July 2015                                                                                                                                     Back to June


Wednesday 1st

16 to 30 to 21°C. 8.99kWh 1.9kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few sunny intervals in the morning. Very warm and humid.


It might have been very warm but at least there wasn't a hot sun like yesterday so it was possible to do some work in the garden.  We spent most of the afternoon finishing clipping the back of the privet hedge and cutting back shrubs which had finished flowering.


Pat started weeding the peppers in the polytunnel in the morning but gave up after it got too warm; 38°C and 100% humidity. I had another go late in the afternoon and got a free sauna at the same time. The good thing about having no neighbours is that clothing can be optional in this sort of weather.


Thursday 2nd

13 to 20 to 11°C. 3.69kWh 900W max. Cloudy with light drizzle in the morning clearing around lunchtime but then some heavy showers in the the afternoon with the sound of distant thumder though there was only 3mm of rain altogether.


Not much to do in the polytunnel apart from finishing potting on the coleus and raining outside.


Friday 3rd

8 to 24 to 18°C. 14.34kWh 2.3kW max.  A sunny day with a light southerly breeze and only wispy clouds till late afternoon when it started to cloud over. Rain is forecast overnight.


Now that we have weeded the polytunnel moved a lot of well rotted compost to mulch under the tomatoes and peppers.


Saturday 4th

15 to 22 to 11°C. 9.25kWh 1.9,kW max. Very light rain during the night amounting to less than 0.3mm. There was thunder and lightning over the horizon both west and south but it never got here,


Turned three of the compost bins now that the oldest (5th) one was nearly empty.


Sunday 5th

9 to 20 to 11°C. 7.47kWh 1.9kW max.  Bright start but clouded over by lunchtime and there was a very heavy thundery shower in the afternoon which certainly helped to replenish our rain water stores (9.5mm). After that it rapidly cleared to a sunny evening and clear night.


The rain helped to remind me that the gutters and downpipe diverters needed cleaning out so, once it had stopped raining that is what I did.


Monday 6th

8 to 17 to 15°C. 4.92kWh 800W max.

Clear sunny start but clouded over by 9am and started raining quite hard for a short whiel followed by periods of light rain for the rest of the day.


At least most of our rainwater supplies have been replenished.


Tuesday 7th

15 to 19 to 13°C. 9.34kWh 2.1kW max. Cloudy start with a few light showers in the morning but cleared to a sunny afternoon. Feeling colder in the strong northerly breeze.


Planted out the climbing bean Isabelle. Rather later than usual; the first sowing failed.


Wednesday 8th

13 to 18 to 9°C. 6.47kWh 1.4kW max. Overcast and still with very light drizzle most of the morning. In the afternoon it brightened but with a cold blustery wind.


Not very well with the usual symptoms so didn't do much today.


Thursday 9th

7 to 22 to 11°C. 13.04kWh 2.3kW max. A sunny warm day.


Still not very well but managed to do some dead heading and tidying.


We no have cherries as well as strawberries and raspberries to eat every day. There are also blueberries which I don't like but Pat does but she says they aren't very good this year. Plenty of cucumbers and salad but still not sign of ripening tomatoes despite some of them getting quite big.


Friday 10th

9 to 26 to 16°C. 10.97kWh 2.3kW max. Cloudy start but soon cleared to clear skies and sunshine till late afternoon when it clouded over again with some light rain in the evening.


More tidying.


Saturday 11th

14 to 23 to 15°C. 7.49kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few sunnier intervals but also some light showers (1.2mm).


Planted out the last of the brassicas under 1mm netting to protect them from aphids and caterpillars till they grow larger . Brocolli Claret which is usually ready in March, and Cabbage Ormskirk which is a winter/spring cabbage with a very long season. The first of this years cabbages, Golden Acre are beginning to form hearts. Usually the Calabrese is ready by now. The plants are strong and healthy but the heads are still very small.


Sunday 12th

14 to 23 to 14°C. 9.98kWh 1.9kW max. Variable cloud with some sunny spells but also a few light showers.


