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 walk home from swimming

The big non-allotment news though is that my swimming pool is now open again, so I’m back to my favourite morning routine.

The swimming pool

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.

This weeks hike around the Rivington reservoir system and surrounding hills

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 polytunnel beds, salads and spinach, soon to be interplanted with spring onions

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.

Grenoble Red, the best winter lettuce

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.

Corn salad/Lambs lettuce – the best outdoor salad green

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.

My salad mixes for the week

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.

About 2/3 of the weekly harvest

The smoothie mixes are still very popular!

One of my smoothie mixes

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

About 2/3 of the seeds for next year, these were kindly donated by Gerry at

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.

Sowed this week

As already mentioned I’m well on with the planting now, this is what I’ve planted this week.

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:

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

4 Responses

  1. The salad greens certainly look healthy! I am going to interplant lettuce between my kale in the greenhouse beds. The kale will be there all winter, and the lettuce should size up and be gone before the kale needs the space.

  2. I enjoyed the carrot and cabbage planting video. Our nematodes here in the US is quite expensive–about $25 for the package. I usually us Sluggo Plus for cutworms, sow bugs and earwigs. Its spinolsad with iron phosphate which is considered an organic treatment here in the US. I presume you start little clumps of onions that you then interplant with lettuce. Do you also do that with the brassicas?

  3. I’d not heard of Sluggo Plus Sue, I’ve just looked it up on Amazon and they only have the slug treatment but I will look around. The nemasys nematode is only £15 for a months supply, so £45 per year, which is about the value we harvest from 1m2 of our 250m2 of growing space. The advantage it has is it’s effective against carrot fly, onion fly, cabbage root fly, cut worms and more. I start all of my onions in modules, for spring onions about 6-9 seeds (a pinch) per module and I try to have them about 2-3 weeks ahead of the lettuces, so they are fairly tall before the lettuces grow close to them. For the brassicas I normally interpant with turnips and radish, the timing works a bit better for me.

  4. That should work out well, in your climate you really need brassicas under cover, it’s no so important for me. I interplant turnips and radish into my kale beds.

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