Sunday, 30 June 2019

One Day Heatwave Brings the Hottest day of the Year

After what seemed an awful lot of weather hype, Saturday became our hottest day of the year with the temperature topping out at 29.4°C (84.9°F) late in the afternoon. A coincidence is that last year on the 29th June the temperature also reached 29.4°C (84.9°F) but we were already well into that lovely summer and it wasn't the warmest day of the year either as we'd already cleared the 30°C(86°F) mark earlier in the month.
Temperature Records 01-July 2018 to 30 June 2019
It's the hottest day we've had since the end of July last year when the temperature reached 32.2°C (90.0°F) on the 26 July 2018. Last June was a very dry month, unlike this June when we've had 85.0mm (3.35in) of rain, making it the wettest month of the year and the wettest since February 2018 when we had 104.0mm or 4.09in.
Sunday morning has seen a return to normal temperatures for late June with no more hottest days in the forecast.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Finally, Some Warmth

A week ago some weather models were suggesting that yesterday (Thursday) would, not only be the warmest day of the year, but in my case the hottest day my weather station has recorded over the last 10 years. Needless to say that forecast changed over the past week. In the end the forecast on Thursday morning still suggested that Thursday, if not the warmest of the last 10 years, might well be the warmest day of this year, with the temperature reaching 24°C (75.2°F) in the afternoon.
Temperature Record for 27 June 2019
Rather amazingly as we come to the end of June our warmest day of the year goes back to 21 April when the temperature reached 24.6°C (76.3°F) as today's temperature only made it to 22.6°C or 72.7°F. It is also worth noting that the overnight temperature fell to 6.5°C (43.7°F) a record low for my weather station this late into June. It now looks like we'll have to wait for Saturday to break the record when the temperature is forecast to hit 31°C or 87.8°F.

However, one record is certain. June will become the wettest month of the year as the total for the month already stands at 85.0mm or 3.35in.
Cauliflower - Helsinki (through some very wet environmesh)
It will take over the record from March when we had 78.0mm or 3.07in.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Planting Out Before The Rain

We've had plenty of rain this month and from planting and weeding last week I knew our ground was fairly wet, really on the limit for planting and sowing. The weather forecast for Sunday night and early Monday morning was for thunderstorms accompanied by torrential rain with 75mm (3in) falling in a matter of hours.
Broccoli - Rudolph & Cauliflower - Clapton
We decided to pull out all the stops and get our remaining brassica plants into the ground. Any heavy rain was going to make our ground unworkable. Sue was in charge of planting whilst I sorted out the protection. On our plot it is pointless planting out brassica plants and leaving them uncovered as pigeon fodder. They've even taken to attacking our dahlia flowers this year. Some hoops were already in place for the broccoli and cauliflower plants but they needed erecting for a batch of cabbage plants going into a new brassica bed.
Cabbage - Kilaton
Once planted all the plants were covered with environmesh. There was time to plant out some lettuce seedlings where winter onions and garlic had been lifted. Once again some protection measure had to be put in place using some coppiced hazel poles and old pieces of chicken wire. 
Lettuce - Great Lakes, Mixed Varieties & Salad Bowl  Onions Radar & Senshyu Yellow
It was a busy afternoon but at least we'd got everything that was ready for planting out in the ground. Of course you can probably guess the punch line that is coming and that is, of course, that the thunderstorms and rain never materialised. We did have a little bit of overnight rain amounting to 0.6mm or 0.02in. 

The forecast is for some hot weather this week which should see our hottest day of the year which currently stands at 24.6°C or 76.3°F dating way back to the 21st April. Of course the hot weather might turn out to be like last night's rainfall.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Another Cold Morning

Over the last few days we've had some decent weather. It's rained at sometime through the day but not in any great quantity. Generally daytime highs have reached around average for mid to late June but we just don't seem to be able to shake off uncomfortable cold mornings.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 14-20 June 2019
I blogged about the low temperature of 5.9°C (42.6°F) on Sunday morning which is the lowest temperature I've recorded in June so far into the month. Well on Friday morning the temperature fell to 7.7°C (45.9°F) which is another 10 year low temperature for June so far into the month. It's certainly having an effect ,on the more tender plants at the allotment, like French climbing and runner beans, squashes and sweet corn which now think it is time that summer proper arrived and nights turned a little bit milder than they are.
The forecast is for us to have a heat wave for a few days next week. It's not forecast to hang around for long before we return to more normal June temperatures. I think our tender plants would appreciate some milder nights rather than a few days of blistering hot temperatures.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

