Friday, 24 January 2020

What An Odd Month So Far!

I think it's true to say that so far this month hasn't been all that much like January. It looks as though it will finish up as a very mild January.
Temperature and Barometric Pressure Records 18-24 January 2020
Looking at the chart above it shows the temperature falling below zero last Sunday. That's the only time this month that's happened which is unusual for January. With no more frosts forecast that might be the only day this month with a below 0°C (32°F). The lowest number of such days over the last ten years was in 2018 when we had 4 such days. The average temperature for the month stands at 6.9°C or 44.4°F (up to the 23rd of January) well above the 5.9°C (42.6°F) the highest previous value I've recorded back in 2014. I think the highest value for January, from Met Office records, goes all the way back to 1916 with a temperature of 7.5°C or 45.5°F.

The record high pressure earlier in the week brought with it some dry weather but it hasn't done an awful lot of drying up at the plot. We did make one visit during the week to make a little bit more progress at sorting out our old honey berry bed.
The lavender plants which edged 2 sides of the bed were dug up. The ground was very hard to say the least and a pick axe came in handy to prise the biggest of the lavender bushes out of the ground. After some deliberation we have decided to try and take some lavender cuttings from the existing plants rather than attempt to replant the old plants. The bed was dug over and left for the winter weather to break down the soil.
I've still got to clear the edge of the bed adjacent to our plot boundary. I'm planning to remove the existing post and wire fence after cutting back the grape vine which grows along it. Once the bed has been dug over I'll replace the post and wire fencing and re-attach the grape vine.

Monday, 20 January 2020

First New Record of the Decade

Early on Monday morning saw the first new all time record of the decade for my weather station. I must be honest and say it’s not the most exciting record to report but nevertheless it is a new record. At 01:05 the barometric pressure reached an all time 10 year high of 1047.6mb taking over from the previous record of 1045.7mb set on 08 February 2012.
Temperature & Barometer Records 18-20 January 2020
With high pressure in charge for Sunday the result was a lovely sunny if cold day. It made a welcome change from the dull and dreary weather of the last week or so. We headed off for a walk around the RSPB reserve at St Aidans. Lots of other people had the same idea.
The wildlife must have known we were planning a visit and either disappeared altogether or appeared tantalising at the maximum distance our zoom lenses could manage.
We might normally have done a little bit of allotmenting, but having visited on Saturday afternoon, we were aware that the ground was far too wet to do any work. We contented ourselves with harvesting a few vegetables and returned home. It will require a few dry and sunny days to dry out the beds and grass paths around them.
The plot will need some serious tidying up to get it ready for the start of the new growing season.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Lost My "Man's Best Friend " Yesterday

Thanks for all the happy memories
Riding on the Trains

Holiday Walks
Working at the Allotment

RIP Tivvy Tots

Monday, 13 January 2020

Back To Wet

After a couple of weeks of drier weather it’s now turned back to wet. From the end of September through to just after Christmas we had some rain most days. Then, after Christmas and up to the end of last week it turned drier and we managed to get some winter jobs started at the allotment.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 13 December 2019 - 12 January 2020
The dry spell of weather can be seen on the table above between the 26th of December and the 7th of January.

It’s also been very mild for the beginning of January with most days and nights well above average for the first few days of the year. So far we are away awaiting our first frost of the new year.
Temperature Records 01-12 January 2020
Besides harvesting a few vegetables, on our visits to the allotment during the few dry days, we also managed to get a few of our winter jobs started. One major job we would like to accomplish before spring is to dig over the bed where our honey berries had been growing for the last few years. We managed to clear away the remains of the honey berries and remove the weed control fabric and even began to dig over the bed. The ground is very wet but I don’t think it will do it too much harm to try and dig it over before it begins to dry out.
It will be interesting to see if we can rescue the lavender plants growing around the edge of this bed. The plants have been infested with the roots of wick grass. Maybe we will be able to dig up the lavender plants and remove all the wick grass roots and replant the lavender in a temporary bed until we decide on a new more permanent location for it. However, this might just be a bit of wishful thinking and until we get started we won't know exactly how difficult a task this will be.

However, the return to wetter weather has put a stop to any plans we had to get more of this bed cleared. It’s a bit of a blow as we felt we were beginning to get on top of, or at the very least, make a start on our winter jobs but the latest rainfall has put a stop once again to allotment and gardening activities.

The forecast for the next week is for more wet and windy weather. One again it looks like gardening activities might be on hold until some better weather arrives.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

A Very Mild Start to the Year

It's been a mild first week and a half of January with temperatures above average both through the day and over night. We haven't, however managed to exceed that high January temperature of 14.7°C (58.5°F) recorded in 2016.
Temperature Records January 2020
Even though it's been on the mild side it hasn't been particularly pleasant with strong to gale force winds taking the edge off the temperature and making it feel distinctly chilly outside. It has been a reasonable dry start to the month with only a few showers until we had some more general rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

The break in the wet weather of the last few months allowed us to make a start on a few allotment jobs we had planned for autumn and winter. We at last made a start on burning prunings from our fruit trees and our cut back buddleia bushes. Most of the material had been waiting for a break in the wet weather since before bonfire night in November. 
Much of the material was still on the damp side but after a couple of failed attempts I managed to get a decent bonfire going and all the material burnt away.
It felt like we were actually starting to make some progress at tidying up the plot from last year and beginning to get it prepared for the new growing season.

Friday, 3 January 2020

A Decade of Weather Records

I've now got a little over 10 years of weather records. I started in October 2009 but it took some time to sort out how to upload the records to the Web and even more time to sort out how to record all the information in spreadsheets in order to determine all the highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall and wind speeds. Over the last decade our hottest, coldest and wettest days, months and years are listed in the tables below. 

Hottest Coldest & Wettest Days 2010 -2019

Hottest Coldest & Wettest Months 2010 -2019

Finally, yearly temperature and rainfall charts for the last decade.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

December's An Odd Month

The weather hasn't been too bad between Christmas and the new year. At least it has been dry, allowing us to get down to the allotment to do a bit of tidying up and harvest a few fresh vegetables.
As the summer temperatures begin to fall in August we start to see a pattern develop where the beginning of the month is warmer than the end of the month. February marks the end of this spell as the winter begins to end and the temperatures begin to rise as we head towards spring. However, rather oddly, December somehow manages to have a recent trend of being milder at the end of the month and cooler at the beginning exactly the opposite of what you would expect.
 December Temperatures 2019
Surprising both daytime high (solid red line) and night time low temperatures (solid blue line) show a slight upward trend through December. 
January Temperatures 2019
By the time January comes around it's back to expected with the end of the month having colder temperatures than the beginning of the month. February then marks the start of a gradual rise in temperatures as we move towards spring and summer. 

We made a short video of our visits to the plot after Christmas.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas

I've just checked back through my last 10 years of temperature records for Christmas Day. The forecast for this year is 7°C (44.6°F)rather mild for Christmas or is it? The coldest Christmas Day was in 2009 with a temperature of 2.5°C (36.5°F) and the mildest was in 2016 with a rather tropical 14.2°C or 57.6°F. 
Christmas Eve December 2009
I think 2010 was probably the last white Christmas Day that we had.

It's worth noting that Christmas Day in 2010 had a low temperature of -4.8°C (23.4°F) compared to only -0.4°C (31.3°F) in 2009. December 2010 was the beginning of the coldest winter in around 100 years so little surprise in the cold temperatures over Christmas.
 Christmas Day 2010
Whatever the weather is like where you are, have a great Christmas.