Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Monday was yet another windy day although we did have some sunny spells so out of the wind and in the sunshine it felt quite mild.
Despite holding off sowing seeds for as long as possible it’s now time for some of our plants to move out of the cosseted greenhouse environment and into the cold frame to start the hardening off process. Some of our onions made this move last week and today it was the turn of our broad beans “Witkeim Manita”. Broad beans are pretty hardy so I’m sure they’ll manage outside.
The plants look strong and healthy but now they’re outside they are more likely to fall victims to slugs and snails not to mention any damage from birds. The cold frame is netted so I’m hoping to have eliminated bird damage but you can never be 100% sure. Hopefully after hardening off for a week these broad beans will be planted out in the allotment. Then they really will be at the mercy of the elements.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:26
Monday, 29 April 2013
The weather over the weekend wasn't anything special. It was windy most of the time with a few sunny spells and very short April showers.
The star attraction this weekend was most certainly a couple of redpolls visiting our niger seed feeder in the garden. Not only was it the first time they've visited it’s the first time I've ever seen a redpoll.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:54
Saturday, 27 April 2013
The week has gradually got cooler since Wednesday. We didn't have much sunshine on Wednesday or Thursday but neither did we have any rain. Friday was the brightest of the 3 days but without doubt it felt the coldest in a strong westerly wind.
On the plot the other day I noticed that some of the winter brassicas devastated by the wood pigeons over winter might be making a bit of a recovery.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Monday continued the spell of good April weather that we've had over the last week.
We've noticed some rather strange goings on in our newly sown seeds, especially the one’s sown and placed under the indoor grow light. At first I thought our seeds were germinating but rather strange for seeds there was nothing green about the shoots.
Our seeds are sown in peat free New Horizon Multi Purpose compost. We had decent results using this compost last year and if I remember correctly it got good reports in Beechgrove Garden trials. Early feeding of the young seedlings seemed to be the key for us. But this year we are getting these small fungi growing. You can see several in the picture above doing their best to hide among the vermiculite. They are very short lived perhaps around one day before the keel over and disappear.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:01
Monday, 22 April 2013
Not a bad day again on Sunday. A reasonable amount of sunshine and around average temperatures and certainly not as chilly over night.
As I sowed our carrots and parsnips I did notice that the first few inches of soil are now quite dry. Our potatoes planted a little deeper where there is moisture will be fine but if it doesn't rain then the carrot and parsnip seeds sown on Saturday will certainly need watering to help them germinate.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:41
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Saturday, 20 April 2013
The wind abated on Friday and, after some drizzly rain through the morning, the afternoon cleared up with plenty of sunshine.
I made the most of the sunshine to get some more sowing done in the greenhouse.
Surprisingly as far as sowing goes in the greenhouse I've now caught up with last year’s sowings. Although most have been made a week or so later than last year I’m hopeful they’ll catch up. Most of the seeds sown have plenty of growing season left to produce a good crop they’ll just be a little later doing so.
With much more space needed in the greenhouse for today’s sowings it was time for our onions and shallots to move into the cold frame to harden off or become accustomed to cooler outdoor temperatures. After a week or so in the cold frame they will be planted out in the plot. The overnight low for their first night out was 0.4°C probably not the best of starts for them but greenhouse temperatures at the beginning of April were below 0°C so I’m sure they will be okay.
These onions sets and shallots have come on in leaps and bounds since the temperatures began to pick up a week or so ago. It’s now a question of keeping our ever hungry slugs and snails from munching their way through them. The top of the cold frame is netted for protection from birds who seem to enjoy emptying the cells of their compost and seedlings.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:47
Friday, 19 April 2013
Thursday, 18 April 2013
It was blowing a gale again for most of Wednesday but this time without any hint of sunshine. Although the temperature again remained on the mild side, it didn't feel that mild in the gale force wind. April is turning out to be a month of two halves with the first dominated by bitterly cold easterly winds and the second by gale force westerlies.
The gale force winds persisted Wednesday night into Thursday morning with the highest gust speed of the year so far 32mph being recorded at 07:20. It’s the highest since 04 January 2012 with 33mph. The most severe gust speed I've recorded was 36mph on 04 February 2011.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:03
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Tuesday turned out to be our sunniest day so far with my weather station recording 9.4 hours of sunshine. However, to accompany the sunshine we had gale force winds which rather spoilt the benefit of the wonderful sunshine. It was mild again reaching 16.5°C in the afternoon.
We decided on a visit to the plot despite the gale force wind and spent another afternoon tidying up fruit beds and preparing other beds ready for sowing and planting. It definitely wasn't a day for sowing parsnips as the seeds would have blown all around the site.
Interestingly digging over one of last year’s bed I found some would be volunteer potatoes. These were in good enough condition to save and bring home to use in the kitchen.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
The much milder weather continued on Monday with plenty of sunshine again. To be a little picky though it was very windy.
