July 2009

Note: To save tedious repetition you can assume that on most days I will be doing the regular gardening chores for the summer months each day: Weeding, hoeing, dead-heading, pruning and watering in the polytunnel and greenhouse and outside when necessary. Anything else I will continue to report


Wednesday July 1st

A very warm day. By 10am it was already 24°C in the shade and eventually rose to almost 30. The polytunnel was nearly 38°C in the early afternoon. The humidity was much lower than recently, around 40%, and a slight breeze made it feel quite pleasant out of the sunshine.


The tomato and pepper plants were wilting in the heat so I doused them with several watering cans full of water which soon revived them.


Later it became overcast again and the humidity rose to make it very uncomfortable. We went for a walk in the evening though the temperature was still around 24 and even as I write this at 11pm it is still 23°C outside.


Thursday July 2nd


Another warm day with less breeze but also lower humidity so felt quite pleasant out of the sun. Rose to 29°C by mid-afternoon. I could get used to thisCool but it won't last according to the latest forecastFrown


There are some fruits swelling on the Sweet Romanian peppers and the Hot Chili plants. Everything in the polytunnel is growing really fast with 4 set trusses, but no ripening fruit yet, on many of the tomato plants. The cucumbers are now producing at least one fruit a day between them.


There may be a glut of raspberries soon. However, unlike strawberries, they can be frozen or easily turned into jam. We are probably heading for a glut of broad beans and peas soon as well, but they can also be easily frozen.


Friday July 3rd

A little cooler but still in the high 20s with a few light showers. More rain late evening


Saturday July 4th

Still warm with a few light showers.


The Morello cherries are starting to ripen. Pat doesn't like them because they are too acid for her taste. That means there are more for meWink


Sunday July 5th

Becoming a little cooler. Still showery


Monday July 6th

Rained overnight and several heavy showers throughout the day. Temperatures 10° less than this time last week.


All this rain is good for the many of the vegetables, especially the brassicas, but not for the strawberries.


Tuesday July 7th

Rather cool with occasional showers and a few sunny intervals


The conservatory blinds came today and we fitted them this evening. Hopefully the sun will return so we can see if they work.


Wednesday-Thursday July 8-9

Still cool and showery


The strawberries are suffering from the damp weather and many have gone moldy. Still lots of raspberries and cherries, including the sweet ones which are more to Pat's taste.


Friday July 10th

Weather improving though still rather cool for July. But with showers, which is like JulyLaughing


Finally finished clearing the weeds in the middle of the new garden. Tomorrow I shall lay a long strip of woven plastic down and cover it with aome of the leaf mould from under the big oak tree.


Started on the giant mound of hedge clippings etc. Shredded about a quarter of them. I can't cut the big hedge down the drive till there is room to stack what I trim off it.


Saturday July 11th

Back to sunny intervals and showers but getting warmer.


Found enough leaf mould to cover the 20 x 2m sheet about 10cm deep. Moved all the chrysanthemum pots from various parts of the garden onto it.


Sunday July 12th

A much better day after heavy rain last evening and through the night.


Pat has pulled up and frozen the Violetta broad beans so there was room to sow some more salad crops, lettuce, mixed salad leaves, radish, beetroot, carrot and onion.


Two tomatoes are starting to colour. I wish there was a way to get them to ripen faster.


Back to more shredding. Cleared another quarter of the pile.


Monday July 13th

Back to showers and sunny intervals but quite warm.


Two Cabbage White butterflies had sneaked into the fruit cage. We need to keep an eye on the brassicas in case they have laid eggs on them.


Tuesday July 14th

Similar weather


Pulled up the Sweet Williams down the drive and dug the bed over. They are past their best and I need to plant out the rest of the summer bedding.


Wednesday July 15th

St Swithins day. Rained during the night and of an on in the morning. I hope it doesn't carry on for another 40 daysFrown


Started to plant out the summer bedding down the drive.


Thursday - Sunday 16-19th July

Raining most of the time. Mainly light but still enough to stop much work outside.


Extended the squash frames in the polytunnel. Some of the tomatoes are ripe and we also have a few peppers.


Monday 20th July

At last a better day with no rain and some sunshine but still not very warm for July


Pulled up the Sweet Williams in the rest of the garden and dug over the beds for the last of summer bedding to plant out. The overwintered onion sets have ripened so pulled them up and took them into the polytunnel to dry.


Tuesday-Thursday 21-23 July

Back to blustery heavy showers with a few sunny periods, usually in the evening.


Planted out the rest of the summer bedding in the dry periods. What really needs doing urgently is cutting the hedge down the side of the drive but I can't do this when it is soaking wet. It needs at least 24 hours of dry weather with sun and a breeze.


We now have peppers, chillies, tomatoes and  courgettes so Pat can make lots of fresh pasta sauce.


Friday 24th July

Yet another showery day but it did become drier in the afternoon. Managed to finish plannting out the last of summer bedding and did some shredding, mostly of the Sweet Williams which make a very good compost when mixed with chipped hedge and shrub cuttings.


Saturday 25th July

At last a dry day - at least in the morning. Rained again in the late afternoon.


Cut the cypress hedge on the drive side. I have decided to leave the rest till the autumn when I will take the chain saw to it and cut it back to around 6 metres - it is getting too tall to reach the middle of the top even with a platform.


Pat picked the first of the red kale. One of our favourite vegetables and very useful since it grows again each time you cut it. Fill a large pan with the leaves, add a little chopped garlic and ground pepper and cook it in its own juices over a low light. Delicious!


Sunday 26th July

Poured down most of the day so got nothing done.


Monday 27th July

A better day with only a few short showers.


Dug over the former onion bed and sowed the last of the peas and french beans. A bit chancy at this time of year as they are unlikely to be ready till late September. But maybe the weather will improve?


The first of the winter bedding plug plants came in the post. Polyanthus and Primula. Transplanted the Polyanthus into 12 cell trays of coir compost. Needed 19 trays plus two more plants making 230 plantlets in all. Not bad for what is notionally 100 + 60 free!!


Tuesday 28th July

Raining again.

Transplanted the Primula into 12 cell trays. Another bargain though only 228 of these.


Wednesday 29th July

The worst day yet. Poured down most of the day. Most of the garden is very wet though not actually flooded


The winter Viola came so transplanted these.


Thursday 30th July

A better day but still cold and a few heavy showers.


The potatoes are beginning to show signs of blight. Heavy rain and cold conditions just like the last two years are probably the cause. Sprayed with Bordeaux mixture. This will help but only if the weather improves soon. I am beginning to wonder whether growing the second early and first main varieties in pots just like the first earlies might be best next year. Except that next year will probably be hot and dry and they will need constant watering; it is so difficult to plan ahead in the British climate.


Friday 31st July

Still cool for the time of year but only the odd shower.


Our three grandchildren, Tnomas 9, Cowan 6 and Euan 2 have some to stop with us while their parents go for a week's holiday without them. Hopefully all will go smoothly over the next 8 days til their return. Managed to do some more shredding before they arrived.