Allotment Diary (November – Week 2)
I’ve just checked my diary for the week and I’ve spent 7.5 hours on the allotments and garden, 4.5 hours of which was spent harvesting, so it’s been a light week. That’s partly because my youngest daughter got the keys to her new house on Monday, so Debbie and I have been working on fixing it up a bit, but also because there’s hardly anything to do.
I made two quick visits, the first was to finally empty the polytunnel of the last few tomato containers and a couple of transplanted pepper plants. The chili peppers went to a friend, so that her daughter can watch them grow over winter, everything else went into the compost. I also sowed two more containers of carrots, so that’s six in total, about 6 weeks supply.
I’ve now consolidated my compost into two bays, leaving me two empty bays, one for turning into and the other will soon be filled with a mix of mushroom compost and horse manure.
The polytunnel has loads of space now, this will soon be used up though, initially with oca plants, which are sitting outside in containers right now, but we bring them in when frosts threaten. We use oca as a winter radish alternative and so it’s quite an important crop for us.
The second trip was to clear an old bed of turnips and replace with lettuce. Right now I have more than enough lettuce, but by mid winter growth slows right down. In the past we continued to harvest individual leaves in winter, but it was a very slow job, often taking just one leaf per plant per week! This year we have more lettuce beds at different stages of growth.
Rather than harvest leaf by leaf we will harvest whole plants in mid-winter and in doing so we will create space for veg that will be planted in February and harvested in mid/late spring. As we finish harvesting these full lettuce heads, the beds that I planted out as small plants in November will be coming into peak production. This should make harvesting much quicker and easier and that’s definitely a plus in winter, when it can be a bit grim!
I’ve also pricked out a batch of Navara lettuce, which is one of my favourites for early spring. It will be ready to plant out in December, almost certainly replacing a bed of Erba Stella on the allotment. I also pricked out another succession of Calabrese, that will probably be planted outside under cold-frames in February, these plants will be ready a few weeks after the ones in the polytunnel finish.
I’ve also harvested our first bed of field beans, these will continue to provide us with winter ‘spinach’ until mid-spring.
I also managed a lovely walk with Debbie on Monday and a good hike in the hills with a friend as well.
Of course I also managed plenty of lovely beach walks. As we are still on lockdown my usual swimming and cafe routine is on hold, so I’m walking the dunes and beach instead. It’s not too much of a sacrifice.
Unusually we harvested on Friday rather than Sunday as the forecast was wind and rain on Sunday and to be honest I’m just too old and too retired to be harvesting in bad weather now!
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.
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: