June 2011                                                                                                      Back to May 2011


Wednesday 1st

9 to 16 to 12°C. Sunny intervals. Feeling warmer.


Spent most of the afternoon fixing rabbit netting all the way round the fruit cage before it does any more damage.


Thursday 2nd

12 to 20 to 14°C. Long sunny intervals.


Continued to rearrange the polytunnel for its summer crops, planting the butternut squash and pumpkin into 7.5L pots and the cucumber into 5L pots - they will eventually go into the greenhouse in 20L polytpots..


Friday 3rd

10 to 23 to 15°C. Long sunny intervals


Planted the peppers and aubergines into the polytunnel border. Rather too hot for working (went up to 34°C in the late afternoon) but it needed doing.


Saturday 4th

17 to 23 to 13°C. Sunny but breezy in the morning but clouded over by 4pm with occasional showers.


Planted out the runner beans beneath the frame I had already constructed for them. Continued to plant out the bedding plants down the drive border.


Sunday 5th

8 to 15 to 10°C. Overcast and breezy with intermittent light showers.


Was unwell with usual symptoms so no gardening done - not that I could have worked outside anyway but there is work still to do in the polytunnel.


Had our first fresh peas of the season from those I planted in pots inside the polytunnel, though they have been outside for the last four weeks. I estimate they are around 2 weeks earlier than those growing outside so the experiment has worked. Similarly we have been getting potatoes from the pot grown ones for over a month now.


The recent rains and warm weather have caused all the outdoor vegetables to grow, particularly the potatoes, cabbages and onions. The broad beans are still rather slow in swelling. We usually have some by now but of course this is party because, for the first time in many years, the Aquadulce overwintered crop was destroyed by the prolonged heavy frosts in November/December.


The first truss of some of the tomato plnats fertilised and beginning to swell. Some courgettes are also growing and there are signs of fertile fruits on the squashes. Flowers are open on some of the peppers but not yet on the aubergines.


Monday 6th

9 to 16 to 9°C. Sunny intervals but chilly northerly wind.


Planted out the climbing beans against the west (nearest the house) and north sides of the fruit cage and also the Sonesta french beans in the north border between the cage and the path.


Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow and on and off for the rest of the week so I have taken all the water out of the two single water butts (conservatory and east side of the house) and used it to give the plants inside the polytunnel a good drenching, otherwise they will probably overflow and it would be wasted. Water is never wasted in the polytunnel since it is virtually an enclosed system apart from that which evaporates and escapes through the door. This is now open most of the time to let the bumble bees in to fertilise the squashes and courgettes.


Picked the first of the leaves off the early Borecole ( posh for green curly kale). One of the nicest spring and early summer green leaved vegetables and so easy to cook in its own juices. Harvested the rest of the super-early Swift potatoes and had some with this and an omelette from our own chickens. And, of course, another large dish of strawberries each. Funny how you never tire of them!!


20 of the medium sized potatoes are put aside in the refrigerator till late August to kid them into thinking it is winter. Then I will put them in a warm place to chit and plant in pots for new potatoes at Christmas. Hopefully. Last year it didn't work because of the heavy frosts but most years it does.


Tuesday 7th

9 to 15 to 8°C. Sunny intervals with short heavy showers.


Started building the frames for the squashes starting with that for the Crown Prince. The vines on these are already well over 100cm long.


Wednesday 8th

6 to 12 to 7°C. A few sunny intervals with a cool northerly breeze and light showers

Continued to work in the polytunnel.


Thursday 9th

9 to 15 to 9°C. Slightly warmer with less wind, thinner cloud and no rain.


Pat cooked the first of the yellow and green courgettes. Tomorrow there may be a calabrese ready.


Friday 10th

8 to 14 to 7°C. Sunny intervals but with a cold NW breeze and a few blustery showers


Saturday 11th

4 to 12 to 6°C. Quite cold overnight but no frost damage. Sunny in the morning but overcast by midday and some rain in the afternoon.


Finally finished the work in the polytunnel. Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow. If this still seems to be the case in the morning I might use some of the stored rainwater to really wet the soil inside. But we have been promised some proper rain several times in the last few weeks and it never seems to happen, just a few short showers.



