Allotment Diary (August 2020 – Week 1)
Overview of the week
Not much gardening this week. I drove down to London to collect Anna and Thom, who’ve been locked down there for months, but fortunately (although they are students) they managed to find a way to live in the most wonderful gated community with it’s own gardens and shop.
I stayed for a couple of nights, which gave me a rest from driving, but also allowed Thom and I to go on a long canal/river walk, totalling 40,000 steps. Anna and I went on a couple of shorter park walks.
When I got back all I wanted to do was cycle, so I did the 40 mile loop to Fleetwood and then finally got in a few hours on the allotments. Quite a lot of the Chard and Perpetual Spinach had gone to seed over summer, but it was muli-sowed and fortunately in almost all cases all I had to do was thin out a clump of 3 plants down to 1 or 2. Out of three beds I only had to put in 3 new plants.
I also worked my way through the onions that went to seed, these are now all chopped and bagged in the freezer.
In other news my favourite cafes have opened up again, so life is almost back to normal and I feel my life is much more in balance. When I have plenty of sunshine, relaxation, intellectual stimulation, exercise, social time and growing time my life is hard to beat!
Time spent on the allotments
I’ve spent 8 hours on the allotment and my average this year is 2 hours day.
Our harvest total for this year is £6685 + £365 worth of preserves = £7,050, that’s £1,500 more than last year.
What we’ve harvested and eaten
We harvested £304 of veg this week and made £36 worth of preserves, which is £340 this week in total. This is a big jump from last week because we have a lot of leafy greens this week. It’s £125 up on last year and I’ve not included all of the main crop onions and shallots yet!
We picked: sweet corn, main crop onions, main crop shallots, cucamelons, brussels sprouts, full sized cucumbers, mini cucumbers, cherries, tomatoes, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, strawberries, red currants, black currants, tayberries, second early potatoes, baking potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, chard, perpetual spinach, shelling peas, New Zealand spinach, golden purselane, new season carrots, French beans, runner beans, fresh onions, spring onions, shallots, mangetout peas, Center Cut squash, courgettes, red beetroot, golden beetroot, calabrese, sprout leaves, lots of types of kale, mixed herbs and a lot of lettuce. We also raided the store for: garlic, winter squash, dried apples and pears. Bold items are new this week.
What we’ve bought this week
20 bags of mushroom compost for mulching the onion and strawberry beds
Videos this week
What I’ve sown
Sowing ramps up again now for August and September as we rapidly transition to all of the Autum, Winter and Spring crops. It always shocks me just how important these months are, sowing the plants that will feed us for 6 months.
Erba Stella (Minutina)
Tokyo Cross Turnip
What We’ve planted
- I’ve filled a few gaps in the lettuce beds
- I’ve filled a few gaps in the chard beds
What I’ve potted on
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)
- Beetroot – July Week 2 (we have fresh now)
- Crown Prince squash – July week 3
First harvest dates
- 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
- October sown carrots, June – Week 3
- Garlic for store, June – Week 3
- Broad beans, June – Week 4
- Rhubarb, July – Week 1
- Cherries, July – Week 2
- Shelling peas, July – Week 2
What’s left in store
The store is is still on good shape:
- Dried pears – l large cool bag
- Dried apples – 1 large cool bag
- Potatoes – 1 large box – loads more to come
- Beetroot – 1 box – loads more to come
- Garlic – a few hundred bulbs
- Onions – a few hundred bulbs – a hundred or so still to come
- Shallots – a few hundred bulbs
Items in bold are new this year, others are from last year
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
- Finally got to see the London Kids (Thom and Anna) and bring them home for a couple of weeks
- Stopped off to see Steph and Graham (The Didcott kids) and talk to them in the garden
- Thrilled to learn that Thom and Anna are also planning to return to Lytham St Annes within a few years, that will mean three of my girls (and their partners/children) are living in the local area and that I can feed them!
- We finally have enough tomatoes and peppers to start making preserves, this week it’s passata and chili ketchup
- For the first time since I’ve been gardening it looks like we will have enough salads in August. Every other year I’ve had to do harvest holidays for a week or more.
- Losing a few lettuces to fungal infections, damp warm weather is not a friend to lettuces! Also a couple have been badly eaten by caterpillars (what a mess).
- It looks like my conservatory is top warm and still not sunny enough for tomatoes – cordon varieties anyway – they are leggy and the trusses are small. More experiments with different varieties are needed. I’m also going to try climbing French beans. I don’t much mind what I grow (I can be without tomatoes) I just want t be surrounded by lush edibles.