Allotment Diary (April – Week 1)

Well the weariness of mid March has well and truly lifted now. It’s been such good weather that even our house cat has ventured outside. It has however been very cold at night, with frequent frosts, so Debbie and I are now enjoying an evening walk around the allotment site and closing up while we are at it.

We have two cats, this one – Mulan – rarely ventures outside

We’ve been able to travel for pleasure again and so I’ve been hiking with a good friend of mine in Rivington. We’ve not seen each other for 4 months!

One of my favourite local walks

Debbie and I have also been to one of our favourite – very local – seaside towns and walked the beach and shopped for gardening supplies.

Gardening has rapidly transitioned from work, to pottering around and because I’m way ahead of where I need to be at this time of year I’m extremely relaxed and finding loads of time for walking, reading and writing. I’ve mainly focused on the last of my early – container grown – potatoes and filling all of my allotment containers with home made compost, ready for early French and runner beans and courgettes, later in the week.

I’m pleased that I resisted the temptation to sow plants to early, because even my restrained sowings are now causing me a space problem. I think next year I will be pushing my peppers back another month and starting them in February and March, rather than January and February.

My late batch of peppers have almost outgrown their pots and sunny conservatory ledge!

We are now in our dry season, which is always a challenge for me because I have so much under-cover space and rely totally on water saved over-winter. We often don’t have any rain in spring and early summer, so it seems like every other day is a watering day as it’s so sunny right now. Every year I increase my water storage and I’m now up to about 5 cubic metres. Adding more is always a struggle and it’s also a very bad financial and environmental investment, it costs me about £50 to save £1.80/year worth of water, so a payback of 27 years, which is much longer than the life of the water storage.

My main focus has been the back garden this week and I’m clearing and planting a couple of beds a week now. I love planting so this is quite a treat. I’m also continuing to plant the allotment, which is full, but intereplanting opportunities keep coming up and I’m also clearing beds where we have a surplus and replanting them.

One of our cats has decided the fleece makes a perfect hammock

Debbie and the kids have been working hard on the front garden. We’ve removed a tree and covered our old moss ridden lawn with compost, to create, what will be an ornamental kitchen garden. I’ve helped with some of the landscaping but the design is all Debbie’s.

The fruit garden, perfectly situated within snacking distance of the afternoon patio

The fruit garden is really bursting to life now and the polytunnel strawberries are already fruiting!

The polytunnel strawberries in full flower already

Although we are well behind last years harvest levels, having 200m2 less land. We are still picking a respectable £150+ of veg a week.

The cooked veg harvest

We’ve run out of space now on our harvest table, so the salads get their own photo!

Home grow salads with shop bought tomatoes, grapes and cheese

I’ve a new way of tracking my first harvest dates now. With a few exceptions I’m only tracking first harvests from sowings in 2021, but it’s still useful. The beauty of this new system is that it’s fully integrated with my sowing records now, so I automatically get ‘sowing to harvest’ and ‘planting to harvest’ data. Here’s our first harvests for this week.

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.

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. We haven’t traveled yet, but are getting out and about more now that my wife and I have both been vaccinated. I’m caught up with seed starting and transplanting, but I have much to do outside with bed prep and weeding. It is a busy time of year for gardening, but after being cooped up much of the winter I am glad to be outside! Your peppers are about a month ahead of mine. I just transplanted them to a larger cell pak, and most are just now showing true leaves. It will likely be 6 weeks before I can set them out, and they should be sized up just right by then.

  2. Cherie says:

    Tony and I had hoped to grow a load of veg in the front garden, Unfortunately every cat in the neighbourhood is using it as a public loo so it’s not going to happen. We are just going to make use of every bit of space at the back of the house. Would Debbie be willing to share some of her preserving recipes? I’ve made our jams and chutneys for years but some new recipes might be nice to try.

  3. You’ve prompted me to publish our preserves Cherie, there’s now a new chapter of the ebook let me know what you think? : All the best – Steve

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