Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tomato sowing

Wednesday was pretty dull but mild. The heavy rain forecast early in the week for today never arrived despite all the clouds.

I decided to sow our tomato seeds rather than risk the plot with the rain forecast. Our tomato sowing last year was a bit of a disaster with several sowings having to be made due to poor germination or in some cases simply no germination at all. This year I'm hoping for better. I decided to sow the seeds in some John Innes seed compost. I also want as many seeds under our indoor grow light as possible so after a trip to the garden centre I managed to get our tomato seeds sown and under our indoor grow light. I decided on one seed per cell, to prevent any over crowding when the seeds germinate and I have a few extra cells sown with each variety to allow for any failures.
Tomatoes sown  

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Funny day

Tuesday was an odd sort of a day when the weather just couldn't make its mind up. At times it threatened to pour down and then made an effort to brighten up with some pleasant sunshine. We did have just a few spots of rain but hardly enough to make the ground appear wet.

On the plot the greenhouse is now ready for use with a new weed suppressant membrane laid. I'll plant some early potatoes in sacks first to give them a good start. By the time the greenhouse is required for its summer crop of tomatoes the potatoes can be moved outside until ready for harvesting.
Plot greenhouse cleared.  

I'm not hopeful for the small banana plant, in the pot on the left, which was left in the greenhouse over winter.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Still dry and sunny

Monday gave us another dry pleasant day and a chance to catch up with more jobs on the plot. We now have heavy rain forecast for Wednesday so it looks unlikely that this month will break last May's driest month. I'm hoping we don't get too much rain to slow progress down on the plot at this busy time of year.
Jobs on the plot Monday
I've started sowing our tomato seeds, Moneymaker and Amish Paste were sown today. I've decided to move our basil and cabbage seedlings out of the indoor grow light garden to make way for our tomato sowings. The lettuce looks a little bald now after several harvests. It will be interesting to see if it can produce another cutting now it's in the greenhouse.
Indoor grow light crops and sowings 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Afternoon sunshine

Sunday afternoon was pleasant with some sunny intervals ti brighten up the weather after a dull, cloudy Saturday. March is heading for an extremely dry month at the moment. The forecast doesn't seem to be for any rain before the end of the month. So far we've managed just 6.4mm rather than 41.9mm the average for March. Last May we only had 9.6mm so this might be a new low record for rainfall.

Whilst it was pleasant in the greenhouse yesterday afternoon I sowed some broad beans Witkeim Manita. We've grown this variety before and it's given us an early crop of tasty green beans which freeze well if we are fortunate enough to have a glut.
Broad Bean - Witkeim Manita    

Sunday, 27 March 2011

March returns

Saturday saw the fantastic weather of the last few days come to an end and it was the first time for 5 days that I didn't record any bright sunshine hours. With the lack of sunshine it also meant a drop in temperatures and rather than high teens we didn't even manage double figures.

Some of the after effects of last winter are starting to come to light. On the plot we lost most of our overwintering brassicas. We do have some kale plants which have survived but are rather small. We lost most of our cauliflowers but some have survived and I think I'll risk leaving them for now and hope that a feed will boost them and give us some goods heads for around May time.
Over wintering cauliflowers    
We usually rely on Sweet Williams for a plentiful supply of cut flowers and a bright and cheerful display on the plot. It would be true to say that I don't think they've over wintered too well.
Sweet Williams
On a brighter note our daffodils are out giving a cheery note to parts of the plot.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Saturday, 26 March 2011

A little high cloud

There was some high cloud around for much of Friday but it was still an excellent day with the warm spell of weather continuing.

The grass paths on the allotment are in need of a trim but there seems to be so many jobs to do on the plot that it may get left for a few days. It does give the dandelions a chance to flower. They can look quite pretty but they will definitely need their flower heads removing before they have any chance to set seed.
dandelions flower in our uncut grass paths    
Nearly all our cutting back has been completed. This left us with a rather enormous pile of dry rubbish, which was too difficult to compost being large and bulky. It was burnt in few minutes leaving a small pile of ash to be spread around the plot.
A small heap of ashes is all that remains from all our cutting back.  

