Allotment Diary (July – Week 4)

It’s been another hot and dry week. These hot days really sap my energy and the hot nights make it very difficult for me to sleep. I’ve made it through the nights with a cooling mattress, supplemented by frozen ‘hot water’ bottles. I’ve managed to spend a couple of days on the allotment too, working through the backlog that accumulated due to having family with us for 2 weeks. It’s great to be on top of everything again.

I’ve removed the last of the nets on the allotment, makes weeding a lot easier!

A lot of this work has been in the polytunnel, getting the cordon tomatoes into good order, side shooting and trimming leaves. I’ve also been rapidly clearing beds and replanting for autumn/winter/spring. It’s easy to be tempted to leave summer crops in the ground while their harvests slowly decline, but if you want food in winter this is a mistake. It’s essential to get lower productivity crops harvested asap. I now have about 60% of my growing area dedicated to storage crops or crops that will be harvested fresh outside of summer. This will be about 70% by the end of August, 80% in September and 100% in October.

Our old cat enjoying the shade, he only has a few weeks to live now, but he’s still happy

I’ve very little sowing to do in July, but in August sowing really accelerates again. I’ve enjoyed the break, I get a bit fed up of sowing by the end of May, but I’m missing it now.

A few seeds from July

All of our COVID restrictions are lifted now, so I’ve been visiting the gym a lot more, to get some air-conditioned exercise. I’ve also braved the heat for a couple of cycle rides along the coast, provided I get home before mid-day it’s tolerable.

Lots of summer goodies on the harvest table now

Debbie is now also busy making preserves as well, although not as many as in the last two years. It’s her tradition to make preserves for wedding guests and the last two years saw our eldest and middle daughter getting married. This year though our two youngest daughters have no plans announced, so Debbie gets to take it relatively easy!

We finally have more tomatoes than we eat fresh in a week

I was surprised to find that our second early potatoes are ready for harvest already. They are about 2-3 weeks early. Fortunately I can leave them in their containers and harvest as needed. I did harvest one tub though and the yield was good, about 1.5Kg per tuber, but the size was only modest, with few potatoes reaching a good baking size.

This is in stark contrast to the earlier plantings. It seems that Charlotte’s need their full 120 days of growing time to get to baking size, in summer (in containers) they die back after about 90 days.

I’ve a new way of tracking my first harvest dates now. 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 and one lucky extra person as we have a bit of a surplus.

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 the year. Debbie is now busy making lots of preserves.

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

5 Responses

  1. I don’t think of the UK as having heat waves but that seems to be changing for all of us. It is particularly difficult for those areas like our Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington) which are mostly very cool and where air conditioning is rare. I did a post recently linking to an article on Growing Garden Resilience. Pretty basic stuff but it does raise some issues we can address.

  2. The heat here is definitely changing the way I garden. I’m moving more home, where I have ready access to water and shifting the allotment to more drought tolerant crops. I’m also considering putting automated watering into the polytunnel for next year, thicker mulches and more perennials. I really don’t want to spend my summer watering!

  3. Our summers here are so hot we would be toast without air conditioning. It does give me four distinct growing seasons for the garden, though the timing of them has changed as the climate has changed.

  4. it’s hard to justify aircon here, when we have such a short and unreliable summer, we just suffer. The idea is distinct seasons sounds appealing. Here, January was warmer than April, spring is normally sunnier than summer, night time temperatures in August are lower than May, September is usually sunnier than August and it’s getting worse each year : All the best – Steve

  5. Jerome McCormick says:

    My very first look at the preserv list of items done by Debbie. Amazing and a key part of the whole operation.Fantastic.

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