Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Good and Bad on the Plot

Sunday wasn't much of a day weatherwise as it turned out to be cloudy all day although any rain held off and we managed an afternoon visit to the plot. Bank Holiday Monday was a much better day with almost unbroken sunshine all day. we decided to stay clear of any Bank Holiday traffic problems on the road and spent the afternoon at the allotment.

Our main crop potatoes are now all lifted although there is one small bed with some potatoes left in. They are the stragglers of the tubers we bought back in spring so I don't have great expectations regarding the crop from these potatoes. On Sunday I lifted the last two rows of our main crop which consisted of a full row of 10 Vales Sovereign and a mixed row of Vales Sovereign and Winston potatoes.
Vales Sovereign
Our row and a half of Vales Sovereign a variety we are growing for the first time this year produced an excellent crop of good sized potatoes weighing in at 13.4kg. There was a little bit of slug damage but the worst culprit was wireworm damage. It still left plenty of undamaged tubers and I've found from past experience that normally potatoes with wireworm damage will keep well for several months and that in decent sized potatoes the damage can be cut away leaving plenty of usable potato.
The four roots of Winston yielded some decent potatoes too weighing in at 4.5kg and as I've come to expect with this variety some wireworm damage. All in all I'm happy with the crop and if Vales Sovereign passes the taste test I'll consider growing it again next tear. Once all the potatoes were dug the weed control fabric was put back in place over the freshly dug ground and it will be left in place over winter.
Besides digging up some potatoes we harvested our greengages as well.
If you look closely at the above photo you will see seven greengages in the bottom right hand corner. That's our greengage harvest for the year from two decent sized trees. There were a couple of fruits that we left on the tree which had split and been attacked by wasps. I think it could be described as a crop failure. Maybe next year will be better.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

I Did Want a Drop of Rain!

Up until a few days ago we'd had a very dry spell of weather and while it would have been good for drying off our onions if the dry spell continued the plot badly needed some rain. Over Thursday and Saturday it certainly got that with 21.2mm on Thursday and a further 14.8mm on Saturday. Needless to say we haven't got any gardening done over the two days.
Temperature, Rainfall & Sunshine Records 25-27 August 2016
In the space of three days August has gone from being a dryish August to a wettish one. We've had some very heavy rain at times but not the heaviest of the year.
Rainfall Intensity for Ossett in 2016
The record is still held by the 01 July 2016 with 79.0mm/hr or 3.11"/hr. The highest intensity over the last few days was 53.5mm/hr (2.11mm/hr) on Thursday.

Luckily we chose Friday to have a day out and visit Scampston Hall and Gardens which is near Malton in North Yorkshire. Somehow sandwiched in between two very wet days was a lovely sunny day, just what we needed for exploring the Walled Garden and surrounding parklands. 
The Walled Garden was designed in 1999 by Piet Oudolf and is considered to be of the "New European Garden Style of planting. In contrast to this more modern design of the Walled Garden. the parkland at Scampston was designed around 1770 by Lancelot "Capability" Brown.
We will certainly be returning to Scampston to have a look around the gardens and grounds at different times of the year.

Now some sunshine would be good to do a little bit of harvesting and digging down on the plot.

Friday, 26 August 2016

A Bit of a Wet Day

Wednesday turned out to be another lovely summer's day. It didn't seem as sunny as Tuesday and the temperature was slightly lower too but nevertheless a lovely August day. Thursday was a different matter altogether.
Temperature, Rainfall & Sunshine Records for 23-25 August 2016
It rained in the early hours of Thursday morning and the dull weather continued through the morning with the occasional burst of rain. On the off change that the rain might hold off in the afternoon we headed for the plot. We had a few minutes before a few drops of rain began to fall. We carried on for a while but the rain gradually got heavier until we were forced to take shelter in the shed and brew an early cup of coffee.
The rain didn't show any sign of easing off so we decided to call it a day. I decided to give the tomatoes in the greenhouse a drink before we left. It's amazing how wet you can get filling up a couple of watering cans.

By early evening our rainfall total for the day had reached 15.8mm, (0.62ins) and it was still raining after taking this recording making it our wettest day since 28 March 2016 when we had 15.4mm or 0.61ins. Our wettest day this year was 04 March 2016 with 27.6mm (1.09ins)so we'll have to go some to beat that in the remaining four hours up to midnight.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

August's Hottest

Monday was a miserable day with light rain on and off throughout the day whereas Tuesday was a lovely sunny day with the temperature reaching 28.6°C (83.5°F) making it easily the hottest day of the month.
We made the most of the fine weather on Tuesday to do a little bit of harvesting on the plot. Sue did most of the harvesting while I strimmed the grass.
You might notice that there are a few plums in the box of goodies but this year's crop has been very disappointing. Our last five Oullins plums to be harvested are in the box bringing this year's harvest to a meagre 3.0kg or 6.5lbs. It's the same story with our greengages. We've a few fruits which aren't yet ripe as the they are really hard but that doesn't seem to be stopping the wasps making the most of the few greengages that we do have.
We do have a few Victoria plums but we are having to share these with plum moth maggots. It's more or less a case of one for them and one for us at the moment. It means that all plums are first cut in half to check for intruders.

