Sunday 12 October 2008

Summing up the season

Crop updates, summing up the season and crop yields

This weekend - despite the very pleasant weather - I did not manage to go to the allotment. Again. However, I went there quickly on Thursday evening and everything looked allright. Spinach is coming out, corn seems fine although a bit battered, pumpkins not developing much but healthy, borlotti beans on their way. And some of the leeks are seemingly ready already!

Suddenly I find myself in a very quiet period for the allotment, after six months firefighting to plant everything in time, keep weeds at bay and pick crops. It feels a bit weird, but I have plenty of other things to do that I put on hold before, so this provides a balance for my overall life!

Background work goes on all the time, though. This week I have received my top-up green manure seeds (Green Chronicle has a good choice, and it is organic), I keep collecting seeds from my vegbox where possible and I have done a bit of calculations on my first year yield.

Although I am surely not even, having invested a fair amount in the startup (shed, greenhouse, waterbutts, pond, mower, tools, plants and seeds), I must say that I could have done worse.

I had three bumper crops:

- potatoes (various) 43kg which seems a lot, but I have weighted and noted every weighting, so it should be correct
- onions (red and yellow) some 12 kg
- broad beans 8.45 kg

I also had an unexpected crop of spinach beet of 4.4 kg and some 2kg of courgettes, 1.7kg of shallots and 1.3 kg of French beans.

With regards to soft fruit, I got 64 strawberries of 12 plants and 50 rasperries of 8 plants.

On the negative side, worst crops were brassicas (only tiny turnips survived, 7 of them) followed by tomatoes (out of the tens of seeds that germinated, only some 5 plants survived and I got a mere 15 fruits).

Next year is bound to be much better with the experience I have accumulated, though.
For a start I will be using more pots and plant in the ground bigger plants, which have a bigger chance to survive slugs.

Then I should get some additional vegs from those plants that do not crop in the first year: asparagus, artichokes and rhubarb. And more from the raspberries and strawberries (particularly if all the runners' plantelets survive).
And, now that I can figure out how plants grow and develop a bit more, I will be able to plan my sowing and planting more carefully.

More about this in the next few weeks!

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