Allotment Diary (May 2020 – Week 2)
Overview of the week
I’ve taken a bit of a break this week to rest my knees and back and they are both improving very slowly. This week has seen steady progress though as I try and clear, recondition and plant one bed a day on my plot and chip away at the long list of jobs on Jennie’s plot as we prepare for the ‘big push’ next week when we clear, recondition, mulch and plant about 60m2 of beds.
We’ve also started to see the need to harvest during the week. Over winter everything grows so slowly that weekly harvests are fine, but in spring growth rates are so fast that we need to pick sometimes twice a week to keep on top of things. That’s a nice problem to have of course and since I’m on the plot for 2 hours every morning, it’s easy to fit it in.
Although I’m fairly busy in the mornings now, I’m still managing to fit in a beach walk most days.
Our harvest total for this year is £3,150 and continues to show a significant increase on last year (£2585). From now on that’s to be expected though as the garden is now very productive. I continue to try and plant less productive crops on the allotments and I’m definitely investing more to thoroughly mulch the beds to reduce watering.
What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested £280 of veg this week, a big increase from last week, but much more than last year’s £175.
The new back garden beds are incredibly productive, due to the combination of high fertility levels, low pest pressure, great weather and plentiful water. That’s a combination that’s much easier to achieve at home. Next year fertility should increase still further as the rough compost we made the beds from should be well composted by then.
We picked: strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbage, new potatoes, cucumbers, new season cauliflowers, new season carrots, asparagus, rhubarb, purple 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
Nothing, although a few things I bought a while ago finally arrived. 24 red geranium plants, which will go into the galvanised buckets in front of the blueberries and 5 sweet potato plants which I’d given up hope on, but did finally arrive!
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.
What I’ve sown
It’s been an busy sowing week and a fairly busy potting on week.
What We’ve planted
We’ve done loads of planting this week:
- Burpees Golden beetroot
- Red Ace beetroot
- Golden Puselane
- New Zealand spinach
- California Wonder peppers
What I’ve potted on
- Tumblr tomatoes
- Sweet Million tomatoes
- Tumbling Tom Red tomatoes
- Tumbling Tom Yellow tomatoes
First harvests of the year
Strawberries, green garlic and courgettes
What we’ve run out of in store
- Fresh apples, week 11
- New potatoes
- Main crop potatoes
- 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
- Carrots from the ground, Week 14
- New potatoes from 2019, Week 16
- Winter cabbages, week 16
- Last year’s kale. week 18
What’s left in store
The store is is still on good shape:
- Beetroot – 2 large boxes
- Carrots – 1/4 large box (we have this seasons carrots now though)
- Onions/shallots – 1/8 box (we have this seasons onions now though)
- Garlic – 1/8 large box (we have green garlic though)
- Dried pears – l large cool bag
- Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
- Potatoes – 1/8 a large box (we have new potatoes though)
- Squash – 4 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.
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.
- We are enjoying exceptional weather for the time of year, actually for any time of year
- We are harvesting a lot of veg from the back garden beds now, the spinach is particularly good
- We have started to take our first kale harvests from this year’s sowings
- Lot of gifts from friends and family: cup cakes, chocolate muffins, grapes, tomatoes, egg custard, eggs …
- COVID 19
- I’ve hurt my knees, I need to rest them, but that’s not going to happen until next week
- We are expecting a very cold night for mid May, about -3c windchill, hopefully no frost but it’s possible. Everything is fleeced!