Saturday, 19 August 2017

Heaviest Rain of 2017

Friday saw our heaviest rainfall of the year. We'd finished lunch and were planning a trip to the allotment when the rain arrived.
Temperature and Rain Rate Records for 18 August 2017
As you can see from the above records it was only a short but very sharp shower with the rain rate peaking at 98.4mm/hr or 3.87in/hr. It was a good job it didn't last very long falling at such a rate.
Once the rain had stopped we did contemplate a visit to the plot but, after a little walk around the garden at home, we decided it was probably a bit too wet. The very heavy shower had given everything a good soaking in record time. The day's rainfall amounted to 4.4mm (0.17in) not very much at all, it's just that it all fell almost instantly.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Peaches Galore - Sort Of

The rather poorish August weather has continued over the last few days.  We've had a few showers here and there throughout the day as well as a few sunny spells. In the sunny spells it's felt quite warm but they've disappeared as quickly as they came. We've had some heavy rain in the early hours of Thursday morning amounting to 11.8mm or 0.46in.
Temperature, Solar Radiation & Rainfall Records 15-17 August 2017
We've been tucking into our very own peaches this week. I think I've only picked one or two fruits directly from the tree and the rest have fallen off onto the greenhouse floor. Fortunately, I've found these before the slugs have had a chance to taste them and the fall from the tree hasn't damaged the peaches much at all.
Peach - "Avalon Pride"
We've now managed to harvest a fraction over 1kg (2.2lb) of peaches and there's still some left on the tree. Our nectarines aren't falling from the tree like the peaches so it seems we'll be eating our peaches before moving on to the nectarines.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Ugly Fruits - But Extremely Tasty

Considering the weather we've had so far this August the weekend wasn't too bad. We had a couple of decent sunny days and it stayed dry all weekend. It was a bit chilly in the early hours of Sunday morning as the temperature dipped to  8.5°C or 47.3°F.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 12-14 August 2017

We're in between plum ripening at the allotment. Our early plum Oullins Gage is finished but our Victoria and Marjorie's Seedling plums aren't quite ripe. Looking at some of our Mannings greengages I could see that the fruits were splitting even though I didn't think they were ripe. Normally once the fruits split the wasps move in and picking becomes a rather tricky job and I normally leave the wasps to it. Maybe Sue’s waspinators are doing the trick as there weren't any wasps around the fruit so I decided to pick some as see if I could find any edible fruit on them.
Mannings Greengage
I must admit they don't look very appetising and they didn't look much better after they had a wash. The split parts were cut away along with some of the blemished flesh and the fruit that was left was remarkably sweet. It's a pity our trees never provide us with many fruits as without doubt they are sweeter than any of our plums and well worth the effort of picking and cleaning.

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

Friday, 11 August 2017

Coolest Start To August

Thursday was a decent day with long sunny periods and for once the temperature made it up to average for the time of year at 21.8°C or 71.2°F. However, to compensate for this overnight, Thursday into Friday the temperature fell to just 8.1°C (46.6°F) the lowest I've recorded this early in August. 
Temperature Records 09-11 August 2017
The average temperature for the month at the 10 August 2017 stands at 15.6°C (60.1°F) which is the lowest, at this stage of the month, since I began keeping records in 2010.

In the greenhouse at home our tomatoes are ripening but only slowly about enough to keep us supplied with some for sandwiches at lunchtime.
Tomato - "Gardener's Delight"
Our main tomatoes are Gardener's Delight and Sungold, both cherry tomatoes, which we choose to grow because of their superb taste rather than quantity of fruit. I'm not sure whether they need a bit more sunshine or some slightly warmer temperatures to help them ripen a little bit quicker.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wouldn't You Know It!

Tuesday turned out to be a wet day. The rain began around breakfast time, continued into the evening and through into the early hours of Wednesday morning. We didn't have a massive amount of rain it was just steady all day long. The total rainfall for Tuesday came to 15.2mm (0.60in) making it our second wettest day of the year. The wettest day of the year remains 28 June when we had 21.2mm (0.83in) of rainfall.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 07-09 August 2017
It was also on the cool side for August. It's a case of the maximum temperature shown by my weather station not telling the complete story as it reports the day's maximum temperature as 14.9°C (58.8°F), which indeed it was, but that was at 00:05 on Tuesday morning. The temperature fell as the night progressed and under dull and rainy skies during the daylight hours on Tuesday the temperature hovered around 13.5°C (56.3°F) mark. It's the coolest start we've had to August since 2010.

