Allotment Diary (April – Week 3)
It’s been another stunning gardening week here. Although we’ve had frosts every night everything I’m growing, except the potatoes, is hardy and protected from the cold wind. The potatoes are fine too, under a double layer of fleece. This week I planted runner and French beans in the polytunnel, but I wrap these in fleece to protect them.
Once the frost melts the sun comes out and it’s beautiful, fresh and crisp, just the way I like it. We are away for the end of the week, travelling to Oxford for our eldest daughters wedding, so it’s been a little busy getting everything sorted but it’s been an opportunity to sort out a lot of annoying jobs that I’ve ignored.
Our little seaside town has suddenly burst to life, with huge number of visitors to the beach, beach huts and promenade. In town, all of the cafes and restaurants and many of the takeaways and pubs have created outdoor eating areas and there’s a wonderful buzz to the place.
I’ve started to clear some of my older perennial kale plants, which allows me to take cuttings, which I post out to members of my gardening club for free. It’s a lovely way to give back and since they are expensive to buy, much appreciated. I’m not able to send live plants internationally of course, but I do have viable seeds that I can send, once grown cuttings can be taken from these and given away/sold too. If international readers would like a few seeds to get the process started, please email me your address. I’ve a video that shows you what to expect here.
Although my allotment is fully planted now and almost all beds being actively harvested, the cycle of life continues and spaces keep opening up, so I keep planting. I love planting, not just because it heralds imminent harvests, but also because it means less daily care of fussy seedlings! I’ve also been potting on, which I don’t enjoy as much, but for peppers it’s vital. I potted on 60 plants this week.
Harvest wise we continue to enjoy a wonderful bounty, less volume than last year, much much more variety. I’m excited to continue this trend next year. Smaller quantities and more things, especially more specialist things is the direction I’m heading in, as well as more perennials. The highlight of the harvest week was the first new/salad potatoes, picked 7 days after we finished harvesting last years salad potatoes.
Debbie has also made a start on planting the kitchen garden at the front of the house. In the grow room I was excited to see new courgettes getting started, to join the many cucumbers that we have growing.
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, so I automatically get ‘sowing to harvest’ and ‘planting to harvest’ data. New firsts are at the top.
Here’s what I sowed this week:
Here’s what we planted this week.
We are now at full harvest volume, feeding everyone on our target list for this year. We have a way to go before we are growing everything they eat each week, but for dozen or so things that are available in the hungry gap, we are happy.
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: