Thursday, 29 June 2017

Dry Spell Ends - Big Time!

Well, we shouldn't have to water the plot on our next visit. It rained steadily all day on Wednesday and by the end of the day 21.2mm (0.83in) had fallen. That's our wettest day this year and the wettest since 21 November 2016 when we had 21.8mm (0.86in).
Wednesday isn't the wettest June day I've recorded which is still held by 22 June 2012 with 35.1mm (1.38in). It's worth noting that the vast majority of our wettest days fall during the summer months. June now has the highest rainfall of any month this year. 
Monthly Rainfall Totals for 2017
Wednesday's high temperature of only 12.2°C (54.0°F) is the second lowest I've recorded in June. The lowest was 9.6°C (49.3°F) on 03 June 2012. It's amazing how things can turn around in one day.

Needless to say gardening was on hold for the day.
I'm hoping that,  now our dry spell is over, I'll  be able to get on and dig over a few beds on the allotment. I may have to wait awhile though as it's still raining on Thursday morning.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Some Welcome Rain

Our dry spell may be coming to an end and we'll get a bit of relief from watering the allotment. Tuesday was dull and damp with spells of drizzle at times. It was another of those days, we've had lots of over the last few months, when it seems like it's rained all day for very little actual rainfall. Tuesday rainfall amounted to 4.0mm or 0.16in.
 Temperature & Rainfall Records 26-28 June 2017
Wednesday has started off on a wet note and the forecast is for it to continue raining all day.

By 09:00 we've already had 6.0mm (0.24in) of rainfall and it's continuing to fall steadily.
At least on our next trip to the allotment it should be a watering can free zone.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

First Potatoes Lifted

After a rather mediocre Sunday weatherwise Monday was a lovely summer's day with the temperature making it up to a pleasant 20.6C (69.1°F) it felt pleasantly warm in the afternoon sunshine.

We've emptied out a few potato bags from tubers started off in the greenhouse but to be honest I'm not very good with potato bags and we rely entirely on the potatoes grown on the allotment for our main supply. I decided it was time to try lifting a couple of roots of our first early potatoes "Casablanca" and see how they'd performed. 
Key Dates for Early Potatoes - "Casablanca"
They've had what I would consider to be a very poor growing season. A few unseasonably cold nights in mid May resulted in the foliage being frosted at which stage they didn't look too happy at all.
Casablanca Potatoes 10 May 2017
The plants recovered well but the second weather obstacle this year has been the lack of rain. We've had more than enough watering to do on the plot trying to keep seeds and seedlings watered so all our potatoes have gone unwatered.
I've highlighted the rainfall figures in the table above. I've added up the totals to save you a problem. In a normal season over the 3 month growing period our potatoes could expect 139.9mm (5.5in) of rainfall but this year that's amounted to less than half the amount at 65.8mm or 2.6in.

Although the plants looked healthy enough I wasn't expecting a large crop when I lifted the first root.
I was pleasantly surprised as there was a decent crop of potatoes considering the poor growing season they'd had. The potatoes were very clean with no pest damage or skin problems at all. At cooking time all they needed was a good wash.
They are pictured with the rest of Monday's harvest above.

When cooked the potatoes tasted great but they did boil into the water a little bit but I'm putting that down to the very dry growing conditions.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

A Bit Nondescript

After our spell of hot weather last week the weather has turned a bit nondescript. Neither hot nor cold but it has remained dry and it's been a bit breezy. The best in the way of rainfall that we've had is a bit of light drizzle which hasn't been any good at all for watering the garden and allotment.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 19-25 June 2017
At the allotment we're spending more time harvesting on our visits. I'm certainly not complaining about harvesting after all if you can't be bothered to harvest crops there seems to be very little point growing them in the first place. In between harvesting and watering I'm trying to tidy up the area underneath our greengage trees. It's gradually become untidy and overgrown with thistles and nettles and makes looking after the trees a rather painful operation.
The first section has been cleared and covered with weed control fabric and wood chippings. Our old broken wheelbarrow has been filled with homemade compost and planted up with self sown nasturtium volunteers which Sue found around the plot. We've a couple more bags like the one in the picture which we'll fill with compost and plant up with a few different crops and see how they get on. 
Copyright: Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary author M Garrett

