Category: urban farming

Week 25 of the 2018 growing season.

With some help from these two ninjas, this week we picked 3kg of really good cucumbers, 2.5kg of pretty split tomatoes, 1kg of a few big courgettes, and about 300g each of salad mix, radish, beetroot and beans, with a good 600g of sweet peppers. £4 in from the Sunday salad stall.

I’m hoping for harvests all the way to Halloween, but I am getting suspicious of how much longer some of the plants can handle. Otherwise, lots of weeding and tucking in for the year going on now. I’m not aiming for over winter harvests (just a bit easier that way) so I can start to tarp over the empty beds ready for next year now. Last orders before we close up, Plot.

Week 24.

A mix of calm and storm. Serene and autumnal family time but then also an avalanche of last minute flustering for school/pre-school. But! The prospect of freedom for more labour hours for projects is very welcome.

3kg of great cucumbers, 3kg of impressive but mostly oversized (for my purposes) courgettes and 1.8kg tomatoes (still with loads of splitting, I need to get a proper cherry variety next year). I am also still getting a few radishes (400g), peppers (400g), green and runner beans (200g), and salad mix (200g). However, all the plants are looking a bit worn now, and I’ve planted the salad mix in the wicking boxes too close together so they are a nightmare to sort through – lots of stuck on brown bits, and with heavy weed pressure. £7 in from the salad stall, and the foot traffic along the road has picked up now that it’s more or less term time again.

I’ve been dabbling with next year’s planting schedule as well, and I am eliminating brassica family crops (turnip, radish, kale etc), and filling the gap with more consistency and with spring/green onions. The brassicas just seem to give me a hard time on this site, from both the chalky alkaline soil and from moth invasions. I am, however, inching ever closer to an idiot proof planting schedule. Well, at least resistant to “this” idiot.

Week 23.

The summer holidays are coming to an end, and summer too for that matter. The Super Smash Bros and I spent a good few days up the allotment this week, picking fruit and planting for next year. I swapped out the bed of liquorice plants in the forest garden plot in favour of a bed of lavender, as the liquorice was just not really performing. We also planted beds of crocosmia, tulip, daffodil and flowering alliums in the new perennial cut flower garden, which is just waiting on some agapanthus, day lily and scented roses now.

Bringing it on back to vegetable-ville, 3.6kg of tomatoes, 2kg cucumbers, 1.1kg courgettes, and about half a kilogramme of salad leaves from 2 of the wicking boxes. I’m getting a bit overrun with produce as the salad stall hasn’t really been performing either, and I’m already hurling fresh bags at every visitor anyway. Worst case: new compost material that will feed next year’s plants.

Week 22 of the 2018 growing season.

Birthday watermelon cake! Perhaps the most incredible thing I’ve learnt over the past year (and arguably my 20s as a whole) is that you can turn a watermelon into a cake; essentially just by covering it in cream. Also, peak foraging season! There’s, blackberries, elderberries, apples, and plums all over the hedgerows. Tasty.

3kg of tomatoes, 2.8kg courgettes, 2.3kg cucumbers, and 400g of salad mix. Also a pepper, some (300g) beetroot and some (400g) radishes. Sweet peppers are just too slow to do anything so I don’t think I’ll grow them again, at least not outdoors. I think I need to give the beetroot a lot more space next year too, as they were all pretty tiny still (about 25g each beetroot, with a goal of over 50g each in the same growing time) even after about 13 weeks of growth. £10 in for a bulk collection of produce. I think the regulars are all on holiday. Or dead. I’m figuring it’s 50/50 at this point.

Week 21 of the 2018 growing season.

Beets and peppers! Well, two of each. But still very promising signs of their main cropping coming in. Lots of side plots (because allotment plots, haha. Classic.) this week, mostly from a whole leaky kitchen ceiling plumbing thing, but also with the beginning of my 2 weeks-ish long birthday celebrations. I am 30 of your earth years next week!

No salad sales this week, but as I’ve been seeing lots of people I’ve been able to give away a lot which I’m still happy with. Lucky number 4 with the vegetables this week, 4kg each of cucumbers, courgettes and tomatoes, half of each in a sellable condition. 300g of a little mixed lettuce harvest, 300g of probably my best radishes so far, 2 sweet red peppers and 2 chioggia (pink and white ringed) beetroot; 50g each. Very tasty, and beautiful toppings for salad.

Found out I have grey hairs in my eyebrow now. No story there, just still processing that fact.

Week 20 of the 2018 growing season.

