Sunday, 30 December 2012
As gardener’s we are all aware of just how tricky growing conditions were in 2012. As I’m a bit limited in what I can do at the moment and the fact that the weather’s pretty miserable too I decided to mess around with some weather data to see if 2012 was really that bad. The easiest comparison to look at is high and low temperatures throughout the year. I decided to compare 2012 with 2011 to see if there was any noticeable difference.
The key months on the plot for me probably start mid way through March to June when lots of seed are sown directly into the plot or young pot grown plants are set out in their final positions.
I've added some dotted lines to help comparisons. In April and May in 2011 night time temperatures remained mostly above 5°C whereas in 2012 most night time temperatures were below 5°C. If we use 15°C as a day time comparison then once again 2012 was much colder through this 3 month period than 2011.
Then of course there was lots of rain in April too. It fell on dry ground but with double the monthly average it got the growing season off to a cold wet start that it never really recovered from.
Lets hope for something much better in 2013.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 12:23
Friday, 28 December 2012
Not the best of Christmases with Christmas Eve and up to midday Christmas Day spent in Pinderfields hospital with a troublesome nose bleed or rather a whole series of them going on for about a week. I’m hoping that the source of the problem has now been found and cauterised.
I've a list of things not to do. No hot drinks or hot food and no spicy food. No lifting or bending over and one that’s pretty tricky is to sleep sitting up. So far so good.
Christmas dinner was a cold turkey salad but I didn't bother with any cold sprouts or parsnips.
The weather has remained in its wet Atlantic phase for the last week or so with plenty of wet and windy weather. The rain has been persistent without being torrential and the monthly total looks like finishing just above expected, bearing in mind that December is on average one of our wettest months.
That strange looking temperature peak on Sunday 23 December gave us our highest temperature of the month. Bizarrely it happened at 02:30 in the morning so I guess few people were around to notice it.
There doesn't seem to be any change in the forecast up to the start of the new year with wet and windy conditions set to continue.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:26
Saturday, 22 December 2012
The photograph of the cute reindeer was taken in Carlisle town centre during one of our day trips out. She was stocking up for her busy schedule.
Apparently all Santa's reindeer are female as the males lose their antlers in winter but the females keep theirs so they can protect their young.
Best wishes for a Happy Christmas to all the visitors to both our blogs - thanks for your encouragement and support. I hope you manage to stick with us in 2013.
Sue and Martyn
Posted by Sue Garrett at 08:00
Friday, 21 December 2012
The weather and I haven’t been good this week. We've had plenty of rain falling on already sodden ground leading to more flooding problems but so far not too bad locally. Over the last couple of days the temperature has remained remarkable constant between 4.6°C and 5.9°C.
We seem to have spent much of our time at Pinderfields hospital over the last few days. This has all been due to me having somewhat uncontrollable nose bleeds for most of the week. I thought that things had been sorted out on Wednesday when the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor cauterised my nose in order to stop it bleeding. Unfortunately it hasn't done the trick so I’ll be back again on Saturday to see if they can sort me out.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:46
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Monday was dull and mild with some rain in the evening but not bad for December.
Whilst we were harvesting vegetables at the weekend it was a chance to check out how our green manure had coped with the recent spell of frosty weather. It had managed to survive the odd frosty night on 08 December when the temperature got down to -2.6°C. Last week though there was a bit more of a cold spell with four consecutive nights of below zero temperatures at -0.7°C, -2.1°C, -3.8°C and another night down to -2.1°C.The good news is that the green manure has coped with the cold spell pretty well and I think it is quite nice to see some beds covered in green, (that isn't weed growth), at this time of year rather than bare earth. No doubt though the worst of the winter weather is still to come.
If you haven’t seen this blackbird on my Facebook page it’s posted on YouTube and shown below. The sunflower hearts had become damp so I took them out of the feeder and left them on the patio table to dry out. This blackbird just couldn't resist the opportunity and came right up to the window to help herself to rich pickings.
Monday, 17 December 2012
Sunday was another mild day with a little rain late into the evening.
We needed a trip to the plot as we were out of fresh vegetables. Luckily we picked a sunny spell during the afternoon for our harvesting. First on the list to harvest were some carrots provided that the straw placed over the roots a few weeks ago had done its job and kept the roots frost free.
At least the straw had stayed in place even though we've had some gale force winds since the roots were protected. It’s a bit like nature’s version of Velcro in the way it holds together and isn't blown away in bits by strong winds.
So far December hasn't been too bad for rainfall, and at the mid point of the month, we've had a little bit less than we might expect on average for the month. That’s not to say the ground isn't still very wet. Whilst I wouldn't describe it as waterlogged it is very soggy. Digging carrots, parsnips and leeks was a muddy job.
The carrots on the left are as lifted with as much soil as possible removed by hand but still covered in soil and mud. They were given a quick wash in some very cold water and they looked a little more ready for the kitchen. This variety is Autumn King. one we grow every year, which doesn't normally let us down either for quantity or quality.
