Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Lost In The Gales - One Apple Tree

It was very windy when we were at the allotment on Thursday afternoon and on Friday it rained for most of the day meaning gardening was on hold. It wasn't until Saturday morning when I headed up the garden to see if anything needed watering in our cold frames that I discovered the damage caused by the gale.

I found that I couldn't get to our coldframes as they were covered by one of our apple trees. The gales on Thursday had obviously been too much for it, in full leaf and ladened with apples, the trunk had snapped off somewhere around the graft. We think the apples were a variety called Peasgood Nonsuch which we bought many years ago. 
The tree has now been cut up and the apples, which weighed in at 20kg, boxed up. We will have to see how long they will keep.
Some of the apples are damaged and will need using quickly. It's a shame about the tree as the apples it produced were very good for cooking. We'll have to make best use of the last ever apples the tree will produce.

Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary http://ossettweather.blogspot.co.uk/ author M Garrett

Saturday, 17 August 2019

More Gale Force Winds and Rain

After a pleasant warm start to August, the weather over the last week has deteriorated rapidly. The warmer weather has disappeared to be replaced by much cooler, wet and windy weather. Last Saturday wind speeds reached 27mph, only the second time in 10 years that I'd recorded such speeds in August.
Temperature & Wind Speeds Records 10-16 August 2019
On Thursday afternoon those gust speeds were reached again making it three times in ten years and two of those occasions in the last week. I haven't put the rainfall on the chart above, but following on from a windy Thursday was a wet Friday. It was mainly light rain for most of the day with heavier spells on and off throughout amounting to 8.4mm in all. This brings this month's total up to 31.6mm about average for the midpoint of the month. I have the impression that's it's been much wetter than that.

So far the weather hasn't done any serious damage or delayed any jobs on the allotment. By far the worst casualty of the gales is one of our cardoons.
Its growing days for this year are well and truly over. I'll leave the blown over stems as they are until the flowers have faded as they're adored by the bees. I'll then remove all the stems and leave the cardoon to regrow from the base.

Although we've lifted a reasonable amount of potatoes, I think I need to lift most of those remaining to avoid them becoming slug fodder. Now that the ground is wet, I think the longer they are left in the ground the greater the amount of pest damage there will be. I lifted some Osprey and Nadine this week.
Potato - Osprey
Both varieties produced a decent crop with only a small amount of pest damage. We picked our first apples, which we think are Discovery, but as we inherited the apple trees years ago we can't be certain of the variety.
So far the wasps have stayed away from the apples presumably because they are enjoying the plums too much. Most of our Oullins gage plums were attacked by wasps as soon as they were ripe ruining most of the crop. I'm assuming they will move to the greengages as soon as they start to ripen and in a bid to save a few gages for us I've started picking some unripe fruits.
Greengage - Mannings
Hopefully, we can ripen these fruits at home away from the any wasps. I'll have to decide quickly whether or not to pick more greengages before the wasps move in.

Monday, 12 August 2019

A Stormy Weekend

The forecast promised a stormy weekend and that's what we had. Saturday saw the worst of the storm with gale force winds developing on Saturday afternoon and lasting well into the evening.
Temperature & High Wind Speed Records 09-11 August 2019
The highest wind speed recorded in our garden at plant level on Saturday evening was 27.0 mph which is equal highest with 11 August 2014. These are the only two occasions over the last 10 years that we've had such strong gusts of winds in August.  Fortunately, we didn't have any heavy rain associated with the storm.

We did manage a trip to the plot, to do a little bit of harvesting and tidying up, on a very windy and showery Saturday afternoon. Eventually, we got fed up with having to make hasty retreats into the shed to avoid the showers and headed for home.
Potatoes Vivaldi on the left and Winston on the right 
During the afternoon, I dug up a couple of rows of potatoes which for some reason or another hadn't grown particularly well and while the crop on Vivaldi wasn't too bad, the same couldn't be said for Winston. Many of the potatoes on Winston were pest damaged and some roots hadn't produced any potatoes at all. We will probably be replacing Winston with one of our more successful trial varieties next year.

The forecast for the next week to ten days is for the weather to remain unsettled and after a rather milder than average start to August the temperature is set to fall. Autumn seems to be on its way already.

Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary http://ossettweather.blogspot.co.uk/ author M Garrett

Friday, 9 August 2019

What's This?

I do my best to try and label up all our vegetables from when they are first sown to when they're planted out in the allotment. However, every now and again things do go wrong especially in the hectic planting out periods.
Imagine my surprise then when I found the specimen above growing in a patch of brassicas labelled as Clapton cauliflowers. Obviously, it isn't a cauliflower at all and as I haven't planted any calabrese or broccoli in this bed that I would expect to be ready for picking in August I immediately though that the seeds must have been incorrectly labelled. The patch of brassicas planted up as cauliflowers didn't look to be growing all that much like cauliflowers in any case.
The plants are all growing far too tall to be cauliflowers. I had a quick look at the plants growing next to these plants and they looked far more like I'd expect cauliflowers to look.
These cauliflower like plants were labelled up as Rudolph and I didn't give the matter any more thought at the plot as I was more interested in tidying up the bed and getting the environmesh cover back over the plants.

