Allotment Diary (May 2020 – Week 1)

Overview of the week

No records this week, but a very respectable harvest.  It’s been a tough week though, I’ve not been sleeping too well because I’ve hurt my knee and my back, so I can’t get comfortable.  Both injuries are very minor, brought on by a little too much time spent squatting or on my knees and too much bending.  Anyway, a good harvest helps make it all worthwhile and in two weeks all beds will be replanted (maybe not the squash) and it will be time to relax for a few months.

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Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £2,870 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 more money on compost this year and it’s definitely something I will repeat next year, it just doesn’t make sense to try and save money on something that’s a win from every perspective: reduces watering, improves yields, improves the soil, reduces weeding, costs less than a single weeks harvest value.

I’ve gradually come to realise that making my own compost just isn’t really worthwhile: it’s hard work, full of weed seeds and quite likely spreads perennial weeds around the plot.  Making compost is necessary to get rid of veg waste, but it’s not something I’m going to invest much energy into from now on.

What we’ve harvested and eaten

We harvested £250 of veg this week, a big drop from last week, but much 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: spring cabbage, new potatoes, cucumbers, new season cauliflowers, new season carrotsasparagusrhubarbpurple sprouting broccoli, radish,  field bean tops, chard, red and golden beetroot, last season carrots, 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.

What we’ve bought this week

Twenty forty litre bags of mushroom compost and a bag of concentrated farmyard manure.  I’ve also bought a new set of modules (three sizes).  I’ve invested in a lot of modules this year, which has been a fantastic investment as I was always running out in the past.  It’s also much more space efficient as the three new sets all stack, all fit into the A4 sized trays and are much better quality.  Overall it will make sowing a much nicer experience and all for £45, less than the delta between this week and last weeks harvests.

I’ve also finally managed to buy a bag of seed starting compost, I was down to my last bag and getting a little worried.

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 I will only make videos of significant activities from now on.

Is this the ultimate winter veg?

The best smoothie mix changes every week!

What I’m Sowing and Growing in May – Part 1

What I’m Sowing and Growing in May – Part 2

Three ways to grow early French and runner beans

Planting out the first peppers

What I’ve sown

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


White Lisbon spring onions
Sweetcorn incredible Corn chits were planted

What We’ve planted

We’ve done loads of planting this week:

  1. Long Red marconi peppers
  2. California Wonder peppers
  3. Sweet corn in my deep cold-frame
  4. Matador spinach

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What I’ve potted on

  • Crown Prince squash
  • Tumblr outdoor tomatoes
  • Crimson Crush outdoor tomatoes

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
  10. Last year’s kale. week 18

What’s left in store

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The store is is still on good shape:

  1. Beetroot – 2  large boxes
  2. Carrots – 1/2 large box (we have this seasons carrots now though)
  3. Onions/shallots – 1/4 box (we have this seasons onions now though)
  4. Garlic – 1/4 large box (we have green garlic though)
  5. Dried pears – l large cool bag
  6. Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
  7. Potatoes – 1/4 a large box (we have new potatoes though)
  8. Squash – 4 Crown Prince

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

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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. We are harvesting a lot of veg from the back garden beds now, the spinach is particularly good
  3. Lot of gifts from friends and family: lemon drizzle cake, chocolate cup cakes, brownies, grapes, tomatoes, egg custard, rock cakes


  1. COVID 19
  2. I sowed a tray of 40 brassicas, of 5 different types, only 5 germinated.  I’ve no idea why, brassicas are typically so reliable.  I will sow another tray.

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. Emil Zbranca says:

    Hi Steve. Beside the useful info, i enjoined thoughts about compost and some downsides of physical work of a gardener, and on that sometimes more is not better. And this week i especially enjoined update for the smoothie. Be sure that in all you share there are things that change minds, habits and some ideas . Keep on sharing!

  2. I’m feeling some aches and pains from the extra gardening here too, though we have another month before it will ease off. Are those shallots or onions planted along with the lettuce? I love the deep red of the lettuce too.

  3. Hi Dave, they are spring onions in bunches of 6-9 plants. We will have harvested them before the lettuces finish. The lettuce is Navara, great in late spring and summer, a little prone to mildew later/earlier in the year. Hope you adapt to the extra work!

  4. Thanks for the feedback Emil! : all the best – Steve

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