Saturday, 29 June 2013

Strange Sort of a Day

Friday was a strange day with some rain through the morning clearing away by lunchtime. Outside it felt muggy even though there was a strong to almost gale force wind blowing at times. We didn't get the amount of rain I expected from the forecast with just 2.6mm bringing the monthly total up to 26.4mm around half the amount we might expect in June.

Friday, 28 June 2013

And Finally….

Thursday was mostly dull. Light drizzly rain started just after lunchtime and continued into the early evening but produced a total of only 0.8mm of rainfall, hardly enough to wet the top of the soil.

It wasn't too bad though, for finally planting up the plot greenhouse with its summer tomato plants. As the dull weather kept the outside temperature down it wasn't too warm working in the greenhouse out of the drizzle.

We planted up five large growbags. Each one  has a different variety of tomato. Working around the greenhouse in a clockwise direction these are Sioux, Alicante, Brandy Boy Hybrids, Pink Wonder and Amish Gold. So far I’ve just about managed to keep a track of the sowing, germination times, potting on and planting up times for our tomato plants. I’d like to complete this by keeping cropping dates and quantities along with some sort of tastiness rating of each variety.

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

Thursday, 27 June 2013

How’s the Month Doing

Wednesday was another decent sort of a day until around tea time when dark clouds appeared as though it was going to absolutely tip it down. It never did though.

So with June coming to an end I've had a look at how the month has been doing weather wise. Temperatures look as though they will finish up a little below normal but certainly warmer than last June.

We haven't had any temperature extremes this month in fact it’s been the coolest June high temperature I've recorded if you understand my meaning.
It’s been a dry month so far with only 23.0mm of rainfall against a typically expected 55.2mm. However we are forecast heavy rain for Friday so this could easily change. Our rainfall  up to the 26 June is shown below.
A good downpour certainly wouldn't do the garden or plot any harm.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Ready for Plot Tomatoes

Tuesday was the better of the two days with the temperature managing to make it to 20°C with some decent sunny spells. We did have a chilly start to Tuesday with an overnight low of just 8.9°C. Monday was cool and cloudy.

I've at last sorted out our plot greenhouse ready for some tomato plants. It’s a little bit late but I'm hoping for a good late crop.
The tomatoes have been growing on in large pots at home so I'm intending to transfer them into some grow bags in the next few days. I thought I was rather late last year planting up the plot greenhouse which I did on 11 June 2012. We had a decent crop last year so I'll find out what difference a couple of weeks make.

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

Monday, 24 June 2013

Under Control

Sunday was a poor day weather wise for June. It was a dull and windy day with the temperature only managing 15.6° the coolest of the month.

I took the opportunity to give our grape vine and tomatoes in the greenhouse a bit of TLC.

As the tomato plants get to this stage each year I make a sort of resolution to keep them under control, remove side shoots, keep them tied in, stop them before they reach the roof, and of course to feed them regularly. It’s much easier to plan than do for me and I usually miss some side shoots which fool me into thinking they’re actual main stems and as for pinching the tops out I’m just greedy and reckon another truss will be okay. It’s all under control after some side shoot removal and tying in today.
Our grapevine Himrod presents a similar problem. To be honest it’s a bit of a thug in the greenhouse and would happily take over the entire greenhouse through summer given half a chance. I’m managing to keep it in check at the moment which is my aim each summer but somehow behind my back it gets a little bit out of control. This year I need to make a better effort. Side shoots grow rapidly and need constant removal as the foliage casts too much shade in the greenhouse adversely affecting all our other greenhouse plants. So far so good it’s mostly under control with the promise of plenty of sweet juicy grapes by late summer and early autumn.

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

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Lazy Comfrey - Does It Work?

Saturday wasn't a very good day for the middle of June. It was breezy with a few heavy showers in the morning although the showers did miss us in the afternoon.
I saw Monty Don making an evil smelling plant food from comfrey on Gardener’s World. I did have a go at this last year but to be honest the evil smell really does put me off. I find using this stuff stomach churning to say the least so last year’s mix finished up on the compost heap and I continued using some liquid seaweed food.

