Allotment Diary (August 2020 – Week 5)

Last week I mentioned that we’ve decided to give up Jennie’s plot at the end of the year.  I was a bit sad for a few days, but then the psychic weight of having to care for it lifted and now I just feel relieved and excited to be re-planning the other plots to adapt.

Now I need to resist the temptation of trying to squeeze everything that we used to grow there into the other plots and remind myself that we are growing for half the people as well!  It’s been a joy to harvest the plot this week but not worry about it, even though I wasn’t conscious of that worry before, I definitely feel that lack of it now.

I’ve had to make a few compromises in the re-planning, we won’t be growing as much winter squash and we won’t grow as many summer flowering brassicas, but these are such unproductive crops that’s not much of a loss.

I’ve continued to work hard on tidying up my plot and I’m really thrilled with the progress.  I’ve now created space to store the polytunnel trestle tables, tidied my shed and made a start on clearing the polytunnel.  I’ve also emptied the compost bay that I used as a rubbish store, which makes turning the bins much easier.

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A trestle table store means that I’m now able to adapt the tunnel as I’d originally planned, using the tables when I have loads of seedlings to bring on, but storing them when I need height for cordon tomatoes, or light for winter salads.

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I’ve been hiking in Rivington this week, confident that I’m well ahead and enjoyed lots of leisurly walks and cycled in the local area during the rest of the week and I’d made good progress tidying up the back garden and giving everything a good prune to help it cope with the high winds we’ve ‘enjoyed’.

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We are also approaching holiday season, now and we have two breaks planned in September, so apart from seed sowing and planting I’m pleased to report that all of the big jobs for September are now finished.  We then have a busy October – with no holidays – and then a quiet November with holidays again.

All of the sowing for August is complete and the two failed sowings (Roxy and Flashy Trout lettuce) have been resowed and germinated well.  Here’s the full list, with most recent sowings at the top.

I’ve not done any planting this week, but the big Claret purple sprouting broccoli plants I transplanted last week all look like they have taken, which is a big relief,  it would have been a shame to miss out on PSB in spring and see so much of it on Jennie’s plot being enjoyed by someone else!

Harvesting is always a delight in August, this year we doubled down on tomatoes, peppers and winter squash, hoping to really beef up our winter store so that we never have to think “can we afford to eat this” in winter in fear of a shortage later in the year.  We are still harvesting about 1KG a day of tomatoes and peppers for passata.  Debbie also tried dehydrating some and they were nice, but the electricity cost for the dehydrator is prohibitive for the yield.

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I counted up the squash and it looks like we have 33 huge Crown Prince, compared to 24 medium sized ones last year, so we have more than enough!

Debbie has been busy preserving and her focus is now switching to passata and ketchups.  She’s also started dehydrating the apples and making plum jams too.  The berry harvest is almost over now and so my daily fruit salads have been replaced by green smoothies again.  Although I’m still snacking on raspberries, blueberries and plums.  Here’s a list of the preserves for the month.

I always like to keep a track of or first harvest dates and you can find a summary of those here (in reverse order):

Youtube videos for the month can be found here:

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

6 Responses

  1. I find that the garden planning can be almost as tricky as the actual gardening itself. I have cut back on less productive things, which means my workload went down more than the total output of the garden went down. I did cut back a bit on winter squashes which means less to give away but still plenty for us. And I find that new cooking and eating habits change what I grow. I am putting a lot of the raw summer and cooked winter squashes into my morning smoothies, so I want to have plenty of those to last me. And my taste for fall and winter greens has led me to grow more collards.

  2. Liz Gross says:

    It’s been a few weeks… maybe months since I stopped by one of your Harvest Mondays… and now you have AirTable databases including photos? I’m in awe.

  3. Oh so much to comment on, so here goes:
    –Tidying up and rethinking spaces does feel good and makes gardening more efficient and pleasurable.
    –What a lovely shot of the shore with sea grasses. England is our first choice for travel when that is possible again. We might have to make our way to the north as well.
    –Lovely graffiti cauliflower. I planted mine three days ago and noted this morning that the first seeds are up. Ditto Amazing cauliflower and Premium Crop Broccoli.
    –Must have been a busy planting week. I need to get to my lettuces. Roxy is beautiful and also the deep red ones.
    –We sold our dehydrator years ago, finding that two blocks from the ocean where the humidity ranges from 65-85% most of the year requires too much electricity used.
    –And 59 degrees at 11 a.m. is cool. We’re headed for another heat wave this week in California. My cool season crops won’t go in until the end of the month.
    All the best to you and Debbie

  4. We use surplus electricity from our solar panels to run the dehydrator, but it’s only really cost effective for apples and pears : all the best – Steve

  5. I used to embed photos of the airtable views, but I’m always streamlining and so I decided to embed the actual databases, no effort for me, improved utility for readers in most use cases

  6. It’s particularly hard for me because being such a newbie I don’t yet have a good feel for how long plants take to mature at different times of year. As a result inter planting and mixed planting is tricky, but I’m doing much more of that next year to offset the loss of land a bit

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