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Sunday 01 December 2013

Golden Delicious

Sunday got December off to a mild and sunny start. The sunshine only lasted to late morning when it clouded over. The temperature managed 10.7°C in the afternoon which is above average for December. It seems we’re due a short sharp blast of cold weather at the end of the week which I suppose is to be expected as it is winter after all.

These Golden Delicious apples have been stored in the spare fridge in the garage since they were picked at the beginning of October. They’ve stayed in good condition without any losses. I’m planning an apple pie for this batch.




Monday 02 December 2013

An Indoor Sort of Day

Monday was fairly mild but very dull all day. It wasn’t the sort of day to be tempted outside so our order for replacement raspberry canes was sorted out. We are going to try two varieties. The first variety is Glen Ample one we’ve grown before and we’ve liked and the other is called Tulameen. It’s a mid to late season raspberry with dark pink fruits described as deliciously sweet. We will see. The plants will be coming bare rooted in the next couple of weeks.

Once the new raspberries canes were sorted out and ordered online it was time to get on and make that apple pie.

Tuesday - Thursday (am) 03/05 December 2013

A Real Storm

After a couple of not bad days on Tuesday and Wednesday the forecasted storm has arrived on Thursday morning. By 10:00am we’ve not had much rain but the wind has been gale force. At 06:30 my weather station recorded a new highest wind gust speed of 37mph breaking the previous record of 36mph set on 04 February 2011. I’ve noticed gusts of 80mph recorded in the Pennine areas of Yorkshire

The strongest winds were forecast from mid morning to mid afternoon but at the moment the strength has eased a little through the morning.

So far we’ve escaped any damage although we awoke to everyone else’s rubbish in our front garden.

The Council’s refuse collection system isn’t up to much on a windy day. Today was collection day for paper, glass and plastic so crates were placed out last night ready for this morning’s collection. As a result paper and plastic is littered all over the street - this is supposed to be to improve the environment? I don’t think so. The Council know that this happens and do nothing at all about it.

I’ve now collected all the rubbish and bagged it ready for collection in two week’s time. This is the easy bit, the black plastic bag that has wrapped itself around our Magnolia tree will be a little bit more difficult to sort out.

This looks like it’s full of rubbish. The bags tend to rip apart as they’re disentangled from the branches so I’m assuming I’ll have all on to stop the contents falling out all over the garden.

It’s so annoying when a suitable refuse collection system should avoid all this - especially if the idea is to save the planet!


No sooner had I hit the publish button when a new record wind gust speed of 42mph was recorded. Perhaps the worst isn’t over just yet.

Thursday 05 December 2013

A Real Storm (Part 2)

The forecast storm, which in our case was gale force winds, certainly lived up to its billing. The wind began whistling around the house before it got light and continued for a couple of hours before giving us a short respite before the main event from 10:00 into the early afternoon.

I’m aware I’ve only had my weather station since 2009 but we’ve had some pretty windy weather since then. During the time I’ve been recording our weather I’ve only ever measured wind speeds into the low 30mph range and then only on a few rare occasions. Yesterday’s high managed 42mph easily beating the previous record of 36mph set on 04 February 2011.

At home we’ve escaped lightly. I’ve noticed a fencing panel has come loose and will need fixing before we have any more strong winds. I’m hoping our shed and greenhouse at the allotment will have survived intact. A visit this afternoon to check out the damage and harvest a few fresh vegetables is planned.

Friday 06 December 2013

Some Harvesting

Friday was dull and a little cooler but thankfully much calmer so we decided to check for any storm damage on the allotment and harvest a few fresh vegetables.

Our greenhouse and shed had both survived Thursday’s gale intact as indeed did all the other greenhouses and sheds on the site. So after a quick look around we got on with some harvesting.

Sue cut some cabbages, one of which was a whopper weighing in at 4.5kg, as well as picking some sprouts. The red cabbage is a variety called Huzaro which is supposed to remain in good condition when cut if stored in cool and frost free conditions. The garage will be a good test for this claim.

Meanwhile I set about digging some more carrots, parsnips and leeks.

These Early Nantes have grown pretty big, so big that one root snapped off as I lifted them leaving half of the carrot in the ground. These have had a quick wash to make them a bit more presentable for kitchen use. There is a little bit of slug damage but nothing very serious. Then it was the turn of our parsnips Gladiator.

The first few parsnips I’d lifted last week were affected by canker. It wasn’t too bad and once peeled the roots were good to use but I was wondering would the remaining parsnips be better or worse than the ones already lifted. As it turns out these were much better with hardly any canker or forking at all and a good size so I’m now hoping that the rest of the crop will be as good as these.

All in all not a bad harvest for the beginning of December.








Brussel Sprouts









2 No cabbages (2.38, 1.64 kg)






3 No cabbages (4.50, 1.53, 2.11 kgs)



Chantenay Royal





Early Nantes













Saturday 07 December 2013

A Mild Start to December

The first week of December has turned out mild. It’s not been a particularly pleasant week though with the gale force winds of Thursday and very little sunshine throughout the rest of the week. Mild days have been followed by frost free nights. How long will it last?

We harvested some leeks on Friday. These were grown through weed control fabric and have produced some good sized leeks.

This is how our leeks looked back in September. The weed control fabric had done its job and certainly hadn’t affected the way the leeks had grown. At planting time we hadn’t given any thought to how we were going to harvest our leeks and decided the best planting method was to simply cut crosses in the fabric, make a large hole with a dibber, and plant the leek seedlings. There’s nothing wrong with this method until it comes to harvest time. As we don’t want to damage the fabric the leek has to be harvested through that same planting hole which can be done for small but not any larger leeks.

These are leeks, Prizetaker, harvested on Friday. They’ve been trimmed up but on close inspection you can see that some of the leeks have broken as I attempted to extract them from their planting hole leaving a section of stem and root in the ground. Leeks do tend to produce a big strong root around their bases which doesn’t help. So a rethink is needed for next year. Certainly using weed control fabric is a must to cut down weeding which not only saves time but allows the leeks to grow without competition from weeds. We might need to cut out a long strip in the fabric as we’ve done to sow peas, carrots and parsnips. This might mean a little more weeding to remove weeds that germinate along the rows of leeks but it will make harvesting much easier.

There always seems to be something to change, improve or copy from someone else for the following year. There’s the challenge to do better next year even if we don’t always manage to achieve it.