Allotment Diary (April 2020 – Week 4)

Overview of the week

Well we broke all records today, harvesting more in a single day than ever before and more in a week too, when you exclude bulk harvests (garlic, onions, beets etc).  That’s quite a feat mid-way through the hungry gap and I’m chuffed to bits.  My strategy has always been to maximise yields at this time, partly because I just like to show the ‘hungry gap’ who’s boss, partly for the challenge and partly because it’s just money on the table.

We did also manage to make a lot of progress on the back garden and enjoyed some lovely seaside and allotment views, as well as either seeing, or talking on the phone to all of the kids.

It’s been a good week!

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Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £2,620 which is good going, we are well ahead of last year, even though the back garden harvests have barely started and we’ve reduced the intensity of planting at the allotment.  I’m spending a bit more money on compost this year than usual and manures, but I’m not really considering it as an issue, a single week’s harvest in March paid for the whole year’s compost and fertiliser.   Although last week I predicted a DIP in harvests, we actually had a record breaking one, bouyed by excellent spinach, chard and lettuce harvests and our perennial kales, cabbages and sprout leaves.

What we’ve harvested and eaten

We harvested £303 of veg this week, which is a big jump from last week and £68 more than last year.

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We started harvesting our outdoor lettuce beds this week and they are wonderful, new plants really do make a difference!

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We picked: new potatoes, cucumbers, new season cauliflowers, new season carrots, asparagusrhubarbpurple sprouting broccoli, radish,  field bean tops, chard, red and golden beetroot, carrots, cabbage, sprout leaves, calabrese leaves, lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs, true spinach 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.

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What we’ve bought this week

Two blueberry plants and some Marshalls Organic Extra (concentrated farmyeard mannure).  I also bought three taps for the allotment society as apparently they were unable to source any due to the lockdown.  As a result the tap near Debbie and I is now working, which means no we don’t need three hosepipes strung together to get water.

Videos this week

Everyone in the YouTube gardening community is being encouraged to create more content while people are on lock down, I’m getting fed up of making ‘daily’ videos though, so next week I will be back to one or two a week!

What does it take to be self-sufficient in summer fruit and veg

Big planting day : beetroot, sweetcorn, parsnips and carrots

Taking stock of the polytunnel and solving problems

First look at the fruit and veg planting in the front garden

First harvest of new potatoes : planted in January

Biggest harvest ever: showing the hungry gap who’s boss!

What I’ve sown

It’s been an busy sowing week and a fairly busy potting on week.


Indoor (cordon) tomato, Outdoor (cordon) tomato Sweet Million Tomato
Outdoor (bush) tomato Tumbling Tom yellow Tomato
Outdoor (bush) tomato Tumbling Tom red Tomato
Parsnip White Gem Root
Carrot Eskimo Root
Chard Bright Lights Cooking Leaves, Salad Leaves
Cucumber Cucamelon Cucurbits
Gherkin The Perfect Pickler Cucurbits
Sweetcorn Earlibird Corn
Sweetcorn incredible Corn

What We’ve planted

We’ve done loads of planting this week:

  1. Beetroot, Burpees Golden
  2. New Zealand spinach
  3. Center Cut Squash in the garden (bubble wrap tent)
  4. Three courgettes under cover
  5. A Trumbocino squash under cover
  6. Sweetcorn under cover and in the polytunnel
  7. Carrots for winter – Eskimo
  8. Parsips – White Gem
  9. Lots of kale in the front garden (Black Magic, Dazzling Blue, Red Russian, Reflex and Dwarf Curly)


What I’ve potted on

  • I’ve potted on about 24 winter cabbages (January King, Vertus Savoy, Red drumhead)
  • I’ve also potted on Red Rubine Brussels sprouts for leaves and also for sprouts

First harvests of the year


What we’ve run out of in store

  1. Fresh apples, week 11
  2. New potatoes

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
  7. Carrots from the ground, Week 14
  8. New potatoes from 2019, Week 16
  9. Winter cabbages, week 16

What’s left in store


The store is is still on good shape:

  1. Beetroot – 3  large boxes
  2. Carrots – 1.5 large boxes and a few dozen in a sack.
  3. Onions/shallots – 1 large box
  4. Garlic – 1/2 large box
  5. Dried pears – l large cool bag
  6. Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
  7. Potatoes – 1/4 a large box
  8. New potatoes – 3 tubs
  9. Squash – 5 Crown Prince

Loads of stuff in the freezer too and dozens of preserves.

Water Reserves and Rainfall

The taps have now been switched on, so I won’t be monitoring our reserves as they will be fully depleted by the end of the month.

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What we’ve 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 are enjoying exceptional weather for the time of year, actually for any time of year
  2. Biggest harvest ever
  3. Beds are finishing just in time for new plantings
  4. Organic cakes in exchange for organic veg 🙂

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  1. COVID 19
  2. Over-wintered beetroot is going to seed.  It was always a long shot growing it over-winter, the seed company recommended it but it’s a waste of time.  We still have loads of beets in store and the space could have been used much more productively!


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

6 Responses

  1. I am impressed by the cucumbers. How did you get them so early? My plants are about ready to go in the greenhouse, but I’m waiting for the weather to settle. We had frost here again this morning, which is rare this late in April.

  2. Your first harvest basket looks like the start of a good dinner. Amazing what you can produce. And congratulations on records set.

  3. Thanks Sue, we like to make up those 2L ‘baskets’ with a mix of meal ready veg, we made up 121 of them this week. I think it’s one things that we can do that’s better than the supermarkets, give people a very wide range of different fruit and veggies to eat, rather than them have to just buy one cabbage and one head of lettuce : All the best – Steve

  4. Hi Dave, I grew them in the conservatory. This year because of the lockdown I decided to use it as my primary seedling growing space, so I heated it. It’s cost me an average of 30p a day, which is easily worth it and the bonus is early tomatoes and cucumbers. I’m going to carry on growing in here now, we’ve moved all the house plants to the front room and now we are all in on edibles, it’s so much more interesting to look at!

  5. Hi Steve very interested in your spreadsheet, you mentioned being able to download it, could you tell me how please, also what do you do with your excess veg , I grow far more than we can eat, I keep being told not to grow so much

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