Friday, 25 March 2011

Fantastic March weather continues

Thursday saw the continuation of our spell of unbroken sunshine and warm temperatures continue. It will be a blow when it comes to an end. Frogs are back in our pond and there's already some frogspawn just waiting to be eaten by our fish.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
I'm sure some of this frog spawn survives to go on and produce tadpoles and eventually frogs. I'll have to keep a check to see if I can follow developments.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
In the greenhouse the first signs of swelling buds can just be seen on our grapevine. I'm amazed that these gnarled old branches carry on year after year producing an abundant crop of sweet white grapes.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
We've also had more action in our nest box and I think we might be lucky enough to have a couple of blue tits taking up residence. check out the latest goings on by clicking on the nest box cam link on the side bar at the top of the blog.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Another super day

Wednesday saw the weather continue in its excellent spell with plenty of sunshine and virtually no clouds. It's the best spell of sunny weather we've had since the end of August / start of September last year. The temperature set a new record for this year of 19.5°C.

On the plot the replacement raspberry canes which were all growing in pots were planted alongside the survivors from last years plants. We now have a full row of thriving canes. It looked like last years canes are going to produce an abundance of new canes this year. The soil around some of our other fruit bushes was loosened after its battering from the winter rain and snow. Parts of the plot are already starting to look a bit more cared for.

Gooseberries and currant bushes starting to leaf up.    

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spring has sprung

Tuesday was a superb spring day with almost unbroken sunshine and the warmest day of the year so far with a temperature of 17.0°C. I'll need to remember to keep an eye on my greenhouse ventilation as I didn't give it a thought yesterday and the temperature soared to a rather astronomical 35.4°C

On the plot there was more progress made tidying up and cultivating beds ready for planting. Our winter carrots are now finished as the last ones are now rather soggy lumps left in the ground. No complaints though as we've had a supply of fresh carrots since last July.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A proper start

Monday was dry with long sunny periods. The afternoon temperature reached 15.6°C the warmest day of the year and we weren't penalised with a frosty night to follow as the temperature fell to 4.2°C.

We made a decent start on the plot getting a couple of beds cleared and ready to cultivate. One is going to be our new strawberry bed so this needs sorting out so we can move our strawberry plants out of the greenhouse into the plot.
New strawberry bed ready to cultivate is on the left.   
There was much cutting back of roses, tayberry, elder and blackberry. Much of this might have been done last November but for the early on set of winter put a stop to plot activities.

Our rhubarb, Timperly Early has produced some thick succulent stems which I just couldn't resist harvesting as our first fruit of the year.
Timperly Early ready to harvest     

Monday, 21 March 2011

First crop

Sunday was cloudy, dry and not too cold. I might have to start thinking about getting some tomato and pepper seeds sown in the next few days to place under our new grow light system. Our experimental lettuce has worked well and we've managed a couple of cuttings so far.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
These young lettuce plants together with the basil and cabbage seedlings will have to be into the greenhouse once my tomato and pepper seeds need the indoor lighting system. I'm a bit less optimistic about our first sowing of cabbage seeds. The young plants don't seem to be growing very well. This might be that it's too cold for them in the greenhouse or that there's a problem with the compost. I'm perhaps tending towards the compost at the minute.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Back from Cumbria

We've just returned home from a week in Cumbria. My weather station almost kept operational whilst we were away. Some tiny glitch saw part of my web site stop uploading correctly in the middle of the week but the weather was all still recorded on my PC.

The weather in Cumbria was much like the weather at home. At first the weather was a little threatening but it didn't stop us getting out and about.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
Then some good sunny weather which we made the most of with a trip into the Lake District and a trip over the Kirkstone Pass.
Kirkstone Pass       
In the middle of the week we had some pretty dull and dreary weather. We visited the RSPB Reserve on Geltsdale Moor. By the time we arrived we were in the clouds and it felt rather cold and damp. We didn't spot many birds but could hear them calling in the mist which hung on the fells.

RSPB  Reserve Geltsdale  
Then the week finished with some glorious sunny weather on our visits to Gretna Green and Hadrain's Wall.

We decided on a trip to Scotland as we were close to the border and decided out of curiosity to visit Gretna Green.
Gretna Green - Scotland   
We visited the National Trust site of Housesteads Fort the site of an ancient Roman Fort. It was another sunny day making the most of the spectacular scenery.
National Trust site - Housesteads Fort    
Our return trip home on Saturday was made in some lovely sunny weather although it clouded over in the afternoon.

Monday, 14 March 2011

A little bit of rain

Sunday eventually turned out nice after a rather damp start to the day. The clouds cleared to leave a sunny afternoon. The clear skys remained and the temperature fell below 0°C by late in the evening.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Continuing the improvement

Saturday wasn't too bad a day again. A little afternoon rain followed a pleasant morning. The dry spell will hopefully be helping the plot to dry out ready for cultivating.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Big Improvement

Friday was still blustery but we had rid of yesterday's gale force winds. Some decent sunny spells and the temperature just into double figures gave a hint of better things to come.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Friday, 11 March 2011

Every picture tells a story - or does it!

