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Page: Jan 2015 wk 2


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Thursday 08 January 2015

Storage Check

Thursday was another rather mild day for January but by late evening the wind had picked up to gale force and the battering which is forecast to last through the weekend into the early part of next week had begun.

We visited the plot earlier in the week to harvest some fresh vegetable. Besides our fresh and frozen supplies we still have some of last year’s crop in store in our garage.




We are now well through last season’s onion crop and these few onions left in this box will soon run out. We do have lots of smaller onions and shallots left and these are so far keeping very well.

We’ve a couple of boxes of shallots and smaller onions to use up before we’ll need to begin buying from the greengrocer. I’m not expecting our supplies to last through until late May or early June when our new crop of overwintering onions will be ready to harvest.

Alongside the boxes of onions and shallots are our potatoes.

These too are keeping in good condition and despite the reasonably warm spell of weather for January they aren’t showing any signs of sprouting. We should have enough potatoes to last us through to the end of March. By this time any remaining potatoes will be sprouting and the potatoes themselves will be going soft and be of no use in the kitchen.

This year we are storing our pumpkins in the summerhouse to see if they survive better than they do if left in the greenhouse.

So far so good the pumpkins are still as firm as the day they went in the summerhouse. We’ve had a few cold nights and the temperature in summerhouse has been below freezing but they seem to have survived.

We’re now hoping to get through the next few days of storms without any damage.

Friday 09 January 2015

A Record Breaker

Friday was another mild windy day. By the early evening the temperature reached 13.6°C. However the wind continued to howl around the house. The only respite from the wind was a brief spell in the middle of the afternoon but in the early evening the wind was whistling around the house again.

As the wind picked up the temperature continued to rise and it reached 14.1°C by midnight as the gale force winds continued.

As I’ve now been keeping my weather records for a little bit over 5 years it isn’t very often that I have to visit my all time records page.

However, for a short time 09 January 2015 managed three new records on the All Time Records page.

It only held on to that highest January temperature for 1 hour and twenty five minutes as at 01:25 on 10 January as the  gale continued the temperature reached 14.2°C. As things stand at the moment it might not hold on to that average wind speed record as Saturday’s average currently stands at 11.3 mph but I’m hoping the gales will moderate a little through the day and the average wind speed reduce.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Records Tumble

The only way to describe Saturday is to say that it blew a gale all day with occasional little lapses where it was just very windy.

Saturday, as I suspected, did take over the highest average daily wind speed record with 10.1mph and it also holds the record as the mildest January day with a maximum of 14.2°C.

Temperature and Wind Speed Records 09 January 2015 - 11 January 2015

The gale force winds eventually died down in the early hours of Sunday morning.

I usually add this chart of wind speed records to my monthly weather web charts but thought it worth including here as it shows how windy the last few days have been. We’ve probably missed the occasional freak gusts that would break the strongest gust record but the gale produced a constant battering which we haven’t had over the last five years.

We’re 11 days into January and it already holds a few monthly wind speed records. It has more gusts in the 31-35mph, 26-30mph and 21-25mph speed ranges than any other months over the last five years. That’s the purple, red and brown blocks on the chart above.

With the horrendous gale force winds of Saturday it seems almost irrelevant that the temperature managed 14.2°C at 01:25 in the morning.

Sunday 11 January 2015


Although breezy at times, most of Sunday was much calmer than the last few days as the gale force winds eventually abated.

The summerhouse besides being home to our overwintering Crown Prince squashes has four geranium plants doing the same thing, avoiding the worst of the winter weather. They've still got some flowers on but do need a little bit of deadheading which I couldn't bring myself to do.

Even dying flowers are better than no flowers at all as we head towards the middle of January.

This picture set me thinking about our neighbour’s geraniums. They don’t get the relative cosseted attention through winter that our plants receive. From memory his geraniums were planted out in the summer of 2013 and put on a display through the summer months. These were left in the ground last winter and as we had surprisingly little frost they managed to make it through winter.

