July 2018


Sunday 1st

12 to 29 to 19°C. 14.28kWh 2.2kW max. Another very sunny day with an easterly breeze.


The June heatwave continues into July. No rain is forecast for the next 10 days.


Dug another trench in the bed next to henhouse to plant some more red celery. Not ideal conditions for a plant that likes to stay wet but if I leave them in their pots much longer they will become pot-bound and won't spread their roots. So they will need watering every day for maybe a week.


Monday 2nd

12 to 27 to 18°C. 13.51kWh 2.1kW max. It was actually cloudy for a short while this morning but it soon cleared to more hot sun.


I have finished potting on the chrysanthemum cuttings. Spent over an hour in the evening watering in the garden and the polytunnel. We are having to pump water from the well for at least an hour every day just to replenish our supplies. This is the first time since we got the 2 1100L tanks that we have had to do this.


Pat picked the rest of the desert cherries. A very good crop but the Morellos, which flowered only a few days later, are not going to be enough for even 2 pots of jam. So they will go in the freezer till next years crop. She also cut the tops off more of the kale. Hopefully it will grow side-shoots rather than bolting.


Tuesday 3rd

10 to 25 to 17°C. 14.48kWh 2.2kW max. I believe this is the most electricity we have ever generated.


The Jaguar peas, which I placed between wet kitchen towels only last Thursday, were already sprouted enough to move into 12 cell trays. I am not sure where to put them. Anywhere outside and they will be eaten by mice so I have put them under a shelf in the polytunnel protected by perspex domes at night when the mice are more likely to turn up. I will take the domes off early in the morning or they will become too hot.

Pricked out the Canterbury Bells tiny seedlings into seed trays of coir and perlite compost to grow some more before they can go into cell trays.


For dinner today we had the first of the calabrese and also some more tops off the purple sprouting broccoli; only 7 months before it should be ready in February! Hopefully like the kale it will grow side-shoots lower down rather than bolting.

Wednesday 4th

 11 to 26 to 17°C. 12.11kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny morning and early afternoon. Clouded over later in the afternoon but cleared again in the evening.


Thursday 5th

12 to 25 to 15°C. 13.21kWh 2.2kW max. Another sunny day with a stronger breeze especially in the afternoon when it clouded over again.

Now that all the urgent jobs are finished I found time to go for a bike ride in the evening.

Friday 6th

 12 to 27 to 17°C. 13.02kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny morning, breezy and cloudy by late afternoon, clearing in the evening.

Looking for jobs in the shade decided to start cutting the hedges. Hopefully there are no birds still nesting in them.

Saturday 7th

12 to 28 to 19°C. 13.31kWh 1.9kW max. Same weather as yesterday.

It is now 5 weeks since it rained and some of the plants which have so far managed without watering have started to suffer. This includes the brassicas and the perennials down the side of the drive. So from now on they will need watering as well as the pots of annuals and the whole of the polytunnel. I swear my arms are getting longer lugging watering cans around the garden for more than an hour each day. I am also trying to move the pots into shadier areas to stop them drying out as fast.

Sunday 8th

14 to 28 to 19°C. 13.1kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny all day and feeling much hotter in the sun than previous days.


Not very well today with the usual symptoms of shortness of breath, aching and feeling tired. I suspect this is a secondary reaction to somebody's row of washing which I went past yesterday on my bicycle ride. Nevertheless there was watering to be done which took me longer than usual.

Monday 9th

 12 to 25 to 15°C. 10.61kWh 1.9kW max. Cloudier and cooler though according to the forecast it will be warming up again by the end of the week and still no sign of any substantial rain.


Feeling better. Went for my annual health check (they call it a birth month check but its is always later than that infers). Apart from the asthma I am in good health.

Tuesday 10th

 12 to 24 to 16°C. 7.5kWh 1.8kW max. Variable cloud with less sunshine and more breeze so feeling less warm than recently. There might even be some rain next weekend.