Of course this doesn't mean our supply of comfrey has disappeared so I needed to find a use for a patch which was falling over some of our potatoes. 

This patch of comfrey looked to be out of the way of our potatoes when they were planted on 21 May but now it had grown to its full flowering height it had fallen onto the potatoes. I’m sure I’ve read or seen that comfrey can be cut and laid on the ground to act as a fertiliser or mulch so I thought I’d give it a go. 
So half the patch of comfrey was cut back and laid between these two rows of potatoes, Charlotte to the left and Winston. Will it make any difference I don’t know. Will it avoid that evil smelling liquid I hope so. The other half of the comfrey has been left for the bees to enjoy and when it has finished flowering will be cut back and added to the compost heap.

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

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Strawberry Timings

We managed it the right way round for a change on Friday as after a dull morning we decided to visit the plot in the afternoon. No sooner had we arrived when the clouds melted away and the sun came out and we had a lovely mild sunny afternoon.
We managed to pick some more strawberries, mostly Marshmarvel with some Flamenco and Alpines thrown in for good measure.
Last year we started picking strawberries on the 18 June which is just the same date as this year. However, in 2011 when we didn't have such a cold spring and poor early summer weather we picked our first strawberries on 20 May. It just goes to show how poor spring and early summer weather delays cropping. 

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

Friday, 21 June 2013

Summer for a Day

As widely predicted by the weather forecasters Wednesday was our warmest day of the year but only by a smidgen. The previous warmest day was 06 May when the temperature managed 23.0°C and Wednesday managed 23.3°C. 

On 06 May we had a much brighter sunnier day with 10.4 hours of sunshine recorded and only half as much on Wednesday with 5.2 hours. The average daily temperatures are also very different as it was mild all day on Wednesday producing an average daily temperature of 18.2°C. Monday 06 May got off to a pretty chilly start and only managed a daily average of 14.6°C.

Summer only lasted the day though as Thursday was dull with some welcome rain starting early evening. 

So far June’s temperatures are about average and certainly much warmer than last year’s cold and very wet June.

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Is the Wait Over?

The weather wasn't bad for Monday and Tuesday with more sunshine than forecast.

Things are moving on quickly on the plot now. Those potatoes’ flower buds in my last post are now open and one of our other potato varieties, Marfona, is starting to form flower buds too.  

It’s almost a month since we harvested any fruit or vegetables from the plot. We usually manage a better supply through winter. I suppose we could have harvested some rhubarb over the last few weeks but certainly we had no other crops to pick. The signs are that the wait for some produce will soon be over. On Tuesday we picked our first few strawberries of the season.
Not many as you can see but 141 gms or 5 oz of absolutely superb tasting strawberries.  We're hoping that this is just the start of a good harvesting season.

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

Monday, 17 June 2013

Last of the Potatoes Planted

Not much to say about the weather over the last three days. We did get our first rainfall of the month but it didn't amount to a great deal and stands at just 9.2mm for the month.

The yellow gives an indication of the sunshine amount for each day.

On the plot our last two rows of potatoes were finally planted. These were mostly Nicola along with just four tubers of Nadine. Our potatoes planted earlier are doing well. In one bed are a row of Swift and Vales Emerald both planted on 15 April 2013.
Vales Emerald is on the right and is growing quicker and stronger than Swift. These are our first early potatoes and Vales Emerald is just starting to form flower buds and appears to be well in front of Swift. 
Our bed of main crop potatoes (second earlies) planted up on 20 April 2013 includes Charlotte, Nicola, Nadine and Winston are also doing well although they are in need of a little bit of weeding around the edge of the bed.
It will be interesting to see what sort of crop we achieve from the potatoes planted so late into the season. Our mint is growing well so as soon as the flowers go over on our Vales Emerald I will be investigating to test out the crop.

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

Friday, 14 June 2013

Just a Drop

We had our first measurable rainfall of the month on Thursday. It wasn't much amounting to only 0.6mm.

The rain started as we arrived at the plot so we were forced to have a coffee sitting in our shed for 30 minutes until the rain passed. It wasn't enough to even dampen the top of the soil and we weren't stopped from getting our courgettes and cabbages planted out.
We planted out cabbages Hispi and Huzaro which is a red cabbage. We're growing three varieties of courgettes this year Jemmer, Tondo Chiaro di Nizza, and Zucchini.

I’m trying to keep an updated list of all our sowings and planting here but it’s quite a task this month with sowing, pricking out and planting out in the plot going on most days.

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

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Winds of Change

Since the beginning of the month the predominant wind direction has been easterly. On Wednesday that changed with the wind moving back into a westerly. 

The sunshine disappeared but so too did the rather chilly overnight temperatures which mean that although we didn't have the highest monthly temperature we did have the highest daily average temperature of the month at 16.6°C. Surprisingly for such a rather nondescript sort of a day that’s the highest average daily temperature this year.

I potted on our two jostaberry cuttings which had accidentally grown on the plot when one branch came into contact with the soil producing some very nice rooted plants. 
These are both destined to be given away to good homes this week. I've a couple of smaller cuttings still to pot up but these will need to be grown on for a while to produce good plants.

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

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Change but Still Dry

The weather changed over the last couple of days and the long sunny periods have given way to cloudy conditions. It hasn't resulted in any rain only some very light drizzle for a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon.

It’s now almost a month since we had any decent amount of rainfall. My weather station estimates the amount of moisture lost from the soil each day. The rainfall over the last month has easily been lost from the recent sunny weather. Time we had some rain as it always seems to have a much better effect than any amount of watering.

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

Monday, 10 June 2013

Rain Required?

Sunday morning was dull but the sun came out in the afternoon.

As I’d planned. it was time to dig over the bed where the green manure had been growing over winter. As it was warm and sunny I decided to let my cultivator do the hard work of tilling the bed. It was surprising just how hard and dry this patch of ground had become. It was hard work even with the help of a cultivator as it struggled to break into the soil. Our soil does have a high clay content and once it dries out it becomes more like concrete than soil. Digging and breaking up this ground by hand would have been a long and back breaking job. 
Eventually I thought the bed was cultivated to a suitable depth. Ideally I would have liked to dig over the ground a little deeper but didn't think it was going to be possible. This bed grew potatoes last year and was dug over to a fork’s depth early last autumn when the potatoes were harvested so I expected it to be in better condition than this having grown the green manure crop over winter.

At the moment then the jury’s out on the benefits of growing a green manure crop over winter. Certainly it kept the weeds down but did it take a lot of the moisture out of the ground. Perhaps it should have been dug in much earlier but doing that in early spring would mean lots of weeds would have germinated by now. Maybe the ground has just dried out as it’s a few weeks now since we had any significant rainfall.
Our runner beans Enorma, Desiree, and St George together with a wigwam of climbing french beans Cobra were planted. We'll definitely have to keep these well water until we get some decent rainfall.

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

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fine Weather Continues

The spell of fine weather continued into the weekend with some long sunny periods and temperatures reaching the 20°C mark during the day. 

Unfortunately the rather chill nights have continued too with temperatures falling to around the 7°C mark, a little on the cool side for some tender plants.
The bees have now lost their supply of green manure nectar as I got round to clearing away the crop leaving the bed ready for digging and planting up with this year’s runner beans and sweet corn. Maybe now they'll concentrate on pollinating the strawberries.
This phacelia and winter tares were strimmed down and the top growth added to the compost heap. The bees followed some of the flower heads all the way to the compost heap so they could continue feasting.
All I need to do now is get the cleared area dug over ready for planting. Funnily enough it looks a much bigger bed now that the green manure has been cleared. A job for my trusty cultivator to take on.

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

Friday, 7 June 2013

Cold Mornings

After a dull start to Thursday the sun returned for Thursday afternoon. Although the last few days have been very pleasant through the day we've still had a couple of cold nights with the temperature falling to around 6°C which isn't particularly good for those more tender plants.

Early Tuesday morning and again overnight Thursday into Friday it was cold. At least this is only for a short time as the early morning sun quickly lifts the temperature.

Our mint bed on the plot is in need of renovation and I think the whole bed will need to be cleared to give us a fresh start. We've bought a few new mint plants and planted these up in a large pot at home.
Mint potted up never seems to have done too well for us and mint just planted out on the allotment does just the opposite. It takes over growing into the paths and becoming uncontrollable. Hence the need to renovate the bed on the plot. It will be interesting to see how our mint performs in this giant sized planter.

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

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Job Done

The sun more or less disappeared on Wednesday and only managed to put in an appearance for 50 minutes rather than 10 hours on Tuesday. It was dry and mild though so not too bad a day.

I decided to finish the job I’d started by having a bonfire on Tuesday night and get this part of the plot ready for planting up. The pile of smouldering ash left on Tuesday night had totally burnt away and there wasn't even a pile of ashes to  spread around.

It certainly was in need of a tidy up and perhaps it was a good thing that the sun wasn't out as it was pretty hot work clearing away the weeds and cultivating the cleared ground. In the end the area didn't look too bad and it was much tidier than it had been a few days before.
There’s some areas that still need a sort out but at least they'll be hidden once the dahlias and annual flowers are growing.

I've always understood that irises have to have their roots baked in the summer sun to make them flower. I don't know when these were baked last summer but they’re putting on a spectacular display on the plot. 

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

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bonfire Night

Another excellent day weather wise with almost unbroken sunshine throughout the day. It’s difficult to locate my sunshine hour measurer somewhere in the garden that doesn't get shade at some part of the day. Tuesday provided a pretty good sunshine trace for most of the day.

The chart shows the sunshine trace for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all sunny days but only Tuesday has the unbroken curve due to cloudless skies.

Bonfire night came early or late on the plot depending on how you see it. Our flower bed which will consist of dahlias and annual flowers has been a dumping ground for old raspberry canes and blackberry canes together with some other bits and bobs of rubbish that can’t go on the compost heap. It was time for a clear up and that meant a bonfire.
This is how the bed looked when I arrived early in the evening. In about half an hour the rubbish had been burnt and all that was left was a pile of hot ashes.

A little bit of weeding, strimming and digging to do and this part of the plot will be tidied up and ready for sowing and planting up with cut flowers for home and plenty of annual flowers for the bees.

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

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bees Taking Over

The fine spell of weather continued on Monday with plenty of sunshine and the temperature reaching 21.8°C in the afternoon.

On the plot we got some more planting out done. Our sweet peas are planted out using more of our coppiced hazel branches for support. I'm hoping these will be strong enough in any gale force winds. 

Whilst Sue was planting out some cabbages and Brussels sprouts I decided to do a bit of tidying up around the greenhouse. Under the plum tree in front of the greenhouse had become a bit of a dumping ground for old bits of timber and the like. 
No sooner had I started before lots of bees were buzzing around. I think they've a nest under the old tree ring in the centre of the picture. I carefully removed some rubbish from around the rotting wood and decided to leave the bees to settle down a bit. I think a bit of careful strimming around the tree ring will leave the area looking tidy and hopefully won't disturb the bees too much.

The moral of the story is - “If you want to encourage wildlife then don’t be too tidy!”

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

Monday, 3 June 2013

Bees Wont Be Happy

The first two days of June have got the month of to an excellent start with some long sunny spells and feeling warm.

I'm not going to be popular with the bees this week. My overwintered green manure which is a mixture of winter tares and phacelia is flowering well and the bees adore it.

The green manure has done a good job of preventing any weeds growing but this bed needs to be dug over ready for planting out this year’s runner beans and sweet corn. The green manure will have to go and the bees find some pollen from elsewhere. I admit to feeling a little guilt just strimming this crop down when the bees are so obviously enjoying it. They’ll get a couple of more days of feasting though as my runner beans won't be ready to plant out until next week.

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

Saturday, 1 June 2013

More of This Please

Friday was sunny and warm a lovely change from the last few days of cool, wet conditions.

Despite the cold weather a little part of the garden looked a little tropical as besides our palm deciding to flower for the first time ever our pot grown gunnera next to the palm is forming a flower too. I’m not sure how such a moisture loving plant is surviving in a pot but it is.

I’m hoping that we can get down the allotment this weekend and get some planting done as our cold-frame is full to bursting with young plants ready for the plot.
We've got all sorts of brassicas, broad beans, lettuces, and sweet peas all ready for planting out.

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