Wednesday, 18 October 2017

What A Month and We're Only Half Way Through

We are just past the mid-point of the month and already it's been a strange month weather wise. Only this week we've had the dark red cloudy skies and later red coloured sun due to ex hurricane Ophelia, dust from the Sahara, and the forest fires burning in Iberia.
So far it's been very mild for October and at the moment it's the mildest October I've recorded at this stage of the month with an average temperature of 13.8°C or 56.8°F. Normally we're around the 11.0°C (51.8°F) mark although 2011 was very mild too with an average of 13.4°C (56.1°F) by the 17th of the month.

It's also been easily the driest October whilst I've been keeping records. Nothing comes close to the 8.6mm (0.34in) of rainfall by this stage of the month. The nearest is 2015 with 22.6mm or 0.89in.
However, it looks like another Atlantic storm is heading our way for the weekend so that rainfall total might be on the increase soon.

Last weekend I made a little video of strimming some of the plots. I experimented with the camera sitting on the shed roof.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Ophelia Blows Through

It took most of the day for the gales force winds of storm Ophelia to arrive. It wasn't until the early evening that the winds started to pick up.
Temperature & Hi Wind Speed Records 15-17 October 2017
The gale force winds have continued through the night and into Tuesday morning. They're forecast to abate through Tuesday afternoon. The highest gusts so far recorded have been 26mph which isn't the highest of the month, that is 28mph on 02 October 2017. For us Ophelia hasn't been any worse than lots of other wet and windy weather we often get in autumn. 

Like many others we had a very eerie glow in the sky on Monday morning. It was very dark for much of the morning without any hint of sunshine.
The reason for the redness in the sky was due to Ophelia's strong southerly winds bringing dust from the Sahara and smoke from the forest fires burning in Portugal.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

More Balmy Weather and An Ex Hurricane

We managed a visit to the plot under our own steam on Saturday for the first time since 06 September. It was a very mild October afternoon with the temperature reaching 21.5°C (70.7°F), breaking yesterday's record and setting a new record for my weather station this late in the year.
 Temperature Records 13-15 October 2017
On the allotment it was a case of starting to cut the grass paths which have continued to grow in our absence, unlike most of our vegetable crops which have done most of their growing for this season.
It's time to start clearing away all the left over crops to the compost heap. Runner beans and climbing French beans have been cleared and the canes stored away until next year. Pea haulms now need to be cleared and some of Sue's early season cut flowers have done their bit and can now be pulled up and composted. In early September the bees were still enjoying the cardoon flowers but although,  these are now finished the dried flower heads still look good so I might leave them on the plants through winter.
Another grass strimming session should see the paths tidied up. 
Monday is forecast to be another mild day as ex hurricane Ophelia closes in. By all accounts its set a record by becoming the furthest east, in the Atlantic Ocean, that a hurricane has been recorded. The forecasters are suggesting it won't any longer be a hurricane by the time it arrives here late on Monday but it will still be bringing severe gales to some parts of the UK.
Wind Speeds for 16 October 2017 at 16:00 (from;-6.4;4&l=gust&t=20171016/15)
It looks like a serious storm is heading our way.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Balmy Weather

As forecast Friday turned out to be an exceptionally mild day for the middle of October with the temperature reaching 20.8°C (69.4°F) the highest I've recorded this late in the year since starting my records in 2010. However, the overnight temperature Friday night into Saturday morning has been even more exceptional with the temperature not falling below 17.0°C or 62.6°F.
Temperature Record 14 October 2017
That's easily the mildest October night I've recorded, the next highest being 15.4°C (59.7°F) on 19 October 2014. It's also the mildest night since 17 June this year. We didn't have any nights this mild through July, August and September.
Although Friday was a breezy day, it didn't turn out to be as windy as forecast. More very mild weather is on the cards for the weekend and into Monday. Ex hurricane Ophelia is forecast to pass to the west of the UK on Monday. There seems to be some doubt about the exact course the storm will take but it looks like Monday could turn out to be wet and windy.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Record Late October Warmth?

