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Monday 08 July 2013

What’s In a Potato Top

Monday was another fine day although there was a little bit of cloud at times and it wasn’t quite as hot.

On the plot we’ve been comparing the tops of our early potatoes Vales Emerald and Swift. Both were planted on 15 April 2013 but Vales Emerald has grown much stronger than Swift leading us to think that Vales Emerald would produce by far the larger crop.

This was how the crops looked just before we decided to harvest one root of each variety to satisfy our curiosity. Each variety has had 84 growing days.

The harvest from each root wasn’t too different weight wise with Vales Emerald yielding 0.642kg and Swift 0.509kg. The taste test is still to come but clearly the amount of tops on potatoes isn’t much of a guide as to what’s below ground.

The ground the potatoes came out of was very dry. I’m sure with a little bit more rainfall over the past month the harvest would have increased the considerably. The up side is that because it’s so dry there isn’t any slug damage.




Tuesday 09 July 2013

A Scorcher

The hottest temperature we’ve had this year increased still further on Tuesday reaching 29.6°C at 16:08. That puts Tuesday in second place in my high temperature records with the hottest day still remaining as 27 June 2011 at 31.6°C.  

The sunshine trace shows it was unbroken sunshine for most of the day. The morning blip is due to shading from our magnolia tree and the afternoon shade is from our crab apple tree. These trees might prevent me from obtaining a super accurate sunshine record but the shade provided was most welcome today.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

No Show

After a long sunny day, Wednesday it was all change as the sun didn’t manage to make an appearance at all. It was a much cooler day too with the temperature not quite making it to 20°C.

This chart of our sunshine hours for the last three days clearly shows the contrast. Monday the first day on the chart was fairly cloudy especially in the morning before the sun came out in the afternoon. Tuesday was sunny all day and then finally Wednesday with no recorded sunshine at all.

The garden and plot really do need some rain now. We’ve had just 3.4mm so far this month hardly enough to dampen the top of the soil let alone give our crops a good watering. The ground where I dug up our first root of early potatoes Vales Emerald didn’t have any sign of moisture down to a fork’s depth.

There isn’t much rain forecast although there is a possibility of some heavy showers on Saturday which would be very welcome.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Winter Brassicas

After the dull weather of Wednesday, Thursday was another brilliant summer’s day with almost unbroken sunshine once again. The temperature was pleasant reaching the low twenties.

On such a lovely summer’s day it’s a bit odd thinking about winter brassicas but our plants were certainly ready for planting out on the plot. Plenty of water was required to ensure that the plants will become accustomed to their new conditions as quickly as possible.

Last year’s weed control fabric was reused with the plants placed in the same holes in the fabric as last year. This worked really well for and we were expecting a bumper harvest until we decided to remove the protective netting over winter allowing wood pigeons to decimate the crop. I’m sure it took longer to sort out the protection than it did to plant up the bed. In the bed are cauliflowers Aalsmeer, cabbages Tundra & January King, and some broccoli Early White Sprouting. This year the netting will be staying on!

Friday 12 July 2013

Patience Rewarded

Plenty of sunshine again on Friday with the temperature reaching 29.2°C at 16:00. It’s forecast to be a little bit cooler over the next few days.

I noticed today that a second Mimosa Pink Sparkles has germinated. These seeds were sown on 09 April 2013 and after spending some time under the indoor growlight were eventually moved into the greenhouse. We had a few false alarms as various strange little seedlings emerged from the compost but none of them turned out to be mimosa seedlings. Then after 83 days on 01 July 2013 our first true Mimosa seedling pushed through the compost.

This little seedling is growing well and from its true leaves it really does look like mimosa. Then today I noticed a second seedling has emerged that’s 94 days after sowing. Who knows perhaps in time a few more might germinate before any colder weather arrives. -

So patience really has paid off in this case as I could have easily discarded or stopped watering this seed tray. The vermiculite too has done a good job as it’s prevented the top of the seed compost from going green. Once that happens the contents of my seed trays are normally consigned to the compost heap.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Is It a Heatwave?

Saturday was another scorcher of a day with the temperature reaching 29.4°C. There was more cloud about but it didn’t cool the day down at all.

Strangely we often talk about heatwaves but what exactly is a heatwave. Other countries such as America and Australia where high temperatures are more extreme than the UK do have definitions. It seems that here in the UK we don’t have a precise definition.

The best I’ve been able to find is this Guide to Heat-Health Watch. This system operates in England and Wales from 1 June to 15 September each year in association with the Department of Health and the Welsh Assembly. Details are available on the Met office web site here.

Earlier in the week Yorkshire and Humberside was put on a level 3 alert and whilst we had two consecutive days above 29°C night time temperatures have fallen back to below 15°C

That means we haven’t had a heatwave because it’s been too cold during the night. However heatwave or not it’s certainly been the best summer weather since July 2006 and it’s forecast to continue well into next week.

Temperatures and Sunshine records for Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11 to 13 July 2013

Sunday 14 July 2013

What a Difference

Sunday was a lovely summer’s day with the temperature making it up to 25.9°C but feeling far more comfortable than Saturday’s 29.4°C. Although we didn’t get heatwave conditions by day we did by night with the temperature not falling below 15°C.

What a contrast this July is with last. By mid month last year we’d had 83.0mm of rain compared to this year’s 3.4mm and I’d recorded just 32 hours of sunshine against 85 hours this year.

For a change we had a day off from doing our own gardening and visited Boundary Cottage to look around the garden created by Roger Brook which was open for charity in conjunction with The National Gardens Scheme. We both enjoyed looking around Roger’s garden and a little banter with Roger too. If you would like to know more about our visit and Roger’s garden Sue has posted more details here.