All Change

It's funny how quickly things change. A couple of months ago we began preparing our new strawberry bed. The first job was to move the weed control fabric from the old bed to the new one.
The top picture is an aerial shot taken in the middle of May and below it a close up of how the ground looked when the weed control fabric was removed. I tried and it was difficult to even get the tines of a fork into the ground let alone dig over the bed. The ground resembled concrete and I decided to leave it well alone until we got a drop of rain to soften up the soil. It was spring so there were plenty of other jobs to be getting on with. 

We had some rain in late May but then June arrived and we've hardly had a dry day. 
Temperature & Rainfall Records 18-May to 17-June 2019
Since those photos were taken we've had 74.8mm (2.94in) of rainfall with most of that coming in the last week to ten days. That bone dry soil has been transformed.
It's not in a fit state for planting but I thought a week ago when I began digging it over that my big cultivator would break it down nicely and we could maybe even plant a few vegetables in it this year. I finished digging the last little bit on Sunday and my guess is that it's now too wet to break down with the cultivator. I might have to leave it to dry out a little bit. I might just test a patch if we get a half decent afternoon this week. There's no point cultivating it if the soil is too wet or I'll do more harm than good to our clay soil.

It is however, a rather amazing transformation over only a couple of weeks from dry, bone hard, undiggable ground to ground that is now too wet to dig.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Feels Like It Should Be a Record!

Somehow I feel I should be writing a blog post about a wettest or coldest June I've recorded but amazingly that isn't the case. As far as I can tell other parts of the country have had far more rain than we have and we've had plenty.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 7-13 June 2019
So far this month up to midnight on the 13 June we've had 53.8mm (2.12in) of rainfall or around what we'd generally expect through the whole of a typical June. 
Not only has it been wet, it's also been on the very chilly side for early to mid June. I'm not referring to night time temperatures here but daytime high temperatures. Tuesday, 10 June managed just 11.2°C (52.2°F) as a daytime high. The only other time I've recorded a lower daytime temperature in June was on  03 June 2012 when the daytime temperature reached a high of just 9.6°C or 49.3°F. Tuesday makes the record for the coldest day so far into June.
Daytime High Temperatures for Early June 2010 - June 2019
With a month's rain by the middle of the month you'd think I'd be able to post that this June is the wettest since I started keeping records back in 2010. It isn't, and that record also belongs to 2012 when, by this stage of the month, we'd had 54.0mm (2.13in) marginally more than this year. June 2012 went on to have 131.5mm (5.18in) the highest monthly total I've recorded.
Rainfall Accumulative Totals for Early June 2010 - June 2019
I have to admit it does show the value of having your own weather records as I would have been convinced that this was the wettest and coldest June we've had for many years not just going back seven years.

Finally, returning to the cold June of 2012, the average temperature by the 14 June 2012 was 11.7°C (53.1°F) compare with 13.2°C (55.8°F) this June. This is entirely due to the fact that the first few days of June this year were reasonable mild, unlike June 2012 which began with a cold spell of weather rather than one developing after the first few days of the month.
The forecast suggest there might be some improvement over the next few days with the rain dying out, some warmth returning and if we're really lucky we might even see a little bit of sunshine.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Adjusting For The Rain

We've had a decent amount of rain over the last week. So far we haven't had any of the torrential rainfall that has occurred in some places. Our rainfall amount so far in June amounts to 40.0mm (1.57in) but there's lots more to come if the forecast is correct.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 01-10 June 2019
Last year through the whole of June, July and August our rainfall only amounted to 60mm (2.36in) and we became accustomed to not having any rain during our visits to the allotment. Our visits through autumn and winter can be made on days when the weather is decent as there is no real urgency to sow, plant or harvest.