We couldn’t let they day go without making a start catching up on the plot. The first job was to get our early potatoes Swift and Vales Emerald planted. A bed for our maincrop potatoes and a bed for carrots and parsnips were tilled. Last year’s weed control fabric used on the carrot bed is in good condition and can be reused this year.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:06
Monday, 15 April 2013
At last it turned much milder over the weekend and we got rid of the cold easterly winds which have persisted for the last couple of months. Lets hope spring has sprung at long last. Sunday turned out to be easily the warmest day of the year so far with a temperature of 18.2°C.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:55
Saturday, 13 April 2013
Friday turned out to be a pretty awful day, cold and cloudy with some heavy rain shower in the evening.
In the autumn last year we received a new apple tree - Baya Marissa - from Spalding Bulbs which was potted up and left in the greenhouse over winter. The pot was wrapped in bubble wrap to protect the roots from frost. I've been concerned that the tree had shown no signs of coming into live but at last the buds are starting to swell showing that the little tree has survived through winter.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:45
Friday, 12 April 2013
After a much better day on Wednesday, Thursday was back to the more typical style for this year, cold and cloudy. Late in the afternoon we had a little light rainfall, the first precipitation of the month. We’re certainly being made to wait for some spring weather and a lift in the temperature.
I've been watching Paul Hollywood’s series on bread making and the last episode, making sourdough bread, convinced me to have a go. So our new pet was born yesterday and is starting to grow. We haven’t decided on a name yet but I’m sure we’ll come up with something suitable. Its first feed will be late this afternoon.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:42
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Wednesday was the best day we've had for ages with some long sunny spells and just a gentle breeze it felt almost warm. The temperature managed to reach 12.2°C making it the mildest day of the month.
I visited my friend Graham in the afternoon. He too grows some of his own vegetables and last year he grew some Winston potatoes. Unfortunately he hadn't been able to harvest all his Winston’s last autumn and a few roots had been left in the ground all winter. With an improvement in the weather this week Graham decided to clear away last year’s crop but much to his surprise the potatoes hadn't rotted away despite all the rain and snow.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:44
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Tuesday was another cool day with, even with some late afternoon sunshine, the temperature didn't make it into double figures. The forecast for the weekend and beyond is for temperatures to lift although this might be at the expense of some rainfall.
Looking back through my sowing records for last year I don’t think I’m too far behind where I was last year. Our tomatoes, peppers and aubergines were all sown last year by now and so was some early cabbage. Our potatoes went into the ground about now. I’m not sure then that there’s any need to panic and there’s plenty of time to get everything sown and planted in time to produce a decent crop providing the temperatures do start to pick up as forecast for next weekend.
Anticipating that this change is going to take place I planted our tomatoes, peppers and aubergines today. They are now all under our indoor growlight. My plan is by the time these have germinated and are ready for transplanting it will be warm enough for them in the cold greenhouse. Along with these some Dahlias and Mimosa were sown and have joined the others under the growlight.
This is a full list of today's sowings and varieties.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:18
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
After a couple of lovely sunny days is was much more cloudy today with any sun we did get being very hazy. As a result the temperature was a little lower failing to make double figures.
Now as I remember last spring March was glorious, then come April things cooled down a lot and newly sown seeds and small seedlings didn't appreciate the conditions and refused to grow for a few weeks. Now this year seems to be the other way around and after a bitterly cold March temperatures have lifted in the first week of April. How do the first two weeks compare?
● Last year 2012 after 7 days the average temperature for the month was 6.6°C
● This year 2013 after 7 days the average temperatures for the month is 4.9°C
It doesn't look any better in picture format either.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:29
Monday, 8 April 2013
We spent another couple of hours at the allotment tidying up our fruit bushes and strawberry bed as well as weeding to prepare beds for digging. It’s odd working on the plot at the moment because the weather has made such a slow start to spring everything still seems to be in winter mode and it’s hard to fathom out what month we’re actually in.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:02
Sunday, 7 April 2013
We were treated to double digit temperatures on Saturday as the thermometer hit 11°C. As the sun was shining too this tempted us down to the plot for the first time in over a month. The first thing to strike me was that the plot clearly hadn't missed us since the last time we visited. The grass and weeds aren't growing and the fruit trees which would normally be in flower now are only just showing some signs of growth.
The first job was to see if the bed dug over last autumn would be in a good enough condition to plant some early potatoes.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:17
Saturday, 6 April 2013
Friday, 5 April 2013
Thursday was another sunny day but the cold temperatures persisted with a maximum of 7.6°C well below the expected average for early April.
In the sunshine though it’s pleasantly warm in the greenhouse, warm enough to tempt me to sow some broad beans Witkeim Manita and our usual selection of leeks Blue Solaise, Giant Winter and Prizetaker. These have all been left in our cold greenhouse to germinate. Details of this month’s sowing are on our web page here.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Wednesday was a lovely sunny day with lots of sunshine but the temperature still didn't quite manage to make it into double figures with a high of 9.1°C.
A couple of days ago I posted a picture of the frogspawn in our pond. I’m certain now that our frogs are a little late this year as over the last couple of days lots more frogspawn has appeared. It’s a little difficult to know which clump I noticed first now but here’s my latest picture.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:13
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Monday, 1 April 2013
March has finally come to an end but there’s still no sign of spring as far as the weather is concerned. This year March has been colder than both January and February and they were cold months with below average temperatures too. We've also had more nights with temperatures below freezing in March which I wouldn't expect. The year’s summary so far is in the table below.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:27