Allotment Diary (June 2020 – Week 3)
Overview of the week
This week wqe had our first two bulk harvests of the year, always a big event. We harvested the last 1/2 of the broad beans, having harvested the other half over the last three weeks. We also harvested the garlic and elephant garlic, following on from the green garlic we’ve been harvesting for six weeks. I also managed a few cycle rides and some rare rest days, taking advantage of the rain.
Our harvest total for this year is £5,133, which is just of £1,100 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 over 25% increase in a single year is more than I could have hoped for. Just the increase in harvest, more than covers our total costs for the year.
As a result of this increase we are taking the opportunity to spend a bit more money to reduce our future costs and make life easier. Buying new and more robust nets and fleece, new bean and pea frames, more mulches and wood chip for the paths etc. I’m also upgrading some of the cold-frames and tunnels on my plot. We are also spending on plants: more trees and fruit bushes for example. No matter how much we try though we still won’t manage to spend as much as this years extra harvest.
What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested £585 of veg this week, a huge increase from last week due to the bulk harvests and also a lot more than last year’s £400.
We picked: Sweet and hot peppers, the garlic bulk garlic pick, the bulk broad bean pick, the first raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, second early Charlotte potatoes, perpetual spinach, shelling peas, New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, new season carrots,cherries, baking potatoes, tomatoes, French beans, runner beans, fresh onions, mangetout peas, strawberries, Center Cut squash, courgettes, green garlic, spring cabbage, cucumbers, 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, dried apples and pears. Bold items are new this week.
What we’ve bought this week
I bought a fan for the conservatory grow room and two brooms for the garden and allotment, Debbie bought a little push mower for the allotment.
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.
The joy of big and little harvests
What I’ve sown
I sowed the last of the main-crop carrots, this batch are for winter. I still have some to sow in containers for harvest in late winter and early spring.
What We’ve planted
- I planted two beds of lettuce in the garden, the early spring planted lettuce is starting to rise a little now, so we only have about two weeks left
What I’ve potted on
- Autumn and winter cauliflowers, PSB, lettuce, radicchio
First harvests of the year
- The garlic bulk garlic harvest, we only have green garlic in the ground now
- The bulk broad bean harvest, we are switching to french and runner beans now as well as peas
- Second early Charlotte potatoes
- Perpetual spinach
- Shelling peas
- Sweet and hot peppers
What we’ve run out of in store
- Fresh apples, week 11
- New potatoes (we have fresh now)
- Main crop potatoes (we have fresh now)
- Carrots, the last few have gone to seed (we have fresh now)
- Onions (we have fresh now)
- Garlic (we have fresh now)
- Golden beetroot (we have fresh now)
- 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 have fresh now)
- Broad beans, week 24
- Garlic for store, week 24
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 doing a lot pf preserving again, this is the produce for the year so far!
- We picked more food this week than in any previous week since we started gardening
- 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 fruit has arrived!
- I’m really pleased with the new growlights that Mars Hydro gave me, that are installed in the cool garage. They are on at night, when it’s even cooler and that works much better than in the heat of the day
- Someone asked me in the comments whether I was ‘proud’ of my harvests and that got me thinking. I’m not really, we have been growing a lot of food for many years now, it doesn’t feel like much of an achievement to be proud of anymore. My focus now is growing better food, a wider range of food, improving the soil, improving the environments, eliminating our carbon footprint etc. That’s what I’m proud of this year!