Allotment Diary (October 2020 – Week 3)

My Mum and her partner came over to the west coast this week for a visit, they stayed in a hotel to comply with social distancing regulations.  Fortunately they stayed at the hotel where I swim, so we got to swim together and catch-up in the poolside lounge.  We also managed a good cycle together, a chat in the garden (new rules from today make that illegal!) and a picnic.

Bike ride views

As fellow growers they were disappointed not to be able to visit the allotment, but Mum rifled through my spare seeds and took a few dozen packets home with her, as well as a couple of trays of spring onions.

One of many beach walk views

I also enjoyed plenty of swimming and beach walking in addition to my allotment visits and I also managed to log nearly a hundred seed packets into my database.  Next year it looks like we will actually grow more varieties, despite having less growing space!

Two of my five seed baskets

I continued to clear and plant beds.  I’ve almost cleared all of my summer planted salad beds now, replanting them all with spinach, carrots and spring cabbages.  I’ve also harvested the last of the peppers and replanted with a wide range of different kales.  The kale is a new experiment for me, planting nice small plants, sown in early September.  They’d stand no chance outside, but they are in a low tunnel so I’m hoping that by spring they will be ready for harvest and that they will provide us with a good crop in April/May which is our most difficult month for leafy greens.  Previously we’ve had to reply on just perennial kale and spring cabbage.

The last of my pepper beds, replanted with many different types of kale

We also harvested our storage beetroot bed, which always makes me slightly nervous.  In the end we had a good crop, but around 20% of the beets failed the – good enough for storage – test, mainly due to size (too small), splitting or slug damage.  The remaining 80% was more than enough to see us through to May though, so I’m very happy, I eat beets most days.

The beets destined for storage, we have another box to ‘eat now’ – really by the year end

Apart from that though it’s been quiet week on the allotment, which heralds many quiet weeks to come.  I made it to the plot a couple of times in addition to harvesting, totting up a total of 10 hours, but 7 hours of that was harvests.

This weeks cooked veg harvest, with a little of the fruit on the side

Harvest wise we continue to break weekly records and we are so far ahead of last years total that it’s hard to believe how much more we are picking this year.

My salad mixes

I even found time to make a batch of my famous home made granola and favourite bread rolls.

My home made organic granola mix

Unfortunately two sowings this week – using old seed – failed to germinate, so the Snowball cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts were re-sown.  I also had two – again old seed – lettuces sowings fail to germinate.  Instead of re-sowing these I pricked out alternative varieties from my spares tray and they are powering along nicely now.  Normally I harvest all of my lettuces as individual leaves, however in mid winter – January and early February growth stalls, so I like to have one bed of fully grown plants that I can harvest whole.  This gives the continuous harvest beds a break and whole lettuces is much quicker to harvest, which is exactly what I want when the weather is also at it’s worst!

My favourite home made bread rolls, destined for toast or bacon butties

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. I need to keep an inventory of my seed collection, though I do keep like vegetables together. And I also keep a spreadsheet of when I buy them. I hope the kale planting works out for you. I have good luck with getting the kale to overwinter for me in the greenhouse and cold frame. It does start flowering in spring, though we enjoy eating the kale ‘rapini’ flowers and it doesn’t seem to hurt the quality of the leaves any.

  2. I have 477 seed packets in my store at the moment, I’ve got about 50 to give away too

  3. I see your Seeds of Italy packets. I use their arugula and some of their lettuces. Their seed count is very generous so I can share with friends. I also grow arugula year-round either in a container or in the ground. I’m trying a black magic kale this year. My friend at San Diego Seed Company said it is very tender and not strong-flavored. Maybe my husband will eat some. Sounds like growing food runs in the family.

  4. I love seeds of Italy, I’ve been posting out a generous pinch of lots of their seeds this year as they have been hard to get hold of

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