Allotment Diary (May – Week 5)
This week was the last big push and I’m effectively finished planting the allotment and the kitchen garden now. Debbie’s plot is almost fully planted too.
Anyone who gardens though knows that ‘finished’ is always a very poor word to describe the state of a garden. Next week I will pull the bed of pea shoots and replant with brassicas, I will finished harvesting the Brussel leaves and calabrese and re-plant with carrots, the cycle of renewal never ends.
Finished though describes how I feel about the gardens, the work is done, what remains is the pottering around, tweaking things here and there. I planted a huge amount this week and it took me two days, but the weather was fine and I took my time, so I had a lovely time. The weather has been kind and the plants all seem to have established well. The house and conservatory have been restored to seedling free tranquility, no more watering or worrying that they will overheat!
Post planting I spent a day tidying up, so this week has definitely been dominated by gardening. I did manage one long walk with a friend and a baby sitting/rest day.
There have been a few minor disappointments. The germination in the back garden carrot bed has been poor, so I have a decision to take there. One row of peas – out of a total of four – didn’t thrive, so those were pulled and re-planted. A couple of tomatoes have greenfly on some of the unhealthy leaves (now removed) that got a touch of frost. Finally one bed of potatoes failed to recover from a touch of frost, the identical bed next to it is thriving. None of these things really matter, they are just opportunities to tweak my plans and try something different.
Harvests continue to be strong. We broke the record for this year last week and I don’t think we will surpass it until mid summer now. We are way behind last years harvest levels, but that’s not surprising as we are only feeding 14, rather than 24 people.
I’ve been particularly pleased with the early carrots. A couple of dozen went to seed, but the remainder have grown well. Finding a good early carrot variety can be difficult as it depends to some extent on the weather and each spring is different. This year Marion has been much better than Amsterdam Forcing.
I also finally finished lighting the garden, making little stands to lift the lights higher so they illuminate the beds better.
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:
Yes, that’s right NOTHING!
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. We will never harvest as much again as we have less land now, our objective has changed now.
Here’s a list of the preserves for last year. We don’t have any preserves this year yet, although Debbie is certainly making a lot of stewed rhubarb for immediate use!
YouTube videos for the week can be found here: