Saturday, 31 August 2013
Once again it was mostly cloudy but we did have some sunny spells and it felt very warm in any sunshine.
We spent all afternoon harvesting on the plot. We didn't go with the intention of just harvesting but with such a variety of fruit and vegetables to pick we just couldn't help ourselves. There’s no point going to the trouble of growing it if you can't be bothered to pick it.
Not a bad afternoon’s work. We even managed to pick a few runner beans from Lady Di and St George before summer turns into autumn. The stars of this little bounty are undoubtedly the greengages. We haven’t so many but the sweetness is unbelievable coming from such a small green fruit.
These are our greengages, a variety called “Reine Claude”. The only problem is deciding when greengages are ready to eat. These still look very green and are quite firm to the touch. I did cheat before picking and we had a couple of testers with our afternoon coffee. They were absolutely superb.
I’m expecting a good carrot crop this year if our early “pullings” are anything to go by. So far we've only tried the Early Nantes variety which have produced some very good sized carrots.
They've had the taste test which is excellent. These are as lifted without any washing or sprucing up. The soil is very dry and the carrots have come out without any soil needing to be washed off for kitchen use.
Our first few Victoria plums are in the harvest picture too.
Our Oullins gage cropping has just about finished but it’s provided us with 33kg of plums most of which have gone into the freezer.
I might try some of the Himrod grapes in our home greenhouse today and see if they’re sweet enough to eat. Gardening can be tough at times.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:50
Friday, 30 August 2013
Thursday continued the mild but cloudy theme.
We decided on a trip to RSPB Old Moor to see if we could spot any new birds. When we arrive it’s normal for any “star species” to do a disappearing act for the day. We did actually spot a couple of birds we hadn't seen before but these were at the extreme range of our spotting scope well out of the photographic range of our cameras.
I know I should be videoing birds at an RSPB reserve but I couldn't help focusing on a hare. Whilst I was concentrating on the hare a stoat made an appearance, a very brief appearance at that.
The stoat appears in just 3 frames of my video and my camera takes 25 frames per second so this little stoat was in and out of shot in 0.12 seconds. If you haven't spotted it have a look in the top left hand corner of the picture.
With a little bit of cropping and adjusting this is the best picture I can get. It’s the only shot of a stoat I’ve got.
Wonder if I’ll get a picture of a kingfisher one day. We saw two on our visit today but neither wanted to be photographed. Another time perhaps.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:04
Thursday, 29 August 2013
Much more cloud about on Wednesday and a little bit cooler but still a very nice day.
At last I picked some runner beans. We're growing St. George, Enorma and Desiree and all three varieties have been very slow to produce beans. In July’s hot weather they came to what seemed like a total standstill and refused to grow. Meteorologically summer comes to an end in 3 days time so we've only just managed a picking before summer comes to an end.
These are from our wigwam of Desiree a white flowered variety. The plants look really well with plenty of flowers and young beans to come so we're expecting to be able to stock up our freezer supplies before any cold weather kills off the plants.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:39
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Tuesday left out the dull start and we had sunshine for most of the day. There was a time early afternoon when it looked like a thunderstorm was brewing but the cloud just broke up and disappeared leaving the rest of the afternoon warm and sunny.
We were looking for a less eventful day after our fright on the horse drawn tram car on Monday. It didn't quite work out to plan as first we had a telephone call from a plot neighbour to report that our shed had been broken into.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:13
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
We had another dull start to Bank Holiday Monday, but just like Sunday, by lunchtime the sun had broken through the cloud to leave us with a warm and sunny afternoon.
As any regular readers of this blog might know I enjoy a little bit of steam train photography along with my love of gardening. So for Bank Holiday Monday we decided on a trip to our local heritage railway at Middleton, just a few minutes drive down the M1, to visit the Festival of Transport it was hosting. Although this is situated on our doorstep so to speak, we'd never visited before and didn't really know what to expect.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:38
Monday, 26 August 2013
We had a dull start to Bank Holiday Sunday but by lunchtime the sun had broken through the cloud to leave us with a warm and fairly sunny afternoon.
On our last couple of visits to the plot we've picked just over 16kg of plums, Oullins Gage. Our tree is a true biennial and this year is its cropping year. It was very late coming into flower, 3 to 4 weeks later than normal due to the exceptionally cold spring.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:52
Sunday, 25 August 2013
After the heavy rain in the early hours of Saturday the rest of the day was dry, well almost, with the total rainfall notching up another 0.6mm throughout the day. It was dull all day but the rain threatened by the heavy cloud cover never came.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:13
Saturday, 24 August 2013
Friday was cloudy and mild and, as forecast, by evening the storm clouds were gathering and threatening something rather spectacular. We had a few claps of thunder and some spots of rain but that was all.
Then in the early hours of Saturday morning it tipped. At 03:42 the rain was falling at 138mm/hr. That’s three times the amount we might expect in the whole of August in an hour. It obviously didn't last that long as, when the storm ended, the total rainfall came to 12.4mm.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:10
Friday, 23 August 2013
Thursday was a hot sunny day with plenty of sunshine and the temperature reached a high of 27.8°C. Early evening it clouded over and we had one very heavy shower accompanied by a few claps of thunder. The downpour added another 0.8mm to the monthly total.
Rain is forecast for later today and into Saturday. We've had a dry spell of weather and our annual rainfall is once again below average.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:17
Thursday, 22 August 2013
Tuesday and Wednesday weren't bad days with temperatures into the low twenties. Both days were mostly cloudy but we didn't get any rain. It’s pretty dry on the plot and some rain would be very welcome. We might just get some Friday night or early Saturday if the forecast is correct.
As it wasn't too bad on Wednesday afternoon I decided to lift another row of potatoes.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:58
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Monday, 19 August 2013
We had plenty of sunshine on Sunday after a drop of overnight rain. After such a brilliant hot start to the month the average temperature for the month is now below average and is the same as last year’s August average in the middle of the month.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:12
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Saturday was dull with a drop of rain. It wasn't the wet afternoon that was forecast with the daily total amounting to just 2.4mm.
The football season has started again not that I take a great interest. Money rules end of story. Anyway as you can see at the end of week one our mini aubergine Jackpot F1 has scored a narrow victory over our tomatoes.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:43
Saturday, 17 August 2013
Friday was a very pleasant summer’s day with some long sunny periods and the temperature reached a very acceptable 22.3°C.
I blogged last time about some parts of the plot taking on an autumnal look, mostly where potato crops have been lifted. Other parts of the plot are still full of promise with crops looking fine and healthy. Hard to believe that all this is produced through some little crosses cut into weed control fabric. The grass to the left of the picture forms the allotment plot border with the access road around the site. One or two fat hen weeds have still manage to grow by sharing the same cuts in the fabric as the squashes and cucumbers. I can live with the odd weed so I reckon the fabric’s done a good job.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:07
Friday, 16 August 2013
Thursday was a warm and muggy day with the temperature reaching 25.6°C in the afternoon. The forecast for heavy showers and thunderstorms around teatime and into the evening didn't work out . We did have a little rain towards midnight amounting to around 2.0mm. We had a little more rain in the early hours of Friday morning but a combined total of 4.2mm will do little more than dampen the top of the soil. We could do with a good rain.
Although it’s only the middle of August parts of the plot are starting to have a bit of an autumnal look about them. I'm always amazed at just how short that time is when the plot looks full to bursting point.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 12:44
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Tuesday and Wednesday confirmed the fall from grace of August which started off spectacularly well but has gradually slipped into mediocrity.
Our greenhouse tomatoes have been a disappointment this year. In fact we haven’t had a proper ripe tomato yet. In the home greenhouse we've had some red toms that have been unusable because of blossom end rot. In the plot greenhouse all the varieties are simply refusing to ripen.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:30
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
After such a good start to the month August has been going downhill ever since and Monday was no exception. Although we had some sunshine it was cool and windy. Not really a very August like day.
Our blackcurrants, Ben Connan and Ben Lommond, planted in 2010 have produced an excellent crop of fruit this year. One great benefit is that the fruit remains on the bushes in good condition over a long period of time. As blackcurrants are time consuming to pick this is a big advantage.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:56
Monday, 12 August 2013
The weekend weather wasn't anything special for August. We had a few brief sunny intervals but it was mostly cloudy with just some light rain early on Sunday morning.
In our plot greenhouse our tomatoes have so far remained free of the blossom end rot that has afflicted our home grown plants. On the plot Sioux, the worst affected variety in our home greenhouse, looks to be one of the best croppers.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:15