Allotment Diary (February 2020 – week 2)
Overview of the week
I’ve been away hiking on the east coast since the last harvest, arriving back on Friday, just in time to harvest again, so I can safely say no work has been done on the allotments. I did however get a few seeds sown on the Sunday before I left.
While I’ve been on holiday I’ve been working on a change in our lifestsyle, to live a bit more seasonally, it’s an exciting project with a lot of potential. From a food growing perspective the biggest change is that we will be growing a little more aligned with the weather, trying to grow the very best fruit and veg for each season, rather than working so hard to grow everything, all of the time. This will likely mean we will grow more volume and more varieties, but with less work, which has been our strategy ever since we started gardening, nearly 4 years ago now!
Our harvest total for this year is £578, 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 £110 worth of fruit and veg this week. We are starting to see a small uptick in growth rates, which means we basically harvest everything that’s ready and don’t worry about next week, leaving that responsibility to increasing light levels. It’s been our experience that at this time of year the gardens just about keep up with us. The lettuce beds continue to struggle though, so we are still picking them lightly, harvesting only 14 litres this week! We are also taking care not to harvest too many new potatoes, hoping to have enough to keep us going until our new year crop is ready in April.
We picked: 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
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
Video’s this week
What I’ve sown
I sowed all of the main-crop onions this week, as well as all of last years pepper seeds, just in case they germinate (lots of them did). I’m sowing new peppers next week.
What I’ve planted
What I’ve potted on
First harvests of the year
Nothing new this week
What we’ve run out of in store
- Oca – we now only have tubers for planting next year, week 1
- Artichokes – we now only have tubers for planting next year, week 4
- 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:
- 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
- New potatoes – 7 tubs
- Squash – 9 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:
- 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.
- I had a wonderful week hiking along the Cleveland Way and the Cinder Track between Scarborough and Whitby
- Harvest volumes are much better than last year
- All of the pruning is finished!
- All of the potatoes have arrived and are unpacked and chitting in their trays. We now have 6 tubs of earliest that have broken through, four of them are in the polytunnel growing under fleece
- We are expecting the worst storm of the year tomorrow, probably worse than anything we had last year as well.