April 2011

Full details of weekly harvests at bottom of page

Week 52:   April 23 – 30

Total for week = £19.18 / 1.61 kg

Week 52 and the grand total for the year is……. £899.99… which sounds like a cunning marketing price, but is just how it came out. The total weight of harvests is 83.66kg.

I’m delighted: this is evidence that it IS possible to grow a significant amount of food without an allotment or a garden. And without high tech vertical farming equipment, either.

It’s been a rewarding experiment and I’ve  learnt loads along the way. I’ll be writing a post soon to summarise this. There’s also been luck – the summer was hot, and the crops remained mostly pest and disease free, with the tomatoes (accounting for 27kgs of the harvest) escaping any blight…. huge sigh of relief. More analysis of the year’s harvests to follow on these pages soon…

Here’s details of the final week.

Very productive week, the best of 2011. The rainbow chard, which had been eaten to the ground by pigeons in January, recovered well after transplanting to another pot and produced over 400g of colourful tasty leaves with that fresh metallic and lemony zing so characteristic of fresh chard. Harvested to make space for runner beans.

Rainbow chard: recovered after pigeon attack in January

The final remaining cavelo nero was also harvested – it was a sad moment to remove the last of these stately plants that stood so proud and firm during the coldest spells of winter weather.

The Salad Bar – the shelf above the back door on the balcony – is really coming into its own again, producing good sized salads of fresh leaves, almost daily. I’ve replaced the two wooden boxes on the shelves with smaller plastic ones. Sad to lose the wooden ones but they felt dangerously heavy when lifting them on the ladder. The plastic ones look  less romantic but are easier (and safer) to manage and manouvre.

'Salad bar' above back door approaching full productivity again

Week 51:   April 16 – 22

Total for week = £8.23 / 371g

Built a ladder this week outside the front door to make the most of a sunny, fairly sheltered spot (kindly donate by downstairs neighbour). The timber was reclaimed from a local skip – painted blue to try and make it  more presentable. Good feedback from passers by already! I’m currently using the ladder for hardening off, but plan to grow chillies, okra, basil and strawberries here over the summer.

Growing ladder made from reclaimed wood with added lick of paint

While making the ladder I unexpectedly discovered some boxes I made last year fit neatly by the gate onto the street – now planted with a mix of insect attracting flowers – like poached egg, dill and cosmos plus some edible flowers like nasturtiums.

Flowers in containers by the front gate - just enough space to squeeze them in!

Week 50:   April 9 – 15

Total for week = £10.56 / 460g

All salad and green herbs again this week – broad bean shoots and wasabi leaves turned out to be a rather nice salad combination.

Broad bean shoots emerging from the home made 'pea shooter': a long shallow container just 2 inches deep. Perfect for growing seedlings.

Week 49:   April 2 – 8

Total for week = £13.25 / 677g

The salad production is slowly ramping up: fresh leaves from the balcony on most days. Lots of broad bean shoots (grown from dried broad beans from the health food shop) – so easy and fast to grow and delicious in a salad. The red Duke of York potatoes are making an enthusiastic appearance and the broad beans are just beginning to flower:-

Broad beans in flower

Red Duke of York Potatoes growing in an old plastic bucket

Harvest Details for April 2011

Week 49:   April 2 – 8

Saturday: 52g salad, 9g chives
Sunday: 142g salad, 6g chives
Monday: 91g salad
Tuesday: 70g salad, 41g bean shoots
Wednesday: 66g bean shoots, 14g mint
Thursday: 62g salad, 42g bean shoots, 68g stir fry greens (red giant)
Friday: 14g salad

Total for week = 677g; value = £13.25
Total since 1 May 2010 = 81.2kg; total value = £862.02

Week 50:   April 9 – 15

Saturday: 6g parsley
Sunday: 12g salad, 42g broad bean shoots
Tuesday: 53g sorrel, 21g salad
Wednesday: 66g broad bean shoots, 38g salad
Thursday: 105g broad bean shoots, 15g wasabi leaves
Friday: 23g lovage, 10g chives, 64g salad leaves, 5g parsley

Total for week = 460g; value = £10.56
Total since 1 May = 81.67 kg; total value = £872.58

Week 51:   April 16 – 22

Saturday: 9g mint, 13g chives
Sunday: 9g chives, 78g salad
Tuesday: 112g salad, 10 sage
Wednesday: 67g salad, 3g rosemary
Thursday: 70g salad

Total for week = 371g; value = £8.23
Total since 1 May = 82.04 kg; total value = £880.81

Week 52:   April 23 – 30

Total for week = £19.18 / 1.61 kg

Monday: 118g salad, 4g Vietnamese coriander, 184g stir fry greens, 75g cavelo nero, 8g mitsuba (Japanese parsley)
Tuesday: 54g lovage, 50g sorrel, 5g marjoram, 13g mint, 108g salad
Thursday: 106g salad, 3g rosemary
Friday: 126g salad, 402g chard, 265g cavelo nero
Saturday: 98g salad leaves

Total for week = 1.61g; value = £19.18
Total since 1 May = 83.66 kg; total value = £899.99