Allotment Diary (June 2020 – Week 2)
Overview of the week
Plenty of time out on my bike this week, not so much time on the plots, but I’m keeping on top of things with an hour or so a day in the morning or evening. We have had a little rain, but extra watering has still been needed for some beds. The results are definitely starting to show and it’s nice to be taking harvests from this years sowing now, rather than last, some payoff for all that work earlier in the year.
Our harvest total for this year is £4,528, which is just of £1,000 more than last year, I really am pleased with this result. Every year now we have increased yields for less effort, so it’s great to see this trend continue, but well over 25% increase in a single year is more than I could have hoped for!
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 £243 of veg this week, a small decrease from last week and also a little more than last year’s £250, the first time this year that we have harvested less.
We picked: New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, new season carrots, cherries, baking potatoes, romanesco cauliflower, tomatoes, French beans, runner beans, broad beans, fresh onions, mangetout peas, strawberries, courgettes, green garlic, main-crop garlic, spring cabbage, new potatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, rhubarb, radish, chard, red beetroot, sprout leaves, lots of types of kale, spring onions, mixed herbs and a lot of lettuce. We also raided the store for: squash, garlic and dried apples and pears. Bold items are new this week.
What we’ve bought this week
I bought a range of organic fertilisers for the tomatoes and peppers this week and some foliar feeds too. I was also gifted a thermostat controlled plug, that I’m going to use to control the fans in the conservatory grow room.
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.
What I’ve sown
It’s been an easy sowing week. The potatoes have been planted in small pots because the ground isn’t ready for them yet. The Miranda purple calabrese is dud seed unfortunately, awaiting a replacement. The Purple Haze carrots are in the ground and I actually planted another packet of mixed colours too.
What We’ve planted
- The last of the outdoor tomatoes went in
What I’ve potted on
First harvests of the year
- We harvested the first Center Cut of the year, loads to come
- New Zealand spinach
- Golden purselane
- New season carrot – yes one carrot, just a test and it was perfect
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
- Golden beetroot (we don’t have any fresh available yet which is a big failure for me, although we have red beets in store and fresh)
- 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
- Spinach Matador and Red Kitten, week 22
- The autumn sown carrots are now finished, although we harvested enough for two weeks, so actually week 24 (we don’t yet have spring sown carrots available)
What’s left in store
The store is is still on good shape:
- Red Beetroot – 2 large boxes
- Carrots – None
- 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 – 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 preserved pickled onions and lots of stewed rhubarb and jam
- I’m eating such wonderful food at the moment, just a little of a lot, typically at least 15-20 home grown fruits and veggies every day and 20+ every week
- The weather is returning to normal, a mix of sunny, cloudy, rainy and windy days in all permutations and combinations – much better
- The back garden is now more productive than the allotments
- The greenhouse is filling up with alliums for drying
- I’m gradually increasing the load on my knees, cycling and harvesting and they are coping
- First harvests are coming fast now
- We’ve actually had enough rain to allow us to defer watering for a full week!
- My new cool grow room is working brilliantly, holding at about 70f. My main growing spaces, the conservatory and the polytunnel are 90f or more and many things, like beets and lettuce don’t like it
- The lettuce beds growing too quickly 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.