Archive Data Records

2012 Records     2011 Records    2010 Records    2009 Records

Home 2013 January 13 February 13 March 13 April 13 May 13 June 13 July 13 August 13 September 13 October 13 November 13 December 13

Monday 01 July 2013

Jam Tomorrow!

Monday didn’t get July off to such an impressive start. There was a blustery breeze all day taking the edge off the temperature (17.8°C) but we did  get some sunny spells and it remained dry.

After a dry June when we had just 50% of our normal rainfall for the month the forecast is for rain overnight into Wednesday.

Some rain would be very welcome for both the garden and plot.

The forecast is for high pressure to build over the UK by next weekend bringing warm or even hot weather by Saturday and lasting into the following week.

Will the forecasts be right. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what we get.




Tuesday 02 July 2013

Hedging My Bets

Tuesday wasn’t a particularly good day as July days go. It was cloudy all day with some light drizzle starting mid afternoon and continuing into the evening. Mustn’t complain about the rain though as both the plot and garden need a good watering.

A good number of years ago I was given some laurel seedlings by a good friend at work on the grounds I could give them a good home. They were planted at the plot to try to give some shelter from prevailing winds. This windbreak has got a little out of control and was in need of some serious pruning.

The laurel hedge and kiwi have become entangled. There should be a path between the two leading up to our cherry tree. Severe pruning began this afternoon to rediscover the path and bring a semblance of order back to both the kiwi and laurel.

I made some good progress hacking through the growth before the drizzle brought a premature end to the job. I must admit I wasn’t too disappointed as my arms did ache a little bit after all the pruning. I’ve pruned round all the sides but still have to level off the top and do a little bit of tidying up.

I’ve now got an impressive pile of laurel clipping to deal with. It’s nearly all softwood but I might find enough amongst this lot for some shortish pea sticks.

We’re still trying to decide whether or not to make some elderflower cordial. Some of the flowers we will need to use can be seen to the left of the photograph so we will have to make our minds up quickly.

Wednesday 03 July 2013

Jam spread Thinly

Wednesday wasn’t too bad with some sunny intervals, a bit of a blustery wind and mostly dry.

The first part of my jam tomorrow post was the rain forecast for Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. It did rain but only enough to wet the surface of the ground and it definitely wasn’t enough to do any serious watering of the garden or allotment with a total of just 3.4mm.

Chart starting at midnight Tuesday 02 July

The second part of my jam tomorrow referred to the build up of high pressure over the UK giving us some fine sunny weather. That forecast still holds good for the next few days.

It looks likely that this spell is more than likely to produce our warmest day of the year so far. That record stands at 23.3°C on 19 June.

With the rainfall not really materialising and some good summer weather on the way it looks like more of this will be required.

Thursday 04 July 2013

First Pods

Thursday was another so - so sort of a day with some sunny periods and once again a strong breeze at times. For the fourth time in five nights this month the over night temperature fell into single figures including Friday morning.

We picked our first peas on Thursday. These were Meteor sown in our home greenhouse back in April. Their sowing and subsequent growing history is below.

Date Sown

Date Germination


Seeds Sown










Sown in 1x 18 pot module. Moved to cold frame on 02 May 2013. Planted in plot 19-05-2013. 04-07-2013 First harvest of 0.181kg

Not a large first picking but they tasted very nice as we ate them au natural in a salad. I’d normally expect our early spring sowing of broad beans to be ready before our peas. Our Witkeim Manita have some very nice looking pods but the beans haven’t swelled up inside and will need a few more days to fill out before picking.

Also on the soon to be ready for picking list will be courgettes. Tondo Chiaro di Nizza a round variety we are growing for the first time looks like it will be ready first. A couple of days and this one should be big enough to pick.

At last the spell of no fresh vegetables to harvest is coming to an end.

Friday 05 July 2013


As forecast Friday was a gorgeous summer’s day. It was the warmest day of the year with a high of 24.4°C making it the warmest day we’ve had since 09 September 2012 when the thermometer touched 26.2°C.

Our garden mint bought on 06 June and planted in a large pot at home has grown really well. It seemed a shame to let all that mint go to waste so I decided to try this recipe to preserve some for use through the winter.

I harvested 50g of mint leaves from just our Apple mint so I might produce another jar using another variety of mint. That amount of mint does take some chopping so I might consider using a food processor for the next batch instead of chopping by hand.

We’d also been thinking about having an attempt to make some elderflower cordial. As the flowers are just about at their best now I popped down to the plot to pick some flower heads. The recipe says 30 flower heads but once you start picking them and realise how the sizes of the heads vary so much this becomes a tricky amount to judge. If you fancy having a go the recipe I used is here.

You may notice that I sneaked in one or two sprigs of pink from the sambucus nigra just to add a tinge of pink to the cordial.

If the taste is anything like as good as the aroma that is filling the kitchen this should be excellent once the steeping is finished. Updates on the results will follow.

Saturday 06 July 2013

No Half Measures

Saturday was another glorious summer’s day bringing with it another hottest day of the year as the thermometer hit 28.5°C late into the afternoon. It was our hottest day since 27 June 2011 when we reached 31.5°C the hottest day I’ve recorded.

We did visit the plot but it wasn’t a day for doing anything too energetic. We’ve reached the time of gradually change on the plot from planting up to harvesting. Whilst we still have more planting to do, leeks, winter brassicas and more french beans we can at least pick a little fruit or harvest some vegetables on each visit to the plot.









Solent Purple



Smaller bulbs



Solent Wight



Good size bulbs











First punnet picked this year





















Our complete harvesting record for July can be found here.

Sunday 07 July 2013

Been Missing Out

Sunday continued the spell of hot weather nudging this year’s high temperature up to 28.8°C.

Our elderflower cordial was given the taste test today. All that needed to be done today was to strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and the cordial was ready. It was surprising how just a couple of pink flower heads coloured the mixture.

It was left in the fridge for a couple of hours to cool before the taste test. Diluted with some water it made an excellent refreshing drink on a hot summer’s afternoon. It’s especially good with strawberry and white chocolate muffins but that’s another story.

We’ve certainly been missing out on a simple to make delicious cordial. We might just have time to collect another 30 heads of elderflowers before they go over.