Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Had Plenty Now Thank You

Monday turned out very dull with light rain on and off throughout the day. Like yesterday we didn’t have any spectacular rainfall but the steady rainfall continued into the evening and through the night and is still falling steadily on Tuesday morning. So far the last three days has amounted to 25.2mm (0.99”) of good steady rainfall.
Hopefully the allotment will have soaked up the rainfall like a giant sponge and once the rain stops we can get on and plant up our winter brassica bed. 

You may have noticed that when I posted some photos of our brassica bed preparation it included one of our untidy plot areas that for most of the year I think needs a good sort out. But it doesn’t pay to be too hasty about these things. Growing in this corner of the plot where all the stones and rubbish were dumped when clearing our other plots grow wild elder, a jostaberry bush, nettles, and a blackberry bush. I’d half a mind in spring to make some elderflower cordial but didn’t get myself organised before the flowers went over. Is there anything I can make with elderberries?
The wild blackberry has been covered in blossom and the vast majority of it has set fruit. The bush is ladened with small green immature blackberries. Last year this bush was very productive and besides us we supplied some plot neighbours with blackberries too. It looks like this might be the case again this year.
There’s also some comfrey growing in this corner too which the bees love when it’s in flower. Most of the flowers have died off now so it’s time to cut it down to ground level, add all the leaves to the compost heap, and with a bit of good luck we should get another cutting from it this year.

Added to this the area produces a few daffodils and bluebells in spring. 
Our plot neighbour asked if it was okay to put a hedgehog home hidden away in this area which we thought was a great idea.

So what looks like a pretty tatty part of the plot doesn’t do too badly all things considered. Perhaps I should leave the area well alone and let nature take its course on this small part of the plot.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Finally Got Some Rain - But!

Some rain finally arrived by lunch time on Sunday but I wouldn’t exactly term it heavy rain as forecast by the Met Office. It certainly was dull enough for heavy rain but all it managed was not much more than a steady drizzle. By early evening we’d managed only 3.4mm (0.13”) of rain which isn’t going to solve our dry ground issues. A little bit more in the evening brought the day’s total to 4.4mm or 0.17”.

I thought my rain gauge might be blocked after all it’s a while since it has seen any serious action and our woodpigeons have a nasty habit of doing the dirty on it causing a bit of a blockage. The easy way is to check on Weather Underground first and see how much other weather stations around have recorded. 
Most of the stations have recorded more or less the same so I’m assuming my rainfall measurement is accurate and doesn’t have a woodpigeon problem.

After the chilly start to the day and because the afternoon rain brought with it some cooler temperatures Sunday finished up with the lowest average temperature of the month of 12.1°C (53.8°F). It seems a far cry from that scorching hot day on the first of the month when the thermometer hit 33.1°C (91.6°F).

It’s been downhill ever since.  

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

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Is It Autumn Already?

Not too bad a day on Saturday. We had some decent sunny periods but it remained on the cool side for July. Over night into Sunday I recorded our lowest July temperature of 6.1°C (43.0°F). That follows on from June also having the coldest night time temperature in six years too. Perhaps that’s why some more warmth loving plants like runner beans are struggling this year.
On the plot harvesting soft fruit, peas and broad beans continued. I thought it was about time we lifted some of our autumn planted onions.
We’ve certainly got a good crop of onions it’s just a pity they don’t store for that long but kept dry they usually keep for a couple of months.

I weighed up the onions on Sunday morning before the temperature had recovered from that cold start to the day and it felt very autumnal with a chill in the air and sorting out our onion crop.

Now I wonder if that rain that’s forecast is on its way?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Tasty Volunteers

Friday was another cool July day. The average temperature for the day was 13.6°C (56.5°F) the coolest of the month.

On the plot we decided it was time to try to sort out a bed for our winter brassicas which long ago outgrew their spot in the cold frame but now they can’t be held back any longer and a bed needed to be cleared.
Despite the dry conditions which seem to have slowed down the growth of our vegetables the weeds are unaffected. The fat hen in this bed has grown extremely well. Fortunately it pulled up easily out of the dry ground which was a bit of a surprise. The last thing I wanted to do was dig over the bed and bring any damp soil to the surface making the dry conditions even worse.

