Allotment Diary (March 2020 – week 1)
Overview of the week
It’s been another week of high winds and rain and the chard and field beans have been suffering quite a slow down of growth, so for the first time this year they’ve been given a harvest holiday to recover! I’m also in recovery mode, although in contrast I’ve had to cancel next weeks holiday, due to the risk of travelling on my own. I’m not too upset though, I do have to put up with a four week course of nasty antibiotics, but I’m also going to enjoy life in the slow lane for a few weeks, pottering around the allotment and the local area. Last week Debbie was away in London, so I got to visit one of my favourite walking spots and stock up on garden supplies too.
Our harvest total for this year is £903, which is still ahead of last year’s harvest value, which was £528, that £370 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 £100 worth of fruit and veg this week, this is almost the same as last week, which is surprising as we would normally see growth rates increasing rapidly by now. Looking at last years figures we had a very significant increase in harvest volumes in early March and at the moment there’s no sign of that happening. This might well be the recent weather, but it might also be that we picked more in February than last year. So we might well have to rest the beds a little if the poor weather continues.
The harvest photo below shows just the fresh food, not the goodies from store.
We picked: Radish, rhubarb, cabbage, cauliflower, 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.
Video’s this week
What I’ve sown
Two trays of Alderman peas for shoots
A tray of spring onions
A tray of dwarf peas for pods
What I’ve planted
Early Brussels sprouts for leaves
Navara lettuce in the polytunnel
Green oak leaf lettuce in the polytunnel
Grenoble red lettuce in the polytunnel
Cauliflower in the polytunnel
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 is still on good shape:
- Beetroot – 4 large boxes
- Carrots – 1.5 large boxes
- Onions/shallots – 2.5 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 – 5 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.
- Most of the seedlings are now down on the allotment
- The garlic and shallots have been weeded
- The strawberry beds have been fertilised and mulched
- The blueberries have all been replanted into larger containers
- The green garlic bed has all sprouted
- The new lettuce bed in the polytunnel has been planted, this is important because it allows us to clear other salad beds in early April, to make space for new spring delights
- Last week I reported that my main crop red onion sowing failed to germinate, fortunately my reserve sowing of red spring onions germinated and they are a variety (New Holland Red) that can be left to bulb up, so all is not lost!
I particularly love the shallot bed, which has suddenly shot into life!
- The endless storms continue, much of the allotment site is now under water, our plots are in fairly good shape, but all of the outdoor leafy greens have suffered from the battering, with no growth
- My early brassicas were scorched in the sun (conservatory too hot for them) my replacement sowing is doing ok though and will be potted on next week