It's forecast for us to have some very mild temperatures for mid October over the weekend and possibly the start of next week. Over the last seven years we've had a couple of occasions when the temperature made it into the low twenties centigrade or above about sixty eight Fahrenheit. These were both in 2014 when we managed 20.0°C (68.0°F) on 18 October and 20.2°C (68.4°F) on 28 October that year.
I haven't recorded any higher temperatures than these later in the year.
I’ve posted this blog post late on Friday morning and although it's cloudy and breezy the temperatures a very mild 18.9°C or 66.0°F. Will we break my record?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Gales Forecast?

The forecast is for a very mild but wet and windy Friday with similar conditions through the weekend. The last couple of days have been mild and a bit breezy. We had some heavy showers on Wednesday afternoon and into the early evening but nothing like the amount suggested by the weather forecast.
Temperature & Rainfall Data 09-11 October 2017
We did have some excellent news on Wednesday. At my hospital appointment, I was told that I could resume driving. It’s been a month and a few days since I had to stop driving but it’s seemed far longer than that. I’ll be less likely to complain now when I can’t get past a bus picking up passengers at a bus stop.

We’ve quite a backlog of jobs to do. All those simple jobs that just involved a quick journey by car tend to be put off when it involves a bus journey or two. We need some bags of compost from the garden centre. It's not an easy job to accomplish using public transport.

Once those jobs are done we can turn our attention to the allotment. There’s plenty of grass cutting to be done which will keep me busy for a little while.
On our last visit to the plot I made a video of our first carrot lifting session of the autumn.

I might be tempted to try lifting a couple of parsnips soon even though we haven't had a frost which is supposed to make them sweeter.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Fine Weather For Harvesting

We've managed three dry days in a row and it's remained on the mild side for early October. On Sunday we were lucky enough to get the offer a trip to the allotment and back from our plot neighbour Jan.
To say the plot has been neglected for the last month it's not looking too bad. We've had a few visits, one each week, thanks to friends. On each of these visits we've concentrated on harvesting fruit and vegetables rather than any other jobs that needed doing. 

One of the main catching up jobs will be strimming our grass paths. With plenty of rainfall in September the grass has grown well over the last month and is now pretty long. It will be a test of my strimmer.
Besides picking more apples and harvesting a few vegetables I managed to tidy up our collapsed runner beans. These were pulled off the supporting canes and piled in a heap ready for composting. As I had expected all the supporting canes had been snapped at ground level so that's 30 replacement canes required for next year. The lengths of broken canes will be fine for other jobs around the allotment but won't be long enough for runner beans supports.
Our Clapton cauliflowers had past their best and blown. Our irregular visits meant that we hadn't visited at the right time to harvest them.
There was nothing for it but to chop them up and add them to the heap of runner bean stems waiting to be composted. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Rare Harvest - Melon "Emir"

The first week of October hasn't been too bad weather wise. Temperatures have been a little above normal mainly thanks to some mild night time temperatures rather than high daytime ones. Early Friday morning was the exception with the temperature dropping to 5.7°C or 42.3°F. 
Temperature & Rainfall Records 01-06 October 2017
Friday was then the sunniest day of the week and as forecast it turned out to be dry too. The rainfall wasn't as bad as my chart makes out as it only amounts to 5.6mm (0.22in) for the week.

We decided to harvest one of our melons which have been growing, through the summer, in our greenhouse at home. The variety is called "Emir". Although the plants produced plenty of flowers they were reluctant to set any fruits.
Melon - "Emir"
We had three plants growing in the greenhouse but only one appears to have produced any fruit or at least I haven't managed to see any yet amongst the tangle of foliage.

To mark the very rare occurrence of having a melon to pick, I decided to make a short video of the special event.

We've still got at least two smaller melons to try.