Allotment Diary (February 2020 – Week 4)

Overview of the week

I’ve continued to be over tired this week, so I’ve been mostly at home in St Annes, but that’s given me the opportunity to 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!  I did manage to get out on one hike to clear my head, but even then most of it was in the rain and the best views were of the reservoir overflows, which were gushing!

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Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £803, which is still ahead of last year’s harvest value, which was £500, that £300 represents a lot of extra food at this time of year. 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 £113 worth of fruit and veg this week, this is exactly the same as last 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, Debbie’s away on holiday this week, so we backed off harvesting a little.  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.  The harvest photo below shows just the fresh food, not the goodies from store.

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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, 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.  Now that my database tracks all of the seeds that I acquire I’ve decided to log the cost of them too.  This year I purchased £38 of seeds so far, but I get a huge number for free as well.  This is the haul for the week.

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Video’s this week

Top ten tips for a productive allotment

Kitchen Garden Planting Plan

What I’ve sown

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I re-sowed my early kale this week as my previous sowing got a little scorched by some unexpected sun!  They might recover, but it’s not worth waiting and taking the risk.

Bunching Onion North Holland Blood Red
Radish French Breakfast
Kale Dazzling Blue Kale
Kale Dwarf Green Curly Kale
Leek Leek Porbella
Cabbage Red Drumhead
Cabbage Mini Savoy
Kale Nero black magic
Kale Red Russian
Pea Alderman (for shoots)

What I’ve planted

The weather was too bad to plant anything this week, which is a shame because the polytunnel is pretty full now and I need to clear some space soon!

What I’ve potted on

Nothing

First harvests of the year

Nothing

What we’ve run out of in store

Nothing

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 is still on good shape:

  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.

Highlights

  1. The product management team at Bosch Garden Tool division contacted me to say they expect to get me the new rechargeable pump in March, so I might be able to capture some extra water this year.  Spring is normally very dry for us though, so the window of opportunity is quickly closing.
  2. All of the apple and pear tree prunings are chopped up
  3. All of my early season seedlings have been sown, most have germinated
  4. One of the early brassica beds has now been prepared, ready for planting next week
  5. I managed a few beach walks

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Lowlights

  1. The endless storms continue, much of the allotment site is now under water, our plots are in fairly good shape, as is the garden, Debbie’s plot suffers the worst due to rain
  2. The main crop red onions have still not germinated, after 3 weeks, I’ve given up on them, contacted the supplier and bought sets instead.  I’m disappointed to be buying sets, but I have a large number of other varieties growing well from seed.

 

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

2 Responses

  1. It’s amazing you get early potatoes in April. I can barely get mine in the ground by March when I grow them, and then the weather turns hot and they suffer. We’re still working down a lot of 2019 from our freezer. It is a good feeling to have food in stores for sure!

  2. Hi Dave, to get potatoes in April we start them in the house in containers. They break surface in about 10 days and then we move them to the polytunnel under fleece at night if a frost threatens, every two weeks we start another batch : All the best – Steve

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