The remainder of our Sunday harvest is detailed here on our December harvesting page.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:58
Sunday, 16 December 2012
Strange isn't it but following one of the coldest days for some time Saturday produced the mildest day of this December with a high of 10.6°C and a low of 3.9°C. It gave us an average for the day of 7.5°C. For good measure it was sunny too although a little breezy at times.
As the weather had been a bit iffy I’d decided to have a go at bread making by leaving the dough to rise in the fridge over night. I still don’t understand why this works and I’m amazed that after a night in the fridge my bread dough looks like this.
Sadly there’s no pictures of the finished bread as I cocked up the baking. I’m certain it sounded hollow when tapped underneath, however the dough wasn't cooked in the centre of the loaf. The birds might be in for a treat though. I must try harder next time!
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:01
Saturday, 15 December 2012
The forecasters were right and Friday brought wind, rain and much milder conditions. Friday morning was treacherous due to black ice forming on roads and footpaths as the temperature hovered around freezing point but by lunchtime it was much milder and pouring down with rain.
After a week of fluctuating temperatures we now seem to be back to the same conditions as last weekend with our weather dominated by systems coming in off the Atlantic keeping it milder and wetter. At least I’ll be spared the task of trying to keep the bird bath ice free.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:37
Friday, 14 December 2012
Thursday was cold and foggy with temperatures remaining below freezing all day. It gave us our coldest daily average temperature since that record breaking December of 2010. Yesterday’s daily average was -2.2°C (max 0.4°C, min -3.8 °C) the coldest since 22 December 2010 with -2.3°C (max 0.9°C, min -7.7°C).
These icicles formed on the string stretched across the pond as heron protection. A lovely bird but it does have a nasty habit of eating our pond fish if no protection is in place.
The birds made great use of the ice free patches of water in the pond to drink and bath from as it proved difficult to keep the bird bath ice free.
This redwing is a rare visitor to our garden. We only usually spot one when the weather is really bad. It didn't stay for long and we didn't see it make a return visit.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:47
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Wednesday was the coldest day of winter so far with the average daily temperature not even making it into positive territory. The average for the day was -0.2°C with a maximum of 1.6°C and minimum of -2.1°C.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:06
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Monday wasn't too bad a day. The gale force wind of the previous couple of days had dropped but along with that so had the temperature. We had some sunshine mixed with a few drops of rain on and off all day.
In the garden the frosts have now taken their toll on our more tender perennial plants. The frost effects differ from plant to plant. Our banana Musa Bajoo just goes soft and mushy a little like a giant frosted lettuce leaf.
Our bonsaied gunnera has also felt the cold but rather than turning to mush its leaves turn crisp and brown..
I've a little bit of straw left at the allotments which I might bring back to the garden just to give the roots of the banana plant and the crown of the gunnera a little winter protection. For a little added protection I might move the gunnera into our cold greenhouse. The problem with doing that is that it may grow away far too quickly early next spring which I don’t want to happen.
Copyright: Original post from Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary http://ossettweather.blogspot.co.uk/ author M Garrett
Monday, 10 December 2012
Sunday was the warmest day of the month but you wouldn't have guessed it out in the gale force wind.
It was a day for staying in and editing the video footage from Saturday’s visit to Clumber Park. If you haven’t yet found the finished video of our squirrel via links to YouTube or one of our Facebook pages you can watch it below.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:24
Sunday, 9 December 2012
We had Saturday out in Lincolnshire taking photographs of the landscape and steam trains heading into Lincoln for the annual “Lindum Fayre” or Christmas Market. The weather was sunny and reasonably mild.
After lunch and photographs of steam trains completed we decided to spend some time at Clumber Park on the way home. This is where we met the real star of the day a grey squirrel who was far too inquisitive for his own good.
This squirrel was only too happy to pose for his portrait taking in close up. He was far too near the video camera to take clear pictures but he remained by our feet for a several minutes picking up what looked like sunflower seeds from the path. Whatever they were we hadn't put them there although I think he/she thought we had.
Me and my camera didn't seem to faze the squirrel at all in its hunt for more seeds. Eventually after posing for hundreds and pictures and several minutes of video the noise from others approaching caused it to head for the safety of some nearby bushes.
All that was left was to get some pictures of the setting sun and head for home.
I’ll post some video of the squirrel once I've had a chance to do some editing.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:48
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Friday was a little milder and we escaped without a keen overnight frost. There was a little rain in the early hours of the morning before it became light. Through the day we had some pleasant sunny spells although the breeze meant it felt cold again out of doors.
I made a quick trip down to the plot to see what had or hadn't survived the keen frost when the temperature fell to -3°C.
I hadn't expected any of the few remaining lettuces to have survived and expected all the plants to look like the Little Gem on the left, well and truly frosted. This wasn't the case as some Lollo Rossa had survived the frost rather well.
I next checked the green manure which I think might survive winter providing it doesn't get too cold or we have a prolonged spell of cold weather.
This looks to have survived the cold so far without any signs of a set back at all, although I think it actually stopped growing a few weeks ago when the temperature began to fall. Anyhow so far so good.
