Monday, 10 March 2014
It was a weekend of two halves. Saturday was dull and cloudy and best glossed over because Sunday was absolutely brilliant with sunshine all day. It was easily our warmest day of the year with the temperature reaching a very pleasant 18.6°C.
We’d planned a visit to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway the preserved railway line in Bronte country and where the 1970 film The Railway Children was made.
One of the stations along the line is Haworth, home to the famous Bronte sisters. We walked from the station through the park to the main street on our way to the Bronte museum.
We found a little cafe for some lunch before finding the Bronte Parsonage Museum.
We didn't have time to look around the museum but after taking few photos we head back to the railway station and to catch a train to explore more of the railway.
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 09:17
Saturday, 8 March 2014
Apparently spring sprung in some parts of the UK on Friday but not here. After some light early morning rain the sun came out around lunchtime but the effect was spoilt by the gale force wind that got up. It was our windiest March day since 10 March 2011. We’re still waiting for the temperature to make it to 13°C.
In the afternoon sunshine our apricot tree blossom opened although in the gale force wind pollinating insects were at a premium.
The wind was rattling the panes a bit in the greenhouse but at last I've sown some salad leaves “French Bistro Mixed” they’ll take their place under the growlight with the hope that they’ll produce some tasty leaves before the space is needed for sowing peppers and tomatoes at the end of March.
Our shallots Red Sun and Golden Gourmet planted into modules on 02 February are now showing some fresh green shoots. Not all the shallots have started to grow but I'm sure the ones still to shoot will get the message soon.
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 09:27
Friday, 7 March 2014
By mid morning on Thursday I thought I was going to be able to record the warmest day of the year, however I was saved from announcing anything on Twitter or Facebook as the temperature rise suddenly came to a stop.
The temperature to beat is 12.5°C on 23 February and with the temperature rising rapidly to 12.4°C by just after 10:00 that record seemed sure to be about to be beaten. It wasn't!
It’s unusual for us not to have reached 13°C by March, especially as we’ve had a mild winter. In 2011,2012 and 2013 we recorded a temperature of 13°C before the end of January. The cold winter of 2010 was an exception when we didn't make 13°C until the 17 March 2010.
If you follow Sue’s blog you will know that we've got quite a lot planned for this spring. The two major items are refurbishing our old cedar greenhouse and sorting out the area at the back of the greenhouse to accommodate a new cold frame and raised bed supplied by WoodBlocx. Down on the plot one of the areas that was in need of a sort out was outside our shed as the grass from the path was rather rapidly taking over some of the patio area and the grass beneath the tayberry had got somewhat out of control. When I was down on the plot on Tuesday I made a start on sorting out this area.
Above are a couple of before shots showing the unkempt area beneath the tayberry and the grass growing between the paving slabs making a bid to cover the patio area. The aim was to use some weed control fabric held down under the row of paving stones adjacent to the tayberry and spread the fabric around the roots of the tayberry and smother out the grass that is growing. The fabric will join up with a piece of fabric laid last year around the greengage tree next to the wheel barrow in the photo.
Getting the weed control fabric around the roots was a little tricky and it needed some convincing to lay flat but some wood chipping from the allotment supply persuaded it to play ball in the end. I’ll have to finish the job off on my next visit as one of the paving flags needs breaking into two to make it fit better.
All we need now is some better weather before opening up the plot shed for coffee through the season. My excuse for not starting on the greenhouse is that I'm still awaiting delivery of the replacement polycarbonate sheeting which has now been on order since 20 February. I've been promised it will be delivered before the weekend. Time will tell. I'm not very impressed with “shedwindows.co.uk” although they've been okay when I've used them before. In the meantime I need to think about how to reach and stain all the greenhouse timbers to give it that cared for look again
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 09:07
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Wednesday was another decent day, dry and mild with a few sunnier intervals. In the afternoon I made a trip down to the plot as I had been down there since the middle of last month.
The most obvious change was our rhubarb. This is a clump of what I believe to be Timperly Early and it’s certainly well advanced and will soon have a few new succulent stems ready for pulling. There are three other varieties around this root in the photo above and they haven’t really started to grow.
This is a rather uncared for root of the same variety and even though it’s infested with grass it too has some rather juicy looking stems just about ready for pulling.
The bad news was that one of Jan’s (a plot neighbour) chicken had been snatched by a fox. Well after talking to Jan that’s his assumption.
The evidence of the snatch was spread all over our plot paths.
Can you grow any of these on your plot?
Someone thinks it’s a great laugh taking pot shots at greenhouses hitting golf balls from the playing fields which are adjacent to one side of our plots. This one landed harmlessly and didn't do any damage but it could be a different story if a mobile golf ball hit someone.
