Allotment Diary (September – Week 2)

We were on holiday last week at a gathering of the clan/family get together, in three forest lodges just near Matlock. I spent most of my time hiking with the kids, when we weren’t eating. Naturally I took my own salads and granola!

River walk at Chatsworth House

As a result we didn’t do a harvest last week and to be honest the gardens could have done with one, as we had a bit of wastage this week, but it was worth it.

Ridge walk with a hazy view

As soon as I arrived home I watered the allotment and gardens, because we still haven’t had more than a few mm of rain here. We’ve had a letter from the water company informing us that the reservoirs are very low and emptying fast, even though they’ve had the benefit of a little rain on higher ground. Fortunately we have no restrictions yet. It’s going to take a few weeks of rain to re-hydrate the ground and a lot more to replenish the reservoirs.

I’ve been busy planting and I will be now until the middle of October and I find this process very rewarding. Unfortunately we’ve also had blight in the polytunnel which has taken out all of my remaining tomatoes. Fortunately I removed the affected leaves in time and we’ve managed to ripen about 80% of the crop. We might still ripen the remaining 20%. We’ve lost perhaps 5% of our total crop, which is actually less than in previous blight free years!

Leaf free polytunnel, to stem the progress of blight

Although most people recommend ripening tomatoes with a banana, we find that very ripe apples (close to rotting) give off more ethylene, so we use them as well.

Just starting to ripen after a few days

Here’s the same tomatoes a week later

This week’s harvest was a stunner. We always have a very unimpressive summer harvest as we plan for continuity of year round harvest instead, so it’s nice to see the volumes start to increase in autumn.

Zooming in on the cooked veg harvest

The whole table looks even nicer and the salad harvest was great too, but it looks the same every week of the year.

The whole cooked veg harvest

This isn’t the full harvest of course as we’ve been picking plenty of veg during the week and also processed a lot of tomatoes into passata as well as picking plenty of berries to eat fresh and in jam. We’ve also started harvesting apples to eat fresh as well as make pies.

One of several trays of tomatoes, soon to be sauce

I’ve also been working on a few chapters of my book, churning out individual growing guides for cucumbers and field beans this week, as well as starting a chapters on adapting to climate change and gardening/lifestyle technology.

This is where most of my writing gets done, next to the pool after a swim, jacuzzi, steam and sauna

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.

Harvests are picking up well now as we head into Autumn.

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. Colin Froud says:

    Hi Steve, i’m interested in your watering system ussing guttering and wicks, etc. Can I have some details please.


  2. Hi Colin, here’s my water youtube playlist be sure to read the comments too : All the best – Steve

  3. Cherie says:

    I finally succumbed to the dreaded blight.. Ahem…. not me personally:-) I picked loads of tomatoes yesterday and put apples amongst them in the hope of them ripening. and they will be made into sauce too. Have you ever dehydrated tomatoes? I plan on giving it a try and then storing them in olive oil

  4. Sorry to hear that Cherie, apples that are on the verge of rotting are great. The saying “one bad apple spoils the lot” refers to how ethylene released by a decaying apple will prompt nearby apples to ripen and eventually decay as well. We tried dehydrating tomatoes last year, but Debbie considered it definitely not worth the effort unfortunately : All the best – Steve

  5. I’ve lost more than 5% of our tomatoes due to rot, so I guess it’s always something. I use apples to hasten ripening too, including to ripen bananas. That harvest really is a stunner too!

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