Allotment Diary (May 2020 – Week 4)

Overview of the week

Life is much more relaxed now,  all of the big jobs are done, so we are ticking over.  Every week brings a new bed to completion, it gets reconditioned and replanted, tick, tick, tick and so it goes for a few months.  Unfortunately my knees are still playing up a bit, so I’ve not been able to take advantage of the new freedom to travel for exercise, I’ve been enjoying more relaxed time in the local area though.

2020-05-19 08.26.43-1 (Medium).jpg

Just as the frosts finished, the wind started though, very high winds for three days, which fortunately didn’t affect us much, except for delaying planting.

2020-05-20 17.35.40 (Medium).png

I was very surprised this week to have broken our harvest record again, so far into the hungry gap, but next week will see a big drop!

Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £3,737 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 easily 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

2020-05-24 13.24.00 (Medium).jpg

We harvested £325 of veg this week, a very big increase from last week, but much more than last year’s £205.  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!

2020-05-24 13.24.14 (Medium).jpg

We picked:  fresh onions, calabrese, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbagenew potatoes, cucumbers, new season carrotsasparagusrhubarb, 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


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.

Progress check on the early French and runner beans

Planting peppers and comparing grow light results

Hints and tips for a windy allotment or garden

Grafted tomato disaster: making the best of a bad job

My favourite weather apps for gardeners

May Harvest : Our biggest ever!

What I’ve sown


What We’ve planted

Due to the wind, we’ve held off on most of the planting.  Just a few radish, outdoor tomatoes and the last of the peppers once the wind died down.

What I’ve potted on

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tundra Savoy cabbage
  • Snowball Cauliflower
  • January king cabbage
  • Early purple PSB
  • Amsterdam cauliflower
  • Tomatoes

First harvests of the year

Fresh onions, Tough Ball

2020-05-24 11.49.26 (Medium).jpg

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
  5. Onions
  6. Garlic

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 – None (we have fresh onions though)
  4. Garlic – None (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

Debbie is now harvesting a lot of herbs and bay leaves


2020-05-17 12.23.57 (Medium).jpg

  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. We’ve started to give away lots of plants and perennial kale cuttings to allotmenteers in need
  5. We’ve been posting seed to people who have lost plants and can’t source new seed
  6. We have been tidying up and finally we have more space for seedlings than we actually have plants to fill it.  That’s kind of like living within your means, very relaxing!


  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

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

7 Responses

  1. Phuong says:

    Your lettuce and greens look lovely, and your tomatoes and peppers are well on their way. It’s such a busy time of year with all the planting that has to be done.

  2. Kathy says:

    I really enjoy your vid Steve, good to see how things are going in what for me, is the real world of growing rather than the rubbish out there! Like you, the planting out is almost complete here too, so maintenance jobs are coming up. Learning a lot as your year goes on, so thank you!

  3. Thanks for the feedback Kathy, we finished planting today!! : all the best – Steve

  4. Those are some good looking onions! Sorry to hear about your knees. I can empathasize since I am having back issues and it makes gardening difficult. It could be worse though, and other than that I am healthy.

  5. Hi Dave, thanks for asking! my knees are improving as is my back which is quite a relief. I’m still minimising squatting, but I’ve managed 12 miles in low gear on my bike. Have you grown Centercut squash again this year? My little female fruits are about 1.5″ long now, so we are excited to try them, I guess they are probably 10 days away from harvest. The vines are about 4 ft tall and I’ve just sown my third succession. Did you save the seeds from your plants last year?

  6. Yes I am growing Centercut again this year. I did not save seeds since I could not guarantee mine wouldn’t get cross-pollinated outside.

  7. No chance of mine cross pollination for mine but they are an F1 hybrid, but I’m still going to have a go at seed saving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: