JULY 2013                             July Photos                                                                                                             Back to June


Monday 1st

10 to 19 to 13°C. 6.73kWh 800W max. A windy overcast day with a few light showers.

Finished building the frames for the squashes in the polytunnel. Some of these are growing really well and are already more than half way up the 2m high structure.

Some cucumbers are should be ready by Wednesday but the tomatoes, though some are set, will be several weeks before they grow and ripen.


Tuesday 2nd

10 to 17 to 12°C. 3.63kWh 800W max. Light drizzle most of the night and morning with a few heavier showers. Cleared for a short time in the afternoon though still not completely dry and started drizzling again in the evening. Some heavier rain is forecast so took the opportunity during the drier spell to give the polytunnel a good watering and leave room for more rain to fill the water stores.


Wednesday 3rd

10 to 18 to 13°C. 5.07lWh 1.2kW max. Overcast with a few brighter intervals. Very humid with some very light drizzle from time to time.

The forecast is for much warmer weather by the weekend so decided to do a job which can only be done when it is cooler, chopping out the big perennial weeds in the corners of the garden which aren't really cultivated: nettles, docks, creeping buttercup, cow parsley etc.. For this you need a large sharp spade to cut them just below the surface of the soil and plenty of muscle, which is why you can't do this sort of job on a warm day. Then you wait a few weeks for them to start sprouting again and zap them with glyphosate. Some might dissaprove of using herbicides but in a large garden like ours, surrounded by hedgerows full of these wild plants there is no way you can control them by digging them up with a fork.


Thursday 4th

11 to 23 to 13°C. 9.27kWh 2.3kW max. Warm and humid with long sunny intervals.

Planted out the leeks by the usual method of making a 20cm hole with a dibber, shaking the soil of the young plant and then dropping it in the hole. Then gave them a thorough watering which has the effect of washing lots of fine soil into the hole to cover the roots.


Friday 5th

10 to 23 to 16°C. 12.55kWh 1.8kW max. A fine warm day with thin high cloud keeping the sun from making it too hot. Even so the temperature in the polytunnel was 34°C by lunchtime when I was giving everything in there a good watering. All the plants are growing really well set flowers on the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes and some female flowers starting to open on the squashes, some of which have now nearly reached the top of the 2m frames. We are also getting our first cucumbers. If only all plants would produce so quickly; it will probably be well into August before any tomatoes are ripe.

Found a shady part of the new privet hedge which I could weed and start trimming back. Some of it has grown to over 2 metres but it is very open, so I am cutting it back to around 180cm and trimming the side shoots to 60% so it will grow more dense.


Saturday 6th

11 to 27 to 16°C. 13.87kWh 2.0kW max. Clear and sunny in the morning becoming cloudier in the afternoon but cleared again the evening. The warmest day so far this year but even so spent most of the afternoon turning the compost, though it was in the shade so not too hot for this strenuous job. It needs to be done because we have and enormous pile of debris from cutting and pruning trees and hedges which needs shredding before we can do any more trimming and there was nowhere to put the shreddings till as least two of the five compost bins was cleared.


Sunday 7th

12 to 27 to 16°C. 13.79kWh 2.0kW max. Clear and sunny all day.  Watering, weeding, staking the chrysanthemums while listening to the Wimbledon tennis final.


Monday 8th

13 to 28 to 16°C. 12.9kWh 1.9kW max. Slightly more cloudy than yesterday but still a very pleasant summer's day.

Started to transplant the remaining coleus, geranium and begonia plants into their final 2L pots to go in front of the conservatory and house. Then back to weeding and trimming the new privet hedge.


Tuesday 9th

12 to 25 to 17°C 1..28kWh 1.9kW max. Misty start, clearing by mid-morning to another clear sunny day.

Continued weeding and trimming the new hedge and the shrubs nearby to keep the path clear in front of it.


Wednesday 10th

15 to 26 to 18°C. 12.99kWh 2.1kW max. A much better day with thin high cloud stopping the sun from getting too hot.

We have got a glut of strawberries at the moment so Pat has made some strawberry jam.


Thursday 11th

10 to 22 to 16°C. 13.69kWh 2.1kW max. Another clear sunny day. We now have raspberries as well as strawberries and it won't be long before we have cherries as well.

Spent the afternoon shredding and chipping the debris from the hedge and shrub trimming earlier in the year.


Friday 12th

12 to 27 to 17°C. 12.78kWh 2kW max.  Slightly hazy with a few small clouds at times but very strong sun, especially in the early afternoon. Stayed in the shade cutting back the shrubs and hedges in the wild garden. Pat shredded them, also in the shade, It is times like this that I am pleased that most of the garden is more like open woodland rather a large unshaded lawn like most people have.


Saturday 13th

13 to 29 to 16°C. 12.62kWh 2kW max. Clear sunny start with some fairweather clouds and a gentle breeze in the afternoon making it feel much more pleasant than the hot still humidity of the last few days. The temperature in the polytunnel again went up to nearly 40°C and the plants inside, particularly the cucumbers and squashes are growing very quickly. Spent some time watering them and the vegetable garden. Even after refilling all the other water butts the new rain water tanks are more than half full; without them we would probably have run out of rainwater by now. Very different to this time last year:

"Light rain all night then heavy fine soaking drizzle till late in the afternoon.

 The ditches surrounding us are full and overflowing onto the road. This is the first time in the 38 years we have been here that the ground is so waterlogged that there is standing water in some parts of the garden . Only small shallow puddles but if it this is happening here, which is locally the highest point, it is no wonder so many parts of the UK are experiencing flooding."

No way we were going to run out of water then,even with less than half the storage. I am so glad we decided to get those new tanks.


Sunday 14th

13 to 24 to 15°C. 12.87kWh 2kW max. Very similar day to yesterday with a clear morning and fluffy clouds in the afternoon. Spent most of the day continuing to clear the big weeds from the less cultivated parts of the garden, trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. Finally in the evening, when a cool breeze made it feel more pleasant, trimmed the cypress hedge down the side of the drive.


Monday 15th

10 to 30 to 14°C. 12.72kWh 2.1kW max.  Clear morning with thin high cloud later so, though very warm, there was no burning sun making it much more comfortable outside. The high 30°C ( or 29.8 to be precise) only lasted for a short while just after lunch but it was probably the highest temperature here for at least the last two years.


Tuesday 16th

12 to 25 to 15°C. 13.30kWh 2.1kW max. Mostly clear and sunny with a few cloudier periods in the afternoon, clearing in the evening. The forecast is for more of the same


Wednesday 17th

13 to 26 to 17°C. 11.6kWh 1.9kW max. Thin cloud but with high humidity making it warm and sticky; not condusive for any strenuous gardening.

We are now getting more cherries each day than we can eat, given that we also have around 1kg of strawberries and raspberries as well. Pat read that it is possible to freeze cherries, even the desert ones, so she is trying to do this, some with the stones removed to see which works best. She already does freeze the morello cherries as they come ripe so she can make jam when there is enough.

Started moving the next batch of wildflower mats from the cold frames to another shady part of the garden so I  can sow another batch of 100 trays.


Thursday 18th

12 to 29 to 19°C. 12.19kWh 2.1kW max. The warmest day so far. We are now officially experiencing a level 3 heatwave with temperatures higher than most of Europe.

Finished moving the flower mats. Even though the place I chose was fairly shady they are drying out fast so I have covered them with horticultural fleece which I will keep continuously damp until the weather cools down. Starting sowing another batch of 100 trays. Probably neither of these batches of mats will be laid out before next Spring when hopefully I will have properly killed all the large perennial weeds in the wild garden and down the side of some of the hedges. It was still above 24°C and very humid when I finally came inside at 8: 30pm.


Friday 19th

15 to 30 to 21°C. 13.72kWh 2kW max. Another very warm day; a bit too hot in the afternoon even in the shade with high humidity and very little breeze. Pat has been chipping and shredding most aftenoons for the last week but decided it was just too hot to do any today so she did  some baking instead. I continued to sow some more wild flower mats.


Saturday 20th

16 to 25 to 19°C. 6.98kWh 21.kW max.  Warm with thin high cloud and a gentle breeze making it a much more pleasant day.


Sunday 21st

15 to 22 to 16°C. 5.28kWh 1.1kW max. Misty start followed by overcast skies with a few brighter periods in the afternoon. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and heavy thundery rain is possible on Tuesday or Wednesday. At least it will replenish out rain water supplies, which are getting quite low, and give the whole garden a good watering.

Finished sowing the wild flower mats, 102 trays in total. They are mainly in the cold frames protected by fleece in case we get some heavy rain.


Monday 22nd

15 to 26 to 21°C. 6.01kWh 1.7kW max.  Cloudy start clearing by lunchtime to a very humid and warm afternoon. The evening was much better with a light breeze but still 24°C at 9pm after we returned from our walk round the back roads. Spent the afternoon trimming hedges and shrubs.

The calabrese, which only really started producing heads a couple of weeks ago has started to bolt, presumably because of this very warm weather. The strawberries are coming to an end; they haven't been very nice for several days, too sweet for my taste. Plenty of raspberries still and the first of the plums are starting to ripen. Pat thinks she will need to pick and freeze the Karmazyn broad beans later this week.


Tuesday 23rd

17 to 25 to 18°C. 4.86kWh 1.8kW max. A few short thundery heavy showers overnight but remained dry during the day but with very heavy clouds most of the time. Very warm and humid.

Continued to trim and remove the weeds from around the hedges.


Wednesday 24th

18 to 27 to 19°C. 9.42kWh 2kW max. A warm humid day with variable cloud. Some very black clouds to the east of us but it stayed dry; in fact I had to water some of the potted plants in front of the house. Rain is forecast for tomorrow again. Maybe this time we will get some?



Thursday 25th

16 to 27 to 17°C. 10.45kWh 2.3kW max. It did rain in the night and it sounded quite heavy but it didn't last long, not even reaching the ground under some of the trees. By morning it had cleared to a sunny day with very thin high cloud and a few occasional larger clouds blocking out the sun for a few minutes; typical summer weather for a change.

Continued cutting back the northern hedge alongside the path running down the side of the fruit cage. I have decided if I cut this hedge back really hard I can run 1,2m wire mesh all down it and continue along the roadside hedge and backup the back of the holly hedge along the side of the drive, thus enclosing the whole fruit and vegetable garden. Most of these hedges are of holly, hawthorn or other prickly dense bushes so once they grow back into the mesh they should be impenetrable, even to foxes. So we might then safely get some more hens to run wherever we aren't growing anything at the time inside this area. I will put a couple of wheelbarrow width gates into this fence to complete the structure. 


Friday 26th

13 to 27 to 16°C. 12.36kWh 2.3kW max. Sunny with a few fairweather clouds. We have now produced more electricity this month than any previous month since we installed the PV array. 271kWh which beats the 265kWh of June and the 268kWh of last July, and there are still 5 days to go. Rain is forecast for today and Monday but so it was for several days earlier this week and very little came.

Started building the gates for the enclosure. Just a rectangular frame about 150cm high and 80cm wide; they don't need to be very substantial as the wire mesh will hold them square and rigid.


Saturday 27th

13 to 27 to 16°C. 10.42kWh 2.1kW max. Misty start but soon cleared to blue sky. Clouded over late in the afternoon and started raining around 7pm. Steady rain all evening will water the garden well and replenish out rainwater supplies.

Got up early so I could clear the nettles and thistles from the ditches and banks along the road before it became too warm to work with covered arms and legs. I was going to leave it till tomorrow but with heavy rain forecast and both the thistles and nettles starting to seed this became urgent.

Sowed the overwintering brassicas, Pixie, January King and Broccoli Claret. Finished building the first of the two gates before it started raining.


Sunday 28th

15 to 25 to 16°C, 10.5kWh 2.1kW max. Rained heavily overnight totalling 59mm by the time it stopped around 5am. Then sunny intervals with variable cloud and a strong mainly southerly breeze.

Put up netting for the maincrop peas, Alderman, to climb up. Continued to pull the nettles, thistles and other large weeds from both sides of the hedges running along the road. Now even easier to do since it rained.


Monday 29th

16 to 26 to 15°C. 8.59kWh 2.1kW max. This is the first month where we have generated more than 300kWh of electricity. Sunny intervals with short thundery showers till late in the afternoon so didn't get much done in the garden other than a little weeding and tidying up.


Tuesday 30th

11 to 22 to 11°C. 6.39kWh 1.7kW max. A similar day to yesterday except with more dark clouds and shorter sunny intervals. I  have now nearly finished clearing the coarse weeds from the wild garden and around the new privet hedge. I will leave them a couple of weeks to grow new foliage and then zap them with glyphosate. By the time that works there should be at least another 100 wild flower mats to lay out, maybe 200 if the last sowing also has matted by then.


Wednesday 31st

12 to 20 to 17°C. 3.15kWh 600W max. Started raining around 3am and continued with mainly steady but not very heavy rain till late afternoon with around 12mm falling altogether. So only managed to work in the polytunnel weeding and training the tomatoes, cucumbers and squashes. The rain was quite useful in replenishing the rainwater supplies so I could give everything in the polytunnel a good water.


August 2013