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!

Allotment Finances

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.

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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

First polytunnel planting of the year

Planting out early peas, ready for a May harvest

The pros and cons of perennial kale and its alternatives

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.

Lettuce Grenoble Red Salad Leaves
Main crop Shallot Zebrune Allium
Lettuce Navara Salad Leaves
Lettuce Green oak leaf lettuce (Premier seeds) Salad Leaves
Lettuce Cantarix Salad Leaves
Lettuce Tesy Salad Leaves
Sweet New Ace Pepper
Hot De cyenne Pepper
Sweet Long red marconi Pepper
Spinach Red Kitten Cooking Leaves, Salad Leaves
Sprouts Fillbasket (clumps of 3) Brassica

What I’ve planted

I’ve also finally started planting out again!


What I’ve potted on

Oca tubers
I also plotted on 40 New Zealand spinach plants, selected from hundreds that have self-seeded (I then weeded the bed).  I wouldn’t normally even try and germinate these for at least a month, but it’s worth a try to see if I can get an early harvest.

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, week 1
  2. Artichokes – we now only have tubers for planting next year, week 7
  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 – 4.5 large boxes
  2. Carrots – 1.5 large boxes
  3. Onions/shallots – 3 large boxes
  4. Garlic – 1 large box
  5. Dried pears – l large cool bag
  6. Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
  7. Potatoes – 1.5 large boxes
  8. New potatoes – 6 tubs
  9. 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:

  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 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.
  2. Harvest volumes continue to be better than last year, but the gap is closing
  3. All of the gooseberry prunings are chopped up and removed from the plots for composting
  4. All of my early season seedlings have been sown, most have germinated
  5. One of the early brassica beds has now been prepared, ready for planting next week


  1. More storms are on the way
  2. 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!

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

7 Responses

  1. Such harvests for this time of year. So sorry to hear of the extreme weather which seems to be affecting so many gardeners over your way. I very much enjoyed your video on sowing and transplanting peas. I lost my sowing this year to raccoon and mole damage. I definitely will give them a head start next year by transplanting. My best saved seed was lost that I’ve grown for over twenty years. I do have more seed but not the best ones. Gardeners can always be learning.

  2. Simon says:

    That pump sounds interesting. When are they planning on releasing it? My IBCs are on the ground so I use a bilge pump. Works fine but the cable is a bit tedious so makes it a pain to move around the plot. It also sucks 3amps whilst running which is a fair bit. Be interested to see how a cordless recharhable one performs. Being able to easily move the pump around the plot would be very useful.

  3. Steve Richards says:

    The version they are giving me initially is available now, but the factory in China is closed so they only have one container load available and very few available in shops. My IBC tanks are also on the ground, they fill ok by gravity from my collection tanks, but refilling the dip tanks I water from by gravity takes ages. I believe that a single charge of the largest battery will move about 600 litres along a 25 metre hose in an hour, that’s enough to water my plot, or empty two collection tanks. It has the potential to really transform the practicaility of water collection and use for me. I will shoot a video when it arrives in March : All the best – Steve

  4. Deborah/Dormousey says:

    Hi Steve

    My last comment hasn’t appeared but if it’s in the system please ignore as just found relevant vid and many great others 🙂

  5. No other comments in the system I’m afraid, not sure why. Ask again if you need to : all the best – Steve

  6. I enjoyed your video on the kales you grow. I’ve got seeds for what is billed as a “perennial kale grex”, and I’m interested in growing it in the greenhouse to see if it will fill a gap for me. We love our kale here, and I like to experiment to see what does well and what suits our tastes. Seed starting season is just starting for me here, and will keep me busy for a couple of months.

  7. If probably would, but the downside is it would grow huge inside the tunnel. Maybe Hungry Gap or Thousand Head kale planted in July might work better?

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