Allotment Diary (February 2020 – Week 1)

Overview of the week

The weather has been very changeable this week so I’ve taken the opportunity to get a lot of odd jobs out of the way.  The most important of which was releasing the new version of my allotment database (see videos etc later).  I’ve also managed to get the gooseberries pruned and none too soon, because they are coming into leaf, due to the extremely mild winter we’ve had.  No other allotment jobs though, except a bit of a weed, watering the cold-frames and harvesting.

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Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £468, which is just under twice last year’s harvest rate, we have now covered all of our main allotment costs for the year: rent, wood chip, compost, fertiliser, nets and seeds.

What we’ve harvested and eaten

We harvested a total of £95 worth of fruit and veg this week.  Light levels are still low, but it’s amazing how they increase between now and the end of February, right now we have 8 hours and 53 minutes of light,  by 1st March that will be 10 hours and 51 minutes and those two hours make a huge difference.  We are really feeling that lack of light too, especially in the lettuce beds, which are very slow at the moment.

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We picked: cauliflower and romanesco cauliflower, field bean tops, sprouts, kalettes, new potatoes, chard, red and golden beetroot, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, carrots, calabrese, sprout leaves, calabrese leaves,  lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs and a little 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.

What we’ve bought this week

4 bags of compost for potato containers
A few seeds, which brings to a close all of the seeds we need for this year, although we will probably buy some for next year
A new fleece for protecting the potatoes

Video’s this week

How to plan your fruit and vegetable garden with my new free tools (part 1)

User guide for my fruit and vegetable gardening database (part 2)

What I’m Sowing and Growing in February

What I’ve sown


Swift-potato, Arran Pilot Root, Root
Taunton Deane kale Brassica  –  Cuttings
Daubenton’s kale Brassica  – Cuttings
Bunching Onion Sturon
Lettuce Navara

What I’ve planted


What I’ve potted on

Kale Nero black magic Brassica
Kale Dazzling Blue Kale Brassica
Kale Winterbor (curly kale) Brassica
Cucumber La Diva Cucurbits

First harvests of the year

Nothing new this week

What we’ve run out of in store


Last harvests

  1. Oca – we now only have tubers for planting next year, week 1
  2. Artichokes – we now only have tubers for planting next year, week 4
  3. We harvested the last of the beetroot that we left in the ground, week 4

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. New potatoes – 7 tubs
  9. Squash – 10 Crown Prince

We also have a few apples, 1 bed of mature carrots and loads of ‘Christmas potatoes’ still in their containers.  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) : 4.5 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. I’ve finally published my new allotment planning and management databases, all the details, videos etc are here:
  2. I’ve also got around to writing a simple full year sowing timeline and associated video:
  3. The lawns got their first cut of the year
  4. The brassica harvests are particularly lovely.  This week I picked lots of the little cabbages, cauliflowers and romanescos.
  5. Harvest volumes are much better than last year
  6. All of the pruning is finished!
  7. All of the potatoes have arrived and are unpacked and chitting in their trays

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  1. This has been our worst year for losing lettuces to fungal problems, I’m assuming that warm and damp weather is to blame
  2. I aggravated my groin strain from December, swimming sprints, that will teach me to rush back into high intensity exercise.  It was soon pain free again though.

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. Helen says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for your vids, blog and databases! I’ve been messing around with the databases while undergoing chemo, waiting to have the energy to get back to the land in a much reduced capacity.
    It’s very tempting to try to do too much (regardless of chemo) because it’s been so mild. Here in the south of Norway the blackcurrant bushes and elderberry shrub I have are breaking bud too, in fact everything is much further on than it should be, though we could still have snow. It’s been 3 C above normal this Jan, and broken records from 1957 when they started here. Unfortunately I’ve seen plenty of slugs and I imagine this year will be a challenge for pests. We shall see! Good growing to you!

  2. Good luck with the chemo Helen, that’s one of the great things about gardening as a hobby, you can size it to fit your capabilities. We are about to have a lovely sunny week here, so I’m hoping the salad beds pick up a bit, I will be away hiking! Hopefully you will get to enjoy some sunshine too : all the best – Steve

  3. Your harvests are always an inspiration for me! I haven’t found a perennial kale that works for me here but I have one to try that has the Taunton Deane kale in the parentage, so I’m keeping fingers crossed. Seeing those potatoes chitting reminds me it won’t be long to start bringing some of my sweet potatoes up into a warm closet I use to get them to start sprouting.

  4. We grow mostly annual Kale Dave, but the perennial varieties can be quite useful during the hungry gap. We are also growing Hungry Gap kale, which is an annual, but one that runs to seed a bit later than usual. By combining these with some early sowings of our normal annual varieties we should manage a nice varied supply all year round. I’m doing a lot of changes to our planting plan this year too, so I’m really excited to start learning again : All the best – Steve

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