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.
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.
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!
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
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!
We picked: fresh onions, calabrese, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbage, new potatoes, cucumbers, new season carrots, asparagus, rhubarb, 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.
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
First harvests of the year
Fresh onions, Tough Ball
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 – None (we have fresh onions though)
- Garlic – None (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
Debbie is now harvesting a lot of herbs and bay leaves
- 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 …
- We’ve started to give away lots of plants and perennial kale cuttings to allotmenteers in need
- We’ve been posting seed to people who have lost plants and can’t source new seed
- 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!
- COVID 19
- I’ve hurt my knees, I’ve been resting them, but it will be a while before they are fully recovered