Allotment Diary (December – Week 3)
Overview of the week
We’ve been away on holiday this week, visiting family for the first part of the week and then friends for the latter, so there’s been no activity on the allotments all week, just a single harvest. What a harvest it’s been though, a really beautiful selection of veg for Christmas, which we topped up with plenty of preserves as we gradually work our way through our huge store.
The total fruit and veg harvest for 2019 so far is £8858 with an additional £701 of preserves, making a grand total of £9,559 so far, originally we’d targeted £10k for the year, but due to the councils new rules that discourage us from sharing harvests with friends and neighbours we’ve intentionally switched our focus from high value crops to lower value staples for family members.
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 £125 worth of fruit and veg this week, which is pretty good for this time of year, we actually harvested on the winter solstice, so actually our leanest day of the year, but of course most of our harvest grew weeks/months ago and is now just in store or holding in the ground. Typically late december and early January are our leanest months, things pick up towards the end of January depending on the weather.
We picked: Jerusalem artichokes,Romanesco cauliflower, oca, peppers, field bean tops, apples, a huge number of sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, main crop tomatoes, chard, 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
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
- 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
- Raspberries 15th November
- Cucumber 30th Nvember
What’s left in store
The store is now full:
- Beetroot – 5 large boxes
- Carrots – 2 large boxes
- Onions/shallots – 4 large boxes
- Garlic – 1 large box
- Dried pears – l large cool bag
- Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
- Potatoes – 2 large boxes
- Squash – 13 Crown Prince
We also have a few apples, 1 1/2 beds of mature carrots, 2/3 of a bed of beets and loads of ‘Christmas 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 there.
What have we processed for preserving
Nothing, but as space comes free in the freezer we will however start to process carrots, garlic, onions and squash into soups and the freezer.
- We’ve had a nice break
- We have all the food picked for Christmas, although we will be restocking on the 27th
- We now take 2 weeks off deliveries to our extended family, we just pick for ourselves. This means we don’t over pick veg during the period where it doesn’t regrow. To achieve this we try to leave the garden beds relatively unharvested in December, so they are well stocked, giving the allotment beds time to recover
- We’ve has some fairly sunny days this week, so we’ve had good growth on some of the beds while we’ve been away, especially the polytunnel salads
- The broad beans are finally breaking through, but only 20% of the garlic has made an appearance
- We have lost more lettuces to stem rot than ever before, I’m attributing that to the very damp weather, although it might be disease build up in the soil. It’s not been an issue in the polytunnel though. It’s worse on old plants that have been harvested for many months now. Next year I’m considering growing on some plants to be harvested as full heads in mid winter. Marvel of all seasons and Winter Marvel seem to be candidates.
- I’m also reconsidering my policy of growing brassicas in the polytunnel as it seems a bit of a waste to have a large polytunnel bed that’s not harvested from October until February at the earliest. I think maybe I could find another way to grow late/early kale. If I did that I would be able to leave cucumbers and tomatoes in the polytunnel for longer and then plant some salads/carrots for an early spring harvest, alternatively I could plant more spinach, which would be very popular.