Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Carrot Preparations

After a bit of a cloudy morning the sun came out before lunch time to give us a lovely sunny and mild afternoon.

On the plot it was a case of preparing a bed ready to sow our carrots and parsnips. Parsnip seed is especially good at blowing about in any sort of breeze so a reasonably calm day makes sowing so much easier.
Our carrot and parsnip bed is one of the untidiest looking beds on the plot with weed control fabric that’s in something like its fourth year of use together with all the bits and pieces of timber required to hold it in place it looks a bit of a mess. I remember thinking the same last spring but we managed to harvest 35kg (77 lb) of carrots and 15kg (33 lb)of parsnips so I’m happy to put up with it looking a mess if we get the same results. Next job is to sow the seeds and erect our environmesh cage to keep our carrots free from carrot fly. 

I blogged last week that our Delsanne pear tree was flowering before our other two varieties. That’s not the case any more as Invincible and Red Williams have joined it in flower. There were plenty of bees doing their bit so hopefully we’ll have some pears this year.
Our tulips are putting on a decent show too.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Birds and Some Steam

I think that the mild weather at the beginning of April got me into thinking that was how April should be and now with temperatures returning to more normal values for the time of year it seems positively cool. High pressure has been in charge over the last few days bringing settled conditions. In any sunshine it has felt pleasant but out of the sunshine pretty chilly.

We’d decided on a couple of days away visiting the Anglian Bird Watching Centre situated on Rutland Water on Friday and then The Great Central Railway the following day.
The Anglian Bird Watching centre is the largest reserve we've visited. It has so many hides that we didn't manage to get round them all on our visit. We had trouble finding our way around the reserve and at one time we weren't sure of our way back to the Visitors’ Centre. A couple of regular visitors helped us out and suggested where we should go to get a possible sighting of the ospreys. In the photo above you can just make out the nest and the male osprey perched in the tree above. Apologies for the photo quality but the birds were a long way away.
We also spotted an Egyptian Goose which we hadn't seen before. One pair had some goslings but they were too far away to get a good photo. Walking around the reserve involved crossing a few fields which we filled with lambs. Couldn't resist a few photos.
On Saturday the Great Central Railway were holding a gala called “Railways at Work Weekend” and Quorn and Woodhouse Station was converted to a replica station when the railway was the hub of the village.
There were a few lovingly restored old vehicles in the station yard and some even older ones were making some repairs to the pot holes in the car park.
There were steam hauled trains making regular journeys from Loughborough to Leicester and the occasional freight train too.
Now we probably need to catch up on a bit of gardening.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Alright For Some

Some parts of Britain had their warmest day of the year on Wednesday but that certainly wasn't the case in Ossett. It wasn't even close with the temperature below average for the time of year.

As you can see we only managed a high of 12.4°C (54.3°F) and we didn't manage that until the very late afternoon. With a cool breeze and no sunshine it felt even cooler.

I had a couple of hours on the plot doing a little bit more cultivating. Strangely the soil conditions over the plots vary enormously with some parts still pretty wet while other are in excellent condition to be cultivated. 
This bed cultivated easily. A couple of trips over it with the cultivator and it was done and ready to be planted up. The bed below though is a different matter.
It doesn't look too bad in the photo but the soil hasn't broken down into a fine tilth. This will be our carrot bed this year and I’m hoping to get our carrots sown next week. Perhaps another cultivating session next week will get the soil into a suitable condition for sowing.
Our pear “Delsanne” is now in full flower but unfortunately our other pear trees are still only in bud. This pear is also known as Goldember and is supposed to be self fertile and crop from early in its life. If it is self fertile the fact it’s flowering by itself shouldn't be a problem. Planted at the same time as “Red Williams” and “Invincible” it’s the only one we haven’t had a single fruit off. We thought this might be because it flowers early before our other varieties but as it’s self fertile this shouldn't be an issue. Maybe this is going to be its year. 