Growing along with the fat hen and thistles were some volunteer potatoes, presumably a main crop variety called Harmony, which grew in this bed last year. They hadn’t made what I would call decent sized plants but as I dug them out there were some small to medium sized potatoes on the plants. I didn’t see the point in wasting them and so they were brought home and tested for eating qualities. They tasted really nice certainly as good as if not better than the early potatoes we’ve been digging for a couple of weeks. They’re in the photo of Friday’s harvest and came to 1.3kg in weight.
I did manage to get the bed cleared of weeds.

I’m now hoping that the rain forecast for Sunday arrives and gives the bed a good watering which will make planting our winter brassicas so much easier. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Chilly Nights

Thursday morning was chilly with the temperature falling to 8.7°C (47.7°F) in the early hours of the morning, the coolest night of the month. It took most of the day for the cloud to break before we had a little late afternoon sunshine. That chilliest night time record only lasted for one day as in the early hours of Friday morning the temperature got down to 7.4°C (45.3°F).
Temperature Record for Wednesday 22 July to Friday 24 July 2015
We had a Thursday afternoon visit to the RHS Gardens at Harlow Carr.
We’ve got plenty of photos and video to edit of our visit.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Odd Weather Continues

Wednesday was another poor day for late July. The temperature struggled up to 17.2°C (63.0°F) well short of where it should be at the moment. It was cloudy for most of the day and from late morning through to the middle of the afternoon the cloud was thick enough for it to try to rain. It only wet leaves not the ground and it didn’t record anything on my rain gauge.
With a few days of cool dull weather it’s easy to forget to water outdoor plants. When it’s dull and cool I know the tomatoes in the greenhouse will go a couple of days without watering but it’s so easy to forget outdoor plants thinking they’ll be alright and manage on the small amounts of rainfall we’ve had.
Clearly our peas have suffered over the last few days and have turned from a healthy dark green to almost yellow. There’s a few pods left to harvest but the haulms can then be cleared away.
Our main crop potatoes look like they’re urgently in need of a good drink. I’m not really into watering potatoes so it will be a case of finding out how they’ve performed when they’re lifted after the tops have died down. By the look of them that’s not going to be very long.

We’ll need to keep watering our sweet pea plants if we want to prolong their flowering period. All the flowers were cut today and I’ll give them a good watering on my next visit.
A drop of water from the sky would be very welcome especially if it fell at night.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

No Entry

Summer seems to have got itself into some sort of a rut and is in need of a reboot to get it up and running again. Tuesday was cloudy and dry with a bit of a breeze but the temperature was around average for late July.
Our raised bed at home is doing what we hoped it would and providing us with freshly picked salad leaves rather than having to bring a bunch ready chopped from the allotment and trying to keep them fresh – assuming we remember to cut them when we visit. The cucumber is our first of the season from a mini variety called Cucino. It was very tasty, finished in one go in our lunchtime sandwiches.
It’s now getting tricky for me to walk down the greenhouse path. I’ve done my best to keep our Himrod grapevine under control but this year as an added difficulty it’s decided to have the best bunches of grapes growing directly over the greenhouse path doing its best to prevent entry. It’s a case of bending down rather low and squeezing between bunches of grapes and tomato plants growing on the other side of the greenhouse path. 
We had another exotic crop to pick in the greenhouse today. Following on from our earlier success with a couple of apricots a few weeks ago we were able to pick a few figs today. Then of course if we’re very luck we’ve still got nectarines and peaches to ripen.
It looks like our nectarines will be the first to ripen as they seem to have stopped increasing in size and have started to change colour.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Wings on the Plot

Monday was a little disappointing once again. At least Sunday’s gale force winds had died down. Some bright early morning sunshine gave a hint of a decent day but it soon clouded over. A little bit of light rain around lunchtime didn’t help and it wasn’t enough do any more than wet a few leaves. It certainly didn’t get down to soil level. 
We had wings of very different sorts on the plot the other day. A couple of old bi-planes flew over the plot presumably on their way to a display. I should have taken a picture of one of the many holiday jets heading into Leeds and Bradford airport to add a third sort of wings.
The other pair of wings belonged to a comma butterfly which settled on a tayberry bush leaf to get a little bit of shelter from the wind.