Allotment Diary (May 2020 – Week 5)

Overview of the week

For some reason I allowed myself to forget just how busy spring is on the allotments and in the kitchen garden.  Incredibly I scheduled three holidays during spring, all of which – thank goodness – were cancelled as a result of the corona virus, I’m not sure how I would have coped otherwise.  Next year I need to remember that my holiday period is from mid-October until March, spring needs me to spend 4 days a week gardening and then summer is free and easy, with lots of day trips, but too hot and busy to holiday.  It’s a nice seasonal balance and provided I set my expectations right, very rewarding with just the right balance between challenge and relaxation.

Anyway it’s been a fantastic week, the weather has been great, I’ve managed a lot of time away from the allotments, but enjoyed every moment that I’ve been there.  I like to go early morning and early evening during summer, which leaves lots of time for cycling, walking, pottering around the garden, reading etc.

I’ve also given the greenhouse a really good clear-out so that it’s ready for it’s role as ‘drying space’ for the garlic, shallots and onions, it will return to greenhouse duties in September.

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I was very surprised this week to have another stupendous harvest!  last week I was anticipating a big drop as the field beans, spinach and chard are finishing, but we managed one more spinach harvest and the chard struggled on.  What I didn’t expect was such a big broad bean harvest.

Allotment Finances

Our harvest total for this year is £4,022 and continues to show a significant increase on last year, so far £800 more, a 20% increase, which has definitely been nice to have.

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

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We harvested £285 of veg this week, a small decrease from last week, but much more than last year’s £228.

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We picked:  broad beans, fresh onions, calabrese, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbagenew potatoes, cucumbers, new season carrotsasparagusrhubarb, radish, chard, red and golden beetroot, sprout leaves, lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs, true spinach and a lot of lettuce. We also raided the store for: squash, garlic and dried apples and pears. Bold items are new this week.

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What we’ve bought this week


Videos this week

Now it’s summer I’ve finished making daily videos.  In part that’s because the lockdown is easing and life is returning to normal, but also there’s just less of interest to show,  everyone can and is growing food in summer.

Checking up on the onions and shallots

Planting the summer flowering brassicas

End of spring (May) allotment tour – all planted for summer

We’ve finished planting the ‘winter allotment’

My favourite fruits and veggies – Centercut Squash

What I’ve sown

A few trays of lettuce

What We’ve planted

We planted the summer squash this week:

  1. 24 Crown Price squash on the allotment
  2. 2 Crown Price squash in the front garden
  3. 5 Hurricane butternut squash on the allotment
  4. 36 Sweetcorn Incredible on Jennie’s plot
  5. About 20 sweetcorn Earlibird on Debbie’s plot and the front garden
  6. The summer flowering brassicas: green sprouting broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese and romanesco cauliflower
  7. A small bed of kale on my plot
  8. 4 Crimson Crush tomatoes on Debbie’s plot
  9. 24 Oca plants on my plot and Jennie’s plot
  10. Cucumbers in hanging baskets and climbing ones in the polytunnel
  11. Cucamelons in hanging baskets in the polytunnel
  12. The last few sweet peppers in the polytunnel
  13. The sweet potatoes in a cold-frame
  14. A perennial kale

What I’ve potted on

  • Nothing

First harvests of the year

A very good crop of broad beans, enough for about eight meals

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. Spinach Matador and Red Kitten, week 22

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 – 2 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


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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. I gave away a dozen kale cuttings last week
  4. The greenhouse is clean and tidy and ready for the garlic in a few weeks time
  5. I’m gradually increasing the load on my knees, cycling and harvesting and they are coping
  6. We now have beans on most of the early plants and so we should start harvesting next week
  7. We now have lots of fruits on the Centercut Squash plants, so we should be harvesting within a week or so


  1. Watering is becoming a real chore.  We are applying half the RHS recommended amounts because we have invested so much in water retentive mulches and other water saving techniques, but it’s still a lot and can never replace a good storm!
  2. The lettuce beds growing too quickly, we can’t harvest them fast enough and they are degrading quicker as a result.  Some are already hearting up, so I am racing to try and replace them by early July.  Next year we will sow smaller successions monthly, rather than follow Charles Dowdings advice which is much less resilient to pests and weather issues.

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

5 Responses

  1. Looks like you will be harvesting Centercut soon! I just set my plants out last week. I have to say it’s hard for us to get away from the garden until late summer, since we don’t have anyone to harvest for us. I got some of those plant halos and I’m using them in the greenhouse around my cucumbers, which should aid in watering. I hope to do a greenhouse update soon.

  2. Just planted the last of my cucumbers today, the early ones have worked so well at home. Checked the Centercut today, it’s Growing very quickly. Looking forward to the update!

  3. Phuong says:

    Wow, that’s a ton of winter squash you’ve planted. Spring is such a busy time of year. Your harvests always look incredible, it’s amazing how well greens do in your plots.

  4. With year round vegetable gardens the common wisdom is that August and December are the best months to vacation. The garden gets by on its own, especially if you have family and neighbors to pick ripe veggies. With quarantining, my vegetable and flower gardens were planted in more timely fashion and the weeds in the front yard gardens have been dispatched with more regularity. Your planning for summer yields from the home garden was very timely. Don’t we all wish we could wander around each other’s gardens?

  5. Yes, winter squash is a very important crop for us, we are still eating last years crop and have two left. Hopefully we will start harvesting this years summer squash just before we run out : All the best – Steve

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