Allotment Diary (May – Week 1)

After a fairly busy March and April things are now returning to their relaxed normal. A few seeds to sow and prick out each week and one/two beds to clear and plant. This is how I like it, a couple of hours a day of ‘work’ and plenty of time for relaxation, adventures and babysitting.

Willow helping with the household chores, before heading to the allotment

In fact I took willow to the allotment for the first time this week, I snuggled her in a wrap and walked with her for about 2 miles to the plot and did all of my allotment chores without incident, she was as good as gold.

Hiking, the tempting trail before the climbing

I’ve also enjoyed a couple of good cycle rides and a good hike too, the only chore this week has been watering, but if the forecast is to be believed in the next ten days we could see nearly two inches of water, which equates to about 10 IBC tanks (10 cubic metres) of water for our plots. This just demonstrates the complete futility of trying to save water over winter, when just one summer rain storm will deliver twice my total storage capacity.

Cycling, thank goodness the outdoor cafes are open again!

My main focus this week has been clearing old brassica beds which have all gone to seed, they look lovely, but they also need replanting, so I will be clearing them gradually over the next two weeks, leaving some for the bees as long as possible!

Harvesting is such a pleasure at this time of year, late May is our peak until August

Harvest wise we are enjoying huge abundance. We’ve run out of most things in store now – except beetroot – but our spring crops have arrived, so we aren’t short of anything. We’ve harvested another tub of early potatoes and that went as well as the first one, so I think I can safely say that early – large – potatoes work well in the conservatory.

Robin, harvested and is now cleaning, the potatoes he planted in January

I’m particularly happy with the calabrese and turnips this year.

The turnips are a real spring treat

The new season carrots are also a real delight, super crisp and sweet. We harvested our first batch today and also picked the last of the cooking carrots from our August sowing.

First carrots too good for cooking

We’ve run out of onions in the store now, so it’s wonderful to have such an abundance of green onions, we are picking the bigger ones for cooking, the small ones for salads and as a result leaving the early main-crops to bulb up for June and July. I’ve noticed how much better the green onions grown under cover are, crisper and more delicate taste, the ones grow outside all winter are a bit stronger in every dimension.

Green onions for cooking, we save the best for salads

Finally we’ve almost run out of garlic bulbs in store, but last year we took the smallest of the bulbs and planted them to harvest green from April until June and it’s really paid off. Rather than a few dried up bulbs we now have huge bunches. We use the bulbs for garlic and the tops as sweet leeks in stir fry and steamed.

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:

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

8 Responses

  1. I like your format for the blog these days. Easy to use and select features/videos to pursue. How do you store your beet roots? We’re going to have a big harvest I think. Ditto for your storage tips on carrots. I know there are many options. We have no cool places here on our property in the warm season. I have the same problem cutting the flowers of plants going to seed, though needing to get the next crop in prompts me to do so.

  2. Thanks Sue, I’ve gradually refined it, so that 80% is automated now, with just a few photos and enough text to give a flavour for the week. As to beets this is the latest video https://youtu.be/oTn3qCTzrb4 you would tune the amount of water you use to how dry the shavings are and how warm the weather is, you want them moist, but not wet. We’ve kept them like this in August for about 6 weeks, with no cooling, but normally just store them from October until mid-May when we have our new crop. Carrots I store in the soil they grow in, for winter storage I cut the tops off and cover them so they don’t get too wet/frosty. I find this works fine and is much less hassle than sand : All the best – Steve

  3. I’m pulling our bolting brassicas here too, though I won’t replant until late summer. It’s great you are sharing your love of gardening with future generations!

  4. What do you have instead of brassicas in the summer months Dave?

  5. In summer I grow the veggies that can take our heat, like squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans and so on. I don’t have any greens or cool weather veggies growing for our summer months of June-August.

  6. Colin says:

    Great site Steve, thanks for sharing I am on the North Norfolk coast. See you IBC tank is black wondering if this intentional?

    I have one similar for rain water off my compost bay but it is clear, hence my question.

  7. Yes Colin, clear means algae will grow, black will stay lovely and clean

  8. Have you tried shade cloth Dave?

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