From our web cam pictures Thursday looked a beautiful day. Even my weather station information looks good, the warmest day of the month and the highest mean temperature for the month. We managed 6 hours of sunshine again extremely good so far.

What the picture doesn't give is any impression of the gale force westerly winds which blew all day. Once again the winds were strong enough locally to overturn lorries, one in the centre of Leeds and one on the motorway network.

Our bird feeder is missing in the picture it's once again blown over and waiting for me to stand it up again. This is even though I'd place half a concrete paving slab on the base!

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Wednesday saw an end to the sunny frosty weather and it was replaced by a windy day with occasional showers.

Checking in the greenhouse, our coriander and cabbage seedlings survived the cold frosty night in their new quarters after been moved out of their cosseted indoor location under our grow light garden.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Highs and Lows!

The sunniest day since last September, the warmest day of the month, and the coldest night of the year sums up Tuesday. The greenhouse had the same contrasts with the sunshine lifting the daytime temperature to 25.7°C the highest this year after an overnight low of -0.7°C almost the coldest temperature of the year in the greenhouse. The greenhouse low for this year is -1.1°C in late January.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
There was more nest box cam action today. Keep up with the comings and goings on the link to our nest box cam web pages through the link at the top of my blog.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

An old friend returns

Monday started frosty and it didn't warm up much until the sun came out in the afternoon. With the forecast for more overnight frost I'm hoping the fleece is enough to keep the frost off our experimental early cabbage and coriander plants as well as our chitting potatoes.

Our sunflower hearts tempted a greenfinch into the garden yesterday. A while ago we had lots of greenfinches but they seem to vanish from our garden for a while. It's good to have at least one back.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Monday, 7 March 2011


Sunday was a gloriously sunny day. It's a sign that spring is on its way as my weather station recorded 5 hours of sunshine, the highest since 7th October 2010. As spring approaches more of the garden receives sunshine as the sun gets higher in the sky each day. The clear blue sky meant that come late evening the temperature was already below freezing so the fleece in the greenhouse will need to do its job.

The potatoes chitting in the greenhouse are now starting to produce strong shoots and our variety of new fruits and vegetables in pots, for an early start to the season, are also growing well. Spring is definitely on its way. Just mustn't get carried away sowing seeds just yet as we can still have some very chilly nights.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Moving on

Saturday was yet another repeat of the previous few days weather but without any afternoon sunshine. It sort of drizzled all morning but amounted to only 0.2mm for what seemed like a wet morning.

Despite the cold weather at the start of this month the season progresses. The snowdrops are now fading and the miniature daffodils and crocus are taking their place.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Nest Box Action

The weather for Friday remained stuck in the rather dull and rather boring pattern, cold with a little afternoon sunshine but nest box cam recorded plenty of action.

Mrs GL has been testing out some close up photography. These greenfly on our indoor hibiscus came out quite well photographically speaking. No chance of another go if the photos didn't come out as the greenfly met a squishy end once their portraits had been captured.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Friday, 4 March 2011

No change

Thursday continued the cold start to March with a keen frost in the early hours of the morning giving us the coldest night since late January. The greenhouse just managed to remain above freezing so there should be no damage to my chitting potatoes.

The small birds in our garden don't have things all their own way. They certainly have to be wary of cats and the magpies arrive on and off throughout the day to help themselves to seed and fat from our coconut.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Cold start

Wednesday was cold and cloudy in the morning followed by a cold and cloudy afternoon. After the rather mild weather for February it's a bit of a shock to the system to return to this cold weather.

I've put together the midday web cam images for February which can be viewed on the short video below. Apart from the one snowy day it doesn't look too bad a month, well at midday anyway.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Tuesday saw plenty of sunshine to herald the start of spring in meterological terms. Unfortunately as we expected our siskins seem to have left us after 3 days of feeding themselves up on our sunflower hearts and niger seed. Perhaps we'll see them or their off spring back next year.
From 2011 Weather Pictures 1
February weather charts and data from my weather station have been added to my weather web site. Click here to view details. The 4 weekly charts have also been updated on the 2011 weather charts page on this blog.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

February bows out on a cold note

The last day of February was once again dull and cold. Another day of photographing birds rather than gardening. A few dry days are needed before any work can be done on the plot.

From 2011 Weather Pictures 1