Friday, 26 May 2017

Blimey - What a Scorcher!

From the early part of the morning it gave every indication that it was going to be hot. By lunchtime we were around the 25°C (77°F) mark and through the afternoon the temperature continued to increase reaching a high of 28.6°C (83.5°F) by late afternoon.
Temperature & Solar Radiation Records for 25 May 2017
Not only is that the hottest day of the year but also the highest May temperature I've recorded since  I began recording in 2010. The previous record was 28.0°C (82.4°F) reached on 28 May 2012.
It was certainly too hot to consider doing anything strenuous on the plot.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Slugs or What?

The weather's been very kind over the last few days with some fine warm weather. Monday is still our warmest day of the year although it's possible the weekend may be even warmer. Whilst Wednesday didn't produce our highest temperature it was our warmest day of the year based on average daily temperature which was 18.4°C (65.1°F) helped by an overnight low temperature of 14.9°C or 58.8°F.

On the allotment, all is not well.
Sowing & Germination Dates for Allotment Sown Vegetables
Above is a variation on the tables I use to keep track of sowing and planting dates for our flower and vegetable seeds. The problem is there are no germination dates. I expect carrot seeds to germinate in a couple of weeks and they were sown almost a month ago now. I know that parsnips are slow to germinate but they were sown a couple of days before the carrots. Each time we've visited the plot we've looked eagerly for any signs of germination but seen nothing.

We're now about to cut our losses and resow both carrots and parsnips. In the case of carrots we'll have to buy some more seed first. However, I'm not sure if the problem has been with the germination of the seeds or whether slugs have just eaten the germinating seedlings.

Our first sowing of broad beans and peas took about 2 weeks to germinate so may be there's still hope of them germinating.

In the garden at home and in the cold frames we've tried out "Slug Gone" wool pellets. So far I'd say they've been pretty successful at deterring slugs. Whilst they haven't completely removed the slug problem they have reduced it to more manageable proportions.
They are however rather expensive and so I decided to try to protect specimen plants and young plants growing in the cold frames. 
You probably won't have seen a picture of this garden hosta before, partly because by this time in the year it has been devastated by slugs leaving nothing more than a skeleton of stems. I thought it would be a fairly good test of the wool pellets and they seem to have done a good job.
In the cold frame I've discovered the occasional slug or snail and they've been disposed of. Very often in the cold frame we've lost an entire tray of seedlings overnight but so far this year that hasn't happened.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

It's Warming Up!

The forecast is for the rest of the week to becoming increasingly warmer with some suggestions we could reach 30°C (86.0°F) on Saturday. However, back with the here and now Monday saw the highest temperature of the year with 23.9°C or 75.0°F. At times it was fairly cloudy but when the sun broke through it felt hot and muggy.
Temperature & Solar Radiation Records for 22 May 2017
If the forecast turns out to be correct I might be updating the highest yearly temperature each day this week.

We managed a trip to the plot to finish planting out our sweet peas. I only hope that my hazel sweet pea trellis will be up to the job of supporting them. Our edible peas Onward have also had their pea sticks added for support. Their supports are a mixture of all sorts of prunings including hazel, elder and a few assorted fruit bush twigs.
Peas - "Onward"
Our first home grown brassica plants have also been planted. Both varieties are club root resistant ones so we're not expecting them to succumb to this particular problem.
Cabbages - "Kalibro" (Foreground) & "Lodero" (Background)
Once they'd had a good watering in they were covered with environmesh to protect against damage from the ever vigilant wood pigeons who sit on the overhead power lines watching and waiting for us to leave crops unprotected.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More Cold Nights

Well, we did need some rain but it would have been nice for a couple of wet days and then some decent weather so we could get on with some jobs at the allotment. However, what we've actually had is a series of wet and dull days but not a lot of actual rain. 
It seems we've had a lot of such days over the last few months. We either have a spell of dry weather or we get a series of damp and cool days but with very little rainfall. There is just enough drizzle or rain to make it too miserable to do any work on the allotment.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for 19-21 May 2017
The early hours of Sunday morning saw another cold start to the day with the temperature falling to 5.1°C (41.2°F) a reminder that's it's still a bit risky to plant out our dahlias and tender vegetables such as runner beans. I'm hoping the potatoes at the allotment escaped any more frost damage.

In our home greenhouse, I did get a chance on Saturday to plant up three growbags with tomato plants. Each bag has been planted with three plants. One bag is planted with Sungold, one with Shirley and one with Gardeners Delight.
Hopefully, the weather will behave as forecast and improve next week and we'll be able to get some planting out done at the allotment.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Bit of a Plot Tour

We made the most of some decent weather on Thursday to get some jobs done on the allotment. Sue planted out our first batch of sweet peas.
I'm hoping that our rustic supports constructed from our coppiced hazel poles are up to the job and don't collapse in any strong winds we have through the summer months.

I managed to remove the weed control fabric from last year's runner bean bed and dug over the ground with our little cultivator.
It went from looking a lot neglected as can be seen in the above photo to something much more well tended.
The recent rainfall didn't seem to have had a great deal of effect and the ground was very dry and difficult to cultivate. It's a reminder that if we don't get any more rain crops will soon need watering again.

To finish off with here's a little tour of part of our plot filmed on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Wet Wednesday

After a couple of completely rain free weeks at the beginning of the month the recent few days have seen use have a reasonable amount. We haven't had any torrential rain, rather a few showery days until yesterday, Wednesday, which turned out to be wet and miserable. With a total rainfall for the day of 5.6mm (0.22in) it was our wettest day since the 22 March 2017 with 7.2mm or 0.28in. 
Temperature & Rainfall Records 15-17 May 2017
To help put the rainfall into context our average rainfall for May is 50mm (1.97in) and over the last few days it's amounted to 15.6mm (0.61in) so we've a way to go to achieve our monthly average.
I'm hoping that we've had enough rainfall to allow us to get a few more beds dug over on the allotment. In our cold frame there's plenty of plants now hardened off and ready for planting out on the plot.
Cabbage - "Kalibro"
The forecast for the next few days is sunshine and showers so we might have to work between the showers to get some planting out done.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Wet Day But Not A Lot of Rain

We had some rain on Monday which the allotment and garden badly needed.
Temperature & Rainfall Records for 15 May 2017
However, although it was wet and damp all day we didn't have very much rainfall by the end of the day. It amounted to 5.0mm (0.2in) bringing the month's total up to 7.8mm (0.31in) and so May continues to be a dry month.
This is the state of one of the beds on the allotment that I want to dig over. The photo was taken on Sunday. It's almost possible to get a hand down the cracks that have formed in the soil as the plot has dried out. I'm not too sure Monday's rainfall will have been enough to thoroughly wet the soil and make it diggable.  
I'm sure the plants will welcome the rain though and it will give us a break from watering when we visit the plot. There's more rain in the forecast so maybe I'll soon be able to get that bed dug over.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Cheeky Robin