Allotment Diary (October 2020 – Week 4)

It’s been an extremely quiet week, the weather has been mixed with a lot of showers and I’ve been enjoying the gym and swimming pool for most of my exercise, although I’ve done plenty of beach walking too.

My normal beach walk takes me past these lovely beach huts, I often day dream about owning one

I’ve also done plenty of circuits of the allotment site.  I really like doing this in autumn and winter, trying to spot plants that are doing better than mine and trying to figure out why.  Sometimes it’s just a new variety, or planting time,  but ironically it’s often neglect, plants left to their own devices in summer and not harvested, are often really strong at this time of year.

The late strawberry bed, all neat and tidy, ready for Elephant garlic to be planted in the centre

There’s almost nothing to do on the allotment now.  I did trim and weed the perpetual strawberries and I removed the last of the summer flowering brassicas and planted field beans.  I now have only four beds left to clear and re-plant, just one day’s work, probably next week if we get a break in the weather.  I also finished planting the polytunnel, putting in the spring onions that were too small to interplant with the lettuces earlier in October.

Another bed of field beans, sown in what will be the onion bed in April

I was very pleased to see my late carrots breaking surface, I often loose these to slugs, so I’ve scattered a few pellets.  These plants won’t be ready until mid/late spring, so there’s plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong, but it’s worth it if they survive!  A lot of my field beans, onions and garlic are now breaking surface too, which is always exciting.

Unfortunately not everything is going well.  A whole lettuce bed, with 4 different varieties, got downy mildew on the outer leaves.  I’ve never had this problem before, so I’m hoping it was just freak weather conditions.  I’ve removed all of the outer leaves, so hopefully they will pull through, they still look strong and healthy.

I’ve also installed the fleecing system in the polytunnel,  it doesn’t reduce light levels, so it’s best to get it setup early.

Fleecing system installed and spring onions now interplanted into salad beds

Back at home I’ve now removed the cucumbers and French beans from the conservatory,  this was a bit of a failed experiment.  They all suffered quite badly from whitefly and if I’d left them there they would have cross contaminated the seedlings.  I took the opportunity to give the whole room a deep clean and it’s now in – sterile – winter mode, empty of mature plants until we start the tomatoes and peppers next year.

Only seedlings remain in the conservatory!

I also removed the last of the back garden salad onions and planted a new bed of them, interplanting with garlic.  I now have no harvestable salad onions, but a lot coming soon.  I often find it a challenge to get the timing right on these as they don’t grow very well planted mid summer, hence not many to eat in mid Autumn.

The big push this week though has been logging all of my seedlings into my database and researching the dozens of new varieties and adding their details to my varieties database.  I have a lot of new things to try this year, which is always exciting.

So many new seeds and varieties to log and research!

Most of this seedlings research has been done sitting by the pool, blissfully ignorant of the heavy rain falling outside.  The plus though is all of my water capture tanks are full, so I’ve started pumping into long term storage tanks.

My favourite place to work right now, sitting by the pool

I’m pleased to report that my back is much improved, causing almost no discomfort now.  I attribute this to swimming most mornings and to finding ways to reduce bending on the plot.  My knees are also improving, but not fully recovered yet.

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

2 Responses

  1. Too bad about the mildew on the lettuce. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before either. Are you setting out several of the spring onion seedlings in one spot? I haven’t tried interplanting them, but I have some seedlings and I might give it a go.

  2. Hi Dave, I think you are either too hot or too cold for mildew, it’s an issue here on damp warmish days in autumn and spring. Fortunately no sign of it yesterday when we harvested, it generally only affects the outer leaves. I always module sow the spring onions, 9 per module, and plant between the lettuces. 25 lettuces in one square metre and 35 * 9 spring onions in the gaps and around the edges.

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