It also shows the state our soil has been left in after all the winter rains. A little bit of cultivating will be required once the soil dries out a bit. It will be interesting to compare the condition of the soil which has been covered with weed control fabric over winter to that which has been open to the elements.
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 10:27
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Tuesday morning was dull and it sort of attempted to rain around lunchtime but not enough to disturb my rain gauge. Then in the middle of the afternoon it brightened up considerably giving a pleasant end to the day.
I thought I’d add a little bit more about our visit to RHS Harlow Carr on Monday. There’s far more at Harlow Carr besides the well set out flower borders filled with spring flowering bulbs and shrubs. There’s a woodland walk where they’s lots more spring bulbs including masses of snowdrops in bloom with lots of daffodils to follow on.
If your quick enough with your camera the squirrels are almost willing to pose for a picture but then again maybe not as they spend their time dashing about beneath the trees searching out the last of the tasty pine cones. There’s also lots of giant rhododendrons amongst the trees which will soon becoming into flower.
Then there’s the kitchen garden admittedly not at its best in March but looking good in parts. As befits a Yorkshire kitchen garden it’s well stocked with rhubarb. All the varieties are nicely laid out and labelled.
This looked to be the earliest of the varieties. A pity I didn't have my spade to just cut off a small crown to take home. We've got Victoria on the plot but not Early Victoria. I must admit to being a bit envious of their purple sprouting broccoli. For us it’s the second year in a row without a crop as this year’s crop has been devastated by club root and the year before wood pigeons finished off the crop.
This nice tasty looking spear is ready for harvesting but as well as not having a spade with me for the rhubarb I didn't have my knife with me for the broccoli either. Unprotected without any netting it’s obvious that the local population of red kites are the best natural protection available.
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 08:55
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
A topsy turvy start to the weather this month as Monday turned out to be a super spring day. It was touch and go whether to visit the plot and sort out the grass and weeds growing under our tayberry or visit the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr, as our last visit was cut short by heavy rain. Harlow Carr won, the tayberry will get sorted out another day.
At Harlow Carr they've obviously had their share of the winter rain with standing water in some beds. I thought we ought to pay an early season visit as we’d decided on 12 months membership but I didn't expect to see much after all the kitchen garden wasn't going to be in full production at the beginning of March. I wasn't expecting the stunning display of spring bulbs along with winter flowering shrubs. It was a lovely sunny, still day bringing out the best in the flowers and parts of the garden were filled with perfume.
On the grounds a few picture are required to do the gardens justice I've added a set of photos to my Flickr albums which can be seen by clicking here. You can also see some photos Sue took posted on her blog here.
With lots of other spring bulbs still to come into flower and rhododendrons just coming into flower we won’t have to leave it too long before making another visit.
Of course we didn't manage to get through the nursery area without buying a few plants to add to our rockery area.
After viewing the stunning displays they’re producing in the gardens we just couldn't resist the temptation although we won’t be able to go for the same mass planting theme. We just have to convince ourselves that in some cases less is more!
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 09:19
Monday, 3 March 2014
The brilliant start to March didn't last long and Saturday was a cool miserable day. After some early morning drizzle the rain held off for most of the day saving a spell of more persistent rain for the evening. The forecast for the rest of the week looks quite good with some sun early in the week followed by some cloudy but milder conditions for the end of the week and next weekend.
Now’s the tricky time of the gardening year for me. Social media and magazines are all busy sowing seeds and showing pictures of new seedlings pushing through the soil. I've got to resist the urge. Anything that’s happy to grow in the greenhouse and perhaps withstand a frosty night or too might get sown but anything tender that’s going to get a check from a cold night I would rather sow at the end of March.
|A tulip makes the most of Saturday’s sunshine|
I might sneak in some early cabbage seeds and try for an early crop as our over wintering spring cabbage has been badly affected by club root and we are only going to get minimal pickings. I've still to sow some lettuce under the indoor growlight to produce some baby salad leaves. These will take their chance when they are moved to the greenhouse to make way for tomato seed sowing at the end of March.
Will I resist the temptation to sow anything else before the end of the month - I doubt it!
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 10:42
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Saturday got March and the start of spring off to a brilliant start. After a sunny morning it clouded over around lunchtime but the sun returned again by mid afternoon. In the front border the sunshine brought our crocuses into full bloom.
March can be a month with some pleasant warm days but with frosty nights to keep gardeners on their toes. In the last few years we've recorded a high of 21.9°C on the 28 March 2012 but in stark contrast -5.1°C on 07 March 2010. In the last four years March 2011 and 2012 were dry with 7.2mm and 13.0mm respectively whilst 2010 and 2013 were wetter than might be expected with 50.9mm and 50.4mm of rainfall.
Lets hope that March 2014 turns out to be milder than last March which for us finished up as the coldest month of 2013.
Posted by Greenfingers41 at 09:35