Allotment Diary (May 2020 – Week 3)
Overview of the week
We are almost planted now, this week Jennie and Jon finished clearing the ground on their plot, prepared it and mulched it ready for the winter brassicas and squash. They were worn out so Debbie and I planted the winter brassicas. We’ve been busy planting on our plots too.
The hassle of nightly frost protection now seems to be over, so we are gradually planing out the last of the tomatoes and peppers, the beans and squash will be planted soon and then it’s just water and wait.
Our lockdown has been eased now, so we can cycle and hike a bit further afield, for me that means heading a bit further north along the beach.
Our harvest total for this year is £3,412 and continues to show a significant increase on last year, an extra £1,000 for winter and spring, with a total for winter/spring of about £4,000. That £1,000 doesn’t sound like much but it represents more than the total running costs of the three allotments and the back garden funded just from extra harvests.
We have now reached the point where we are actually harvesting more from our little back garden than from the allotments, which seems incredible until you remember that this is the strategy. The garden has been designed to provide most of the food in summer, leaving the allotments to focus on the food for the other 9 months of the year.
What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested £262.50 of veg this week, a small decrease from last week, but much more than last year’s £175. I’m expecting harvest volumes to fall off a cliff next week though as the chard, spinach and field beans are all coming to an end and their replacements are not yet ready, that’s the hungry gap arriving at last!
We picked: calabrese, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbage, new potatoes, cucumbers, new season carrots, asparagus, rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, radish, field bean tops, chard, red and golden beetroot, 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
A long handled bulb planted for planting the brassicas, leeks and squash, it’s amazing and really saved my knees! I’ve also bought another bag of 6X fertiliser for the squash bed, which we plant in a couple of weeks.
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
I’ve not sown much this week, just a tray of radish, spring onions and golden purselane. Everything I sowed last week has germinated now, so lots of pricking out next week; I need to get some space cleared!
What We’ve planted
We’ve done loads of planting this week:
- 16 Sprouts
- 16 Kalettes
- 20 red cabbage
- 6 calabrese
- 3 Sutherland Kale
- 200 leeks
- 15 beetroot
- 75 perpetual spinach
- 4 Tumblr outdoor tomatoes
- Hundreds of autumn carrots
- Hundreds of winter carrots
What I’ve potted on
- Sweet potatoes
First harvests of the year
Mangetout peas and calabrese
What we’ve run out of in store
- Fresh apples, week 11
- New potatoes
- Main crop potatoes
- Carrots, the last few have gone to seed
- 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
- Carrots from containers, week 20
What’s left in store
The store is is still on good shape:
- Beetroot – 2 large boxes
- Carrots – None (we have new carrots 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 – none (we have new potatoes though)
- Squash – 3 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
- The back garden is now more productive than the allotments
- Lot of gifts from friends and family: cup cakes, brownies, Madeira loaf cake, grapes, tomatoes, egg custard, eggs …
- Although everything was well fleeced we lost a few peppers and beans and a few potato tips, but the vast majority of the tender veg survived
- Hopefully no more frosts now
- We’ve started to give away our surplus veg plants to allotmenteers in need
- We’ve been posting seed to people who have lost plants and can’t source new seed
- COVID 19
- I’ve hurt my knees, I’ve been resting them, but it will be a while before they are fully recovered
- We have a lot of greenfly on the peppers in the kitchen and to a lesser extent in the conservatory, they are not being cleared by soapy water or pyrethium, I will try adding neem oil next week
- We are overflowing with veg that needs to be planted