Allotment Diary (February – Week 1)

It’s been another wet week and we are heading into a very cold week, so it’s not been a great sowing week again, but then what can you expect in winter. We are happy enough with progress though. We’ve had a few days that were good enough to get out for a good walk in the dunes or the countryside.

I enjoyed a few good walking days, these are the dunes 5 minutes from our house

I’ve also managed to clear a few beds and get them replanted. I cleared chard and replanted that with mangetout peas, I will also plant that bed with lettuces once the cold snap is over. I also planted a bed of cauliflower, another with calabrese and finally my second bed of early Brussels sprouts. I also interplanted a tray of radish into the polytunnel and cold-frame spinach beds.

This is our closest countryside walk, about 10 minutes walk from the allotments

I’m now fully planted up again and can’t plant anything else until the week after next when more space will come available as I finish harvesting the allotment kalettes (we have more at home).

The allotment site is thoroughly flooded again and I can’t get access to my plot without wearing waterproof boots. Once onto my site it’s fine though, which is not so bad. Seedling progress is excellent and my grow room is full now, I will be moving a lot of seedlings to the polytunnel next week and I did a tidy up this week to make room.

As part of the re-modelling of the bedrooms, last week, I managed to create a new grow light space on top of a huge wardrobe. It’s the perfect spot, the bedroom is kept cool and the wardrobe top gets no sun, which means the light levels are fully under my control. The new lights also have a dimmer, which means I don’t have to adjust their height. I’m experimenting with a batch of lettuces up there right now and progress is great.

I’m fairly confident that I will be able to grow enough lettuce there for Debbe and I during winter next year, which will be brilliant as we’ve never managed to have lettuces all through winter before. Using grow lights for lettuces in late December, January and February means we will be able to grow a lot less lettuce on the allotments, and open up the possibility of growing lots of extra root veggies/leeks and other winter delights instead. By March we won’t need to grow lettuces anymore, so we will be able to use the lights for tomatoes and peppers.

Our new sunshine alarm clock

The lights coming on in the morning also acts as the best alarm clock I’ve ever had, it’s like waking up to sunshine every morning. It’s a very gentle and relaxing way to wake up, but also invigorating.

I’m not feeling very well today, so we decided to only harvest for ourselves and we had quite a lot of veg in the fridge, so it was the tiniest of harvests. However we did harvest salads again, after a 2 week break!

Back harvesting salads and salad onions

Now that my seedlings have all germinated, everywhere warm and light – in the house – is full of module trays. Most of the polytunnel is full of seedlings hardening off. So not much can be sown now until mid-February. Here’s what I sowed this week:

Here’s what we planted this week

Here’s our harvests for the year so far, with the most recent at the top.  We hit our target for last year and harvested over ¬£12,000.

Here’s a list of the preserves for last 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’ve never tried supplemental lighting in the winter greenhouse, but I’m sure it would increase the growth of the greens. It’s too wet and cold to even think about working outside here. I would need a snow shovel as well as boots!

  2. Have you ever grown salads to maturity with your grow lights

  3. I read in one of your blogposts that you are zone 8. That makes sense as you are colder than we are in zone 10b and it seems your winter growth slows more than ours does. And you definitely get more rain. We’ve only had about three inches since October 1, the start of our rainy season.

  4. Our growth definitely slows Sue, it’s mostly day length that’s our challenge, we are currently 9.5 hours and you are at 11 hours, we won’t reach that until March

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