Sunday 12th

9 to 12 to 15°C. Heavy rain until mid afternoon with light showers until evening, becoming warmer.


As promised, once the rain started to slow down we used a lot of the collected rain water to thoroughly wet the soil inside the polytunnel. 12 trips carrying 2 15L watering cans for me and around 15 2L watering cans for Pat. Everything is well watered both inside and out, and it is coming warmer too.


Monday 13th

14 to 17 to 10°C. Sunny intervals. Feeling warmer.


The soil is now warm and moist. Ideal conditions for planting out the summer bedding.


Tuesday 14th

14 to 20 to 11°C. Sunny intervals and very little breeze.


Our 42nd wedding anniversary. If you believe films and television drama, these are a source of friction between couples, with the wife sulking because her husband has forgotten. Is this really the case in real life? Certainly not in this household. As usual I had to remind Pat of the date, not that either of us really care about anniversaries.


Continued to plant out the summer bedding.

We now have raspberries as well as strawberries to eat each day and it won't be long before we have cherries. The plums are also growing fast. Started harvesting the next lot of early potatoes, Arran Pilot. It should really be the Lady Kristl next but they still have some green foliage.


Wednesday 15th

9 to 16 to 10°C. Sunny intervals with a few short heavy showers.


Continued planting summer bedding. Finished moving the Coleus into 3L pots. Disbudded the short stemmed chrysanthemums to encourage side shoots.


Thursday 16th

11 to 17 to 10°C. Rained overnight. Sunny with a few short heavy showers.


Cleared the dead leaves off the narcissus and other bulbs in front of the conservatory and covered it with woven polythene. Moved the coleus pots onto it and the Tigridia in 5 x 7.5L pots. Started to transplant the giant begonias from their 3L pots to 7.5L. These will also go in front of the conservatory.


Rain is forecast for tomorrow so dumped more water from the water butts onto the soil in the polytunnel. This is now fully saturated. We are now getting several courgettes every day and some of the squashes have started to swell. Tomatoes and peppers have also set some fruit and even the aubergine have started to flower.


Friday 17th

9 to 15 to 11°C. Clear in the morning but clouded over with light showers by late afternoon and light rain during the evening. Nothing like the heavy rain forecast though it is apparently raining hard elsewhere.


Finished transplanting the giant begonias and moved them in front of the conservatory.

Soaked the ground inside the greenhouse ready for the cucumbers with what I hope is excess rainwater.


Saturday 18th

10 to 15 to 10°C. Sunny intervals and scattered short heavy showers.


Transplanted the Parker french beans and the main crop peas Onward.

Continued planting summer bedding down the drive; nearly finished.

Moved the Gloxinia into 5L pots.

Started transplanting the late brassicas into 12 cell trays, Kale Darkibor F1, Kale Curly Scarlet, Broccoli mixed purple, Cabbage January King.


Sunday 19th

9 to 16 to 9°C. Thin cloud with a few sunny spells. Breezy.


I have now emptied the oldest bin of compost, using for mulch and mixing with soil for all the potting done recently and this is a good day to turn the compost before it gets any warmer. Each bin holds around 5cu.m. of compost. bin 4 into 5, 3 into 4, 2 into 3 and 1 into 2. A big job but only needs doing 3 times a year.


Finished planting out the summer bedding down the drive.


Monday 20th

5 to 20 to 10°C. Started off wall to wall sunshine in the morning, thin cloud by afternoon and then heavy rain in the evening but only for a couple of hours.


The forecast is for cool showery weather. I have 5 cucumber plants growing in pots in the polytunnel with several fruits already swelling. They should really be in the greenhouse by now but they need a minimum nighttime temperature of 10°C which isn't possible in there at the moment. They will be too big to move in another week so I hope things will have improved by then or I will just have to risk it. On past experience they won't die, just lose their fruits or produce male flowers.


Spent most of the afternoon till it rained sorting out the chrysanthemums. The taller ones for cutting are now growing strongly in their 7.5L pots. Removed the crown buds from primary and secondary stems to encourage them to branch more and then put three 120cm canes in each pot and a spiral of string to train them upwards. The shorter ones are in 5L pots and don't need dis-budding except for stems which have grown taller than the rest. Some of these are already starting to flower and will do so all summer with a little care and some liquid fertiliser.


