June 2013


Panoramic of the allotment mid June.

We’ve been having trouble with our new, old car, so haven’t been able to get to the land much over the last couple of weeks. This coupled with very dry and hot weather meant that I was a little worried I might find the allotment looking a little withered and sorry for itself. We haven’t had any rain for 4 weeks now and the temperature has been around 30C for a while with no foercast of rain despite a few villagers predicted some soon. We’ve missed the band of storms which have spread through the south of Poland, which I’m glad about, I drove through one on the way to Warsaw and experianced hail stones big enough to make me think my windscreen was going to brake. The wind in these parts had also caused a lot of the crops to collapse, hopefully they will recover. We need rain, but I’d rather not a storm like this if possible.

Anyway the plants are doing ok and we had our first decent harvest of small cucumbers (Ogorki) and yellow courgettes. The ogorgki plants are producing loads, I think we should have plenty for eating fresh during the summer and for pickling.

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Below is a copy of the inventory page that I have just made. The link in future is at the top of the page

This is a summary of our expenses and our harvests from the land. The idea is to give a rough idea of what you can get out of a given piece of land (the plot I am currently working is 600m2). We gave a similar summary from one year of our allotment in the uk. This showed a loss as during the first year a lot is spent on fences, perennial plants, tools ect which we would hope to only have to buy once.

I’ll probably change the format of this as I gather information to try and present it as clearly as possible. I will first give our expenses, grouping them into a few categories. Then I will give a table of our crops, sowing date, planting date, first harvest, last harvest, and totals. Zobaczymy..

2013 Expenses: Values given in Polish Zloty

Category

Price Zloty

Seeds

300

Trays, Pots, String etc

300

Plants

100

Fruti Trees/Bushes

360

Polytunnel Material

260

Fence Wire

600

Oil/Petrol Chainsaw

50

Tools

100

Total Zloty

2070

Total GBP

415

2013 Plant Inventory

Plant

Number

Sowed

Planted Out

First

Harvest

Last

Harvest

Total

 Harvest

Notes

Peas 1

16

12/4/13

Indoors

Peas 2

100

5/5/13

Out

Peas 3

200

1/06/13

out

Potatoes 1

270

5/5/13

Potatoes 2

270

10/05/13

Trench 1ft Deep

Potatoes 3

270

18/05/13

Carrots 1

Small Tray

13/04/13

Inside

Carrots 2

Few Hundred

06/05/13

Under Poly

Carrots 3

Lots

2/06/13

Tomatoes 1

50

Late Feb

18/05/13

Tomatoes 2

60

13/04/13

22/05/13

Sweetcorn

100 odd

7/05/13

Brussels

100

13/04/13

13/05/13

Cabbage

100

18/04/13

31/05/13

Parsnips 1

50

13/04/13

25/05/13

Parsnips 2

Lots

2/06/13

Out

Celery

Small Tray

13/04/13

Indoors

Courgette 1

8

13/04/13

1/05/13

Yellow

Courgette 2

9

18/05/13

7/06/13

Green

Spinach 1

20

13/04/13

6/05/13

Indoors

Spinach 2

20

6/05/13

Out

Spinach 3

Lots

02/06/13

Out

Salad 1

20

13/04/13

9/05/13

Indoors

Salad 2

Lots

02/06/13

Out

Salad 3

Beetroot 1

90

13/04/13

15/05/13

Indoors

Beetroot 2

Lots

6/05/13

Under Poly

Beetroot 3

Lots

02/06/13

Out

Leeks 1

60

13/04/13

31/05/13

Indoors

Leeks 2

30

31/05/13

Out

Cucumber

30

16/04/13

9/05/13

Indoors

Cucumber 2

45

2/06/13

Out

Basil

Lots

16/04/16

23/05/13

Thinned to 6 pots 10/05/13

Peppers

5

End Feb

22/05/13

Peppers 2

30

April

Indoors

Aubergine

5

End Feb

22/05/13

Melons

8

24/03/13

31/05/13

Under Poly

Broadbeans 1

30

22/04/13

Out

Broadbeans 2

100

05/05/13

Out

Onion Sets 1

50

22/04/13

Out

Onion Sets 2

100

06/05/13

Out

Radish

 Every 2 Wks

2 Rows

22/04/13

25/05/13

Out

Pumpkins

6

End March

02/05/13

Indoors

Squash

4

End March

06/05/13

Indoors

Glob Artichokes

8

End March

23/05/13

Strawberries

50

01/05/13

Out

Rasberries

30

April

Sprouting 05/05/13

Gooseberries

3

5/05/13

Currents

3

5/05/13

Grapes

5 Vines

06/05/13

2 Old

 

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing lots of planting. The average last frost date for us is 28th May, with this out of the way we had to get on with it and get everything in the ground. We had a mixture of stuff we started off indoors to plant out, and seed to sow straight to the ground. I’ll be putting on a little inventory of what we have later, alongside a rough costing of the allotment work and harvests.

On our last allotment everything was done in a bit of a rush during our spare time before or after work. As such I didn’t take any special care with planting techniques. Now we have a bit more time I’ve been doing my research and have been trying to follow the instructions I’ve found. Most things seem to be common sense, but I found some good tips on planting cabbages, Brussels, and Leeks.  Planting out leeks that have been started off indoors has always mystified me, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing, it seems a bit odd making a big hole and just dropping the young leeks into it, but I’ve seen this done at my old allotment and read about it, so I’ve given it a go. They are still alive after a week, so maybe they will be ok. A short video below of what I did, any tips welcome for next time.

I’ve been putting off building a bigger polytunnel for a while, as I didn’t really have a clue how to go about it. But after a few weeks the tomatoes have outgrown their 5Ltr waterbottle houses, and I found some old bits from our caravan awning that looked right for the job.

It’s in my rustic style, a little wonky, but it has survived some strong wind. We’ve missed the latest band of heavy storms but I think it will get a proper test very soon.

So I’ve been working on my scything over the last week with three more mowing sessions. I found some videos on youtube about how to peen (bang the blade with a hammer), which I put into practice. Marta’s Dad also gave me an old sharpening stone holding, which had an old sharpening stone inside. This proved to be much better than the one I had, and I think my blade is now sharpish. I also found a scythe handle in a slightly different style which allowed me to mow with a better posture.

Neater Rows

Neater Rows

To go some way in answering Eddy at Winkos, who mentioned how long it would take to cut his meadows using this method, I worked out over the few sessions I’ve done that I’m averaging 150m2 per hour.  I normally do from 4:30am till 8ish. I reckon we have about 10,000 m2 of meadow, which would take around 67hrs at my current pace. Or 8 days worth of 2 four hour sessions.

I am finding the mowing easier as my technique improves. We found out our neighbour used to mow his wheat fields using the scythe back in the day. I’m hoping to pick his brains a bit about technique, sharpening and setting the blade etc with the aim of getting my mowing to 200m2 per hour.

I also managed to have a go at actually doing something with the grass. I made a hay rack, according to what I remember seeing in a youtube video, in my style I made a rustic version. It is the alpha version, I think a few more pegs are needed for the final design, but I’m happy with it as a first attempt.