Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Wet Spell Turns To Cold Spell

The good news is that for a few days at least we've got rid of the cold, dull and damp weather and swapped it for much sunnier and drier days. The downside is that it's turned colder with overnight frosts.
Tuesday morning saw our coldest autumn morning of the year as the temperature fell to -3.2°C or 26.2°F. It was the coldest temperature since the beginning of February this year and the coldest November temperature since 29 November 2016 when the temperature fell to -3.6° or 25.5°F.
Temperature Records 17-19 November 2019
The good news is that we managed a trip to the plot on Monday afternoon to harvest a few vegetables and do a few little jobs as well. I decided to dig over part of our old strawberry bed even though the ground was extremely wet after all the rain. All through last summer this bed was too compacted to dig over and it wasn't possible to get either a fork or a spade in the bone dry ground to dig it over. At least now the ground is much softer making digging possibly.
I'm hoping some winter frosts and more rain will break down the soil by next spring and that the ground will be in good enough condition for planting a crop of potatoes. I'll have to wait until next spring to see if my plan comes to fruition.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Coldest & Wettest November by Mid-Month

We've now arrived at the middle of November and we have managed only one dry day in the first half of the month. Without doubt the rainfall has been our major stumbling block as far as getting any autumn jobs done on the plot. The ground is too wet to dig and walking over our grass paths quickly converts them from grass paths to mud paths. We did visit last week but only to do a little bit of harvesting as we needed some fresh vegetables.
All the root vegetables need a good wash before bringing them home as they come out of the ground covered with wet soil. The carrots are badly damaged by slugs but the parsnips are free of pest damage even if a few are oddly shaped. As we didn't have a lot to do on the plot I even had time to photograph some of the allotment wildlife.
All the wet weather has rather drawn attention away from the temperatures this month which have been well below average. The result is that as we have arrived at the mid point of the month this is the coldest and wettest November I've recorded at this stage.
Mid-November Temperature & Rainfall Data 2010-2019
I'm hoping that the second half of the month will see some sort of improvement. Obviously, we're not going to get any warm days as we approach the start of meteorological winter, but some dry sunny days would be much appreciated. 

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Is It The Wettest I've Recorded?

A few more wet days this week kept us indoors although we did make one trip to the plot to harvest some fresh vegetables.
At the end of another wet day Sue asked me if it was the wettest spell of weather that we'd had since installing my weather station 10 years ago. I wasn't all that sure what the answer was.
12 Monthly Rainfall Totals 2010 -2019
I had this chart which tracks the rainfall we've had in the preceding 12 months. This means that at the end of this November it will show the rainfall over the period December 2018 to November 2019. Looking at the chart above the wettest 12 month period  was April 2012 to March 2013 with 926.1mm (36 in) of rainfall. The red line indicates the average rainfall over a 12 month period. As that seemed rather a long time scale I decided to check out our wettest 6 month and 3 months periods and produce a similar chart for each. 
6 Monthly Rainfall Totals 2010 -2019
This didn't produce a vastly different result with the wettest 6 month spell from April - September 2012 giving 564.7mm (22in) of rainfall.
3 Monthly Rainfall Totals 2010 -2019
Once again the wettest 3 month period fell within that very wet 12 month spell of weather with 322.5mm (13in) of rainfall through June, July and August 2012.

The answer to Sue's question then is that it isn't the wettest spell of weather we've had over the last 10 year which occurred through the summer months of 2012.

Friday, 8 November 2019

More Rain - Another Wettest Day of the Year

Friday morning has begun on a brighter note after a prolonged spell of rain through most of Thursday.
Thursday's rainfall amounted to 29.2mm (1.15in) the most we've had in one day this year and it took over the record from 25 October, only a couple of weeks ago, when we had 25.8mm or 1.02in. 
Temperature & Rainfall Records 06-08 November 2019
Thursday became the eighth wettest day of the last 10 years displacing 29 September this year, from the table, which saw 20.4mm or 0.80in. Each of the last three months has had one very wet day.
Top Twenty Wettest Day 2010-2019
Towards the end of September the ground at the allotment was very dry but since the weather turned, at the end of September, we've managed a total of 234.0mm (9.21in) of rainfall with only a few totally dry in amongst the prolonged spell of wet weather. Our average rainfall over the year is 600mm or 23.6in.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

After A Frost The Rain Continues To Fall

Wednesday morning saw our first below zero (Celsius) temperature of the autumn as the early morning temperature fell to -0.4°C or 31.3°F.
Temperature Records for 04-06 November 2019
However, it's the amount of rain that keeps on falling that is preventing us from doing any gardening. After a very wet September and October the rain has kept on coming through the first week or so of November. It's being raining for most of Thursday and by the middle of the afternoon the day's rainfall total is up to 21.0mm (0.83in) bringing November's total up to 41.0mm (1.61in) not far short of an average November's total amount.