The cooler conditions made it possible to start turning the compost heaps to make room for shredding some hedge clippings. The strawberries are over and the raspberries are getting less but the blueberries and the first of the plum trees are ready to start picking.

Wednesday 11th

 12 to 25 to 17°C. 12.61kWh 2kW max. Hazy sunshine in the morning with some heavy clouds in the late afternoon. A sign that we might get some rain? A possibility of thunderstorms is forecast for tomorrow or Friday.


Continued to turn the compost bins. It was very quiet for my bike ride between 7:15 and 8:00 today. I saw a man with a large dog and a small child and an elderly couple out for a walk and no cars at all. Perhaps there was something important to watch on television?

Thursday 12th

 12 to 24 to 17°C. 6.74kWh 1.5kW max. Some very welcome rain starting at 5am (when I went to let the hens out) and steadily till around 8:30. Stayed cloudy with some more showers later. There are warnings of thundery downpours tomorrow.


A total of 4mm rain fell in the morning. Enough to water the garden at least for the next 4 or 5 days and to half fill the main rainwater tanks. With more forecast I took the opportunity to fill the 3 water butts outside the polytunnel and pump some more into the middle tomato bed, giving it a good soaking to encourage the 3 or 4 now set trusses to swell and ripen.

Friday 13th

 10 to 22 to 16°C. 7.09kWh 1.4kW max. Cloudy slightly damp start but cleared to a mainly sunny morning and early afternoon. Became very humid with black clouds by late afternoon threatening rain but there were just a few drops with some distant thunder.

Started moving the chrysanthemum cuttings into 3L pots giving them their second growing point pinch out at the same time.

Saturday 14th

 14 to 28 to 18°C. 10.86kWh 1.9kW max. Variable cloud with some sunny intervals. Feeling warm and humid but no rain.

Sunday 15th

 14 to 27 to 19°C. 11.61kWh 2kW max. Mainly sunny with fairweather clouds.


Picked the plums of the earlier plum tree. An enormous crop so didn't bother to struggle with ones out of reach.

Monday 16th

 15 to 24 to 12°C. 6.31kWh 1.4kW max. Bright morning with variable cloud but the cloud thickened in the afternoon and it started to rain heavily -- but only for 2 or 3 minutes. The light rain which followed didn't last long before clearing to a fresher cooler evening. So we still haven't had any proper rain but at least I won't need to water outside for a couple of days and maybe even inside the polytunnel it will be cooler and need less water.

A single Bloody Butcher tomato was ripe enough to pick. There will be plenty more soon, including the Bejbino and Ailsa Craig.

Tuesday 17th

 12 to 24 to 16°C. 8.36kWh 1.5kW max. Sunny intervals with some dark clouds in the afternoon but no rain.


Took delivery of a large number of plant pot saucers to place beneath the 3L and 5L pots of dahlias, fuschias, zantedeschias and other summer bulbs. This should reduce the water required to water them.

Wednesday 18th

 15 to 22 to 16°C. 5.95kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few spots of rain.

Thursday 18th

 11 to 24 to 15°C. 11.19kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny with a cooling north-westerly breeze.


Friday 20th

 11 to 19 to 14°C. 7.53kWh 2kW max. Clear night and sunny for the first half of the morning before clouding over. Started raining around 3pm, mostly light, until 7pm. Around 5mm which will certainly water the garden and should have put around 400L of water into the tanks.

Working in the polytunnel. I did some more training of the squashes which have now grown to the top of the frames and need guiding over the top of the middle tomato frame. Pat removing side-shoots from the tomatoes which are now ripening on the two bottom trusses.

Outside I  noticed each of the 3 pumpkin plants has a least one set fruit. This rain will encourage them to push their adventitious roots into the soil to support their growth.

Saturday 21st

 15 to 22 to 15°C. 7.01kWh 1.4kW max.

Mainly cloudy. Feeling warm and humid despite the temperature being lower than recently.


Sunday 22nd

15 to 26 to 19°C. 6.93kWh 1.4kW max. Cloudy warm and humid with very little breeze. Apparently this weather is coming directly from Africa

Something very strange is that Pat picked and cooked a cabbage today. Not an early Golden Acre but a mid-season Minicole which usually only heart in late August. The Golden Acre are much smaller. It must be the unusual weather causing this.

