Allotment Diary (September 2020 – Week 1)
After last weeks big push to tidy the allotments this week has been very relaxing. I only spent 7 hours on the plot including 3 hours of harvesting. I’ve spent a couple of hours sowing seeds, pricking out and planting in the garden too, but it’s been a nice break. Next week I will spend more time, in preparation for our first holiday since lock down began.
Taking a break from the plot meant cycling and quite a bit of walking as well as searching through second hand bookshops for some good scifi to see me through winter!
The big job this week was to harvest the last of the outdoor determinate tomatoes and we picked about 3 Kg of green and 6 Kg of ripe ones for cooking. We picked a few windfall pears and combined them with the green tomatoes for chutney.
The result was a lot of empty containers which I’ve usually just left empty over-winter, this year though I’m planning to experiment with keeping them growing. I’m going to try a bit of everything: containers of green garlic, Claytonia, Erba Stella etc, just to brighten up the patio. I will probably do the same with the potato containers. All told I will get quite a reasonable crop from all of this extra space.
We have always grown garlic to harvest early and green, but we’ve never really considered it as a proper crop. This year, by accident really, I planted a hundred sprouting cloves in February and we had a fantastic crop. We ate a lot of it in stir fry’s and also steamed and we loved it. I describe it as a sweet, extra tasty leek.
This May we took the dregs (a hundred or so cloves) of the stored garlic and planted that too and again we’ve got a brilliant green garlic crop which is now ready for harvest. I pulled the first few this week. It seems that garlic is actually a much more versatile and easier to grow – healthier – alternative to leeks, one that’s suitable for harvesting all year round.
The highlight of the year so far has to be the peppers which we’ve managed to harvest consistently all through summer, at just the right rate to keep up with the tomatoes destined for passata. We are now fully stocked up with all forms of preserves, so from now on everything will be eaten fresh and lovely it looks too! Debbie has processed a total of 380 jars/bottles so far this year!
I’ve also made a start on clearing up the winter food store and that’s meant that we can also finally process the onions and shallots. The shallots were a particular delight, so colourful!
I’ve also started sowing for winter with a vengeance now, here’s what I’ve sown so far in September, with the most recent at the top.
I’ve only done a little planting this week, mainly in the back garden. The salad rocket and the Erba Stella were interplanted with garlic, to be harvested green in late winter/early spring.
Harvesting is always a delight at this time of year and this week we will pass the £8,000 milestone with another £500 of preserves.
Here’s our harvests for the year so far, with the most recent at the top.
Here’s a list of the preserves for the year.
I always like to keep a track of or first harvest dates and you can find a summary of those here:
Youtube videos for the month can be found here: