Allotment Diary (October 2020 – Week 2)
I’ve continued to push on with clearing and planting beds at the allotment and at home this week, but I’ve also managed plenty of beach walks and a good hike in the hills.
The big non-allotment news though is that my swimming pool is now open again, so I’m back to my favourite morning routine.
A walk along the beach, a leisurely swim for half an hour, followed by a couple of hours by the pool reading, writing, developing and researching and a walk home along the beach. It’s a great way to start the day, especially as the weather deteriorates. I’m all finished by about 10am and ready for a hike/bike or few hours at the allotments, or one of a dozen of indoor projects.
Right, lets get back to the allotment! I cleared the old perpetual spinach bed and chard bed, both of which have younger replacements that are more than enough for our winter needs. In place of the spinach went spring cabbage and in place of the chard went carrots for an early spring harvest.
Carrots continue to be a challenge for me. I grow most of them in the soil with moderate success, these last us until late winter, then I switch over to container grown ones, which last until mid-spring, in theory I then have the autumn grown ones that come ready in late spring, followed by the early spring sown ones for early summer. It all sounds easy, but the container grown ones sometimes get mildew in the polytunnel and the autumn sown like to run to seed faster than we can harvest them! I’m still trying to figure out the mix of varieties/timings that work!
The big allotment news though is that I almost finished planting the polytunnel. I’d already done two beds, but this week I finished the big spinach bed and the big salad bed, I also cleared the penultimate pepper bed and planted spinach there too. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to inter-plant the salad bed with spring onions as they weren’t quite ready, so I won’t actually finish until next week.
This year I’m taking a risk and not planting any autumn brassicas in the polytunnel as I’ve always done before. I’ve realised that I don’t actually harvest these kales etc until spring, so why waste a polytunnel bed all through winter! Instead I will be planting them in a low tunnel when I finally remove my last few peppers.
In the back garden I cleared out the last of my lettuces. I cleared three beds, one was replanted with corn salad, another with miner’s lettuce/corn salad and the final one had been interplanted with kale, which now has the bed to itself.
We continue to harvest just above our average rate for the year, bringing in about £250/week of produce. The apples and pears are a big favourite of course, but we also continue to get blackberries and raspberries. All of the winter squash is now harvested and cured and the only bulk harvests still to do are potatoes, celariac and beetroot, everything else will be picked fresh weekly.
We always run short of salad greens/reds at this time of year. If I sow what I need I end up with way too much in late October and the plants don’t last well into winter. Instead I try to get my timings right for late autumn/winter and early spring, sacrificing early autumn abundance. We always have enough, but our friends and family get about half of their usual delivery for a couple of weeks.
The smoothie mixes are still very popular!
I’ve also started to log my backlog of seeds into my database. I’m doing about an hour at a time and I have about 5 hours in total to do as I have all of my seeds for the year already, thanks to Gerry at growseed.co.uk
I finally have a bit of time on my hands, so I’m starting the slow process of sweeping through the whole plot and garden, doing all of those little improvement/repair/tidy up jobs that are key to us reducing our workload every year. Giving up Jennie’s plot has saved a couple of hours a week and I’ve already shaved off about another hour of chores and I’m sure that another few hours will follow by spring.
Here’s this weeks sowing log.
As already mentioned I’m well on with the planting now, this is what I’ve planted this week.
One of my viewers commented recently that although I publish all of the varieties that I grow, I don’t make it easy to find the seed supplier. Well I do my best to please. I now have a public view onto my database that lists every seed packet I’ve used in the last few years, as well as those I have in stock. You can find it here and embedded below.
It’s worth noting that these embedded views are very powerful, you can search, sort, filter and export from them.
Here’s our harvests for the year so far, with the most recent at the top. We’ve now passed last year’s total harvest value and we still have a huge amount of food in the ground to harvest this year, so I’m expecting to harvest about £2,500 more than last year. This is party as a result of spending £200 extending the growing area in the back garden, a very nice payback!
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 week can be found here: