Friday, 23 March 2018


Thursday was a much better day than we've been having recently and there were some rumours around that it produced our warmest day of the year. Unfortunately for us that wasn't quite the case as the temperature maxed out at 12.5°C or 54.5°F our warmest March day of this year. Amazingly as we approach the end of March our warmest day of the year is still 28 January when the temperature reached the dizzy heights of 13.8°C or 56.8°F.

The one thing that is noticeable is that the wind has moved out of that bitterly cold easterly flow into a milder westerly direction.
Wind Direction Records 16-22 March 2018
Given the better weather you might have thought we'd head for the allotment but we didn't and instead did the next best thing and had a trip to the garden centre. We picked up some different dahlia tubers for the perennial bed at the allotment. We don't know yet whether or not last year's tubers will have made it through this winter's cold spells.
If last year's tubers don't make it through winter hopefully these 5 different varieties will make a splash of colour in our perennial bed this summer. Whilst we were at the garden centre we couldn't resist the temptation to buy a few herbs so that we've some early picking while we get this year's herbs sorted out.

As I was sorting out our newly purchased herbs and dahlias into their spot in our home greenhouse, I noticed that our first seeds of the year have germinated today.
Broad Bean - Witkeim Manita
Lettuce - All Year Round
I'm always happy to see the first seeds of the year germinate. Hopefully it's just the beginning as we've lots more seeds to sow.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Somebody Tell The Weather!

Both meteorological and astronomical springs have sprung but the weather still thinks it's winter. I sowed our sweet peas and planted some Casablanca potatoes in a potato sack on Tuesday afternoon. It was reasonably pleasant in the greenhouse as some afternoon sunshine lifted the temperature into the mid teens centigrade or around 60°F but overnight the temperature in the greenhouse fell to -0.4°C or 31.3°F.
Potatoes - Casablanca
Sweet Pea - Kingfisher
Somehow it feels a bit like I'm trying to garden in the middle of winter. At least now astronomical spring is here we have more daylight than darkness each day so I'd hope colder overnight spells are shorter but it's odd to note that last November, December and January were all warmer than March 2018.
 Average High & Low Temperature November 2017 - March 2018
There doesn't seem to be much improvement if the current weather model forecasts turn out to be accurate as temperatures are set to remain on the cool side with more snow showers from early next week.

I'm sure spring will arrive eventually it's just a case of when!

All our March sowing can be found here.

Monday, 19 March 2018

The Beast is Relenting

Monday has dawned much brighter and whilst the temperature couldn't be described as mild it much better than the last few days. In the sunshine the snow is melting quickly.
Although it looks lovely and bright outside it's still feels bitterly cold as I found out when I ventured outside to fill up the bird feeders and thaw out the bird bath. The temperatures might have lifted but the strong breeze is still from the east.
Temperature & Wind Chill Records for Monday, 19 March 2018
The wind chill factor was making it feel a couple of degrees colder than the actual temperature. Below is a chart for the last month showing the wind direction. For much of the last month this has been from the east which has brought us "The Beast from the East Parts 1 & 2".
Wind Direction Records 18 February -19 March 2018
Over the last month, as you can see, we've only had a few days, around the second week in March, when the wind hasn't been out of the east.

Hopefully we've seen the last of any very cold weather and we can look forward to some frost free weather. Our main seed sowing season normally begins in April so an improvement by then would be much appreciated.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Winter's Icy Grip Continues!

Well, winter just refuses to go away. Almost lunchtime on Sunday and the temperature is still below freezing with a bitingly cold easterly wind blowing.

Gardening continues to be on hold.
Looking forward to spring!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

I Should Have Moved Our Potatoes

The drawback of having a weather station is I know the current outdoor temperature and it's -2.5°C or 27.5°F. I'm beginning to think I should have moved our seed potatoes out of the greenhouse.
Temperature & Wind Chill Records for 17 March 2018
As darkness falls we've had our worst snow showers of the day.

Whilst it's good to be able to take photographs at 18:15 in the evening now our daylight is lengthening I would prefer it if it wasn't to take snowy scenes.

Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary author M Garrett

Snow Showers

Friday was what we've come to expect, dull, cool with some morning rain. Saturday morning has started off as forecast with snow showers and feeling bitterly cold outside in the strong easterly breeze.
Temperature, Wind Chill & Rainfall Records 15-17 March 2018
It's cold enough at 09:45 for the snow showers not to be showing up on the rainfall totals until it warms up a little bit and the snow in the rain gauge melts.
Hopefully, the snow will melt away quickly. 

Friday, 16 March 2018

It Keeps On Raining

The cold wet weather continued throughout Thursday. Although the rainfall total itself wasn't anything spectacular, 5.2mm (0.2in), it fell on well saturated ground. It's not as though it rains and then brightens up for a bit but rather the rain stops and it remains so dull and dreary its difficult to know if it's still raining or not. Our monthly total is up to 65.4mm (2.57in) already the second highest March total I've recorded and we're only halfway through the month.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for 01-16 March 2018
Friday has started dull and wet and the forecast is for the temperature to fall further as the day goes on with any more rain on Saturday and Sunday falling as snow. Maximum temperatures over the weekend are predicted to be around freezing point with night time temperatures predicted to give some severe frost. Should I move my seed potatoes out of the greenhouse to somewhere frost free again?
As far as allotmenting goes we are still in winter mode. We head to the allotment to harvest the last of our overwintering vegetables and can do little else as the ground is waterlogged.

The only comparable March over the last few years has been March 2013 when a cold spell at the end of the month resulted in an average temperature of 2.5°C or 36.5°F. Currently, our average temperature this March stands at 3.9°C (39.0°F) but with some colder days forecast. However, rainfall in March 2013 was only slightly above average whereas this March has seen much higher rainfall.

Any outdoor gardening looks like it will remain on hold for some time.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Seed Sowing - Madness?

After all the rain on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were dry with a few sunny periods. There's some warmth in the sunshine now we're in the middle of March and during the day the greenhouse warms up nicely in any sunny periods. It was enough to tempt me into sowing a few seeds. Our leeks, which take a considerable time to germinate and grow on, certainly needed sowing. I decided to sow a few lettuce seeds too as there's plenty of seeds in a packet so I didn't see there was much to loose. My plan for them, should they germinate, is that they'll grow on in the greenhouse and coldframe before being transplanted into our raised bed at home for an early crop.
Lettuce seeds "All Year Round" & "Tom Thumb"
However, I couldn't help but think that I wouldn’t have considered sowing seeds in January or February but temperature wise January's average temperature was 5.3°C (41.5°F), February's 3.2°C (37.8°F) whilst March stands at 3.7°C (38.7°F) with a forecasted cold spell of near freezing temperatures by day, let along by night, to come over the weekend. There's more snow showers in the forecast too. At least in the greenhouse the seeds will be a bit warmer by day even if the temperature does fall below freezing through the night. They will also be protected from the rain, speaking of which, it's raining here again on Thursday morning.
I think I'm going to have to give some thought to alternative planting strategies at the allotment. It's not going to be possible to dig over any beds until we have a decent spell of dry weather and I don't think our onions and shallots can wait that long.