Monday 23rd

 16 to 29 to 20°C. 10.42kWh 1.9kW max. Broken cloud with some very hot sunshine though in the shade with the breeze it felt quite pleasant.


A few weeks ago the farmer ploughed in the weeds, harrowed and raked the field next door and then drilled it with grass. This came through by mid June and was looking good but by then the soil was already parched and it started to die back. The weeds which he had buried grew through and I was worried they might flower and seed; the last thing we want is thistle and dandelion down blowing into the garden. But now he as mowed it and I not sure what he is hoping for. He is a dairy farmer and there looks to be very little grass left anywhere on the farm. At least we can water some of our land to keep things going; farmers don't have that choice.

I know in other parts of the world six weeks of drought and hot sun is normal but this is not what we are used to. The last time was in 1976 when we had only just moved in here.

Tuesday 24th

 16 ro 22 to 15°C. 6.41kWh 1.2kW max. Cloudy with some hazy sunshine but also some light fine drizzle, though not enough to wet the ground


Pat picked the firstv Rolet summer squash today which we had fried in olive oil with tomatoes on toast for our lunch. Delicious!

Wednesday 25th

 10 to 24 to 16°C. 11.21kWh 1.9kW max. Misty start followed by a mainly sunny day with whispy clouds. There are signs that this long hot dry spell might break in another 2 or 3 days.

Pat picked the first aubergines today and we now have several ripe Bejbino tomatoes which are my favourite.

As an experiment I moved the soil from some of the potato bags into even larger 25L polybags and planted red celery plants, 4 in each bag. As they grow I will put more of the soil into the bags, keeping only the top of the stems showing. Just like growing in a trench but easier to manage.

Thursday 26th

 11 to 30 to 19°C. 11.87kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny with broken thin cloud.


The temperature in the far end of the polytunnel reached 44°C in the afternoon. The peppers, aubergine and cucumbers needed a lot of watering once it cooled off in the evening.

Friday 27th

 12 to 29 to 20°C. 12.41kWh 2kW max. Sunny until late in the afternoon when it clouded over with black clouds and distant thunder to the north. Some very light rain started late in the evening.

Most nights have been clear this month. Tonight there is a full lunar eclipse and it is cloudy. Why is it always cloudy when there is an astronomical event?

Saturday 28th

 14 to 18 to 14°C. 8.71kWh 1.9kW max. A very different day with a few sunny intervals interspaced by dark clouds and a strong gusty wind.

I hadn't bothered to do any watering outside yesterday because the forecast said there was an 80% chance of thundery rain in the morning and then again late in the afternoon. The black clouds gathered and the gusty wind became stronger but the clouds passed to the north and south of us with not even one drop of rain. It became brighter for a time and then another storm passed over late in the afternoon again with no rain. Some of the plants in pots were beginning to droop badly so I had to water them after all. There is a 95% chance of heavy rain from 4am to 10am tomorrow; I wonder if this will miss as well?

At least it was cool and cloudy enough for me to return to cutting back the hedges.

Sunday 29th

14 to 21 to 16°C. 4.62kWh 1.9kW max. It did indeed rain overnight from around 4am to 10am with 10mm enough to nearly replenish our stores. Some sunny intervals in the afternoon were followed by a cloudy evening with a few spots of rain.

Monday 30th

 13 to 24 to 15°C. 7.31kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with a few light showers.


Kirstin and Anna came to visit for the day so didn't do much in the garden. I was surprised that Anna liked our blueberries and tomatoes; I was under the impression that shop bought ones were sweeter these days.

Tuesday 31st

13 to 22 to 13°C. 8.63kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals with some occasional very light rain.


Quite a pleasant day with just a gentle breeze, a comfortable temperature and no hot sun.If it was like this all summer with maybe some rain overnight every 4 or 5 days I would be very happy.


Continued cutting back the hedges.