Today's rain shows no signs of abating and it has already moved into the table of top twenty wettest days over the last 10 years.
Temperature & Rainfall Records Thursday, 07 November 2019
I think that it's fair to assume that autumn activities in the garden and allotment can be put off until spring. Hopefully,  we'll get to the allotment to harvest fresh vegetables but any thoughts of autumn and winter digging are now out of the question. The ground will certainly be too wet and soggy and digging it over will do more harm than good.

I wonder how those dahlia tubers are getting on in the plot greenhouse. They were left there on Sunday in the hope that they would dry out a little bit before they go into potato sacks for winter storage. 
I thought with a little bit of sunshine the temperature in the greenhouse would be high enough for them to dry out but with all the wet weather about sunshine has been almost non existent. At least I think they are better lifted and in the greenhouse than remaining in cold wet soggy ground. 

Saturday, 2 November 2019

October's Review

There’s no doubt about it October has been a cold and wet month. It’s almost the coldest October we’ve had in the last 10 years. The only other October on a par with this one was in 2012 which although it was just as cold wasn’t anything like as wet.
October Average Temperatures & Rainfall Records 2010-2019
This October was the wettest of the last ten years by a considerable margin with 106.6mm of rainfall making it the third wettest month I’ve recorded. 
Top Ten Wettest Months 2010-2019
It follows on from a wet September and has brought garden and allotment activities to a grinding halt.

The temperature fell to 0°C or 32°F this week which was enough to finish off our late French beans, dahlias and oca.
The French beans, Safari had just about come to the end of their cropping but we’ve been pleased with the results from sowing them to follow on from early potatoes. The remains can now be cleared away to the compost heap and in an ideal world the bed dug over ready for spring crop. That’s not going to happen because the ground is far too soggy.
Only a week ago Sue was cutting dahlia flowers for home but this week’s frost has turned all the stems black and like the French beans they can be consigned to the compost heap. 
The tubers will need to be lifted and stored in a frost free location over winter. Last year they were stored in potato sacks alongside our potatoes in the garage. The tubers will need to be cleaned and dried before going into the sacks.

I suppose we were anticipating the demise of the beans and dahlias but the frosting of the oca plants was a surprise. From reading up about growing this vegetable it seems that oca produces tubers very late in the season and needs leaving in the ground through November for the tubers to swell.

However, if the plants succumb to the first frost they are not going to be very successful on our allotment. Whilst we sometimes get through November and maybe even the early part of December without a frost that’s certainly not guaranteed so ocas have had their chance and failed miserably. We won’t be growing them again.
I’m not sure we have enough tubers for a taster. Don’t be fooled by the large potatoes in the bucket like we were initially. Not only are the tubers tiny they look like a nightmare to prepare for the pot.

Finally, the video below is a look around our plot at the end of October.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Non Stop Rain for More Than 24 Hours

If I had any doubts about the ground being too wet to dig over, rain on Friday and Saturday has put an end to them. It began raining on Friday lunchtime and it continued unbroken until the middle of Saturday afternoon.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 25-27 October 2019
Friday's rainfall amounted to 25.8mm (1.02in) making it the tenth wettest day I've recorded over the last 10 years.
Top Twenty Wettest Days 2010 - 2019
After Friday's rainfall October becomes the wettest October I've recorded and a further 14.6mm (1.59in) on Saturday before the rain eventually stopped was enough to move it into third spot in the table of wettest months.
Wettest Months 2010-2019
The daytime temperature on Saturday only made it up to 6.7°C (44.1°F), the equal lowest for October since 2010, tying with 27 October 2018.

It's difficult to believe now but three quarters of the way through September the ground at the allotment was too dry to dig over. Since then we've had 182.2mm (7.2in) of rainfall and the ground has gone from too dry to waterlogged in a little over 4 weeks. I've a feeling the ground won't really dry out until spring making for an extremely busy spring next year, weather permitting of course.

Before the last bout of rain I managed to make this birds' eye view of our plots.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Drying Up A Bit!

Tuesday morning's temperature was the lowest of this autumn as the temperature fell to 1.4°C or 34.5°F.
Temperature Records 20-22 October 2019
Daytime temperatures haven't been all that impressive either with Monday's reaching a high of 11.0°C or 51.8°F. We needed to harvest some fresh vegetables so in a very light drizzle, we set off for the allotment not intending it to be a long visit. However, the drizzle stopped so we decided to clear a few beds and see if they would dig over.
I thought this bed on plot 29, which grew some onions through summer, might be too wet to dig over but it was just about manageable. It was pleasing to make a start of getting some autumn digging done. 

One of our winter jobs is to progress the rejuvenation of our old strawberry bed. It had been covered over with weed control fabric and wood chippings since spring. The ground had large cracks in it when the strawberries were cleared.
Strawberry bed spring this year
The weed control fabric and wood chippings were cleared away to reveal the ground beneath.
First impressions were that the ground was very wet but all those large cracks that had developed as a result of a long spell of dry weather had disappeared which was what we had aimed for when we covered the bed.
The next stage is to roughly dig over the bed and leave the winter rains and frost to break down the soil. Hopefully, in spring we'll be able to plant a crop of potatoes in this bed.