Allotment Diary (October – Week 3)
I’m trying something new with my diary. Rather than just publish it on this website, I’m also going to record a new weekly video, called “The gardening week’. This diary, will be the show notes for the video. I’m also publishing the audio from the video as a podcast, again with this page as the show notes for the podcast.
The big gardening news this week is that the allotment and garden is effectively re-planted for autumn, winter and spring. To mark that milestone, we actually reduce the number of people we grow for, from 16 down to 11, which helps us manage the transition. By the time the new plantings are harvest ready, light levels and temperature have dropped and we only just have enough.
This transition to growing less food for less people, marks a change to a very relaxed pace of life, when it comes to gardening until April when everything starts to accelerate again.
I started the day at Caffe Nero in Lytham for a change and got to enjoy a stunning sunrise behind the windmill. Unfortunately the mill lost one of it’s sails a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve substituted a photo from last year, for the full effect!
Monday was a hiking day, I drove up to the Rivington Reservoir system and hiked all morning with a friend and after lunch I carried on for a few extra miles.
I stopped off at the allotment on the way home, to drop off a few bags of compost and I met my new allotment neighbours. To say that I’m relieved is an understatement, they are actually grafting hard, to get the weeds under control at last.
I had a relaxing morning writing at my morning cafe and then a couple of hours at the health club, but I did finally drag myself to the allotment. The weather wasn’t great so I focused on the polytunnel. I cleared out the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers, removed the basil, tatsoi and pac-choi (harvested Sunday) and replanted the whole bed with a wide range of lettuces.
I have the whole of the inside a good clean and tidy as I will be spending a lot of time in there over the next 6 months and I like my surroundings to look nice.
After dinner I had time for a lovely sunset walk
Wednesday was basically a repeat of Tuesday, the main difference being that I was clearing peppers and old spinach plants. In place of the spinach I planted turnips, and in place of the peppers I planted spinach. I’m not confident that there’s time to bring turnips to maturity, but I had the space. To give them the best chance I covered them with a low tunnel.
I’d really wanted to get the allotment work finished for the week, but I developed a migraine, so I had to cut the day short.
My last job before the migraine became unbearable was to weed the garlic bed, plant it and mulch it with Strulch.
Fortunately meds and a nap sorted out the migraine!
I skipped the health club this morning and went straight to the allotment as I was on a deadline to complete all of the outdoor planting for this month. The weather is set to break next week, so the window for planting is rapidly coming to a close.
I cleared the last pepper bed and planted half lettuce and half spinach, both interplanted with salad onions. I also chopped down the asparagus, which is one of my least favourite jobs. It still needs weeding and mulching, but that can wait.
I’m always a bit early taking down Asparagus, because it casts so much shade and as we rapidly approach November, I can’t afford for our main salad bed to be shaded. I’ve never found our harvest to suffer by comparison with others on site.
I’m not totally finished though. I still have 24 broad beans to plant (they will be ready next week) and a couple of small beds to plant in the polytunnel and some garlic to interplant into the strawberry bed, but these are mini jobs. Overwall the plot is looking great!
After an hour at my morning cafe, I popped to the allotment to water in a nematode that kills cut worms, my arch enemy in Autumn. They frequently take 10-20% of the lettuces. I also shot the allotment tour video.
No allotment work on Friday, Debbie and I drove to Cleveleys, one of our favourite spots and went for a long walk and picnic. We also shot some footage for a couple of ‘walk and talk’ videos and I recorded the audio while walking by the sea.
Back home, I cut and edged the lawn, so the garden is also in fairly good shape. Earlier in the weed Debbie gave the front garden a good weed and tidy up and staked all of the plants, ready for the autumn gales!
I also shot a garden tour video.
Saturday saw me up early (7am) and in Lytham at my second favourite morning cafe, so I could catch up with friends. I then drove to the allotment to do the harvest. We bought the harvest forward a day, due to forecasted rain.
This is the last harvest to feature cucumbers and home grown tomatoes (for a month or so) but we still have peppers for at least another week.
We also had a few firsts: finally we have true spring onions again, having been without them for about 6 weeks, we do substitute lovely small bulbing onions, but nothing beats a true spring onion. We also had the first true salad carrots, as well as baby leeks.
Sunday is my strength training day in the gym and a day to relax and catch up on housework (since it’s raining). I’ve also finished the chapter of my ebook on dealing with weeds.
First harvests for this week and all previous weeks shown here:
Here’s what I sowed this week:
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: