Thursday, 30 June 2016

Another Wet Day But No Records Broken

Wednesday was another poor day for the end of June with more rain through the morning and into the early afternoon. I've had a look through my records as it seems to me June's been a very wet month and I was thinking about it breaking a few records for the amount of rainfall. It seems a long time ago now but the first 9 days of the month were dry but since then we've had only three dry days or maybe four if the last day of June is rain free.
Temperature & Rainfall 01-29 June 2016
However, our total rainfall for the month stands at 71.6mm (2.82") well short of the 131.5mm (5.18") that fell in June 2012 although that particular month is the wettest we've had in the last six years. This month doesn't at the moment get into my list of 10 wettest Ossett months in the last six years unless the last day of the month is extremely wet.
Still some plants are doing pretty well despite all the rain. Our roses are looking good although it is a bit wet to get onto the garden to do some dead heading. That's my excuse anyway.
It would be nice if the rest of the summer turned out a little bit drier and sunnier.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Rain Stops Play - Again!

It seems to be a regular occurrence on the plot that at some point in the afternoon we get rain off. Tuesday wasn't any different as a heavy shower arrived not long after we arrived.
My plan was to prepare some ground for sowing sweet Williams, rocket and wallflowers as well as somewhere for our lavender cuttings to be planted to grow on. I decided to get this done before picking strawberries. To be honest although it was cloudy it didn't look that much like it was going to rain even though the forecast said it would. One bed was dug and covered with weed control fabric but as I was finishing digging the second bed it started to rain heavily and I made a hasty retreat to the shed for shelter. The forecast was right after all!
We had a cuppa while sheltering from the rain in the shed and then decided to do a little bit of harvesting despite the rain. It seemed a shame to leave any ripe strawberries for the slugs to devour. That’s also our first Mayflower cauliflower in the photo grown on from small plants from Marshalls early brassica collection. It's alongside a cabbage Duncan from the same collection.

Some decent weather would be much appreciate but it doesn't look like we're going to get any just yet. Perhaps July will be better.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Rubbish Cabbage Plants

Monday was a reasonably sunny day but it was also the first windy day this month.
Temperature, Sunshine & Wind Speed Records from 21 June to 27 June 2016
The wind was at its worst late in the afternoon with a gust speed of 20mph.

I've complained, in the past, about poor quality brassica plants I've received from seed companies. Well now I've produce some rather pathetic red cabbage plants myself. This year we decided to try some red cabbages called Lodero supposedly a club root resistant variety. I sowed the seeds on 29 May and within a couple of days the seeds germinated. These were pricked out into modules and moved into the cold frame.
A month on this is how they look now. They've grown long and lanky and I'm in two minds whether or not to plant them out in the plot. I suppose I've nothing much to lose if half a dozen of the best looking specimens are given a chance. I'm not really all that sure why they've grown this way as they've been treated in the same way as all our other brassica seedlings which normally produce decent plants for the plot. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Away Days

We had a couple of days away heading to Norfolk to visit Blickling Estate and a gala at the Mid Norfolk Railway. We were rather lucky with the weather as Friday was lovely sunny day to visit Blickling Estate although it did rain from mid afternoon on Saturday spoiling our visit to the Heritage Railway.
Temperature, Rainfall & Sunshine Records 24 June - 26 June 2016
In general the weather remains very consistent at being changeable.  As you can see from the above chart the temperature hasn't been too bad with sunny spells and spells of rain or showers.
Blickling Estate - Aylsham - Norfolk
Mid Norfolk Railway - 46100 Royal Scot at Thuxton Station
We visited the plot on Sunday afternoon and managed to pick this a nice selection of strawberries.
The weather obviously hadn't been too bad at home as only the odd strawberry had turned mouldy although quite a few berries had been eaten by slugs. Still there were plenty left for us.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Early Potato Test

The last few days have seen a bit of an improvement in the weather. We've had less rain and the temperature has lifted too giving the days a bit of a muggy feel at times.
Temperature, Rainfall & Sunshine Records 17 - 23 June 2016
You'll notice that none of the sunshine traces have that lovely curve to them which indicates sunshine all day long. It has been a lot more hit and miss than that with short sunny spells rather than any prolonged sunshine.