Friday, 23 June 2017

Rain Required As Harvesting Moves Into Full Swing

The hot weather has disappeared now and temperatures have returned to more normal values for late June.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 17-23 June 2017
The hot dry weather of the first part of the week was replaced with cooler, sunnier and breezier conditions on Thursday when we visited the plot. It's not what the plot wants after a long spell with no substantial rainfall. We were in "Thunderstorm Alley" on Wednesday, according to the forecasters, as the hot weather broke down but the storms never arrived and neither did any rainfall. Overnight and early Friday morning showers have so far amounted to 0.4mm just about enough to wet the leaves rather than actually water any plants.

However, the weather forecasting models have lots of rain showing for next week. Next Thursday is looking particularly wet. Our watering problems at the allotment might be at an end if the models turn out to be correct. With a week to go there is plenty of time for things to change.  Forecast for Thursday, 29 June 2017 @ 13:00
Although the plot could do with some decent rainfall we are managing to harvest some produce. Only a few weeks ago at the end of May we had nothing at all to harvest. Now we have something to pick on most visits as we head into what we hope will be the most productive months of the year.
Our full harvesting list for June can be found here.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

And It's Over

Tuesday saw our temperatures return to more normal June values with a maximum of 21.6°C or 70.9°F. It was a bit on the muggy side and after some lovely sunny days, the sun didn't put in an appearance at all on Tuesday. It did mean that we visited the plot and did a little bit of harvesting.
We had a few of our apricots, picked on Monday, left over and together with some Elsanta strawberries and Glencoe raspberries they made a very nice dessert for dinner.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Triple Record Breaking Hot Day

Tuesday was a triple record breaking day as the temperature once again soared to 31.6°C or 88.9°F. Monday took over from Sunday as our hottest day of the year. It was also the first time I've recorded two consecutive days when the temperature has been above 30°C and it was also the equal hottest June day I've recorded since 27 June 2011.
Temperature & Solar Radiation Records for 18-20 June 2017
It's kept me busy updating my table of the top twenty hottest days. Here's the new updated version.
It wasn't a day to do much gardening more a question of keeping as cool as possible.
We did have a very quick harvesting session in our greenhouse to pick our apricots. As one had already fallen off the tree we took it as a sign that they were ready for eating. Still warm from the afternoon sunshine they tasted extremely good.

The forecast is for the weather to return to more normal temperatures so gardening activities may be about to return to normal too.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hottest This Year

Sunday turned out to be a proper scorcher with the temperature soaring to 30.5°C (86.9°F) to become our hottest day this year. 
Temperature Record for 18 June 2017
We don't manage to make it into the 30's °C or above 86°F very often. Sunday was the seventh time since I started keeping records 7 years ago. It moved into fifth place in my all time highest temperature records.
The forecast for Monday is for a repeat of the high temperatures so it may become the first time I'll record two consecutive days above 30°C.

We went to the plot on Sunday afternoon. It was far too hot to do any serious plotting and we spent much of our time there watering what is now a very dry allotment. I did trim up our kiwi plants which form a mixed fruit hedge with some gooseberries.
It looked much tidier once the long straggly shoots had been cut back. I did spot a few surprises as I trimmed back the kiwi.
Cherry - Summer Sun
I spotted this little bunch of cherries left on the tree. They must be out of the reach of the wood pigeons as they've devastated the rest of the tree including most of the leaves. Maybe I'll try to cover these few remaining cherries or the blackbirds will finish them off as soon as they start to turn red.

I didn't think that there were any gooseberries but underneath all the kiwi foliage I discovered some rather nice looking berries.
I also spotted some kiwi flowers as I pruned back the long shoots.
We have two kiwi plants, a male and female and as is usual only the female plant has produced any flowers. In which case it probably means that we won't get any kiwi fruits but who knows we may be successful one year.

Now I must be honest and say a good downpour would be much appreciated as it would save us an awful lot of watering both at home and on the plot.