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Thursday & Friday 21/22 November 2013

Par For the Course

The weather’s been what we should expect for late November, fairly cool days with a high of around 6°C. Through the day we’ve had some sunny periods so in general it hasn’t been too bad.

The chart shows the temperatures and rainfall starting at midnight on Thursday so just a couple of short showers. Saturday morning has seen our coldest temperature of autumn at -1.3°C.

Saturday’s bread is made after it spent all night rising in the fridge.




Saturday 23 November 2013


Saturday was a nice late autumn day with some decent sunshine but rather cold.

We popped down to the plot in the afternoon to replenish our stocks of fresh vegetables. Well wrapped up it didn’t feel too cold in the afternoon sunshine but ice still remained in the wheelbarrow from the overnight frost.

I blogged about our excellent crop of Chantenay Royal carrots last week and we decided to dig up a few more roots today. Once again we weren’t disappointed.

These two giants came in at 0.450kg and 0.539kg and were surrounded by several smaller carrots. They hadn’t achieved this size due to being thinned out and having plenty of room to grow. We don’t thin out carrot seedlings. We harvested just a fork’s width of row.

In total we harvested 3.0kg of carrots from that fork’s width. Once rinsed under the tap they looked as good as anything the supermarket might have except that they would more than likely be rejected for being too large.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Jury’s Out on Parsnips

Sunday was cloudy and cold with the cloud thick enough to give some light drizzle at times.

Whilst we were digging up some carrots on the plot on Saturday we decided to test out a few parsnips. We’re never sure how our parsnips will turn out as excellent looking green tops are no guarantee of good roots.

This year we’ve only grown one variety of parsnip which is Gladiator. I’ve tried a couple of other varieties in recent years but none had performed anything like as good as Gladiator so this year all our parsnips are in one basket.

It normally produces some decent sized roots and as it states it seems to have some resistance to canker but I don’t expect all the roots to be canker free. It’s the first time we’ve grown parsnips using weed control fabric which has reduced weeding around the parsnips to a minimum. It does make harvesting crops a bit more of a challenge as I don’t want to damage the fabric any more than necessary so that it can be reused as many times as possible.

These are the three roots lifted and a bit of a mixed result. The first root lifted was the one at the top of the picture which was a decent and canker free root, then the root in the middle is a much bulkier root but with some canker damage and finally the root that had forked into two again with a little bit of canker. All the roots will produce a reasonable amount of edible parsnip so the taste test will follow to see if the roots have sweetened up enough.

After the lifting such giant carrots these parsnips were a little disappointing but I’m hoping what they may lack in appearance will be made up for by the taste.

Monday 25 November 2013

Someone Has To Do It

After a dull morning, Monday afternoon turned out to be bright, sunny and cold.

On the plot, I decided it was time to sort out one of our compost heaps. The one I intended to sort out was one of the bins where we had dumped all our weed growth from the last year or so.

I converted this:

Into this:

I confess that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of difference between the before and after picture. The top of the heap was moved into the adjacent bin to get to any decent compost that had formed at the bottom of the compost pile. Sure enough at the bottom of the pile was a good fork’s depth of good compost.

I dug out 15 barrowful's of good well rotted compost and moved it to various parts of the plot to be spread out and left over winter for the worms to incorporate.

My plan now is to repeat the process with the adjacent bin. I’m hoping all the partially decomposed material will all fit in one bin leaving an empty bin for all next year’s weeds.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

A Lovely Day for Walking the Dog

Tuesday was a lovely day for the end of November. Plenty of sunshine, no wind and the temperature up to 8.3°C in the afternoon but to be honest it felt as if it was milder than that.

We decided on a walk in the afternoon as the weather was so nice and made a trip to Temple Newsam. We decided to collect Tivvy on the way there and give her a nice afternoon walk too. There’s plenty of tarmac paths around the grounds so she doesn’t get too dirty on her walk.

From a distance there still seems to be plenty of leaves left on the trees but on closer inspection it’s not the case and most of the leaves have fallen off onto the grass.

The park still looked very colourful though as we made our way around the main lake towards the walled garden. Inside the walled garden the gardeners were busy giving the grass one last cut before winter eventually sets in.

As for Tivvy this was very much her, “Why have we stopped?” look as I managed a quick snap. The only downside was the number of dog owners who don’t keep their pet on a lead but insist that it’s perfectly well behaved and under total control as their pet hurtles towards another dog completely oblivious of their owner shouting them to stop or come here. Of course there’s the wonderful comment he/she  is very playful and won’t hurt you as though I’m (or Tivvy’s) a sort of mind reader as their dog heads towards us at full tilt.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Cleaning Out the Nest Boxes

It was on the 27 November 2010 that the very cold winter of that year began with a minimum temperature down to -4.4°C and -7.6°C the following day. No such problems this year as Wednesday turned out to be a mild cloudy day with a maximum temperature of 11.3°C.

Whilst we didn’t get any birds nesting in our camera boxes last spring we thought we had blue tits or great tits nesting in our sparrow terraces. As it was such a mild day I decided to clean out the boxes ready for some new residents in spring.

Nest box one, the top picture looks like some birds began building but changed their minds and nest box two looks like it was used to rear some young with a fully formed nest in the end terrace. Amazingly, even though the nest box is fixed to the house wall about 3.0m from the ground it looks like a slug or snail had slimed inside the nest box.

Both boxes were given a good brush out before they were replaced ready for some eager birds to take up residence next year. Preferably we’d like them to choose one of our nest boxes rigged up with a camera but although we know some birds checked out one of the camera boxes last year they preferred to build elsewhere. Perhaps we’ll be lucky next year.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Good Value

Thursday continued the mild spell of weather. It was another day where the day’s high temperature just made it into double figures reaching 10.3°C. The downside of the mild conditions is that the days are dull and drab without any signs of sunshine.

Our next door neighbour’s summer bedding geraniums are still going strong and seemed to have coped well with the couple of nights of below zero temperatures we’ve had to date.

Planted close to the house wall and beneath a bay window they’re getting a little bit of extra protection from the weather but certainly providing good value when summer bedding is still flowering at the end of November.

Friday & Saturday 29/30 November 2013

End to an Average November

Friday was dull and windy with a little bit of rain. Saturday finished off the month with a day of sunny spells with the wind easing down considerably.

November for us has been pretty average weather wise. We’ve had a few light frosts, but nothing very serious, mixed in with a few lovely mild sunny days. It’s been drier than we might expect with 38.6mm of rainfall about 50% of what we might expect.

By the end of the month the average monthly temperatures for 2012 and 2013 were exactly the same at 6.7°C but this year the start of the month was much milder than last year cooling off later in the month. In 2012 we started off with a cold snap at the beginning of the month with milder temperatures following on.

In our front border we still have some colour. This self seeded antirrhinum is still flowering its socks off unaffected by any of the light frosts. Around the back of the house which is more shady through autumn and winter it’s a slightly different story.

Our banana and gunnera leaves have certainly been caught by the frosts and are looking a little bit worse for wear. They’ll just finish up turning really brown once we get our first hard frost.

Our Acer which looked like this a couple of weeks ago

Now looks like this

As we move into December winter proper begins although I think that January and February are always the coldest of the winter months. Time to browse the seed catalogues and sort out what goodies to buy for next year.