On the plot we decided to harvest a few of our first early potatoes Casablanca.
As we've lots of potatoes growing I like to start harvesting our first crop as early as possible because I think these early potatoes are the ones that have the finest new potato flavour. As you can see from the photo above the plants are only just coming into flower and I thought it might be a little bit early to see if there were any potatoes underneath the foliage.
There were enough potatoes on the first root I lifted for one meal for two so I'm reasonable happy with that. I'll continue to lift a few roots from now on to keep our potato supplies stocked up. Surprising none of the potatoes had any slug damage. Our slugs and snails have been on the rampage this year thanks to all the damp weather so to have all undamaged potatoes was a surprise.
The potatoes tasted great too after all that's one of the reasons for growing your own.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

It Must Be Summer - Banana's Out

Monday and Tuesday have seen a big improvement in the weather and we've actually had some sunshine. We had some rain on Monday morning but it had cleared away by lunchtime to leave us with a lovely afternoon. Tuesday was warm with some decent sunny spells.

As it's now officially summer and the weather has improved I decided our banana tree could move out of the greenhouse and into its summer spot just outside the door. It's not much of a move in distance, a couple of metres at most, but I'm sure our banana won't appreciate the move if we get some windy weather.
It's a tight fit to get it out of the greenhouse door without doing any damage to its leaves. Another week or so in the greenhouse and it would have been much too large to go through the door without damaging those glossy leaves.

We spent Tuesday afternoon pottering about in the garden filling up the last few pots with plants to produce some good summer displays.
With all the rain the garden is now set up for summer.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Picking Strawberries in the Rain

It was almost a dry weekend but the rain just couldn't keep away and late on Sunday afternoon we had more rain. It would be more encouraging if we at least had some brighter intervals between the bouts of rain but all we get is dull weather with rain at times. After a decent first few days of June the weather has been abysmal. The last 10 days have yielded a measly 5.0 hours of sunshine and 51.0mm (2.01") of rainfall which is above our average for June.  

We made the most of the dry weather getting as much planted in the mud on the plot as we could. It was a case of now or never as far as our sweetcorn and leeks were concerned. Most of the grass paths were strimmed between planting sessions. Eventually we were rained off on Sunday afternoon.

As the rain began to fall, we packed away quickly but still had a few strawberries to pick. This year's strawberry harvest is rapidly turning into a bit of a disaster. The constantly damp weather means slugs and snails are a real nuisance and the almost complete lack of sunshine results in the strawberries ripening very slowly. We've been tempted to remove strawberries before they are fully ripe in an attempt to harvest some fruits rather than leave them to the mercy of the weather.
These are the strawberries picked on Sunday afternoon. Any that had been partially eaten by slugs were left in place. Even then the berries aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
From this side this strawberry doesn't look too bad, although it does still look like it has a little bit of ripening to do. Then when turned over it looks like this!
It looks like a slug has caused some initial damage and the damp weather has done the rest turning the fruit mouldy. It's never going to ripen is it? It is only fit for the compost heap. We have lots of strawberries like this.

The weather forecast doesn't seem very promising for the next week so it looks like our strawberry harvest is unlikely to improve.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

More Cloud and Rain

At one stage I thought Friday might turn out to be a dry day, the first for over a week. It was dull all day and not particularly warm for mid June but then as I was thinking the lawn might be dry enough to mow, more rain arrived.
Greenhouse Temperature 10-18 June 2016
The chart above shows the greenhouse temperatures for the last week. Normally in June it's a case of trying to keep the temperatures down with all the windows and the door wide open. That's not been the case over the last week. Normally the indoor temperature is in the mid thirties centigrade even with all the windows open. As you can see over the last week it has only managed the low twenties centigrade or temperatures that wouldn't be out of the ordinary as outside temperatures for the middle of June.

One rather unforeseen problem with cool greenhouse temperatures during the day and no hot sunshine through the glass is that it gives marauding slugs and snails even longer to maraud.
I caught these two just after 10:00am in the greenhouse. If the weather was anything like decent it would be far too hot for them in the greenhouse to be out and about. On a more positive note these individuals won't be out and about during the night anymore!

In the garden our clematis flowers are standing up to the poor weather much better than the roses.
Hopefully the weather will improve before too long.