Allotment Diary (October 2020 – Week 5)

On Tuesday we received a stay at home warning from the NHS app, which indicated that we had been exposed to someone with COVID and needed to isolate for 7 days. Neither of us has any symptoms, but the law’s the law and we can’t have everyone second guessing it. As a result we’ve had a very quiet week at home. To be honest though it would have been a quiet week anyway, because it’s rained most of the time, but it does mean no harvesting this week. It also means that the garden has enjoyed a lot of TLC!

All of the beds have been weeded, dying leaves removed, flowers dead-headed, beds mulched and planted, patios swept and washed. The strawberries and raspberries have been cut back and tidied up and the lawn given it’s winter feed. I’ve had a lovely time!

The back garden, all well tended but looking a bit gloomy

Fortunately I did decided to visit the allotment on Monday and I watered all of the under-cover beds and completed the planting for October. I also partially closed most of the bed covers and the polytunnel, so although it’s been very windy everything should be fine.

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.

The mildew affecting the lettuces seems to have been caught in time and I’ve removed the old outer leaves on most of the beds now, leaving only fresh, young growth. They are all looking very healthy.

I cleared the early spinach bed and the last few turnips and replanted that bed with field beans. I also cleared the last of the summer lettuces and replanted with spinach, as well as my oldest spinach bed which I replanted with lettuces. I normally harvest my lettuces one leaf at a time, but in winter I plant one bed to grow to maturity. This bed will provide us with an extra boost in mid winter, when growth of the cut and come again beds is slowest, it will be cleared by mid February – when growth picks up – and replanted.

Seedlings planted this week

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. I also harvested one of three radicchio beds and replanted with spinach. This spinach bed is only protected with fleece and it’s an experiment for me to compare with my cold-frames and low tunnels.

The little harvest table, or part of it, these are salads for Debbie and I

Although we are taking a week off harvesting, our store is fully stocked and we are still harvesting at a good pace. The beds look in much better condition than last year, with more varieties available. I’ve tried a bit harder to spread out availability of harvests, in Autumn, winter and early spring too.

The big harvest table, mostly veggies for cooking

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

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

3 Responses

  1. Do hope your exposure to Covid is inconsequential. Your garden looks wonderful. I’m more caught up for this time of year because of the quarantine. My carrots just broke ground last week too despite the tunneling of moles below the surface. I planted thickly and now have wooden skewers placed randomly to deter the moles. Your harvests are enviable as I endure the “hungry season” as you in Britain call it.

  2. I’ll echo what Sue said and hope your Covid exposure didn’t cause transmission. Your lettuce and spinach seedlings sure look healthy. It reminds me I need to start some spinach to go with the lettuce I have growing on now.

  3. We are all fine thanks Dave & Sue, not sure where I got exposed, but we didn’t have any symptoms and ours tests were negative, just a few relaxing/boring days at home. We grow a lot of spinach over winter, it’s one of my most popular crops, very hard to get organic spinach over here : all the best – Steve

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