Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tomato Trials

Wednesday was another day of blustery winds and although it was warmer than Tuesday the temperature remained lower than normal.

I’ve now got two tomato trials on the go. The first started some time ago which was to try to get some early tomatoes by growing on some plants on a sunny window ledge indoors compared to growing the same varieties in the greenhouse. The time has arrived for all the plants to grow on together in the greenhouse. Hopefully any cold and frosty nights are behind us now.
I’m guessing you won’t have any problems deciding which plant of Baby Boomer was grown in the greenhouse and which wasn’t. Indoors the plants has reached a rather leggy height of 550mm (22”) whilst the greenhouse tomato has produced a much more stocky plant about half the height. But the purpose isn't to produce the best plant but some early tomatoes.
The greenhouse plant is starting to produce some flowers but the indoor plant already has a small tomato set from the first truss of flowers.
I’m now going to try to concentrate all the efforts of this plant into producing fruit and leave only a couple of flower trusses as well as keeping all the side shoots removed. For comparison purposes I’ll do the same with the plant grown in the greenhouse.

The second tomato trial has only really just started. I’ve been given a seedling of a new tomato from Suttons Seeds called Crimson Crush. Its main claim to fame is that it’s completely blight resistant as well as producing slightly larger than average tomatoes which taste good too.
I have to admit that at the moment it doesn’t look the same as a normal tomato plant. The leaves look like you’d expect but it doesn’t yet seem to be growing a main stem. We shall see how it grows on. To give it a test it will be planted outside on the plot next to a few other varieties to check its blight resistance should the dreaded disease attack this year. It normally does and it the reason we’ve stopped trying to grow tomatoes outside on the plot. Will this variety prove to be a solution to our problem?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

At Least April’s Arrived!

Tuesday was much more like April than mid to late May. It was cold and breezy with showers interspersed with some sunny spells.
In that heavy shower around 11:00 in the morning the temperature fell to 7.6°C (45.7°F)
Once again the day’s high temperature was disappointing reaching only 13.4°C or 56.1°F. I decided to look back over the last five years of records to see if it was particularly unusual to have a cold spell at this time of year. It turns out it’s not even our coldest May 19th as in 2012 the high temperature was a very cold 8.7°C (47.7°F) making Tuesday pretty balmy in comparison.
Lets hope it starts to get a little bit milder soon. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Getting There

There wasn't much improvement in the weather on Monday. It was a showery and blustery day with temperatures below average for mid May with a high of only 13.2°C (55.8°F).

A little bit more progress was made in the Cold Frame Courtyard. The weed control fabric was fixed to the bottom of the fence and the decking boards were fixed in place.
With the addition of a couple of bags of bark chippings the border looked to be finally nearing completion.
I’ll be needing a few more bags of bark chippings to cover the remaining fabric then we can get our two climbing roses planted.

We thought it was a good time to do another video tour of the plot so here’s a spring tour of the plot.



Monday, 18 May 2015

Poor Weekend Weather

It was a poor weekend weather wise as the strong winds returned on Saturday and abated only slightly on Sunday. It was on the cool side too with only a few sunny spells on Saturday.

More progress was made on sorting out the Cold Frame Courtyard.
Our raised bed now has a veggie mesh covering to protect our precious salad crops from as many pests as possible. Last year lots of our salad leaves had nibbled edges and this year we’re hoping to prevent that.

On Sunday the border next to our new fence was dug so that we can plant a couple of climbing roses to train along the fence.
The ground dug pretty well but it was slow hard work as the soil had been infiltrated by snowberry which had spread its roots, from under an adjoining fence, well and truly into this area. We finished up with a wheelie bin full of root dug out from just this small area.
We’re using weed control fabric to try to prevent any more problems from the snowberry. My plan is to fasten the fabric to the back of some decking boards which will then be fixed to the bottom of our new fence panels. This will all be covered with bark chipping and our roses will be planted in pockets through the fabric.
By the end of Sunday the area was starting to look a bit tidier and looking a bit nearer completion.

Now if only the weather would improve!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Growing Pea Sticks

Friday was a decent day with plenty of sunshine and a high of 18.6°C (65.5°F). With just a light breeze it was just the sort of day for spreading our some weed control fabric and getting our sweet peas planted.

Back on the 25 February this year I cut back one of our hazel bushes to provide us with some pea sticks for this year.
All the branches cut back were left in an enormous heap on a spare patch of allotment ready to be trimmed down into pea sticks and some longer sturdier branches for supports.
Like many jobs planned on the plot nothing gets done until its critical and that applied to the hazel branches which were left in their heap until some pea sticks were needed at the end of April. A suitable number were cut and used to support our first row of Onward peas.
That was on the 26 April and the peas are not the only thing to have grown a little bit. Our hazel twigs are starting to grow too.
It looks like a few twigs are growing although I've no idea if they’ll go on to form any roots through summer. So I reckon that’s 60 days from when they were cut back and left in a pile to being pushed into the ground as pea sticks and then only a few days before they started to shoot.


Friday, 15 May 2015

Not So Good

Thursday was cold for May as by early afternoon the the temperature eventually only struggled up to a cool 11.1°C (52.0°F). A cold easterly breeze and a complete lack of sunshine didn’t help matters.
We didn't fancy planting out our sweet pea plants on the plot in the chilly weather so the next improvement phase to the Cold Frame Courtyard was undertaken instead. It went from looking like this before…..
…to this afterwards.
The old timber and rail fencing had been there for many years and was well past its sell by date. All the posts had rotted away at their bases and I think the whole fence only remained together due to a combination of plastic mesh fixed to it and plant stems entwined through it. The next job is to sort out a border at the base of the new fence so that we can grow some climbers along it.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Starting Off With Good Intentions

Wednesday was a big improvement on the last couple of days as the strong winds finally abated. With some decent sunny spells and temperatures around normal 16.0°C (61.0°F), it was a pleasant spring afternoon.

Every year I start off with the intention of sowing successional crops such as lettuce on a regular basis. For some reason it never seems to last or a couple of crops fail and we are left with a long gap between crops. This year has started off well so far. 
This module of Tom Thumb lettuces are our most advanced crop and will be planted out into the raised bed at home and a few will be planted out on the plot. Following on close behind these are some Little Gem lettuces.
We've some mixed salad leaves planted in trays which should be ready to pick in the next few days.
Last in the production line at the minute are some seedlings of Little Leprechaun lettuce a variety we haven’t tried before. These were only pricked out this week.
Sue sowed some more salad leaves in trays this week. Our next sowings of salad leaves will be in our raised bed at home. I should also sow some more lettuce seed but these might have to be germinated in the cold frame as it can get too warm in the greenhouse for germination to take place.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Yet More Windy Weather

I’d been hoping that yesterday’s windy weather would go away so that we could get some weed control fabric down on the allotment. However that wasn't the case as Tuesday was even windier with a maximum gust speed of 23 mph and average wind speed for the day of 5.6 mph the windiest May day I've recorded.

Temperature and Wind Speed Records Sunday 10 May 2015 - Tuesday 12 May 2015
For the record the maximum gust speed I've recorded in May was on 09 May 2014 at 28.0 mph but the average wind speed that day was 3.6 mph indicating that the windy weather that day didn't last very long whereas on Tuesday we didn't have such a strong gust but it was windier for a much longer spell.

In the greenhouse protected from the strong winds our Lewisia is putting on a fine display.
We really do need to find it a better pot.

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