Allotment Diary (October – Week 3)

How much time have I spent on the allotments?

I’ve been away on holiday for a week, visiting the New Scientist Live conference in London and spending a few days with two of my daughters and their partners.  As a result there’s been a bit less allotment activity than usual and this update covers the last TWO weeks.  For me visiting London is all about canal and river walking, rather than the tourist sights, especially the Regents Canal (see below)

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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 £7,712 +£697 = £8,409.   We’ve spent a total of £1,264 this year, mostly tools, seeds, water storage, nematodes and a lot of compost!

What we’ve harvested and eaten


We harvested a total of £383 worth of fruit and veg this week, excluding everything from the store, a bit more than previous weeks because we’ve done bulk harvests. We had 30 meals with ingredients from the allotment.


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We picked: Leeks, Grapes, field bean tops, pears, peppers, apples, sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, main crop tomatoes, chard, raspberries, red and golden beetroot, courgettes, New Zealand spinach, red cabbage, 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 18 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 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

Hinges to repair the door on my shed, mushroom compost for the old beetroot bed (that will soon be garlic and broad beans) all the fertiliser for next year (seaweed meal, fish/chicken/seaweed meal, rock phosphate, dried cow manure composted with seaweed).


Video’s this week

Big plot update and the last of the bulk harvests

Quick update: clearing beds, planting onions, sowing carrots, getting stuck …

What I’ve sown

It’s been a relaxed sowing week, but we continue to sow veg for over-wintering as small plants, which will hopefully give us a very early harvest next year.  The sprouts were a massive success this year.


Sprouts Brendan (clumps of 3) Brassica
Lettuce Black seeded simpson Salad Leaves
Beetroot Detroit Globe Root
Carrots Napoli

What I’ve planted

I’m still planting a reasonable amount, bearing in mind that what’s being planted now will be feeding us for the next seven months!

I’m particularly interested to see if I can get my early onions a bit earlier than usual by keeping them under cover until March/April time and the same with my early carrots.



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
  12. Courgettes – 28th September
  13. Runner beans – 6 october
  14. French beans – 6 october
  15. Courgette – 16th october

What’s left in store

The store is rapidly filling up now with preserves, dried fruit, garlic, shallots, onions, beetroot 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 finally dehydrating a lot of pears!



  1. Although we are losing the odd plant to damping off, slugs, cut worms and caterpillars we have enough spares to keep replacing them
  2. We had an excellent beetroot harvest for storage, we also have quite a bit of beetroot still in the ground to be picked fresh up until the end of the year
  3. Debbie finally processed the remaining onions and shallots, so these are now included in our harvest total
  4. I’ve made a start on harvesting the containers of potatoes, it’s a slow job and I’m not in a big rush
  5. I gave the brassica bed a good clean up and it looks so much better for it
  6. We finally cleared all of the peppers on the allotment, making space for spinach and carrots
  7. The allotment society switched the water off yesterday, this is perfect timing, much better than last year which was almost a month earlier



  1. Most of the leeks ran to seed, however we harvested about 1/3 of them which Debbie is processing into soups etc.  Than means though that we get to grow a lot more garlic and broad beans, so it’s not all bad.
  2. Jennie had fractured her knee cap, so she can’t work her allotment for at least six weeks
  3. I left the Aztec Broccoli in too long (due to holiday) and it might have dropped a lot of viable seed, which is going to make for some excessive weeding next year.
  4. I have badly blistered feet after the London walking holiday as a result of wearing new socks, that were a bit too loose (stupid) so I can’t do much allotment work right now

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. I always enjoy your highlights and lowlights. My peppers are just about done too, though I could let them go on another month or so. Your “farm” is so productive!. I’ve thought of going for some mushroom compost but it about an hour away for me. Do you use any seaweed in your compost? I’ve harvested some once or twice but then learned you need a permit.

  2. I buy seaweed meal and use it before I mulch the beds. I also add seaweed to my home made compost, but we can only get it on our beach after a winter storm

  3. Sorry to hear about the blisters! Like you I am planting now for the next 6 months or so. I find planning is one of the hardest parts of gardening for me. We want just the right amount of things, not too much, not too little, but of course nature and the weather have a lot to do with the final outcome.

  4. Absolutely, that’s why we intentionally grow a surplus for our friends and family, it’s the only way to be sure we have enough for ourselves 365 days a year : all the best – Steve

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