Allotment Diary (December – Week 1)

We still have a huge amount left to harvest but as we welcome winter, we notice a very significant slowdown in growth. As soon as that happens it’s like a shock to the system and I realise that what’s in the ground now has to last us until February, with very little new growth. I rapidly text all of our friends and extended family and tell them that this is the last harvest until Christmas and then that’s it until spring. From now on we are only feeding immediate family and bartering for eggs.

The last of the really big harvests was last sunday

Although it’s disappointing for them, it’s a kind of celebration for Debbie and I. We know now that all the delights of winter are for us alone, no more sharing and of course harvests are quick and easy. What changes this year though is that we won’t have Jennie’s plot from January onwards. As a result I’ve started digging up plants and moving them to our remaining allotments and the garden. This week I moved 3 months supply of leeks. I will move a few Kalettes before the end of the year. It looks like I will be leaving – Steve – the knew ‘owner’ with some lovely cauliflowers and lots of broccoli though.

The last big salad harvest for friend and extended family, note the first ever micro-green top up

I’ve also taken a hard look at every bed to check that it’s earning it’s keep. A lettuce bed in the polytunnel failed the test, so that was pulled and replaced with lovely Navara lettuce. It was a bed of test lettuces, but none of them grew strongly and a few started with greenfly. I’ve also pricked out lettuces to replace my Pac Choi and Tatsoi bed in February and I’ve potted on calabrese for spring. I’m not sowing any more seeds in December.

Baby salad replaced harvested turnips and Erba Stella in this bed and test lettuces in the polytunnel

I’m also sowing a lot more sprouts and micro-greens and these are ready for harvest now. We enjoyed the pea and cabbage micro-greens fresh and we have broccoli sprouts ready now too. The sprouts will go in a smoothie as it’s important to eat the seeds as well as the tiny shoots. One of my friendly seed suppliers (,uk) sent me a big box of micro-greens to try, so we will have a very varied diet this winter!

Our first micro-greens: peas and beetroot in this photo, also cabbage out of shot

I’m gradually working my way through my ‘make things easier’ list and this week it was the asparagus bed. The fronds grow so big in summer that they are forever falling over and blocking the surrounding paths. Every year I put in temporary supports to try and keep them under control, but they rarely do. This year I’ve put in a permanent solution!

The asparagus bed, with it’s new supports. I will wrap rope around these posts

I also picked salads for Debbie and I for the next few days

Salads for Debbie and I

I’ve finally uncovered the last of my carrot beds. I don’t think there’s much risk of carrot fly now and I really wanted to get it tidied up and weeded. I picked a few test carrots and I was very pleased to see them clean.

First carrots from the bed reserved for harvest in Feb and March

In the garden nothing much has changed. I’ve given the grass it’s last cut of the year and the garlic is finally making an appearance.

The view from the cycle path on my way home, this is my favourite rest stop

In other news I’ve enjoyed some excellent cycling and plenty of walking in the local area.

St Annes prom

We’ve also had a couple of rainy days, so I’ve finished two chapters in my book. ‘Growing potatoes all year round’ and ‘growing spinach all year round’. I will let you guess what the other chapters in this section will be, but they all have the same pattern ‘growing ….. all year round’. Most of the writing is done by the pool after an early morning swim.

Why favourite writing spot

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

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