Allotment Diary (July – Week 5)

The hoped for heavy rain didn’t arrive this week, I think the predicted 35 mm turned in to 10mm which is almost always the case here. It was cloudy though so I didn’t have to water as much as usual.

Hiking day, just look at those clouds!

I’ve done very little gardening this week, no sowing and only planting a few spares. I have however done a lot of harvesting.

A fifth of the onions, we still have the shallots to harvest

Almost all of the onions are now up and drying, the second early potatoes have finished and I stacked those up – in their containers – to be harvested as we need them.

The reservoirs are a little low, but about right for this time of year

I managed a good hike and a cycle ride, but most of my energies have been directed at tidying up and weeding. The harvest highlight for the week has to be the peppers and tomatoes though. The outdoor Tumbler tomatoes have been exceptional again, easily beating the cordons in the polytunnel, despite being sown a month later. We also have a lot of winter squash ready, but we are leaving it to grow on as we still have plenty in the freezer to eat.

The second harvest of the Tumbler’s grown outside

I’ve very little sowing to do in July, but everything that I have sowed is growing well, with lots ready to be pricked out next week. August sees sowing really accelerate!

I’ve harvested a lot of onions, about 10% of average went to seed, so these are being frozen

I was surprised that our second earlies had died back about 2 weeks early. This week three of our main-crop plants were ready for harvest! My initial thoughts were of disaster, but having harvested one tub of them the yield was fine and we should have plenty.

The cooked veg harvest (note the main-crop potatoes from the first tub)

All generations of the family are currently enjoying watching the caterpillars growing, although they don’t make it to butterflies if we catch them at it.

My strategy to shift harvests away from leafy greens (healthiest and most valuable crops) to summer fruits and staples is working reasonably well and it’s nice to see a harvest table with so much colour and variety.

The other end of the cooked veg table, note we pick and process the fruit mid week!

We are a little short of salads right now, but that should resolve itself within a couple of weeks. Mid summer is always a bit tricky, sow too early and the lettuce runs to seed, sow too late and we have a big shortage, sow too much and we have a huge glut, at a time when we really want all beds full of winter veg.

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

7 Responses

  1. Cherie Kemp says:

    I sigh every time I see your harvest table. Having said that every bit of veg we are eating at the moment is veg grown by me. I’ve learned so much this past year from watching your videos and reading your e book. I will be planning to do more interplanting in my veg beds next year.

  2. That is a good looking batch of onions you have there! Our predicted rain didn’t pan out either. We got about 2MM which wasn’t enough to even wet the soil. It will be time to start irrigating here soon.

  3. I have the same issue of knowing how much spaced to devote to lettuce at this time of year. Plus, mine needs to have part day shade to avoid bolting. I planted arugula this week which doesn’t mind the heat and grows quickly. Seeds were up in 2-3 days.

    Often our rain underperforms as well which is a huge disappointment–especially since our annual rainfall is only 10 inches/year. In our drought, most years it is less than than, some years as little as 3 inches. Vegetables and fruits need water and they prefer rainfall as you know well.

    By the way, how do you apply epsom salt? Soil additive, at planting, soil drench, foliar spray. Please consider sharing on my post on epsom salt so others may benefit from your experience.

  4. Hi Sue, I use epsom salts as a drench at planting time and about now. I’ve not used it as a foliar spray. It’s always interested me that people say plants prefer rain. Rain is quite acid these days and lots of plants prefer neutral or alkaline, which matches our tap water. We always ‘rest’ out tap water in a but for 24 hours to allow chlorine to evaporate. I’ve no evidence to support my view, but I think plants like rain water just because of the quantity. When I water my allotment I might use 400 litres, but a good rain storm drops 10,000 litres, tap water will never compete with that!

  5. That’s the way of it here, often a few mm a day, which is actually worse than nothing. I’m amazed that you’ve lasted this long without irrigating!

  6. Spring is the best time for interplanting, you have a bit of time to get the advantage, everything grows so fast in summer the opportunities for success are limited

  7. I generally grow a surplus because it’s the lazy and stress free way to always have enough

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