January 2017 finished the driest January I've recorded over the last eight years. It didn't seem a particularly dry month to me as we had lots of dull damp days when the ground never dried up even though it never actually rained much. Temperature wise it finished around average for recent Januarys at 4.7°C (40.5°F) ranking 4th coldest out of eight years. Although the month was predominantly governed by high pressure systems giving us relatively calm and settled conditions the storm with no name on the 11 January gave us a new record January wind speed of 41mph.
February has started on a milder note but with the threat of gale force winds into Friday and over the weekend. Although I always think that we usually get the coldest weather in February there are promising signs of things to come in the garden.
Our first "spring" flowers will hopefully be out over the next few days.
Friday, 03 February 2017
Thursday equalled our mildest day of the year so far, as the temperature reached 11.6°C. However, it wasn't a particularly pleasant day as it remained overcast all day with spells of light drizzle in the breeze. It didn't actually rain though.
Temperature Records for 02 February 2017
Even though it wasn't that brilliant a day we decided on a visit to the plot. We're in the process of refurbishing our perennial flower border and we needed some more fresh vegetables. We managed to pick some sprouts and dig up parsnips and carrots as well as doing a little bit more work on our perennial flower bed.
Even though some of our parsnips have forked it doesn't affect the taste at all and each root provides plenty of parsnip to eat. They can be a bit difficult to get out of the ground without doing too much damage to the root as the video below shows.
Sunday, 05 February 2017
It's been a mild damp start to February. Although we've had some rain each day it hasn't amounted to very much totalling only 6.6mm or 0.26in.
Temperatures and Rainfall Records 01-05 February 2017
All of a sudden we have flowers appearing in the garden. Those promising buds of a few days ago are now open.
Iris - Katharine Hodgkin
Iris - Joyce?
We've a few different varieties of iris in our front garden all coming into flower but they're not labelled and whilst we thought we knew which ones were which we are not at all sure now. Even knowing the names and comparing photos on the Internet doesn't help a great deal. It doesn't stop them from looking good and reminding us that spring is on its way even if we have to wait a few more weeks.
Tuesday, 07 February 2017
Winter Brassica Issues
Last summer I ordered some brassica plants from one of the well known seed companies. The plants arrived around the expected date and they were potted up on arrival and planted out in the plot as soon as they were large enough.
Planted out 06 September 2016 (Aalsmeer in foreground)
On my GrowVeg plan they looked like this
For good measure here is what the seed company had to say about each variety. Please ignore the top line regarding sweet Williams which just happened to be planted in the plot on the same day.
So far we haven't harvested anything from this bed. I took a little bit of video of then on Sunday 05 February 2017 to check on their progress. It's not a pretty sight.
From the descriptions supplied some of these varieties should have matured whilst others still may produce a crop as we move into spring. Certainly the cauliflowers Moby Dick and Amsterdam didn't make it through the autumn and early winter weather and might as well be removed to the compost heap. I might try one of the smaller cabbages as some different winter greens for the dinner table would be welcome. I'm still hopeful that the cauliflowers North Foreland and Aalsmeer will produce some sort of crop over the next couple of months. So far though the results have been very disappointing.
We've another smaller bed of brassicas planted up from this collection. I'll have to look and see how they are performing.
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