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Page: May 2015 wk 1


This weather site is operated as an amateur weather station site and should not be used as official data. I make every effort to ensure my data is as accurate as possible but I cannot guarantee that the data meets the requirements of the Meteorological Office or other professional weather monitoring organisations.

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Friday 01 May 2015

Frost damage

May has started where April left off, a bit on the cold side. The temperature fell just below freezing (-0.3°C 31.5°F) again early on Friday morning. I shouldn’t be surprised as we often have a frost sometime in early May. The average temperature for the day was 5.9°C (42.6°F) lower than any day in April and becomes only the third day in May in 5 years with an average temperature below 6.0°C (42.8°F).

I looked through my weather records to see when the last frost dates have occurred over the last five years. From my records 2012 was the worst year providing all the last frosts of spring and earliest frosts of autumn.

Last / Earliest Dates for a Ground Frost (Temperature below 3°C / 37.4°F)

Last / Earliest Dates for an Air Frost (Temperature below 0°C 32.0°F)

2.8°C (37.0°F) on 17 May 2012

-1.0°C (30.2°F) on 06 May 2012

2.4°C (36.3°F) on 09 October 2012

-0.1°C (31.8°F) on 03 November 2012

Another week and we should be past any danger of below freezing temperatures and by the middle of the month free of any temperatures below 3°C too.

On the plot the frost on Friday morning has caused some damage.

The top photo shows the frost damage to our Kiwi. It suffers some frost damage almost every year. It normally goes on to recovery well and there’s no lasting damage. Of course we’ve never had a kiwi yet but that’s down to a pollination problem rather than the cold weather. Any strawberry flowers in bloom have had their centres blackened by the frost which is a sure sign that it won’t go on to form a strawberry.

Of course we’ve no idea if it’s done any damage to the tree fruits in blossom. Hopefully we’ll still get some apples, pears, gages, plums, quinces and cherries which are all in blossom or just setting tiny fruitlets.

Our tulips growing underneath the pear trees have escaped without any damage to the flowers at all. And of course the weeds have survived intact. As usual it must be the year of the dandelion yet again.

The stems of our dandelions get shorter and shorter as the grass is strimmed until they manage to flower almost below the top of the grass to avoid having their flowers cut off by the strimmer. If only our fruit and vegetables were so adaptable!

Saturday 02 May 2015

Damp and Cold

Saturday wasn’t much like May at all as the temperature didn’t make it into double figures only reaching a maximum of 9.6°C (49.3°F).

It didn’t actually rain at the times indicated on the chart in the afternoon it more a case of the dampness and very light rain took a couple of hours to fill the 0.2mm (0.01”) measuring cup on the rain gauge. It wasn’t a gardening sort of a day.

Sunday’s started with some heavy rain. It was siling it down, as they might say around these parts, as we had our first proper rainfall since the end of March.

Certainly Woody wasn’t too impressed by the weather on Sunday morning.

Sunday 03 May 2015

May Arrives - But for a Few Hours Only

Sunday morning was wet, very wet, and if you viewed yesterday’s blog you’ll have seen a picture of a very bedraggled Woody sitting on one of his favourite perches.

By lunchtime the rain had stopped and the sun came out in a clear blue sky. It seemed like May had suddenly arrived as the temperature lifted too.

Unfortunately this situation didn’t last for long before some very dark clouds arrived and gave us some very heavy showers late into the afternoon and evening. By the end of the day we’d had 17.0mm of rain making it our wettest day of the year.

I’ve had a look through my weather station data for April. I’d already posted that April 2015 had been the sunniest of the last five years. It was also a dry month and managed to enter the top ten driest months over the same period.

If like me you’re struggling with tender plants not wanting to grow we had plenty of cooler than average nights in April but they were offset by warmer than average daytime temperatures in the middle of the month with the result that the average monthly temperature was around expected for April.

Finally if you remember last year for the UK was the hottest on record based on Met Office figures. It’s worth noting that each month this year has been cooler than its corresponding month last year. If we’re going to get near that record of 10.95 this year we’re going to need a really good summer. Here’s the table for comparison purposes.

You can find the link to the Met Office values here.

Bank Holiday Monday 04 May 2015

Yorkshire Dales

We made the most of the good Bank Holiday weather with a trip into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We headed for the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway as it was their Branchline Event weekend. We opted for a trip in the restored vintage carriage set which was used by the Directors of the old Yorkshire and Lancashire Railway to inspect their Railway in comfort.

We found a couple of comfortable chairs and watched the railway go by as we journeyed from Bolton Abbey station to Embsay.

The sheep and lambs in the fields didn’t appear to be too put out as the train passed by and these baby lambs were too busy feeding to be bothered.

I just managed to grab this photo through the carriage window of an oystercatcher which was nesting on the top of a pile of gravel or railway ballast right by the railway.

There was the occasional steam train about too.  

Tuesday 05 May 2015

Not Gardening Weather Is It?

Apart from a decent day on Monday May has got off to a poor start. We had a frost on the first of the month followed by the wettest day of the year on the third and then more rain accompanied by gale force winds on the fifth.

Rainfall 2015

In a calmer spell in the afternoon I did manage a little bit of sorting out in the greenhouse. The remaining trays of sweet peas had their growing tips pinched out to make them bush out and they were moved into the cold frame to harden off.

This tray of mixed cabbage plants was moved into the cold frame as well. The two varieties are 6 plants of Hispi on the left side and 9 plants of a Marshalls trial variety called Serpentine on the right. Hispi should be ready by early summer and I’m hoping the Serpentine which is a savoy type will be ready in the late summer or autumn.

I will be needing some better weather though to get some beds prepared on the plot for planting these cabbages out in a few weeks time.

Wednesday 06 May 2015

Bucking Up

I’m not referring to the weather but our tomato plants that are starting to grow away well now we’re getting a few milder nights.

Wednesday was another damp and windy day. We didn’t have much rain but everywhere stayed damp all day.

I think I might have an imposter in my tray of lettuce seedlings.

One has a tinge of red to its leaves and is growing in a different way to all the other seedlings. These will be planted into our raised bed next week weather permitting.

Thursday 07 May 2015

Day of the Cucurbits

Thursday wasn’t a particularly brilliant day for early May but after a rather cloudy morning we had some pleasant sunny spells in the afternoon. It remained dry all day with temperatures around average for the time of year.

I suspect compared with most gardeners I’m rather late sowing my cucumbers, courgettes pumpkins, and squashes but I find sowing them around now means they should be ready to plant out when all risk of a frost has disappeared. We usually have a decent crop so I’ve no reason to change my timing.

If our courgettes and squashes crop as normal we may have a bit of a glut. After I’d selected our varieties for this year we had the offer of some free seeds to trial from Marshalls. Well we couldn’t turn an offer like that down so we’ve ended up with some extra seeds. It will be interesting to see how they compare with our usual varieties.

I wonder if this one will live up to its name? We’ll have to wait until October to find out.