However, this year with the arrival of more changeable, if not downright wet weather, we've found our visits to the allotment cut short due to rain and we're getting used to arriving home soaked to the skin. Yesterday we managed to plant a few cabbages and Brussels sprouts but as the last plants were going into the ground it began to rain. The brassicas still needed to be covered with environmesh to protect against pigeon attack so there was nothing for it but to get wet. It also meant no photos of what we'd done.  I like some photos as I find it the easiest way to keep a record of exactly what was sown, planted and harvested.

The recent rain has made it possible to start digging over the old strawberry bed.
Last summer the bed dried out completely with deep cracks forming in the soil. Until it got a decent amount of rainfall on it the bed was too hard to dig over but the current wet spell has at least made it possible to get a fork into the ground to allow the soil to be turned over.
It is hard going and it will need the weather to break down the soil before it's ready for sowing or planting crops in. It may well need leaving until next spring giving winter rains and frost a chance to break up the soil before its ready for planting but at least I've made a start at getting the bed back into production.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Dry Spell Over?

It rained for most of the day on Friday and Saturday putting gardening activities on hold.
Temperature & Rainfall Data 07-09 June 2019
There's no doubting that we badly needed some decent rainfall for the garden and allotment so I can't complain about a couple of wet days. In all, over the two days, we managed 13.6mm (0.54in) of rainfall which makes the month's total a very healthy 28.0mm or 1.1in. 

Of course this wet interlude could just be a bit of a blip in a longer spell of dry weather or a return to the more normal type of rainfall pattern we might expect. At the moment it seems like we are in for a cool and changeable June with more wet weather to come through the coming week.

With gardening on hold on Saturday we had a trip out to Colton Junction to photograph a steam locomotive, 45690 Leander on a charter train from Manchester to Scarborough.
I found out that holding an umbrella in one hand to keep the rain off my camera whilst attempting to pan and zoom the camera with my other hand isn't as easy as I imagined. We were rather lucky though as although it was raining lightly as Leander steamed through the light rain turned into a downpour as we headed away from Colton for some lunch. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Rained Off - Brilliant

Rain was forecast for the middle of the afternoon but, to be honest, so much rain has been forecast only for it to remain dry nothing could be taken for certain. Our runner beans and climbing French beans were ready for planting out and so we decided we'd head off to the allotment and see what we could do before the forecast rain arrived. By the time we arrived there were a few spits and spots of rain falling already. We decided to carry on. By the time we'd erected the bamboo supports and got the last of the beans planted it had started to rain heavily. 
Temperature & Rainfall Records 04 June 2019
It was a case of packing up quickly and heading for home. It was the first time in a long while we'd been rained off at the allotment.
At least our runner beans and climbing French beans had been planted out and watered in even though it was raining. By the end of the day the rainfall had amounted to 14.2mm (0.56in) the second wettest day of the year only topped by 16 March 2019 with 14.6mm or 0.57in. It was our heaviest rainfall of the year with an intensity of 39.8mm/hr (1.57in/hr) at 19:15. Interestingly it's already double the rainfall we had for the whole of June last year.

It should be enough to keep the plot watered for a while and with more heavy rain forecast for Friday it might be an end to our long spell of dry weather.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Not Living Up To Expectation

The weekend didn't live up to its billing when it was predicted that Sunday would be our hottest day of the year. It wasn't and that hottest day of the year now stretches back to 24 April when the temperature reached 24.6°C or 76.3°F.
Temperature Records for 2019
What we actually got was a mild day with a strong to gale force breeze blowing, not what was required when young climbing French beans and runners beans have just been planted out.
Sunday Afternoon at the Allotment
You can see from the photograph it's not the sort of sky you expect from a day forecast to be the hottest day of the year. To make matters worse those dark clouds didn't produce any showers either.

It didn't stop us from making progress on the plot though with lots of sowing seeds, planting out and protecting crops taking place. Sue covered our progress on the plot last week in her blog post that you can read here.

We do seem to have missed any rain which has been around for the last few days. Whilst a wet day would stop progress on the plot, it would probably save us time in the long run not having to water newly sown seeds and young transplanted plants in order to get them established. Our weather forecast seems to always state that showers or rain will occur in the next few days which magically never materialise. Our forecast rainfall total over the next five days is around the 30mm or 1.2in mark which would ease our watering worries for a while.