Allotment Diary (March 2020 – Week 5)
Overview of the week
Despite the lockdown we are fine, in fact not having very much to do means that we get to focus a bit more on hobbies and getting ahead on our allotment jobs. Our life is fairly simple, so except for having to cancel a couple of holidays and a few hiking trips, it’s not been a lot different to our usual relaxed existence.
The allotments are still open, which is a relief, but the threat still lingers that they will be closed at some point, so we are focused on trying to prepare for that eventuality.
Our harvest total for this year is £1590 which remains 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!
We have the same growing area as last year, but a little more experience, that’s currently translating into a modest improvement over last years harvests of about 10%. Next year should see a more substantial change, if things go well, if things go badly we should still be fine.
What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested £180 of veg this week, which is only £18 more than last year, although we are picking for fewer people. We have managed to scrounge some extra containers, so it was less of a problem this week.
and the salad table:
We picked: rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, radish, 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
We’ve now been gifted a second grow light by Spider-farmer, although lights are really not that useful at this time of year, so for the real impact on our growing we will have to wait for autumn! This new setup allows seedlings to enjoy a lot warmth and natural light in the conservatory from 9am until 3pm and then we can also bring on 7 trays of seedlings with lights for another 12 hours or so.
Video’s this week
Everyone in the youtube gardening community is being encouraged to create more content while people are on lockdown, fortunately I’m actually doing things that warrant a video, so I’m doing my bit.
What I’ve sown
It’s been a quiet sowing week and a busy planting week.
What I’ve planted
I’ve done loads of planting this week, all of it in the back garden. I’ve changed my planting plans so that we have a little of everything in the garden, rather than just the leafy greens.
What I’ve potted on
First harvests of the year
What we’ve run out of in store
- Fresh apples, week 11
- 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
- Romanesco cauliflower, week 10
- Sprouts, week 12
- Cauliflower (planted 2019), week 12
What’s left in store
The store is is still on good shape:
- Beetroot – 3.5 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 – 4 tubs
- 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:
- Allotment reserves (Steve) : 3.7 of 4.6 cubic metres
- Allotment reserves (Jennie): 1 of 2.5 cubic metres
- Allotment reserves (Debbie): 0.5 of 0.5 cubic metres
- Home reserves : 0.9 of 0.9 cubic metres
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.
- We were gifted a second expensive grow light, which is already making a difference to the health of our seedlings in the conservatory, preventing them reaching for the light
- We’ve had some great weather
- We planted a second batch of lettuce and spring onions and first plantings of perennial kale and beetroot outside
- COVID 19