Allotment Diary (August – Week 1)
The hoped for rain finally arrived, after 100+ days of near drought. The rain’s not finished yet, but we are hoping for total of 40mm, which will be amazing and make a huge difference to our workload for the rest of August and of course the plants growth.
Despite the rain I did get to give the plot a good tidy up early in the week and of course we’ve been harvesting, but the main focus has been on sowing. Unfortunately a mouse (or two) took a fancy to some of the seeds, especially the onions. At first I thought I’d just done a very poor job of the sowing, but I eventually twigged that something was digging them up out of the module trays. A few traps later and I had one of them and we’ve had no problems since. Keeping the mouse population under control at this time of year will be a big help in winter, so it’s actually quite useful to have tempted them into the shed so early.
I also turned all three compost bins and was pleased to see that the oldest bin will be ready for use this autumn, the second will be ready for spring and the third for next autumn. I’m trying to reduce my dependence on buying in compost now, although I will also be mulching the paths and about 1/3 of the beds with wood chip.
I managed to get all the allotment work finished early in the week, which allowed me to go to the southern Lake District for one of my favourite hikes.
This walk blends a lovely coastal stroll, with forested stretches, fields with sheep and cows, and some great hill top views, it’s hard to beat!
I also sneaked in a couple of good cycle rides into the local countryside and of course the obligatory beach walks between the showers.
The council are currently constructing a new link road from our town to the motorway network. This will be a huge boon for day trips, but it runs along the route of one of my favourite local bike rides. I cycled up to take a look this week and was pleased to see that the cycle path is still open and it looks as if they will be leaving the path intact, which is brilliant news.
We are having a few challenges in the garden this year, huge numbers of whitefly and butterfly eggs, which so far we are managing to find and squash before they hatch, but we are bound to miss a few. We’ve tried various organic sprays to control both, but neither is perfect. We persevere though and fortunately by growing in 4 different locations we rarely – if ever – have problems in all of them.
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. We have only one bed of shallots still to harvest and then it’s just spring onions, which we harvest every week of the year, if we get our planning right!
I’m busy sowing now and my pace is really only limited by available space right now. Most of my under-cover space is full of drying alliums, the rain is too heavy for seedlings outdoors, so I only have my grow lights and they are full to bursting.
Unfortunately I forgot to take any harvest photos this week, but I managed to grab one from a video, which wasn’t too blurred.
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:
Harvests are actually a bit low right now as we race to clear beds for autumn, winter and spring crops, but we have plenty for ourselves and the family. Our friends won’t go hungry though as they do have some excellent supermarkets to fall back on.
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: