The potato harvest has been really exciting, despite a bit of damage from keeled slugs (hiding away under ground and munching on our taters). We grew a few varieties but really should have been more organised and written down what they were - no way now of knowing which variety it was that produced lots of little spuds and which just had one big potato per plant. Something to consider next year. We just grew first and second earlies to avoid problems with blight and this seems to have worked really well. The bed the kids are harvesting here was a big surprise that we got a harvest at all since the seed potatoes started to sprout too early and were hastily stuck into cold wet heavy clay at the beginning of the year.They never really looked like they would amount to much, but they apparently beavered away under the soil and provided us with a few meals anyway.
Cabbages, sprouts and broccoli are all looking promising in this netted patch too.
Lots of failures too, a mixture of inexperience, time and conditions. The French and climbing beans haven't fared well at all in the dry hot windy weather we had when we planted them out. I think one of each survives. At home the courgettes all get blossom end rot and drop off, victims of insufficient water or fertilizer perhaps. The radishes were decimated by flea beetles and the turnips and swedes never germinated at all. Four trays of seedlings snuffed it due to under watering. We've had plenty of strawberries from home but not one from the allotment (a squirrel apparently took a fancy to them).
Visually my favourite allotment offering has been these Chioggia pink beetroots. Stir fried they retain their candy striped colour and grated raw in a salad they look and taste really pretty. All the benefits of beetroot but with none of the red staining.
It does take a lot of time and effort, but it's such a good experience for the kids and a brilliant resource for food and fun I'm still really grateful we had the opportunity to gain a space to grow. For someone who likes food it's also a better incentive to exercise more than jogging, I don't think my waist is any smaller but my watering can carrying muscles are definitely firmer!