the soil. Most of the winter cover crops I grow are things like radishes or grains like oats.

  6. I think they are definitely worth a try Dave, we’ve tried them out on more than 20 people and about 16 liked them, and about 10 loved them. Of course even if you don’t like them you can leave them to over-winter and just cut them back in March, before they flower ideally, and just use them to improve the ground for brassicas. The trick is to pick them when the shoots are young and tender, 3-4″ tall and let them keep throwing up new tender shoots, otherwise in winter the leaf quality rapidly degrades. I grow water melon radish in winter too, that has leaves that are ok for smoothies : All the best – Steve

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