Tuesday 21st

13 to 17 to 13°C. Rain overnight. Mostly cloudy with a few short sharp showers and sunny intervals.


Decided I would move the cucumber plants into the greenhouse. Mixed equal parts of old soil from the potato pots and sieved compost with JI3 equivalent fertiliser as a growing medium for them. Tidied up the greenhouse. mainly cutting back the ivy which invades from the hedge behind it. Transplanted them from the 5L pots into 20L polypots spaced along the back of the greenhouse and trained them up strings to the wires running along the roof. Removed several male flowers, probably caused by it being cold at night even in the polytunnel recently but there are several female flowers already growing on them and even some side-shoots forming. Last year the poor weather after the warm Spring and early Summer cause most of the side-shoots to die back before they really got going. Hopefully this won't happen this year. In a good year we should get at least one cucumber every other day from 5 plants, late into the autumn, but not if all they grow is a main stem.


Wednesday 22nd

12 to 17 to 12°C. Rain overnight. Cloudy with a few showers. Becoming clearer by evening.


Continued to sort out the chrysanthemums.


Thursday 23rd

11 to 15 to 11°C. Cloudy with occasional short showers, some heavy. Not very nice weather for late June.


Finished transplanting the winter greens seedlings into 12 cell trays.


Picked the first few cherries. More tomorrowSmile


Friday 24th

12 to 14 to 10°C. Cloudy with rain showers in the morning. Continuous light rain from 4pm and most of the night.


Made a start on tidying up the wild garden. Removing big perrenial weeds like dandelions, docks, ragwort, thistles, creeping buttercup, red deadnettle, stinging nettle and rye grass but leaving the smaller and annual flowers and grasses, including some I planted last year which survived the winter or set seed. The spaces I am filling with viola, primrose, polyanthus, cornflower, daisies, canterbury bells, poppy,  forget-me-not etc from other parts of the garden and some I have grown from a packet of wildflower seed.


Saturday 25th

14 to 18 to 14°C. Rained most of the night. Overcast and humid but feeling warmer.


It is forecast to come warmer tomorrow so this might be the last day to do any substantial work in the polytunne before temperatures inside it go above 35°C. Weeded all the borders, pinched out the sideshoots and trained the tomatoes further up their strings, tied the peppers and aubergines to 100cm canes and continued training the squashes up their cage.


Sunday 26th

14 to 26 to 21°C. High cloud, clearing to sunshine and summer clouds by evening.


36°C by afternoon in the polytunnel. Planted out the last of the french beans; the vegetable garden is no completely full. Made a start on planting the rest of the summer bedding in the back garden, staying in the shade as much as possible.


Some of the desert plums have started to split. A problem caused by the variable weather over the last few weeks; plums don't like spells of warm and cold, dry and wet. while they are ripening. Brought them inside before the wasps and fruit flies find them. Not suitable for eating raw but they should be fine stewed once they are ripe.

We are getting to the end of the strawberries, especially with the recent wet weather, but plenty of raspberries, most of which are going in the freezer.


Forecast is thundery showers tomorrow or Tuesday and then cooler.


Monday 27th

16 to 26 to 12°C. Cloudy and very humid. Intermittent short heavy showers by early afternoon.


Not much to do in the polytunnel so,apart from picking fruit and vegetables between the showers, didn't do much.


Tuesday 28th.

8 to 15 to 8°C. Sunny intervals but a cold northerly wind.


2 of the 5 cucumber plants have already succumbed to the cold weather. I wish I hadn't moved them into the greenhouse.


Wednesday 29th

6 to 17 to 9°C. Overcast with a few sunny spells but light rain showers in the afternoon.


Thursday 30th

4 to 16 to 11°C. High cloud with a few light showers.


Continued to generally keep the more cultivated parts of the garden tidy while Pat continued to pick fruit and vegetables, some to eat and some for the freezer. We have a glut of cherries and plums at the moment.


July 2011