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

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Highest Average Daily Temperature of the Year

Based on the average daily temperature,Tuesday finished as the warmest day of the year with an average of 13.4°C (56.1°F). It wasn't a particularly warm day which helped achieve this, although late into the afternoon some lovely sunshine made the temperature rise to 19.6°C (67.3°F). The fact that we had a very mild night with the temperature not falling below 9.7°C (49.5°F) helped lift the average daily temperature. It would be nice to be able to guarantee that as an overnight value in the greenhouse for the next month or so but I suspect it’s not going to happen and we've a few more chilly nights in store.
This pulsatilla is looking good in the pebble garden.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A One Night Stand

The forecast for Monday turned out to be wrong. Those gale force winds that were forecast didn't arrive. At one time on Sunday we had a Met Office warning of gale force winds for Monday and Tuesday but by Monday morning that had been lifted. Monday wasn't a bad day after all with some decent sunny spells and temperatures around average for the time of year.

If you've been following our great tit nest box camera saga you’ll know that one day last week the two great tits that had roosted in our box for several nights appeared to have an early morning tiff and that only one returned to roost the following night.
This is our lone great tit roosted up for the night all alone. Then the following night this happened.
Once again two birds roosting maybe some nest building was still a possibility. It wasn't to be, as in the early hours of the following morning once again the two birds appeared to squabble and part company.
We’re now back to one bird and are starting to give up hope of the idea of any nest building taking place.

We’ll be adding some video of the events to our link to the nest box page which you can find here.

Monday, 13 April 2015

What a Disappointment

Last week was so good the weekend’s weather turned out to be a big disappointment. After a windy and cold Saturday, Sunday was probably the worst of the two days. It was windy and cold in the morning but at least the rain passed us by to the north.
We weren't so lucky in the afternoon as some light blustery showers arrived. It felt cold outside. I can vouch for that as I had to make some temporary fence repairs early in the evening as the constant battering from the wind eventually took its toll on one of the fence posts. With more strong winds forecast for the next few days I decided immediate action was required before the whole fence was brought down.

The weather has put our gardening activities on hold. It’s a pity as we were making good progress on the plot and in the garden. I’m hoping that the onions, shallots and brassicas that we planted out on a lovely Friday afternoon haven’t suffered too much over the weekend. Will our “veggie mesh” covering our brassicas still be on our plot, another allotment or the fields beyond?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Bit of a Shock

The mild sunny weather of last week came to an end on Saturday. It was a bit of a shock to the system to find it cool and windy outside after all the fine weather. We had plenty of sunshine through the day but the strong wind took the effect of the sunshine away.
Temperatures with wind chill Monday 06 to Sunday 12 April 2015
That high temperature of 21.3°C (70.3°F) didn't manage to beat my highest recorded temperature in April which stands at 24.7°C (76.5°F) set on 23 April 2011.

The forecast for today and the early part of next week is for more strong to gale force winds over the next few days. I’m guessing that’s not good news for our plum blossom which was just starting to open on Friday. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Going Out In Style

Friday finished the week off with yet another high temperature as the thermometer touched 21.3°C (70.3°F).
Back on the 20 March our Marshalls brassica collection arrived. These plug plants were planted up into modules and left to grow on a little in the greenhouse before they were moved into the cold frame.
Cauliflower - Mayflower 20 March 2015
From past experience I've learnt that treated in this way the plants soon recover from their trip in the postal system. The plants had grown sufficiently to be ready for transplanting into the plot so Friday was their big day.
Cauliflower - Mayflower 10 April 2015
The cauliflower - Mayflower, shown above, were planted out along with cabbage “Duncan” and calabrese “Marathon”. All the plants have been covered with lightweight environmesh to keep butterflies and as many other pests off as possible. One cabbage white butterfly was trying to settle on the leaves as I was putting the plants in. What a nerve! At the moment the mesh is laid over the top of the plants and will need adjusting as the plants grow.

I’m not sure whether or not laying the fabric over the plants is better than constructing some sort of support system to hold the fabric off the plants. I've left the fabric reasonably loose to allow the plants some room to grow but I’ll have to keep a close watch over the developing plants to ensure they have enough growing space.

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