Allotment Diary (November – Week 1)

How much time have I spent on the allotments?

I’ve been away on a short break this week, enjoying one my old home towns, Kingston Upon Hull, a true regeneration success story, such a beautiful and vibrant place, especially if you stick close to the water-front like I do.  As a result our food consumption has been lower than usual and time on the allotment has been a trivial 7 hours, most of that harvesting.

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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 £8035 +£701 = £8,736.   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

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We harvested a total of £142 worth of fruit and veg this week a small decline from last week.  That’s going to be the way of it now a steady decline in harvest value until mid February/March time when everything ‘springs’ to life, provided the winter is kind to us and everything survives until then.

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We picked: LeeksGrapes, field bean tops, peppers, apples, sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, main crop tomatoes, chard, raspberries, red and golden beetroot, 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.

What we’ve bought this week

A few seeds


Video’s this week

Over-wintering brassicas for an early harvest

Growing spring onions over winter

What I’m Sowing and Growing in November

Planting Garlic, Elephant Garlic and Broad Beans

What I’ve sown


What I’ve planted

I’ve only had one planting day this week, but I got a lot done: 130 broad beans, 300 garlic, 40 green garlic and 20 elephant garlic.  The elephant garlic were large mono-bulbs, so they should be impressive next year!  The beets are an experiment to see if I can get early beets, long before I run out in store.


What I’ve potted on

I potted on 6 of each of my winter lettuces, to save as spares in case of cut worm or damping off.  I hate my lettuce beds to have gaps in them!

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
  16. Tomatoes – 19th October
  17. Pears – 25th October
  18. NZ spinach

What’s left in store

The store is now full:

  1. Beetroot – 5 large boxes
  2. Carrots – 2 large boxes
  3. Onions/shallots – 3 large boxes
  4. Garlic – 1 large box
  5. Dried pears – l large cool bag
  6. Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
  7. Potatoes – 2 large boxes
  8. Squash – 20 Crown Prince

We also have a few apples, three beds of mature carrots, 2 beds of beets and loads of potatoes still in the ground.  Loads of stuff in the freezer too and hundreds of preserves.

Water Reserves and Rainfall

The taps are now off on the allotments and 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.  That means we either bring all veg home for washing, or we take tap water to the allotment for washing.  I like taking water to the allotment because the dirty water then gets used to water the polytunnel and cold-frames etc, rather than being flushed down the drain!

  1. Allotment reserves (Steve) : 4.5 cubic metres
  2. Allotment reserves (Jennie): 0.8 cubic metres
  3. Allotment reserves (Debbie): 0.5 cubic metres
  4. Home reserves : 0.7 cubic metres

It’s worth noting that we have a huge amount of roof area for collecting water at home, so we don’t need anywhere near as much winter storage.

What have we processed for preserving

The season for preserves is now over and Debbie is enjoying a well earned rest, well truth be told she’s really busy preparing for Jennie’s wedding!  As space comes free in the freezer we will however start to process garlic, onions and squash.


  1. I had a great time away on holiday
  2. My blistered feet are finally healing
  3. I’ve caught up on the planting, I now only have one bed to plant next week with radish and then that’s it for a couple of months until space comes free as we harvest beds like the raddichio.



  1. One of the carrot beds was decimated by cut worms,  I new something was eating it but the only way to find out what was too pull out what was left of the baby carrots and replant the bed.  I’ve bought some nematodes that kill cut worms, because if they are in one bed, they will be on others and they are a nightmare pest.
  2. A lot of the carrots are splitting given the huge amount of rain we’ve had.  We don’t like frozen carrots, so it’s touch and go whether enough will survive in the ground to keep us going until next year, when the late sown carrots are hopefully ready.
  3. Jennie had fractured her knee cap, so she can’t work her allotment for at least six weeks

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. 300 garlic plants – wow! I thought my 150 was a lot, though it’s just two of us eating that. Do you have any tools to speed up the process? I made a planting jig a few years that marks the spacing before planting the cloves.

  2. Hi Dave, I just use a dibber (old fork handle) and space by eye, so it’s fairly efficient, I do all of my planting by eye, I’m that sort of gardener, 20% effort that delivers 80% of the result. I don’t normally plant quite so many, but half of my leeks went to seed so I havested the lot and didn’t really have anything else to plant, Debbie had good success with pickling garlic this year, so we don’t mind a few extra

  3. Your video Growing Spring Onions in Winter was very helpful. I usually direct seed in the garden but germination is sketchy some years. This year I had poor results with fresh seed. I’ve been thinking about starting them in seed trays and then moving to the garden. Your video let me benefit from your experience. Think I’ll plant some tomorrow. I usually do a red Italian scallion from Renee’s Garden. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Sue, I really like sowing in modules, for most things, but definitely onions, although in my climate I don’t find any of the red varieties do well in winter : All the best – Steve

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