Faiiiirly quiet week at the plot. Lots of blackberry and plum picking with the kids and their cousins instead though.

4.8kg of cucumbers (⅔ sellable), 3.7kg of courgettes (½ sellable), 3.4kg of tomatoes (⅓ sellable) and 500g of mixed lettuce. Another oddly low sales week with £2 in for a box of tomatoes. My theory (well, hypothesis) is that either the novelty of the salad stall has worn off, or that all of the usual customers are off on holiday. Or I haven’t noticed a zombie apocalypse. Again.

Week 19 of the 2018 growing season.

It’s the start of blackberry and plum season now, and the tomato plants are reliably producing every week. Still waiting on the sweet peppers but after that there should be the full range of crops available. The wicking box salad successions are coming along nicely too.

2.9kg of cucumbers (about half of which were massive ones that won’t fit in the selling boxes – I think I’ll try and find a smaller Persian cucumber variety next year), 2.4kg of tomatoes (half sellable, half were splitting from the weather), 2.3kg of courgettes and 400g of mixed lettuce. Plenty to sell in the salad stall, but I hadn’t counted on them resurfacing the road outside all day, which looks like it massively lowered foot traffic and resulted in only £2 of sales (a box of tomatoes).

Week 18.

Rain! The mix of crazy sun and crazy rain, although existentially terrifying, seems to be brilliant for cucumbers and courgettes, which have performed great this week. The salad stall sign has arrived too, which I am very happy with, and we’ve had the first few drips of tomatoes coming in as well.

A tiny 250g of salad mix and 100g of dill, but 1kg of tomatoes, 2.5kg (plus a 1kg and a .5kg beasts) courgettes, and a fist pumpingly impressive 4.5kg of cucumbers. The rain is very welcome, but I suspect after it passes that the sudden dry to wet soil may have caused a lot of the wired trellis at the allotment to have collapsed, so that’s a job to look forward to. £10 in from the salad stall too, which was an after hours job lot as the rain deterred a lot of the regulars in the morning.

This coming week, I shall mostly be eating cucumbers.

Week 17 of the 2018 growing season.

A sign of the end times! The start times of the salad stall too, and other stuff. Thanks go to the wife for the design and ordering, which should hopefully turn up next week.

A little less dry this week which has been better, but still pretty dry overall. I’m keeping an eye out, but I am fairly confident that there’s going to be no signs of life from the majority of the beds. They just got too dried out in between watering. However, I am restablishing the wicking boxes used over my 2017 growing season, but in their new home up at the latest allotment plot. The hope is that as they have a water reservoir at the bottom, that it will help buy me some time in between waterings – enough to grow a baseline of salad mix for the rest of the season, fingers crossed.

400g of salad mix, which is sadly looking like it will reduce even further until the wicking boxes produce in 6 weeks, 1.6kg of cucumbers, and 2.6kg of courgettes. £5 from the salad stall (3 boxes of courgettes). One of the courgettes in particular I must have just missed up until now, and had turned into a beast. The beast has been slain, and roasted with cheese, chicken and bacon. You’re welcome.

Week 16 of the growing season.

The seeds are fine, it’s just too freaking dry! Over concerns about the awful germination rates (as in, like, next to nothing growing in the last few weeks) I worried that the shed became so hot as to cook the seeds. Nope, the seeds are fine. Frustratingly I cannot water the plot any more than I am currently, and I anticipate that efforts to mechanise the watering (sprinklers and a timer) would annoy people. This drought is unusual, but unusual is increasingly occuring. I am now turning to design to help provide shade to hopefully reduce evaporation next year. Shade cloth is one option, but costly. Currently I am thinking of growing new potatoes, winter squash or basil as a yield producing shade provider.

No salad harvest this week due to poor germination, but the transplants are taking names and kicking ass at the moment. 50 x 50g baby courgettes, and 15 x 50g cucumbers (50g per week seems to be the average gain from flower to fruit over that time), and 250g of dill. £9 from the salad stall, best week yet! I think there is a magnetism provided by crop diversity when it comes to the stall. Restaurants and catering is totally the way to go for bulk (specialised) salad growing income, but for the low hanging fruit of an (unstaffed) honesty stall – diversity is definitely the route. I feel, for now, that aiming for diversity and getting a solid base of a few hundred pounds a year will be more context appropriate than bulk restaurant greens. As a full time carer, a parent of small humans and a vehicle-less muggle, I just don’t see it happening in the next year alone. So, more species and more transplants next year I feel!