Allotment Diary (November – Week 3)
Overview of the week
This week has all focused on Jennie and Jon’s wedding – which went very well – and looking after their little boy, before, during and after the wedding. During the seven days we had him he had a bad cold that ran it’s full course, including passing it on to Debbie and I. So apart from the wedding celebrations I’ve mostly been at home looking after him and myself, plenty of fevers to cope with and lots of cuddles.
I’ve only managed to pop to the allotment to harvest for the wedding meals and to top up our fresh food midweek, so no work done on anything, but a total time spent of 3 hours!
We now add the value of our preserves into our running total harvest value, so that gives us a total for 2019 of £8230 +£701 = £8,931. 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 £72.5 worth of fruit and veg this week, this is artificially low because we were only harvesting for ourselves and the wedding, we gave our usual harvest deliveries a miss for this week, to give ourselves a rest.
It’s still shocking to see how quickly harvest volumes fall at this time of year, it’s not that we don’t have enough to harvest more, we have loads, it’s that we need to keep the plants healthy enough to feed us for another 4-6 months and that means not over-harvesting them now.
We picked: Cucumbers, Field bean tops, apples, sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, main crop tomatoes, chard, raspberries, red and golden beetroot, red cabbage, carrots, calabrese, sprout leaves, calabrese leaves, lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs, radish 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
Video’s this week
What I’ve sown
What I’ve planted
What I’ve potted on
First harvests of the year
Cucumber, not strictly new, but new for autumn
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
- Golden Purselane – 1st September
- Sweet Corn – 20th September
- Courgettes – 28th September
- Runner beans – 6 October
- French beans – 6 October
- Courgette – 16th October
- Tomatoes – 19th October
- Pears – 25th October
- NZ spinach 3rd November
- Celariac 3rd November
- Leeks 3rd November
What’s left in store
The store is now full:
- Beetroot – 5 large boxes
- Carrots – 2 large boxes
- Onions/shallots – 3 large boxes
- Garlic – 1 large box
- Dried pears – l large cool bag
- Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
- Potatoes – 2 large boxes
- 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, so we are now totally dependent on rainfall until April, we are well stocked though:
- Allotment reserves (Steve) : 4.5 cubic metres
- Allotment reserves (Jennie): 0.8 cubic metres
- Allotment reserves (Debbie): 0.5 cubic metres
- Home reserves : 0.9 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 been really busy preparing for Jennie’s wedding! As space comes free in the freezer we will however start to process carrots, garlic, onions and squash.
- Jennie and Jon’s wedding was amazing, I think even they were surprised at how well it went, for November the weather was very kind. Debbie did most of the catering and I supplied the fresh veg, and we got to gift a lot of our preserves!
- Debbie and I enjoyed looking after Robin for a whole week, which was a nice reminder of raising our four kids. Robin’s dreamed of our cats sitting on him and allowing him to stroke them, one of them finally got comfortable enough to let him
- I’ve added a new set of tables to my allotment databases that allow me to plan the successions in each bed, I’ve really enjoyed the design process, but enjoyed even more doing the plans, these changes are not yet available in the public version of the databases which will be updated once I’ve finished testing
- All beds are now fully planted, although beds will start to come free again as soon as calabrese, radicchio, romanesco etc finish, these will be replanted in February with spring cabbage etc as space comes free
- We are having our first hard frosts, so the veg is starting to sweeten up and the pest pressure is reducing
- I fitted extra U bolts and supports to my hanging shelf, so if any component fails now, the very important veg that’s growing underneath it won’t all be squashed!
- We are all full of cold, I still have a fever while writing this diary, based on past experience I won’t be clear of the cold until Tuesday
- I’ve a lot of dreary work to get through, chopping up raspberries, removing old brassicas, weeding paths, tidying storage areas, but I suppose it’s something to do on winter days that are not good enough for anything else