Above is how they looked back in the middle of January 2014 still doing their best to flower despite the winter weather. Needless to say they survived winter and produced a brilliant display last summer.

So once again it’s a question of will they manage to make it through winter? They don’t look too badly affected by the weather yet as you can see from the picture below taken this weekend. They are sheltered from the worst of the rain under a small bay window so they won’t suffer from cold combined with wet which I think is the real killer. It may only take one really severe and prolonged hard frost to finish them off.

That may well be the case for our geraniums in the summerhouse too. They’re protected from the wet but not the cold. We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out.

Monday & Tuesday 12/13 January 2015

Then This Happened

Monday and Tuesday were a couple of average winter days with Monday a little milder than Tuesday.

I was going to add that as of Wednesday morning we’d avoided any snow that had fallen. Then:

Looks like it might be snow showers throughout the day as the snow’s almost stopped as I’ve finished this post leaving us with just a dusting for now.

Month in 2014


CET Anomaly °C

Ossett Average °C





















































Hottest Year Ever - A Gardener’s Perspective

The UK Met Office have confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded in the Central England Temperature (CET) Record which goes back to 1669. I’ve been examining my weather station records for Ossett for 2014 and comparing them with the CET figures and considering exactly how that hottest year ever affected our gardening year.

First things first a table comparing last year’s CET figures with my figures recorded in Ossett.

Considering that I don’t think we are situated within the Central England Temperature area I don’t think my figures are too bad at all. Figures for the early part of the year are almost the same, with my summer temperatures a little higher and autumn figures a little lower.

I think I understand how the anomaly figure is worked out. Records from the CET between 1961 and 1990 are averaged out for each month and Jan 2014 is compared against the average value for the Januarys between 1961 and 1990 records. The difference between these two values is the anomaly. The result is that January 2014 was 1.9°C warmer than the long term average.

So how did the hottest year ever impact on our gardening year. Despite seeing a record breaking warm year, we didn't have any major heat waves, and no new monthly CET records were set in 2014. Instead, each month was consistently warm. Only one month, August, had below average temperatures, which is a bit surprising as for the hottest year ever you’d tend to think the summer months would have to be hot record breaking months. I’ve read that 2014 had the lowest number of frosts since 1961.

For the gardener mild weather in spring with virtually no frosts to speak of got the gardening year off to a great start. Lack of frosts meant blossom on fruit trees set well and early sowing of seeds germinated and grew on well.

Spring turned into summer and the mild weather continued. June and July continued with excellent growing conditions. July was the best of the summer months although I can't remember having too much watering to do on the plots.

I think that the crop that received the most watering was our runner beans which were watered on a regular basis for a few weeks in July through the hottest and driest weather of the year. In the end rainfall for both June and July was around average. For much of the month the weather was warm and humid which lead to our early potatoes suffering from an early attack of blight. Luckily for us our second early potatoes were unaffected and went on to produce some very good harvests.

Then when everything was going so well, August came along and put a spanner in the works. It was the only month of the year with temperatures below that long term average and the cooler days were a bit of a shock to plants after the fine weather of June and July. Rainfall for August was almost double what we might expect.

Once August was out of the way the return was to milder conditions with all the months from September through to December turning in higher than long term average temperatures. Autumn’s fine mild weather was excellent for harvesting in the tree fruit crops and second early potatoes.

In summary I can't say that any of our crops suffered through 2014 being the hottest year on record. In fact it was the opposite and our crops faired rather well. It turns out that we can have hot years without having a blistering hot summer. It might mean however that those plans I had for growing Mediterranean crops outdoors on the plot aren’t going to materialise.

Perhaps it’s  more likely that winter storms bringing mild but wet and windy weather in winter, and keeping frosts at bay in early spring are leading to higher annual average temperatures. Good news for all those overwintering pests.

It’s extremely early in the year  but after the first 14 days of the year our average January temperature is 6.5°C already well above the long term average for the month. Where will this year’s temperature finish up? Watch this space.

Wednesday 14 January 2015