We'd visited the plot on Monday afternoon and thought it would be a good idea to lift our onions to help them dry off for storage through winter. Unfortunately, we've nowhere undercover to put our onions at the moment so Sue conjured up some makeshift frames to at least support the onions off the soil until we find somewhere more suitable for them.
As soon as we start to dry off our onions we get one of the wettest days we've had for a considerable time.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Settled, Unsettled Weather

Our current pattern of weather is usually described as unsettled in weather forecasting terminology. It's usually when conditions are such that low pressure weather systems dominate bringing bands of rain and wind in from the Atlantic Ocean.
Rainfall & Temperature Records 01-07 August 2017
As you can see from the temperatures above, our high temperature each day has been remarkably consistent, around the 20°C (68°F) mark, a little below average for early August. So unsettled weather can be settled in some respects. 

On the allotment we've been harvesting some delicious Oullins Gage plums but I think I harvested the last ones on Monday.
Plum "Oullins Gage"
Their cropping season seems to be over in just a few days. The first few plums were picked on 27th July and the last on Monday 07th August. However, we did have a bit of a bumper crop, even if it was short lived, so lots of the 21kg (45lb) we picked are in the freezer for using through winter.

Our Victoria plums provide a follow up crop but they don't seem to be enjoying the weather conditions. Some are rotting on the tree before they have time to ripen.
Plum "Victoria"
The tree is overloaded with fruit so I'm hoping that some of the other branches that are bending under the weight of plums will have some fruit that manages to ripen.
Plum "Victoria"
They'll be a week or so yet before they're ready for picking. Perhaps an improvement in the weather would speed up that ripening process.

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

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Not Ready Yet!

As forecast the rather poor August weather continues. For the last three days it's been windy although Saturday did have a decent amount of sunshine and out of the breeze it felt pleasantly warm.

Our soft fruit picking season is slowing down now. We've still got blackberries to pick but our autumn raspberries have been refurbished this year so we're not expecting much fruit from them this year. It's about time our tree fruit took over the production line and our plum "Oullins Gage" has stepped up to the mark. We've picked a few punnets of delicious plums over the last week or so but Saturday saw a bumper haul of just over 7kg or 16 lb.
Some of the apples, of unknown variety, which form our apple hedge on the allotment look ready for picking so we decided to try one on Saturday afternoon.
The resulting taste test confirmed that although it looked ready for picking, and it parted from the tree without too much trouble, it wasn't ready for eating. Inside the pips were still white instead of dark brown which I consider a sign that a bit more ripening is required.

Our apples weren't the only fruits we picked and tested for ripeness this week. We also picked a nectarine and a peach as they too looked ready for picking.
Peach - "Avalon Pride"
Nectarine - "Fantasia"
The taste test for both the nectarine, peach and apple were the same. They all need a little longer on the tree to ripen a little bit more.

We made a short video clip of us picking a peach and nectarine for taste testing which I've included below.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Wrong Month's Started

Thursday was windy with the occasional very light shower. Any rain wasn't heavy enough to wet the ground as the showers were quickly blown away in the gale force wind. It certainly wasn't much like an August day in the height of summer.
RSPB - Fairburn Ings
We visited RSPB Fairburn Ings in the afternoon and if you could find somewhere sheltered from the wind in was quite pleasant.

Although we've had un-August like weather to begin the month we have picked the first tomatoes of the summer from our greenhouse at home. As is usual for us these were Sungold which always is the first of our varieties to ripen. 
We are lettuce free at the moment as my successional sowing of lettuce and salad leaves has failed again this year. However, our experiment of trying to grow watercress in our pond has been very successful, in fact too successful, as the watercress is doing its best to take over the pond.
It looks like some will soon have to be pulled out and composted.

The forecast doesn't seem to suggest that summer will be restarting any time soon.