We've started to pick our first few apples which although they aren't quite ripe taste very good. This year I forgot to put up any codling moth traps. The result is lots of damaged apples which easily fall from the trees that form our apple hedge. I picked a bucket full up from around the trees which will upset the blackbirds who unsurprisingly don't seem to mind eating the damaged apples.
I'm sure I will have left a few apples in the grass for the blackbirds and in any case I don't suppose they will have to wait too long before more apples decide to fall from the tree.

Monday, 22 August 2016

A Busman's Holiday

We've had a drop more rain over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon our visit to the plot involved a number of dashes to the shed to avoid the frequent showers.
Temperature & Rainfall Saturday, 20 to Monday22 (morning) August 2016
As is the way with showers when we arrived back home on Saturday teatime it looked as though Ossett had missed all the showers. In all, Saturday's and Sunday's rainfall together with some overnight into Monday morning amounted to 12.2mm or 0.48in.

On Sunday we had a trip to North Yorkshire to capture a bit of video of the world's most famous steam locomotive and then on to Beningbrough Hall which is looked after by the National Trust.
It's amazing how soon kitchen garden areas are past their best. Already the walled kitchen garden had a few areas left bare where presumably crops have already been cleared away. It's always good to compare "expert" kitchen gardens with your own especially if you think that your own little plot isn't doing too badly in comparison.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Coldframe Looks Like It's Spring

Friday was dull and wet as we finally got some of that rain I'd sort of hoped for. I wouldn't describe it as the heavy rain that was forecast and after it seemed to rain all day we finished up with 8.2mm (0.32in).
I'm not sure it will have done much more than moisten up the top surface of the soil but it must have done a little bit of good. One thing is for sure it will have given the slugs and snails a new lease of life.
I caught this one at teatime on the patio looking for an early meal as it slimed across the damp paving stones.

A month or so ago we didn't think out autumn and winter brassicas were doing very well on the allotment. I though it was a bit late to try to fill any gaps by growing replacements from seed so I ordered a collection of autumn and winter brassicas from DT Brown. They arrived on Friday.
All the plants had been grown as plug plants but for delivery they had been removed from their plugs and carefully wrapped in paper for postage. The plants looked healthy enough if a little bent from their journey in the post. As usual with plug plants I intend to grow them on a little bit before they are planted out on the plot. At the moment there's not much space in the greenhouse for potting up plants and we'd normally set up a spot on the lawn or patio to do this however I didn't fancy getting wet as it was still raining.
I set up a temporary potting up bench on top of our wheelie bins under one end of the carport. Once potted up all the plants were moved to the coldframe.
The coldframe looked like I'd expect it to in Spring once all the brassicas were moved. Now all I need to do is keep those marauding slugs and snails away. The full list of brassicas supplied in this collection and notes on each variety is listed below. There's five plants of each variety except for Tundra and Amsterdam which have ten plants.
Funnily enough after I'd ordered this collection of brassicas a few of our plants on the allotments took to growing much better.

Friday, 19 August 2016

A Day Out to Gibraltar

We've had a very nice three days, nothing approaching that record August temperature that some newspapers reported, just some lovely sunshine and temperatures into the low 20's Celsius or low 70's in Fahrenheit.
Temperature & Sunshine Records for Week Commencing Saturday 13, August 2016
After a day harvesting and watering on the plot and a day tidying up a few things in the garden we had a day out to Gibraltar Point nature reserve near Skegness. The reserve is looked after by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Out to sea we could just about spot seals basking on a sandbank but they were too far away to capture any really good images but as you have probably guessed that didn't stop us having a go.
The reserve also has some freshwater marshes where our zoom lenses were stretched to their limits again to capture some shots of egrets and avocets.
Now we are standing by for some long awaited rainfall on Friday afternoon. The forecast is for heavy rain all afternoon but will it be correct?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Coldest to Hottest in a Matter of Hours

Monday was the hottest day of the month but only hours before it was also the coldest day of the month.
At 05:50 in the morning the temperature fell to 8.2°C (46.8°F) rather nippy for mid August but Monday turned out to be a lovely sunny day with the temperature reaching 25.4°C (77.7°F) at 17:25. From monthly low to high in 11 hours and 35 minutes.

It's also the driest start to August over the last seven years, which is a bit of a mixed blessing on the allotment. On the one hand our onions are starting to dry off nicely but I need some rain to help create some better conditions for digging.

On a less than perfect rose, I had a bit of a dabble with a new zoom lens for my camera.
It was a bit too warm to do anything too energetic!