Once back home I gave the problem a bit more thought and I seem to remember sowing a broccoli called Rudolph. I checked back through my records and found this picture taken on the 06 May. 
Sown on the same day cauliflower Clapton and broccoli Rudolph. Obviously the labels got mixed up when the plants were planted out. The only question now is why is Rudolph producing heads so early when it should be producing heads when autumn arrives?

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Funny Month July

July turned out to be an odd month both weather and gardening wise. For the first couple of weeks July was on the cool side. On the allotment the more tender plants such as beans and squashes struggled to grow. Not only were the conditions cool but also dry and at times it was difficult to work out if tender plants were struggling from coldness or dryness.
July 2019 Temperature & Rainfall Data
Then over the later part of the month all that changed and towards the end of the month we had record breaking heat as the temperature soared to 35.7°C the highest I’ve recorded in 10 years.

Following on from the heat which only lasted for a few days the weather turned wet with heavy thundery rain to end the month.

Luckily we missed the torrential downpours that affected other parts of Yorkshire. This July finished, for us, as the 4th warmest and 3rd wettest of the last 10 years.
July Temperature & Rainfall Records 2010 - 2019
I think the rain came a bit late for our potato crop as the heat and dryness caused the haulms to start to die back and they never recovered. However, from the first few early potato varieties we’ve lifted I’m hopeful of a much better crop than last year. By the end of the month our beans and squashes had started to grow at a faster rate giving more hope of a crop.
At least the rain means it’s been possible dig over the bed where we lifted our early potato and replant it with French beans Safari. 
I was hoping to raise some spring cabbages in modules at home. The seeds had only just germinated when the hot spell of weather arrived and the seedlings didn’t survive as the combination of hot sunshine and excessively high temperatures dried them up. I’ve resown some seeds directly on the plot. It’s unlikely they’ll have to cope with any extreme temperatures but once they germinate they’ll have to survive attacks from slugs especially if the current damp conditions continue.
To finish off with I've updated my list of the top twenty hottest days I’ve recorded over the last 10 years.
It's unlikely now that we are at the beginning of August for any more days this summer to make it into the top twenty list.

Monday, 29 July 2019

What A Week!

Saturday became our wettest day of the year but it didn't hold on to its record for very long as Sunday took over the record with 18.2mm or 0.72in.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 23-29 July 2019
I have to admit that as we had that record breaking hot day on Thursday I didn't think that the rainfall the day before was going to do much good on an already very dry garden and allotment. Our first early potatoes Casablanca and second earlies Athlete have done all the growing they are going to do and my plan was to lift them this week and replant the bed with some French beans - Safari which are growing in pots at home. 
When I lifted some Casablanca potatoes a week or so ago, I did think that the soil was going to be very dry and digging the bed over might be a problem. However, with almost a month's rainfall,  of 49.8mm (1.96in), over the last week I don't think that is going to be a problem now. I'm hoping the soil won't be too wet.

The forecast for the next couple of days doesn't look too promising with more rain predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Forecast from Netweather.tv
Tuesday looks particularly wet with more showery weather on Wednesday. There's been an amazing turn round in weather and growing conditions in the space of a few days.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Gardening on Hold - Summer Changes to Autumn

The exceptional heat of Thursday disappeared through Friday to be replaced by something resembling autumn on Saturday and it is continuing into Sunday morning.

Temperature & Rainfall Records 25-27 July 2019
The temperature for most of Saturday hovered around the 16°C (61°F) mark about 20°C (35°F) lower than Thursday. We had showers or more prolonged periods of steady rain for most of the day on Saturday which produced a total of 17.4mm (0.7in) of rainfall. It's the wettest day of the year and the wettest since the 20th September last year.
Based on the measurements of solar radiation that my weather station records Saturday was the dullest July day of the last 10 years. The rainfall is good news for the garden and allotment and it will certainly mean that we don't need to do any watering but a spell of dry weather would be good to fit in a little bit of harvesting at the plot. Come rain or shine, we will have to make a trip to the plot to water the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

The forecast is for lots more rain over the next few days but it's chopping and changing all the time so it's rather difficult to know what to expect. There's certainly no return to summer forecast over the next few days.
Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary http://ossettweather.blogspot.co.uk/ author M Garrett

Friday, 26 July 2019

Thursday, 25 July 2019 - A Record Breaking Hot Day

There was no doubt about it, Thursday smashed my 10 year hottest day temperature into smithereens. The previous high of 33.1°C (91.2°F) set on 01 July 2015 was easily surpassed as the thermometer rocketed to 35.7°C or 96.3°F.
Highest Temperature Comparisons - Orange Line 01 July 2015 & Red Line  25 July 2019
The day's heat hung on long into the evening. I went to water the plot greenhouse around 20:00 and the temperature was still over 30°C. Not only was it still very hot but there wasn't even any breeze. Carrying a few cans of water to the greenhouse was a hot and sweaty job. 
I had a quick look around the plot and most crops looked to have managed okay with a couple of very hot days. A dry spell of weather through much of July and a few hot days have stopped some of the potatoes in their tracks and we've plenty to start harvesting as they are not going to do any more growing. Digging up potatoes though will have to wait for some cooler conditions which might not be all that long with cooler weather forecast for the weekend and next week.