Allotment Diary (March 2020 – Week 4)

Overview of the week

Well what a week it’s been, we’ve gone from relative normality to near lockdown, at least we still have freedom of movement, we can visit allotments and we can in theory go shopping, although there’s very little there for us to buy.

We are however fine, although I can’t go swimming and my usual cafes are now closed, most of my daily activities don’t involve crowds of people, so we are still just fine, life goes on.  In fact life has just a little bit more focus because we know we are feeding people the foods that they really need to reduce the severity and duration of a COVID 19 infection, as well as colds and flu, lots of food rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Zinc as well as loads of garlic.

It’s also my 4th growing anniversary!

Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £1410, which is about one week ahead of last year.   That’s the way the harvests go now, because one week in mid spring is worth 2-3 weeks in mid winter, that’s why it really makes sense to focus on maximum yields in spring, provided we can actually eat it all!

I also did a review of my finances after 4 years of growing, £2,500 of capital investment, recurring costs always paid off before the end of February and a harvest value total of £26,000, not too shabby.

What we’ve harvested and eaten

We harvested £202.50 of veg this week, which is only £15 more than last year, although we are picking for fewer people.  The challenge we have now is that we have already run out of harvest containers!  The harvest photo below shows just the fresh food, plus a few goodies from store.  We now need two tables to stack the harvest on to dry!


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This is the second half of the big table

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This is the new table

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We picked: rhubarbpurple sprouting broccoli, radish, 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 lot of 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

Fleece and blood fish and bone meal.

We’ve also been gifted a rather impressive LED light made by Spider-farmer which is positioned above the shelves in the conservatory, it’s hooked up to Alexa and I can now say “Alexa turn on the sun”, it really is that bright!  I really have an amazing grow room now and it’s so lovely to be surrounded by all of my seedlings!


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Video’s this week

First thoughts on the Spider-farmer grow lights

Planting Red Ruble kale, repairs and nematodes

Does an allotment really save you money?

Join me on the plot for my 4th anniversary tour

What I’ve sown

It’s been an important sowing week, all of my indoor tomatoes went in as well as my first carrots and salad kale.



I’ve also sown some of my favorite tender crops to grow in containers in the polytunnel.  They don’t deserve bed space, but they are worth a few months in containers before they move outside.

Spinach Matador Cooking Leaves, Salad Leaves
Courgette Black Beauty Cucurbits
Carrot Mercurio Root
Summer squash CENTERCUT SQUASH (trumbocino) Cucurbits
Pea, Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod Legumes
Outdoor (cordon) tomato, Indoor (cordon) tomato Cour Di Bue Tomato
Indoor (cordon) tomato Gardener’s Delight Tomato
Indoor (cordon) tomato Black Cherry Tomato
Indoor (cordon) tomato, Outdoor (cordon) tomato Sweet Million Tomato
Indoor (cordon) tomato, Outdoor (cordon) tomato Indigo Pear drops Tomato
Outdoor (cordon) tomato Ildi Tomato
Lettuce, Lettuce, Lettuce, Lettuce Valamaine lettuce, Amaze, Little Gem, Robinson lettuce Salad Leaves, Salad Leaves, Salad Leaves, Salad Leaves
Beetroot Burpees Golden Root
Indoor (cordon) tomato Red Cherry Tomato
Asian Greens Tatsoi Salad Leaves, Cooking Leaves
Summer squash Trumbocino Cucurbits
Kale Red Ruble Brassica

What I’ve planted

I’ve done loads of planting this week,  most of it in the back garden, but I’m pleased to get the first carrots, spinach and salad kale planted on the allotments.

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Bunching Onion Sturon Allium
Lettuce Lambs Lettuce (corn salad) Salad Leaves
Broad Bean Aqua Dulce Legumes
Lettuce Navara Salad Leaves
Kale Red Ruble Brassica
Carrot Mercurio Root

What I’ve potted on

Mainly brassicas

First harvests of the year


What we’ve run out of in store

  1. Fresh apples, week 11

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
  4. Romanesco cauliflower, week 10
  5. Sprouts, week 12
  6. Cauliflower (planted 2019), week 12

What’s left in store

The store is is still on good shape:

  1. Beetroot – 3.5 large boxes
  2. Carrots – 1.5 large boxes
  3. Onions/shallots – 2.5 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 – 4 tubs
  9. Squash – 4 Crown Prince

We also have 1/2 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 of 4.6 cubic metres
  2. Allotment reserves (Jennie): 1 of 2.5 cubic metres
  3. Allotment reserves (Debbie): 0.5 of 0.5 cubic metres
  4. Home reserves : 0.9 of 0.9 cubic metres

I’ve moved a lot of water from our collection tanks to long term storage on my plot, so as to make room for this weeks rain.  I’ve also started actively watering, now that the sun is out!

We’ve added an additional 2 cubic metres of storage to Jennie’s plot now that we are able to pump water from the collection tanks to storage tanks.

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. We were gifted a very expensive grow light, which is already making a difference to the health of our seedlings in the conservatory, preventing them reaching for the light
  2. We’ve had some great weather
  3. We planted our first lettuces outside, and some lovely corn salad too
  4. We wrote to our town council asking if they would waive their prohibition of giving food to friends and neighbours in this difficult time, they agreed, which is good news
  5. I’m finally planting at a decent rate, but not as fast as I’m sowing!  I need to get more seedlings grown and planted!


  1. COVID 19

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

4 Responses

  1. I had not heard of the Spider-Farmer lights so I enjoyed your video. I am amazed at the light output at such a distance from the seedlings. I need a replacement light for my setup and I am thinking the SF would do the job for me. As always, I am impressed with your gardening know-how and the way you share it with others. Thanks for what you do and happy growing anniversary!

  2. Thanks Dave, the SF light seems to be working well at 24” (they recommend 18-24) and I like the fact that it feels very much like the sun is shining all the time in the conservatory

  3. A very impressive bottom line! Who does all your harvesting? That itself is a big job seeing all the harvest trays. You do great work and we all learn from you. Thank you for letting me know you are unable to comment on my site. I have changed one setting after checking on the SquareSpace Help. Please email me if you are still unable to comment. Hopefully, the change will allow you to comment.

  4. Thanks, I will have another go. Debbie and I do the harvest together, usually on Sunday morning. It takes about 4 hours to pick, wash and pack. It’s a lovely time, highlight of the week : all the best – Steve

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