Friday, 7 December 2012
Thursday morning’s temperature of -2.6°C was the coldest since 11 February this year when the temperature fell to -5.9°C.
We didn't get any snow unlike other higher parts of Yorkshire. Without any sunshine and a strongish breeze it certainly felt cold outside. To finish off a miserable day it rained from early evening into the early hours of the morning.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:21
Thursday, 6 December 2012
One thing for certain was Wednesday was cold. We’d booked a trip by train to Edinburgh to visit the city in the run up to Christmas.
After some overnight showers and freezing temperatures, the first task was to de-ice the car. Windows were just solid blocks of ice. As our journey to the Scottish capital got underway the first thing still obvious was the flooded fields as the train headed north towards York.
Then as we headed further north towards Newcastle it began to snow. As we crossed over the river Tyne in Newcastle any chance of that iconic shot of the famous Tyne Bridges was out of the question as visibility was reduced due to the snow.
By the time our train reached Berwick on Tweed just south of the Scottish border the weather had taken a turn for the better and the snow had stopped.
When we reached Edinburgh it was cold and sunny. Perhaps a little snow would have added a little to the festive atmosphere of the city but as it was we enjoyed our afternoon looking around the German Christmas Market and Scottish Highland Christmas Market just off Edinburgh’s famous Princes Street.
This Royal Scot Grey on horseback was silhouetted again a beautiful blue sky.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:35
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Tuesday was another cold day with a few a few squally showers through the day.
Now a I must admit I've never being that sure about the difference between a house and tree sparrow. Is there a difference or are they all sparrows. On our visit to RSPB Fairburn Ings last week I was hoping to be able to get some pictures of tree sparrows to compare with what I was informed were house sparrows at home. I’m glad to say it was mission accomplished - well I’m hoping so!
|House Sparrow (left) and Tree Sparrow (right)|
It’s all down to what colour cap they have and the fact that a tree sparrow has a smaller bib under its ‘chin’.
At one stage at Fairburn I was busy trying to capture a tree sparrow as the whisper spread around the hide that a woodpecker was perched on one of the feeding stations. Not deterred I continued filming the tree sparrow until I was happy with my video. I still had time to get some shots of the woodpecker too.
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Monday was a little bit warmer than the last few days with some sunny spells and scattered showers.
Most of the showers fell throughout the night but there was just enough rainfall in the morning to keep the ground wet. I thought it would be a good idea to check out how our apples were keeping in the garage fridge. They still seem to be in good condition so they just had a wash, the cores removed and then were sliced ready to go into the cauldron for cooking.
Once softened the apples were added to a dish and covered with some crumble mixture. We've still got a few apples left in the garage so some more crumbles made using last summer’s apples are still on the cards.
Monday, 3 December 2012
Sunday was mostly sunny and cold. It was the first time I've had to thaw out the bird bath this autumn, although, meteorologically speaking it’s now winter. It was only when I noticed one of our charm of goldfinches skating on the top of the bird bath and pecking at the frozen water a bit like a miniature woodpecker that I realised that the water was still frozen.
I've noticed that some of the newspapers have been carrying stories predicting the worst winter for a hundred years. I’m not too sure how credible these forecasts are or if they’re just intended to sell newspapers.
|Click here on on image to view forecast in a new window|
Anyway here’s an alternative forecast for December and the suggestion is I’m afraid that it will be colder than average. If you don’t want all the reasoning skip to the bottom of the blog for the summary.
You’ll also find a forecast for the winter on this blog too. Again skip to the bottom of the post if the reasoning doesn't interest you. There’s no suggestion that we’ll be having the worst winter for one hundred years so fingers crossed.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:11
Sunday, 2 December 2012
After a sprinkling of overnight rain, it was a bit dull first thing on Saturday morning. The clouds soon disappeared to leave a cold, sunny day with a bitter wind.
We were out and about around York on Saturday and there’s still plenty of evidence about of the recent wet weather.
The river itself is now back within it’s banks as you can just about see to the left of the picture. I guess it will be some time before the fields begin to dry out.
Saturday, 1 December 2012
Friday was another sunny and cold day. The early morning temperature was down to -1.2°C, the lowest of the autumn. It didn't do much warming up through the day either.
After my visit to the plot this week I’m beginning to think I sowed some of my winter brassicas a little late. Now I’m pleased with the way they've grown, much better than last year’s bought in plants which produced very little to eat, but I reckon my cabbages should now have large hearts ready for winter harvesting.
Unless my labelling has gone to pot which is not entirely unknown this variety is Alaska. The picture is a little misleading as the cabbage heart is not as big as it looks. It certainly should provide a meal for two but I think sown a few weeks earlier it would have produced a much bigger heart.
Much the same can be said of this January King cabbage. However as we didn't actually get any winter cabbages from our bought in plants the winter before I’m considering these a success. Just a little tinkering with the sowing dates for next year, will, I hope produce some bigger hearts.
Checking back January King were sown on 21 June 2012 and Alaska one week later eventually planted into the plot on 3 August 2012. Next year I might go for sowing the seeds at the beginning of June rather than the end of the month.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:00