For a change decided to start work on the inside of the new shed. I bought this so I could have more room in the existing sheds, particularly the one near the polytunnel where I store my pots and trays. At the moment this also has all the bamboo canes and I want to move these and some other sundry items like nets and fleece, into this new shed. So I have made a start by building some racks to store all but the 2m canes upright.


Pat has been clearing the early peas and broad beans and podding them for the freezer over the last few days. This leaves a large fertile space to sow some mainly root vegetables which I will start on tomorrow.


Monday 13th

12 to 20 to 16°C. 4.32kWh 900W max. Light rain most of the night and morning. Very light, it didn't wet the ground beneath the trees. Eventually came a little brighter in the afternoon but still very humid.


Managed to fork over the space and rake it so I can sow seeds tomorrow. Then when it rained back to building the racks for the canes in the new shed.


Tuesday 14th

14 to 20 to 12°C. 4.84kWh 700W max. Another slightly damp day.


Sowed Turnip Milan Purple Top, Swede Helenor, Onion Matrix and Radicchio in the seed bed I prepared yesterday. Half a packet of each. When Pat has cleared the next lot of peas I will sow the same again.


Wednesday 15th

12 to 19 to 10°C. 12.62kWh 2.2kW max. Cloudy start but soon cleared to a sunny morning and afternoon with a cooling westerly breeze.


The strawberries and nearly finished but we still have raspberries and strawberries and the first of the plum trees has started to ripen.


Spent most of the afternoon emptying pots from the winter/spring flowers and mixng new potting soil by adding seived compost and fertiliser. This will soon be needed for potting on the new chrysanthemum cuttings and the next winter/spring flowers I am just about to order as plugs. This year these will be wallflowers, dianthus and polyanthus. The sooner I can get them going the more likely they will flower twice in early winter and in spring.


Thursday 16th

4 to 23 to 19°C 10.78kWh 2.2kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny morning. Clouded over in the afternoon, becoming warm and humid.


Not a comfortable day for hard work in the garden but even so started to cut back the small trees and shrubs in the wild garden which have finished flowering. They are getting very overgrown and I want some more light for the wildflowers planted there.


Friday 17th

15 to 22 to 13°C. 7.46kWh 1.4kW max.  Mainly cloudy with a few brighter but not really sunny periods. Wind chill from a very strong (for the time of year) westerly wind made it feel much cooler than the thermometer suggested.


Started to cut some more shrubs in the wild garden but it was so windy it was difficult to judge where to cut so I gave up and decided to turn the last of the compost bins instead. Quite a good job for such a chilly day in July.


Saturday 18th

8 to 22 to 13°C. 11.8kWh 2.2kW max. Variable cloud with hazy sunshine. The wind has dropped.


Not very well, with the usual aching and asthma, overnight and most of the morning but felt better for a time in the afternoon to do some watering of the summer flowers and in the polytunnel.


Pat picked some kale for my dinner today and she found some broccoli flowers for herself. Very strange to have either of  these in July; usually we are eating the calabrese at this time of year but it is just growing taller and taller and not producing heads yet. Both could be caused by the unusual weather in April and May making the kale think it is autumn and the calabrese thinking it isn't summer yet.


Still getting plenty of raspberries, cherries and blueberries but the strawberries are mostly too ripe now. Pat found one ripe tomato to go with our salad at lunchtime and insisted in cutting it in half so both of us could have some. There are signs we will have many more soon. The cucumbers are growing well with either two of the short variety or one long one every day.


Sunday 19th

12  to 22 to 10°C. 10.27kWh 2.0kW max. Somel light rain overnight (2.1mm) then sunny intervals and only a light breeze.


More training of the squashes in the polytunnel as the Patty Pan starts to invade the peppers on the other side of the path.


Started potting on the new chrysanthemums into 3L pots.


Monday 20th

9 to 22 to 13°C. 5.93kWh 1.9kW max. Mainly cloudy with light drizzle from time to time and a spell of heavier rain around 11am.  Some sunny intervals in the afternoon with a few light showers. Finally cleared as it came dark.


Nearly finished the potting on the new chrysanthemums.


The strawberries are finished but we now have lots of plums and still the raspberries, cherries and blueberries.


Tuesday 21st

13 to 22 to 15°C. 6.64kWh 1.4kW max.  Mainly cloudy with some light showers, especially during the morning.


Finished the chrysanthemums. Back to tidying up.


Wednesday 22nd

12 to 21 to 12°C. 4.47kWh 800W max.  Cloudy with some light showers.


Pat has cleared the second early peas and broad beans for the freezer so I dug over the ground to sow some more turnips and swedes. Then more tidying between the showers.


Pat picked the first Turk's Turban squash, a new variety we haven't tried before. Stuffed it with lentils, sage and onion with baked Kestrel potatoes and Turbo broad beans. Followed by stewed plums with a sponge topping. Apart from the lentils and the flour for the sponge, all from the garden.


Thursday 23rd

12 to 20 to 12°C. 7.08kWh 1.9kW max. Broken cloud with a few sunny intervals around midday.


Removed the insect netting over the brussel sprouts and cabbage. They are getting too tall. This definitely works to get strong healthy undamaged plants which should be able to cope with whitefly or a few caterpillars much better than when they were young.


Gave the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumber and squashes in the polytunnel a good water. There are plenty of set fruits on the squashes and peppers and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.


Friday 24th

9 to 14 to 12°C. 3.07kWh 300W max. Dull and drizzle all day.


Not feeling too good and the weather wasn't suitable for working in the garden even if I was.


Saturday 25th

11 to 17 to 10°C. 11.31kWh 2.2kW max.  Still drizzling first thing but soon cleared to a mainly sunny day though not very warm for July. Heavy rain is forecast for the next few days.


Sitll not feeling very well but did manage to start tying the chrysanthemums to canes in their pots.


Sunday 26th

7 to 13 to 13°C. 3.23kWh 300W max. A thoroughly miserable damp day with almost continuous light drizzle and some periods of heavier rain. A total of 8.1mm which, with the area of the house and conservatory rooves around 95 metres square comes to just under 800L of rainwater collected; enough to more than fill three standard water butts. Our water stocks are nearly full; unusual for this time of year.


Not a day for working outside though Pat braved the damp to pick some more beans and peas for the freezer.


Monday 27th

13 to 17 to 13°C. 4.77kWh. 1.6kW max. Light rain continued into the early morning but cleared before daybreak. Even so it remained windy, cloudy and cold, for the time of year, for most of the day with a couple of sunny intervals in the afternoon.


Continued to cut back the shrubs in the wild garden and stake some more chrysanthemums.


Tuesday 28th

12 to 15 to 11°C. 5.21kWh 1.2kW max. Another cold dull windy and drizzly day (2.4mm). Not what you expect for late July. They are even warning of frost at night later in the week.


Finished cutting  back the trees and shrubs in the wild garden.


Pat picked the cooking cherries and turned them into 7 jars of jam.


Wednesday 29th

7 to 15 to 10°C. 6.02. 6.02kWh 1.4kW max. A better day but still with a cold north westerly wind and several short heavy showers(2.1mm).


The rainwater tanks are nearly full but soon fixed that by giving the plants in the pollytunnel a good water  It doesn't rain in there but it also isn't much warmer when there is very little sun. Even so the tomatoes are ripening and there are plenty of squashes and peppers set and swelling.


Thursday 30th

9 to 15 to 7°C. 7.71kWh 1.5kW max. Another mainly cloudy day with a cold north westerly wind. So cold I regretted wearing my shorts on my bike ride! Last year July was the best month for solar electricity production. This year July is lower than April with June being the best month by far.


Started chipping and shredding the brash we cut from the shrubs and trees in the wild garden.


Pat picked the first Patty Pan summer squash for our dinner today, one of my favourite vegetables sliced and fried with some olive oil.


Friday 31st

3 to 19 to 11°C. 11.77kWh 1.9kW max. Cold clear start then thin cloud for most of the morning and early afternoon before clouding over. Feeling warmer as the wind has dropped and moved to the south.


Continued to stake and tie the chrysanthemums.