Allotment Diary (February 2020 – week 3)
Overview of the week
I’ve not felt very well this week, so I’ve been mostly at home in St Annes, but that’s given me the opportunity to work through a few allotment jobs and sow seeds and do some potting on. Fortunately I’ve not missed much by being at home because the weather has been terrible, extremely windy and a lot of rain. I’ve been lucky that I can retreat to the pool and the warm jacuzzi, steam and sauna at my health club!
Our harvest total for this year is £688, which is still ahead of last year’s harvest rate, but not by as much as the earlier weeks. As previously mentioned 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 for a few crops, but in general the bad weather has stalled growth, so for the first time this year we backed off harvesting this week. This is especially prudent as we have another succession of storms coming our way over the next few days. 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: Radish, rhubarb, Jaunary King cabbage, romanesco cauliflower, 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 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
Video’s this week
What I’ve sown
I sowed all of the main-crop shallots this week, as well my main crop sweet peppers. Due to the low quality of some of my over-wintered salad beds I’ve also sown an extra batch of early lettuces, just in case.
What I’ve planted
I’ve also finally started planting out again!
What I’ve potted on
First harvests of the year
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 7
- 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 – 4.5 large boxes
- Carrots – 1.5 large boxes
- Onions/shallots – 3 large boxes
- Garlic – 1 large box
- Dried pears – l large cool bag
- Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
- Potatoes – 1.5 large boxes
- New potatoes – 6 tubs
- Squash – 8 Crown Prince
We also have a few apples, 2/3 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 visit from the product management team at Bosch Garden Tool division this week to discuss their plans for automated watering products and water pumps. We had a great discussion and they kindly gifted me a really useful battery powered (rechargeable) pump, which will allow us to quickly move water from our collection tanks to IBC tanks all over the plots. We will also be able to water with a hose from the IBC tanks.
- Harvest volumes continue to be better than last year, but the gap is closing
- All of the gooseberry prunings are chopped up and removed from the plots for composting
- All of my early season seedlings have been sown, most have germinated
- One of the early brassica beds has now been prepared, ready for planting next week
- More storms are on the way
- The main crop red onions have still not germinated, after 2 weeks, I’m nervous, but then that’s the benefit of sowing seeds, I can always plant sets if they fail me!