Category: saladstarter

Season – complete! The growing season has com…

Season – complete!

The growing season has come to an end, and I look back on the year with both pride an absolute astonishment at my successes and.. not so successful successes.

So I haven’t recorded all the seed packet weights and work hours etc. yet, but I do have final production figures. So over the whole growing season, from 32 individual 1 by 100cm rows, the garden produced:

14.4kg mixed salad greens, valued at 1.5p per gram, yielding £215.70 (an average £2.45 per row).

1.2kg radishes, valued at 0.75p per gram, yielding £8.90 (an average 50p per row).

335g dill, valued at 2.25p per gram, yielding £7.54 (an average £1.26 per row).

Giving a total produce value of £232.14.

So, I’m fairly pleased with that. I’m excited to refine the system for next year too, to hopefully up the value per row to £3 each.

Weeks 30 and 31. So the clocks have changed and I have just…

Weeks 30 and 31.

So the clocks have changed and I have just been hit with a stupid realisation that daylight savings may actually be for a reason – it is entirely for my planting schedule. If I begin (and end) 1 week earlier next year on Monday March 26th, it will end by Sunday October 28th, giving me the same 31 week growing season but having it be delightfully bookended by the tradition. Thanks, cultural perception of time keeping.

My first picture is kind of a “before and after”. We had a play date over the half term. I knew kids likes berries, but this one kid came round and apparently they had the same reaction to radishes and dill, and completely raided the front two boxes. Not even mad. Just impressed.

Taking that into account we’ve had about 600g of mixed salad, about 150g of radishes and about 80g of dill. I think I can squeeze one more last cut out of the system, but the growth rate is rapidly grinding to a halt. 31 full weeks of salad growing time (another week to go) feels like a good block to me. Maybe in the future I’ll look at season extension or indoor things like micro greens, but for now I’m happy with that.

Week 29. Not much longer until everything gets tucked away for…

Week 29.

Not much longer until everything gets tucked away for the year now. My main activity is just after the kids get put to bed, but the days are getting so short now it’s getting less and less! Starting January, though, child 2 starts pre-school so I should be able to hit the ground running in the new year.

Salad bits: a solid 400g of mixed baby leaves, and an 80g bunch of radishes. I think that’s going to be the standard each week until I can’t push the plants any further, at about the start of November. There should be a dill harvest about then as well. Next year will have a lot more dill, carrots and beetroot around this time too, due to better schedule management, which will be good.

Week 28 of the growing season. About 300g of mixed salad and a…

Week 28 of the growing season.

About 300g of mixed salad and a good 100g of radishes. I’ve noticed that the tatsoi is a lot flatter growing than the other salad greens so I’m needing to give it a thorough scoop before the cut. Not much of a problem at this scale but it’s something to think about for the future.

The nights are getting chillier than I care to admit, and the annual denial of putting the heating on until a needless arbitrary deadline has begun.

Week 27. Really good harvests this weekend, but very rainy. I…

Week 27.

Really good harvests this weekend, but very rainy. I ended up grabbing bits little and often rather than just in one go mostly due to the weather. About 400g of good mixed salad, and about 80g of radishes.

Pictured above is just a portion of that amount, and a few other bits, that I traded for a bag of apples. I’ve also been approved for another half plot at the allotments which is awesome, and I’m just waiting on some admin stuff to finalise which bit’ll be mine.

Week 26 of the growing season. Pictured above, 2 x 5 week old…

Week 26 of the growing season.

Pictured above, 2 x 5 week old French breakfast radishes. There can be a huge maturity variation by this point, and it is why I have planned to harvest some at 5 weeks then again 2 weeks later at 7 weeks maturity for a final harvest. It gives a bit more wiggle room

Next week should be the first proper harvest of the new growing schedule. Nom nom.

Week 25 Haiku: Tomatoes. A cat. No salad greens here, for…

Week 25 Haiku:

Tomatoes. A cat.

No salad greens here, for now.

That is about it.

Week 24, my last scheduled salad seeding of the year! A pretty…

Week 24, my last scheduled salad seeding of the year!

A pretty good mixed salad harvest this week at about 300g, and we are now fully converted to the new system of longer growing time, although it’ll be a few weeks now until we get another salad harvest.

In the meanwhile, the allotment is still happily pumping out carrots, cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, chard and the odd early celeriac. I am starting to notice a lot more brown bits and a slow down of growing time though, which is definately indicating the end of summer (which I am assured did actually happen at some point this year, in between the rain).

Learning experiences: it might be worth swapping the fall tatsoi (baby bok choi) and spring spinach to be the other way round, as I am just finding little green brassica munching caterpillars over everything right now. Also, open air brandywine style tomatoes that are direct seeded I just don’t think can get all the way to maturity at a decent rate around here. I think I’ll get some, but a lot are still very green or going brown and are just looking pretty sorry for themselves. Chin up, tomatoes.

Weeks 22 and 23. The amended schedule is already working great,…

Weeks 22 and 23.

The amended schedule is already working great, and I’ve another half bag (about 150g) of good quality salad. I also pulled up a batch of 14ish week beets and carrots which weren’t great, pretty small at about 1 by 2 centimeters, and no flavour compared to the ones from the allotment.

In theory wicking containers shouldn’t have a problem with root veg, but this year I have only had successes with leafy things, and last year only with fruiting things, so at least these specific wicking containers don’t work so well for them.

Otherwise, it’s all looking pretty good. Next week will actually be my last planting week of the year, which means it will just be harvesting through to November, when my salad growing season ends for 2017. Not long left!

Week 21 of my salad growing season. Change! I have completely…

Week 21 of my salad growing season.

Change! I have completely rebuilt the planting schedule, which will operate in full for next year, but I am attempting to convert over to it for the remainder of this year.

In short, I will be growing the spicy salad mix actually mixed together (rocket, mizuna, mustard), the same with the seasonal salad mix (lettuce and kale, with spring spinach, summer leafbeet and autumn bok choi) both for 6 weeks, cut, then a final harvest after 2 weeks. Radishes for 5 weeks then 2, to let the little ones have some breathing room. Dill for 8 weeks then 2, carrots for 12 weeks then 2, and beetroot for 13 weeks then 2.

This will be the standard for the whole year, as I have learnt my lesson to plan for rubbish weather rather than assume a heat wave. In the event of a heat wave, I can harvest the lot at the first opportunity and throw down some 2 week pea shoots to top up the seasonal mix instead. In the event of a failed germination or slug assault, I can reseed at 2 weeks in and just clear harvest at the latest opportunity.

I am also just not going to bother with calendula, parsley, coriander or turnips. It makes the growing schedule a ton easier and I can just grow little patches down at the allotment plot if I feel the need (which come to think of it I definately will since I’ve a ton of seed to use now!).

About 150g of combined salad mix which is much more like it, with a cut at about 5 weeks. I’ve also started my first baby bok choi seedings for the autumn mix, which will happen a few weeks earlier next year.

In other news, it’s my birthday in a few days! My assumption that I am an immortal like in Highlander is so far proving correct. In your face, death.