Monday, 30 October 2017

Cold Monday Morning

The forecast was correct and Monday morning started off on the cold side with the early morning temperature falling to 2.2°C or 36.0°F.
That's  our coldest October temperature for 5 years. On 30 October 2012 it fell to 1.8°C (35.2°F) but the coldest October temperature I've recorded was on 25 October 2010 with 0.2°C or 32.4°F.

On Sunday afternoon we visited the plot and I made a start on clearing one of the beds which over a number of years has been neglected and is in desperate need of refurbishment.
The first job was to cut down this elder tree which was getting rather large. Once the tree was felled I seemed to have large elder branches everywhere.
It's going to be one of those jobs where things appear to get an awful lot worse before they get any better. The good news was I managed to get the tree cut down without damaging the greenhouse on our neighbour's plot.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Windiest October Day

This month we've had storms Amelia, Brian and ex hurricane Ophelia but none of them matched Saturday’s high wind speed of 30mph. In fact, it's the first time I've recorded a gust of 30mph in October since starting my records in 2009.
 Temperature and Hi Wind Speed Records for October 2017
Saturday was dull and windy in complete contrast to Friday which was sunny and calm. We made the most of Friday and had an afternoon walk around RSPB Old Moor.
Most of the "water" birds did their usual trick of staying well out of easy photographic reach but I managed a half decent shot of a wren and bullfinch around the bird feeders near the visitor centre.
The plan for Saturday had been to get a bit more tidying up done at the allotment but the gale force wind put us off and we decided to wait for some better weather.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Dull and Mild

We've has a few rather nondescript days weather-wise. Over the last three days the high temperature each day has fallen from a rather unexpected high of 18.7°C (65.7°F) on Tuesday to a more normal 13.2°C (55.8°F) on Thursday. If the forecast is to be believed the downward trend will continue.
 Temperature and Solar Radiation Records 24-26 October 2017
We didn't actually have any sunshine on Thursday (the yellow line needs to be above 120W/m2 to register as sunshine) and it was the dullest day of the month to date.

We did manage a visit to the plot on Tuesday. Over the space of a month the afternoon's tasks have changed completely. Harvesting doesn't take up much time now as most of the time is taken up with pruning and clearing away spent crops. I even started a little bit of winter digging.
One surprise is that our chrysanthemums planted into our perennial bed in late spring have grown really well.
Hopefully, they'll provide us with some good cut flower material for a few weeks until we get a frost which will finish them off. Once that happens we're planning on cutting back the plants before digging them up and keeping the roots in the greenhouse over winter where they'll be protected from the worst of the weather.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Watercress Madness

The mild weather has continued over the last few days although we've had some rain since storm Brian left us. It hasn't been a great amount of rain but as the monthly total has now reached 29.6mm (1.17in) it wont be the driest October I've recorded. Last year, 2016, will retain that record with just 28.4mm (1.12in) of rainfall.

I posted towards the end of September that our experiment of trying to grow watercress in the pond had been rather successful. We wondered then how long the watercress would continue to grow as the colder autumn weather arrived.
The mild October temperatures have meant that it has carried on growing and continued its bid for pond domination. I had no choice but to clear some of it out of the pond. I'm not sure how much the heap of watercress shown above would be worth in those little supermarket bags but it would fill lots of bags. After removing the pile shown above there was still plenty left in the pond.
We've plenty left to add to our lunchtime sandwiches. I've noticed that some of the forecasters are now suggesting we might be in for a colder spell of weather as November begins. We might soon find out what happens to our watercress in frosty weather.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Brian's Late

I thought storm Brian was supposed to arrive late on Friday and into Saturday but that's not been the case here.
Temperature, Rainfall, and Hi Wind Speed Records 20-22 October 2017
Brian made a late appearance as we moved into Saturday night and he's hung about certainly until lunchtime on Sunday. The wind hasn't been that strong here and couldn't be considered anything out of the ordinary for late October. The highest wind gusts (so far) haven't matched the ones of either Amelia or Ophelia.
It's remained remarkably mild so far this month and unless we get some cold weather during the last part of the month there's every chance that this will be the mildest October I've recorded since 2010. The current monthly average stands at 13.4°C (56.1°F) and the mildest I've recorded by the end of the month is 12.1°C (53.8°F)in 2014. The forecast doesn't appear to have a cold spell, so there's every chance of it finishing warmer than 2014. 

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.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Windy Start to October

October has got off to a windy start will gale force winds dominating the weather over the first 5 days of the month.
 Temperature & Wind Speed Records 06 September - 05 October 2017
We'd avoided any really strong winds since the middle of September when the gales brought down our runner beans at the allotment. The winds over the last few days haven't done any damage at home apart from overturning a bird table which the birds won't have been too happy about.
As I looked around the garden this morning after more overnight gales, I didn't find any other damage. I noticed that this allium head had parted company with the rest of the plant. It's a pity as I think the dead heads look attractive and usually last through autumn and into winter.

It's also rained on the first 5 days of the month too which means we've had rainfall on 35 of the last 37 days going back to the end of August. Surprisingly there's no rain forecast for tomorrow (Friday) so maybe we'll get a rare rain free day.

Monday, 2 October 2017

A Wet September

I blogged enough towards the end of September about how it had rained most days in the month. By the end of the month we'd finished up with 28 days when some amount of rainfall had fallen.
Annual Rainfall Data for 2017 to Date
I've highlighted September's figures which indicate the 28 days with rainfall and also show that we had 35.1mm (1.38in)more rainfall than average in the month with 76.8mm (3.02in) of rainfall. That makes it our second wettest September in my records with 2012 holding onto the record with 79.2mm or 3.12in. We're still heading for a lower than average rainfall for the year though as that "departure from normal column" indicates. However, we're about 42.7mm (1.68in) below average at the end of September as that total of -88.4mm (-3.48in) needs adjusting to allow for October's rainfall.
I've been through my weather station records to determine if we'd had any more months with so many days of rainfall. As it turns out we have.
Rain Days with 0.2mm or more of Rainfall 2010 - September 2017
The shading in the table goes from red least number of wet days in a month to blue indicating the wettest days in a month. The only other month with 28 wet rain days was January 2014 but as there's 31 days in January and only 30 days in September I think it's fair to say this September takes the record.

In the middle of September we had some windy weather which was strong enough to blow over our runner beans.
Runner Beans 22 September 2017
They fell over in a very tidy fashion but I'm guessing that to fall over in such a way most of the supporting canes will have been broken at soil level.

September was the third month in a row with below average temperatures. After a promising start to the year with above average temperatures in May and June tempting us to think some good summer weather was on the way July, August and now September have all been below average.
Maybe an Indian summer is on the way?