Allotment Diary (January 2020 – Week 1)

Overview of the week

Maybe it’s that new year spirit, but I’ve actually been motivated to spend quite a bit of time on the allotment this week, something like 8 hours in total, most of it was spent clearing up.  I’ve also planted my first batch of seeds!  We’ve also been out and about a bit, visiting one of my favourite places: Arnside and Grange.

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Allotment Finances

It’s a new year!  Our harvest total for this year is £52.50, much more than we harvested in the same week last year, so that’s a good start!   We’ve spent nothing yet.

What we’ve harvested and eaten

We harvested a total of £52.50 worth of fruit and veg this week. Typically late December and early January are our leanest months, things pick up towards the end of January depending on the weather.  I actually really love these micro harvests, because they give a much better impression of what Debbie and I actually get through in a week (a little bit more than this, because it doesn’t include anything from the store and we will pick more salad mid week).


We picked: field bean tops, sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, chard, red and golden beetroot, 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: squash, main crop potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic and dried apples and pears. Bold items are new this week.

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What we’ve bought this week


Video’s this week

Planting cabbage & calabrese, cauliflower and romanesco

What I’m Sowing and Growing in January

What’s in your allotment food store?

What I’ve sown


I’ve sown quite a lot, lots of salads destined for the polytunnel, broad beans for filling in gaps in the beds that I planted last year and peas to grow on under cover for an early crop.

  1. Lettuce Cantarix Salad Leaves
  2. Lettuce Grenoble Red Salad Leaves
  3. Broad Bean Aqua Dulce Legumes
  4. Lettuce Lambs Lettuce Salad Leaves
  5. Pea, Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod Legumes
  6. Lettuce Navara Salad Leaves
  7. Lettuce Green oak leaf lettuce (Premier seeds) Salad Leaves
  8. Lettuce Lobjoits Green Salad Leaves

What I’ve planted

  1. Duncan and Durham Early spring cabbage, both out in the open, but under fleece
  2. Calabrese and Cauliflower in the polytunnel beds, under the trestle table

What I’ve potted on

I potted on quite a lot of over-wintered brassicas:

  1. Duncan and Durham Early spring cabbage
  2. Calabrese (Marathon) and Cauliflower (all year round)
  3. Romaesco cauliflower

First harvests of the year


What we’ve run out of in store


Last harvests

  1. Oca – we now only have tubers for planting next year
  2. Artichokes – we now only have tubers for planting next year

What’s left in store

The store is now full:

  1. Beetroot – 5 large boxes
  2. Carrots – 2 large boxes
  3. Onions/shallots – 4 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 – 13 Crown Prince

We also have a few apples, 1 1/2 beds of mature carrots, 1/2 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:

  1. Allotment reserves (Steve) : 4.25 cubic metres
  2. Allotment reserves (Jennie): 0.8 cubic metres
  3. Allotment reserves (Debbie): 0.5 cubic metres
  4. 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.


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  1. Debbie tidied up the flower border, it was getting a bit overgrown and full of last years flowers.  We also put in new large stakes for the perennial kales and tied them in with bungee cords.
  2. We now half way through our 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
  3. We’ve has some fairly sunny days this week, so we’ve actually had good growth on some of the beds, especially the polytunnel salads, this is very unusual for the time of year
  4. The broad beans are finally breaking through and around 60% of the garlic has finally made an appearance
  5. I finally got to turn my compost, it’s looking great and tidy up the compost area.  I have about a ton ready for spreading on the brassica/squash bed in April.
  6. We’ve been enjoying some very fine weather
  7. We managed to tidy up and weed most of Jennie’s plot

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  1. I placed orders for slug and cut-worm nematodes from the supplier, which means we will get them as soon as they become available and given the number of slugs that we are seeing we are going to need them!
  2. Last year I lost a lot of brassicas to cut worms and seeing the problems this year I’m going to place plastic bottles around the plants to try and protect them

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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. Roy Peake says:

    Hi Steve
    Inherited an allotment with Poly-tunnel + Green house — just following your advise as to what to grow
    like your frank and interesting views on what works and what does not
    Will obviously judge on results over the coming months

  2. Thanks, hope it goes well, tricky to get timeing right at this time of year, always be prepared to sow again if the weather’s not kind!

  3. Bob Goff says:

    Morning Sreve, Just found your channel, brilliant. I’ve had an allotment for years but circumstances have made it painful the past few years but you have sparked my enthusiasm for why I started it with my Dad in the first place.
    Many thanks for making my day and inspiring me.
    Have a great one.
    Be Happy, Bob.

  4. Thanks for the feedback Bob, I’m not sure what kind of pain, but I’ve had my unfair share too, hope it goes will this year! : All the best – Steve

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