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.

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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.

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Allotment Finances

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

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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!

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We picked:  calabrese, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbagenew potatoes, cucumbers, new season carrotsasparagusrhubarbpurple 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.

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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.

Stunning growth in the kitchen garden

Planting summer and winter carrots and perpetual spinach

I’ve changed my mind: no more early tomatoes, cucumbers & peppers for me!

Preparing the ground for kalettes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and squash

Kitchen Garden Harvest

Planting, netting and bug busting brassicas

Progress check on the broad beans and garlic

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:

  1. 16 Sprouts
  2. 16 Kalettes
  3. 20 red cabbage
  4. 6 calabrese
  5. 3 Sutherland Kale
  6. 200 leeks
  7. 15 beetroot
  8. 75 perpetual spinach
  9. 4 Tumblr outdoor tomatoes
  10. Hundreds of autumn carrots
  11. Hundreds of winter carrots

What I’ve potted on

  • Sweet potatoes

First harvests of the year

Mangetout peas and calabrese

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What we’ve run out of in store

  1. Fresh apples, week 11
  2. New potatoes
  3. Main crop potatoes
  4. Carrots, the last few have gone to seed

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
  11. Carrots from containers, week 20

What’s left in store

The store is is still on good shape:

  1. Beetroot – 2  large boxes
  2. Carrots – None (we have new carrots though)
  3. Onions/shallots – 1/8 box (we have this seasons onions now though)
  4. Garlic – 1/8 large box (we have green garlic though)
  5. Dried pears – l large cool bag
  6. Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
  7. Potatoes – none (we have new potatoes though)
  8. 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.


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  1. We are enjoying exceptional weather for the time of year, actually for any time of year
  2. The back garden is now more productive than the allotments
  3. Lot of gifts from friends and family: cup cakes, brownies, Madeira loaf cake, grapes, tomatoes, egg custard, eggs …
  4. 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
  5. Hopefully no more frosts now
  6. We’ve started to give away our surplus veg plants to allotmenteers in need
  7. We’ve been posting seed to people who have lost plants and can’t source new seed


  1. COVID 19
  2. I’ve hurt my knees, I’ve been resting them, but it will be a while before they are fully recovered
  3. 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
  4. We are overflowing with veg that needs to be planted

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

14 Responses

  1. It sounds like you all have been busy for sure! Our frost is likely past too so I planted out tomatoes last week and got started on squash before the rains came. I hope to work on the rest of the squash this week if it dries a bit. I too gave up on planting early tomatoes and peppers, though I do pot up a few small fruited eggplants and a couple of zucchinis for early harvest.

  2. I find zucchinis to be the best of the summer veg for growing early, we’ve had half a dozen off our plant and it’s turning out a new fruit every 2-3 days at the moment

  3. Hi Steve.I have been enjoying your videos this last few weeks.We have a nursery that my wife and i run with our son.We have been in lock down while he has been keeping the nursery going.I have been growing vegetables in containers while at home.Though i have been a grower since 1970 i have learned many new techniques from your very interesting,detailed,and inspirational films.Many thanks.

  4. Diana Binnes says:

    What are your thoughts on diatomaceous earth?

  5. Hi Diana, it’s very messy and expensive. I tried it for flea beetle years ago and it didn’t really help me much. That first experience put me off, so I’ve since not had much cause to use it

  6. Diana Binnes says:

    Ah ok. Just saw someone waxing lyrical about it so thought I’d ask. Not seen it discussed here. It was a U.S. site. Organic gardener.

  7. Hi Peter, thanks for the lovely feedback, I hope you get back to the nursery soon : All the best – Steve

  8. Diana Binnes says:

    I agree… great videos. No false enthusiasm. Full of info and interesting insights, tips and straightforward advice very generously given Learnt a lot.
    Also awe inspiring attention to detail!

  9. It does make me smile Diana when I see comments like “attention to detail”, my friends and family would laugh. I suppose I’m an 80/20 person, I am detail oriented where it counts, the 20% of activities that deliver 80% of the results. In the remaining 80% of life I am so laid back in horizontal : all the best – Steve

  10. Darren Scott says:

    Hi Steve. I came across your YouTube channel and blog last year, shortly after building my own First Tunnels supplied 30′ x 16′ polytunnel here in Warwickshire and then finding the videos of your build and review on YouTube. I’ve been a keen follower since (along with introducing my dad to your videos too!) so thanks from both of us for all your entertaining and informative content.

    This is my first season with the polytunnel and I’m loving it so far, and although I’ve not suffered from many pests yet (thankfully!) one thing I wanted to ask was if you could recommend the specific pyrethium spray you use and where to get it from here in the UK? I couldn’t see it mentioned in the “Where do you get your xxx from?” section of the FAQ page on your blog. Thanks.

  11. Hi Darren, thanks for the feedback, that’s definitely a polytunnel to lust after!! I’ve only bought one bottle of pyrethrum, for the concentrate off eBay and been using it on and off for 4 years : all the best – Steve

  12. Chrissy says:

    Hi, Steve

    Your blog and videos are very interesting and informative and you seem to have learnt a lot in just 4 years. I have been growing veg for many years, but always seem to struggle with carrots on my clay soil, although I add in sand. No problem in containers though. This year is the worst ever, constantly sowing new seed! I have read conflicting advice about whether seed should be covered. I always sow in watered drills, but maybe I am not keeping the soil moist enough until germination. Any ideas? Also, if you have any perennial kale available for my allotment, I’d be grateful. Thanks

  13. Hi Chrissy,

    Carrots should definitely be covered, I plant at least 1cm deep. The whole water the drills thing is I think a myth. I believe it comes from planting carrots into soil that’s full of weed seeds, the theory being if you only water the drills you won’t germinate the weed seeds. However if you are planting into compost that’s free of weed seed you can water the whole container. You definitely need to keep them moist and that’s almost impossible in this dry breezy weather unless you cover the surface of the compost. I like to use a shade cloth or hessian and leave it on for a week and then start checking for germination, remove once you see it. You can water the cloth and it will soak through.

    : All the best – Steve

  14. Chrissy says:

    Thanks, I’ll try the hessian, and see what happens.

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