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Tuesday 08 October 2013

The Season’s Final Bumper Harvest

Tuesday was another lovely mild sunny day. It became breezy and cloudy late afternoon a sign perhaps of the change in the weather to come.

We decided to visit the plot to do a little bit more tidying up and as the forecast is for much colder and windier weather for the rest of the week we decided to harvest our squashes and the last of our Golden Delicious apples.

You might spot that there are a few oddments in the boxes which are obviously nothing like a Golden Delicious apple. As we inherited these cordon apples trees many years ago now we’ve had to do our best to identify the apples they produce. Our best guess so far is that these other apples may be Laxton’s Superb but whatever variety the tree never produces a very heavy crop. Perhaps it doesn’t like my pruning method. Our Golden Delicious crop weighed in at an impressive 13.25kg giving us a bit of a problem of deciding on the best storage method to use.

Last year we didn’t have any winter squashes as we didn’t manage to get a single seed to germinate. This year we had no germination problems and our young squash plants, six each of three different varieties, were planted out on 18 June through weed control fabric. Since then they’ve been left to their own devices with very little attention. No weeding between the plants has been needed and the plants more than filled their allotted space making a break for freedom across the service road running around the allotment site.

Crown Prince has without doubt been the star performer producing 12 squashes weighing in at 41.8kg, with our Vegetable Spaghetti producing 11 squashes weighing 22.2kg. Lagging behind is Futsu Black a variety we’re trying for the first time this year which produced 7 fruits weighing in at 11.6kg.

It was a case of loading up the car carefully so that we could get our harvest and gardening equipment back home.




Wednesday 09 October 2013

A Feel of Autumn

The well forecast change to more autumnal weather turned out to be correct as Wednesday was a much cooler breezier day than we’ve been used to and we had a few light squally showers around lunchtime. The temperature only managed 14.2°C rather than the high teens we’ve been having recently but unfortunately that’s about what we should expect for early October. We’ve just been spoilt by the excellent weather of the last week or so.

Yesterday if you read Sue’s post Happiness is you saw the pictures now view the video of those little piglets we watched on our break in Somerset.

Thursday & Friday 10 /11 October 2013

Apple Harvest Completed

Thursday and Friday’s weather was pretty naff with a gale force cold north easterly wind and a few blustery showers interspersed with a few sunny spells on Thursday. The only real difference on Friday was the wind lost some of its strength and we didn’t see any sunshine. The temperature managed only 11°C on Thursday and 13°C on Friday. Autumn has arrived.

Apple Variety



Bramley Total



Discovery Total



Egremont Russet Total



Fiesta Total



Golden Delicious Total



Laxtons Superb Total



Peasgood Nonsuch Total



Queen Cox Total





Temperatures have dropped sharply through the week and the wind direction has moved from a mild westerly to cold north easterly.

At least we managed to get all our apples picked but some are still in boxes awaiting a suitable storage location.  

Despite the very late spring this year when the apples were around three weeks later than normal coming into flower we’ve had a heavier crop than 2012. Our younger apple trees on the plot, planted in 2008, have probably produced their best crops so far. The older trees as is normal have had their good and bad years.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Drab Doesn’t Describe It

Saturday was dull, very dull, it hardly got light all day. We didn’t even get a bit of a let up with any brighter spells as the sky gave the appearance that it was about to tip it down with rain at any minute. Strangely enough we had very little rain. It drizzled all morning with a few heavier burst in the afternoon but the whole lot only came to 1.0mm by the end of the day.

As you can see from Saturday’s sunshine charts it hardly managed to add any yellow onto the chart at all. I should be able to report that it was the dullest October day I’ve recorded in the four years my weather station has been recording data but I can’t at the moment.

The forecast for the next few days doesn’t look like very good gardening weather so I might investigate how I can work out the sunniest and dullest days we’ve had for each month. I reckon that Saturday will almost certainly turn out to be one of our dullest October days in the last four years.

Global solar exposure

Sunday 13 October 2013

Better but Still Needs to Improve

Sunday’s weather did improve on Saturday’s and we even had a little bit of sunshine late in the afternoon.

The morning was dull again but by about lunchtime it was starting to dry up a little. Then the showery rain started and lasted on and off through the afternoon until it brightened up for a short while then more rain arrived late into the evening.

In the morning I’d investigated the data stored by my weather station to see if it could give me some figures to rank really dull days in order. I already have a little extra program to calculate how many hours of sunshine are recorded each day. However, we have plenty of days when this value is zero as we obviously have plenty of days without sunshine.

My weather station also calculates the total amount of solar energy falling on a horizontal surface which is called Global solar exposure.

Global solar exposure is the total amount of solar energy falling on a horizontal surface. The daily global solar exposure is the total solar energy for a day. Typical values for daily global solar exposure range from 1 to 35 MJ/m2 (megajoules per square metre). The values are usually highest in clear sun conditions during the summer, and lowest during winter or very cloudy days.

Reference Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

I’m presuming the minimum value of 1MJ/m2 is during daylight hours as this value is obviously 0MJ/m2 during the hours of darkness. So using this value I’ve plotted the figures out for all the days in October that my weather station has been operating. The best thing is not to worry about the units just consider that a value of 0 means it’s dark and a value of 35 represents a brilliantly sunny day in Australia.

Using this as a guide then Saturday was the dullest October day I’ve recorded with a “Martyn’s Dullness Rating” of 0.4. At the top of the rating is 01 October 2011 with a value of 10.2 which coincided with 5.7hrs of sunshine and a temperature of 28.5°C.

I also did a quick check on the sort of maximum values I would record in summer so I checked out the figures for July 2013. The highest value was 22.7 on 09-July-2013 with 9.4 hours of sunshine. Out of interest the lowest value was 04-July-2013 at 4.6 on a day when no sunshine was recorded.

So far Saturday is the dullest day I have on record but I suspect once I’ve calculated the values for the winter months with their shorter daylight hours I will come up with a smaller value.

I’d now like the weather to improve so that we can continue tidying up in the garden and down on the plot.

Monday 14 October 2013

More Wet Weather

Monday’s weather continued the dull, drab and damp conditions of the last few days. The rain from late afternoon came in the form of heavy showers rather than a spell of prolonged rain.

The total rainfall for the month is now up to 30.8mm. On average we can expect around 68.0mm this month so despite what seems like a rather wet week we’re on course for the month.

Hard to believe now that just over a week ago we were sitting outside the cafe at Dunster Castle enjoying a coffee in the last of the summer sunshine.